As increasing numbers of people turn to the Internet to shop, more businesses are cashing in on the trend by creating online stores to complement their high street trade.

When Lisa Southall discovered the beauty of shopping from home, she decided to set up her own online store, to fill what she saw as a gap in the online retail market.

She explained: "Just as you have to trudge through different high street stores to find what you want, on the Internet you have to go to a lot of different websites to find what you are looking for."

Essentially a one-stop shop for gifts for all the family, the concept of Little Blue Sheep was born.

"Two years ago, I was shopping on the Internet for Christmas presents for friends and family from the comfort of my kitchen. I'd just had my third baby and decided I wanted to take some time out and perhaps work from home."

The company went live in January.

"I didn't realise how tricky it would be to get up and running online so, unfortunately, we missed Christmas which wasn't ideal," said Ms Southall.

She added that learning all the new technology was one of the most difficult things, but believes Internet shopping is the future.

"I want to give people the choice, so that they can buy for everyone in the family on my site. The variety of products I stock is what sets me apart from others," she said.

"It is unique to be able to get a present for every member of the family on one website - it is also very affordable and easy to use."

Currently stocking about 200 products, Lisa caters for his and hers gifts, gifts for the home students, babies and pets, getting her stock mainly from trade fairs in the UK.

"I would like to start going abroad and to stock eco-friendly products," she added.

"Looking to the future, I would also like to market to ex-pat communitites. I know how difficult it is for people living in Australia or New Zealand to try and get presents to the UK for Christmas. I would wrap them and send them from here."

However, juggling work with three children can be tricky.

"Once they are gone to school I get to work. Sometimes I find I am still in my pyjames at three o'clock, and it is time to go and collect them!" she added.

"Luckily, they are computer literate and have helped me quite a bit."

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