“THE moment you are content, satisfied with what you’ve achieved, then the moment you stop is the moment you fall behind.”

Sage advice from Welsh entrepreneur Jack Lear, who has been in business since he was a schoolboy.

After taking his dad’s advice to start creating websites aged 15, the youngster began sourcing and selling fancy dress costumes online.

That enterprise would become Bodysocks, and since then the now 28-year-old has set-up BargainFox.com, Jobalots.com and JLI Fulfilment under the umbrella of JLI Trading.

A Pembroke Dock warehouse serves as the company’s HQ, but the ambitious west Walian has also branched out into Poland with a premises an hour from the German border.

Having started out by himself, he now has a growing team of staff under his wings, not bad for someone who quit school to go into business while still a teenager.

But that’s not to say he hasn’t faced many challenges over the last decade or so.

“The biggest milestone was just surviving Covid,” he told the Welsh Business Heroes webinar.

“Just before the pandemic started I committed myself and signed contracts for 200,000 costumes.

“Coming out of the pandemic and surviving was probably the biggest achievement I’ve made.”

He added: “It’s learning as I go, a lot of trial and error, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but the key is to make less mistakes than right choices.

“As long as you get that right, you’ll succeed in life.

“For the last two years, we’ve just been trying to keep our heads above water, trying to survive. It’s been a really big challenge.

“We try not to look too far into the future but we have plans of how we’re going to move forward and how we are going to achieve that.”

Bodysocks is centred around the design, manufacture and distribution of fancy dress costumes and accessories, while BargainFox.com specialises in the acquisition and resale of customer returned goods and liquidation stock.

Jobalots.com focuses on the business-to-business sale of customer returned and liquidated goods, and JLI Fulfilment provides opportunities “to accelerate growth with a streamlined fulfilment solution”.

Mr Lear hopes that expanding into Poland will benefit not just his business but others in Wales and the UK struggling with the impact of Brexit.

“A lot of British businesses have been struggling with Brexit, so we decided to go to Poland to set-up the products out there instead,” he said.

“We want to offer fulfilment and storage to other Welsh and British businesses out there.

“We’ve looked into opening a much larger facility in the UK, but you’re fighting with increased costs, increased haulage, and fuel prices have rocketed, which adds to the costs.

“It’s been very difficult to keep those costs down, so that’s a big challenge for us, trying to become more efficient at a time when costs are increasing is difficult.

“There’s a greater reward by going to Poland, you have access to EU, which has been an absolute nightmare for us since Brexit.

“We’re hoping this will be a really good solution to Brexit and exporting.”

He added: “You can’t be content with what you’re doing, the products you’re offering or service you’re selling.

“It sounds a bit sad to say but you’ve consistently got to be discontent with what you’re doing and strive to improve that.

“The moment you are content, satisfied with what you’ve achieved, then the moment you stop is the moment you fall behind.”

The Welsh Business Heroes webinar series, hosted jointly by NatWest, Landsker Business Solutions and Newsquest, highlights established and emerging Welsh business owners.

You can watch the full episode with Jack Lear here.