Monocle Podcast

Kirsty and Paul recently featured on the Monocle Podcast. It has been the brands  biggest exposure to date and has led to many new customers around the world.

You can see the transcript below, or you can listen to the full podcast here.

Monocle Magazine - Freedom To Exist - Paul Tanner & Kirsty Whyte


 

Setting up a company with your other half, there are countless reasons not to do it. But for those who can make it work, it’s a sturdy foundation for building a successful business. Kirsty Whyte and Paul Tanner are a prime example. The couple behind fledgeling London based watch brand, Freedom To Exist have managed to cooperate productively, grow their business from the ground up, and are still both alive to tell the tale. Perhaps sensibly, both have kept their day jobs leaving Freedom To Exist to exist as a beloved side project. Well, for now at least. You’re listening to The Entrepreneurs with me, Matt Alagiah. Today, Kirsty and Paul are here to tell us how they got Freedom To Exist off the ground, and to share their secrets to launching a business with a partner.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      We’ve both had over 25 years worth of experience in the industry. That’s kind of how we started the whole project. We’ve worked together before. We thought this will be the perfect opportunity for us to have a project together.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      What did you work on before together?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Well, we first met at Habitat many, many years ago. So, we were both in the furniture industry. Then also a good 5, 10 years later, we ended up working at made.com when that was first an initial startup. So, I think Paul was employee 15 or something.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Yeah, when I joined, there was probably about a dozen people there. I was interviewed by all 3 founders. It was a tiny, tiny team. It was 2010. But I just felt when I met the guys, that I was going to make it work. It’s part of that process, the opportunity to go to China came up. Within 6 months, I moved to China. Part of the deal was if Kirsty was to come with me, and the 2 of us was to go to China together, we would do that as an exciting adventure. We ended up spending just over a year in Shanghai helping keep the momentum, where Made was growing so quickly. Our job was to design and develop products to keep up with that pace. To be in China was the best way to do that.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Exactly. Yeah, they said, we really need a designer and a product developer. You’re like, I know somebody that will be able to do that. So, it worked out really well. It was a really big learning curve for us. I think it actually really helped us in our careers going forward.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      What did you learn at made.com? What were the key lessons I guess that you took away from that experience?

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Thinking back, it’s just how hard the 3 founders worked.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Yeah.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       I think sometimes when you look externally at a successful startup, you see them on TV, and you see the rewards of a startup sometimes. But we would see them fly to China, land, and then do a full day’s work, and then go for dinner with a supplier. That side of how committed, and they are working 7 days a week for years on end, just to be that passionate, and to just create something out of nothing. I think it's a real skill in itself to achieve that.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      So, you guys saw how hard these founders were working. What on earth gave you the idea that you should do it yourselves and set up your own business?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Well, it’s also the rewards and the passion. We saw the hard work, but then we also saw how amazing it could be to achieve your goal. The other thing was to be your own boss. We’ve worked for many companies before. I have actually had  my own design studio. I left Habitat in 2009. For several years, I designed and freelanced for other people. I just loved the freedom that gave me, because I was working for other people, and then also learning on the job. But in that time, I also had my own time to design and develop my own products, and just having the autonomy to make the decisions. It was only between the 2 of us. So, we always had the right direction. It worked quite well between us because I’m sort of the creative side, and you're the analytical. Some might say, boring side. But it's the side that you find really interesting. So, together we knew that it would really work. We just really loved the idea of how we've evolved the product, and how we’ve evolved our brand as well. So, we're constantly tweaking our website. The beauty is we don't have to go through other people. We can just do it.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      Does Freedom To Exist give you the autonomy that you were talking about, but kind of without some of the potentially more existential scares that you might have if it was your sole business? I mean you both do your own day jobs. Does it give you that autonomy and a bit of the safety as well.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       I think it does because we’re self funded as well. That makes a big difference. We are very keen to not treat it like a hobby. It is a business, so it has to hit a certain target each month or each year. But because we’re not committed to paying back a loan or to an investor, we can make decisions that are right for the brand, that we can develop quality products. We can be committed to our pricing strategy.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Yeah.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       When we first started, we were very particular about who we said yes or no to. Whereas I think if we had a big investment, we might be a bit less cautious.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      The beauty of it is that we don’t have to make immediate reactions. We’re not having to pay off lots of bills. We haven’t overextended ourselves or overcommitted. So, we’re trying to build it organically. It’s the same with our community base. We’re not going out there just paying for influences like £50,000 to do a certain number of posts. We’re actually just having people that really love our product and want to wear it, and growing by word of mouth instead. I think that’s the way that we're sort of running the brand and the company overall.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Yeah, because a lot of early feedback that we’ve had is that customers said, we’ve been looking for something like your product for a long time. I think the reason we’ve started it because we couldn’t find something like that that we wanted. The influence and culture on Instagram, if you look at some of the feeds, they wear 5 watches. Whereas you wanted someone that…

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      Not all at the same time.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       No.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Well, you never know. You might have discovered a new influencer direction.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       We’ve been fortunate to go to weddings or to bump into people, friends of ours that supported us. They’ve got the watch on. So, we've got lots of photos of us at restaurant tables with 4 people, their wrists group together. That was the kind of product and brand we wanted to create.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      You said, Paul, you looked around in the market, both of you and said, the thing that we’re looking for doesn’t really exist yet. What was that? What were you looking for and couldn’t find?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Well, we were our own customer. So, it started off with me looking for a watch that I wanted. I wanted to have something that was brand free, minimal, didn’t have diamantes all over it. Also, wasn’t a smart watch, and also fitted my petite wrist. I’ve got skinny wrists. My whole life, I’ve always had to put extra holes in a watch strap, or get a new strap for a watch that I liked, or the dial of the watch is bigger than the whole diameter of my wrist. We're looking out there and couldn't really find anything. Then we were actually in Liberty watch hunting. Then there was a woman next to us, talking to her boyfriend saying exactly the same thing as I had been saying. Then we went, right, I think it’s not just us.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      That was the market survey.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       That was it.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Yeah, I mean a lot of people had been saying, they couldn’t really find what they were looking for. So, after we researched a little bit more, we thought, well, we should be able to do this. I’ve got the design skills. We've got the development skills together. We also have the contacts to make this happen. We’ve developed products before. We’ve not done watches before, but we just thought, let’s give it a go.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      On the design side, how different is it doing a watch to furniture, industrial design?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      A designer can design anything. But it’s more about the problem solving and being creative, and just knowing what you want to achieve. So, I think nowadays, you tend not to just have a designer that does table. You tend to get someone that does a mix of products, because I think it’s exactly the same. You’re designing for yourself and your peers and people that are likeminded.There are obviously different technical elements that we learned a lot about. So, I know about bezels, and lugs, and crowns, and all the things like that that I actually wasn’t aware of watches so much now. But now I know all about the type of leather that we need to have, the type of strap that we need to have, and what makes a good product. But once you have those parameters, it was more about the aesthetic and doing something really well. So, I wanted it to be simple, sort of timeless really, with classic styling, but also minimal and easy to read. We just wanted something that told the time and did it well.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      I mean that is exactly. It’s so simple. The watch faces are completely uncluttered. It doesn't have your brand name anywhere.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Yes.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      I mean that’s an interesting decision, because you know even any famous brand. You get a Rolex Daytona, you know that it’s Rolex, because it also says Rolex.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Exactly.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      Has that been a challenge that you don’t have the name on it?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Yeah, it was one of our decisions that we had to make, and something that was discussed at length. But one of the things that we wanted about it was to keep it simple, and keep it brand free. The only reason you know it’s us is there’s a dot at the 12, and then also on the reverse of the case, it actually has all our branding. So, the idea is that it’s quite an exclusive group. So, if you have one of our watches, you know what it is. The branding is just where you can see it. It’s very much that type of customer that is not about shouting about their watch. It's not about, hey, look how much money I spent on my watch. It’s about having that complimenting your outfit and looking a part of your look, rather than something with bling or buzzing to try and tell you what time it is. That’s really resounded out with a lot of our customers saying, this is exactly what I was looking for.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      You said that you didn’t take a loan, and you haven't taken on any huge investment. How much did you need to start the brand, because I mean it’s a manufacturing company?

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Yeah.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      It’s still very much a large financial investment. Our flat is much smaller than it would be if we weren’t doing Freedom To Exist. But I think the important thing was that we knew how to design and develop. So, we didn’t have to employ somebody to do all of that initial stages. We didn’t need somebody to do the website, because Paul is actually self taught in all of those elements as well, and also the ops and the logistics side. But obviously, there are minimum order quantities for watches. It's actually 250 per case per cutaway. That’s why we started off with our 30 edition. So, we chose 5 core products that we thought worked really well as a range. Then we’ve grown it from there. We actually had lots of people loving the 30 edition, which is our smaller dial watch. Then people asked me for a larger one. So, it might be guys saying, they wanted a bigger dial, or a lot of women wanting a more oversized watch now, as it’s much more fashionable. That’s when we started deciding that rather than being able to invest even more, which was going to stretch us or making people wait for the 40 edition, we actually started the Kickstarter campaign.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       I think it was good that we self funded the first watch. Then we crowdfunded the second one, because we learned a lot of things on that journey that some Kickstarters you see are great products, but you have to wait 6 months or 9 months. Sometimes you never receive it. But because we’ve gone through that process, we had the supply route mapped out, we had the packaging resolved, we had the quality.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      The prototypes.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Yeah, we could take photos of the prototype, because it was a fully resolved item. It was great that we could say, if you could support our campaign, within 3 months, you can have this product. We met the deadline we specified. It was a great feeling preparing all the envelopes and sending half way round the world, and then seeing all the Instagram posts come back.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      You managed to crowdfund the second collection. Just take us through. If there are any entrepreneurs out there, who are wanting to crowdfund their next project, what are some of the lessons that you learned along the way that you think they could benefit from? Is it about having something ready to go?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Well, preparation 100 percent. It’s very easy to quickly start a Kickstarter campaign. You can upload something in a day. But I think definitely, don't do that. Think about your plan. Look at ones that have been successful before. It’s all about imagery and what you offer, and keeping it really simple. I love the time. You can have this, or you can have this. But I think you just need to offer a certain product at a certain price. Also, don't overachieve, like don’t go for too high goal, because you can do stretch goals. So, if you achieve your target, you can go, okay, now we can offer in this colour, rather than trying raise £100,000.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Because we made a lot of money in the first hour, and a lot of money in the last hour. So, it’s just peaks and troughs where, as Kirsty was saying, it's about planning and mapping it out. It’s something we did in hindsight that we would change next time is that we put the campaign up and then we started to promote it. So, I think next time, we would pick a date, potentially a month in the future, or 2 months. Contact all our press contacts and bloggers and social media. Then potentially start a mailing list or start some way, maybe in a countdown timer, say in a month’s time, it's going to go live. Just because I think from a Kickstarter point, if they see lots of traffic straightaway, then they will start promoting it as well. So, it's a virtual circle. If you can create that buzz and excitement in the beginning, then it snowballs and it can grow very fast. But I think something we also learned as well that some of the big campaigns, the ones that make £1 million or the aspirational Kickstarter ones, they've probably spent 10 percent on that on marketing. Because I think there's a belief that you can upload your project and then just watch the money come in.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      It’s more of an investment rather than like here it is, let’s have your money now. You actually have to invest quite a bit if you actually want to get the reach to raise that money.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Yeah, because Kickstarter take a fee as well, which they are upfront with. But from a marketing point of view, whatever your target is, you need to budget probably 10 percent of that to marketing and getting awareness out. So, if you need 50k, then you probably need to spend 5k getting the word out and getting the excitement going.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      On the marketing side, you both have spoken a lot about social media. But you’re also doing a makers market at the design museum. What is the balance between doing the social media, doing the online stuff, and then physically meeting your customers and talking to them, and finding out what they like about the product?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Yeah, I think marketing has been our hardest element of the whole business. It’s the one that we probably have the least amount of experience in. It’s been our hardest way to get reach to our customers, especially in the day and age now where social media isn’t really driving our conversion in sales anymore. The algorithms of Instagram changing, having to pay and compete against huge brands on Facebook. You have to spend thousands and thousands of pounds for it to even really make an indent anymore. We’ve really found that social media has been good for brand awareness and people being able to understand the brand in an instant. You have 100 pictures quickly, and you can see what our aesthetic is and the type of product we have. But we don’t have a lot of conversion from that really at all these days. I've found it’s really important for us to go and speak to people. I've always been a big fan of trade shows. When I had my own studio, I did a lot of trade shows. Actually I met a lot of people there and got jobs from that. I'm doing this career now because of those different trade shows and the people that I've met at those times. I think it's also that people buying into the brand. As soon as they speak to somebody about it, and they understand how we consider different bits of the design, the fact that we've done a dome glass, that the hands align with the numbers on the dial, that we've really thought about everything like that, that really helps to grow our community. The community element is something that we discovered that we hadn't planned.

 

 

 

                            So, on our website, we have an area that’s community. It's what we're talking about where rather than paying influencers, we have found people within the industry that A, they bought from us, or we’ve worked with. They used their hands. So, we’ve got furniture makers. We've got photographers. We've got makeup artists, all of which are ambassadors. They wear our watches and just sort of promote it when people talk about it and say, wow, that's a lovely watch. Where did you get that from? But what we've also found is from customers that are buying our watches. They love them so much they would send us photographs. They are photographers. They've done a little studio sheet for us. They’ll send us 10 free photos and post them on their Instagram. We're like, this is amazing. Thank you for all this content. Then we’ve been sharing it obviously name checking everybody as part of the community. But a huge amount of our content actually ended up being from our customers, which is something we weren't expecting. I think that has worked better on social media and through other channels that has actually been organic and authentic. I think that's been quite important.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Yeah, one of our most liked posts is a shot from a customer, where Kirsty had written a thank you note. I think having a customer’s name adds just that extra level of personalisation there. It's interesting looking at the analytics for our site that most people come back 5 times. I think we focus really heavily on our story that our About page is one of our most read pages on our website. Social media I think gives you a voice and I think it gives you credibility. There's so many brands out there. I think in terms of e-commerce in general, you could get overloaded with anything you search for nowadays. I think it's the slightly rustic photo of someone’s taking it of their own wrists. I think they are the things. A bit like Youtube videos when someone unpacks the new iPhone. You don't always want the most professional slick film crew. You want the person in the bedroom that bought a products, loves it, and wants to tell their friends about it.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Their true reaction to the product rather than something else that is a bit faked.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      You said you had partners in, maybe not the watch industry, but certainly partners out there in the manufacturing industry. Who were they? I mean who did you have contacts with that you could then draw on to actually make these?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Well, living in the Far East, when we were living in China, that gave us our initial points of contact, because obviously there’s a lot of manufacturers over there. So, we managed to find out a lot about supply chain and how things are made. Then Paul actually found a UK based trader that works with a lot of other really famous brands on wristwatches. So, they had the technical expertise that we didn’t have. They also have a UK based service centre. They also have a warehouse based in Wembley that we actually have the majority of our stock held there. Through working with them, we managed to develop and design the product. They normally don’t really work with designers. They have it all in house. So, it was quite unusual having somebody coming to them with it all fully drawn up, with all the cards and with a really strong perspective on what we wanted it to look like. I think it frustrated them at some point, because like no, the arms must be like this. But I think the results were really good in the end as well.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       When we approached them initially, they actually turned us down. It was an email discussion at the start. But we were fortunate they arranged to meet us for a coffee. We went in and as Kirsty said, we went in with cardboard models and renderings and drawings and a business plan. I think our background at Made and Habitat has taught us how to take a sketch to mass production. I think they could see that in us as well, that they knew that we were committed to this project, and we could see it from start to finish.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      Since the beginning, how has the business grown? How have you managed to grow it? What are we looking at now?

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       We launched in November 2015. So, we were fortunate that we tapped into our first Christmas almost straightaway. We’ve seen each Christmas being twice as big as the one before, potentially because it’s such a gift-able item that 60 percent of our annual sales could come at Christmas. So, with Christmas coming, it's going to be an exciting time to see. Because we worked in furniture as well and because we worked in seasons, we’re used to starting afresh every 6 months and be looking at the situation. I think with the watches as well, we’ve added new colours. We’ve added a new website. We’ve taken the photography. We can look back to the early days and see how far we’ve come. Most people don't believe it’s 2 people that have done it. I think we come across as a larger enterprise because Kirsty can style a photo sheet, because I can tweak the website, because the packaging arrives in a little professional box and handwritten notes and gift wraps. It's an extra level of service that we can provide that our competition can't compete with.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      We can definitely see how we’ve grown, even though we have our foundations and we have the product and we have the website, our workload has not eased up. So, we spend our holidays working on it. We spend at least one day every weekend working on it. In the evenings, we’re actually boxing up the products and posting them out, and also gift wrapping everything. So, it’s still very much that personal service at the moment. But I think going forward as well, we're looking at expanding a little bit more internationally, having more stock that is less London centric. We have a lot of customers in Germany, the Far East, Australia, Canada.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       We do, yeah. When we launched, our first customer was in London, and our second customer was Australia. It was something we hadn’t really predicted. I think with hindsight, it’s an item that can go through a letterbox. It's something that we can send globally. With furniture, it's a big item, and it’s hundreds of pounds to ship round the world. But with a watch, it could be something that can be cost effective. We have free delivery because it’s something that we can afford to absorb. But we do get lots of sales in Canada, New York, Japan, Australia. It's something that we hadn’t really considered at the start.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      I think it’s really good just to have actual bricks and mortar stockist. They don't have to stock every single colour the way that we do. But with anything, people like to touch and feel a product. We actually get a few orders that people say, oh, I saw your watch in the Barbican shop, but I just wanted to have it in a different colour. I think it’s seeing it in real life, and actually seeing we’re a real brand, and it’s a real product, and we actually exists really gives you a bit more prominence. People want to then purchase the product.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      In terms of time and effort, I mean what are we talking about? I know you said one day in a weekend, and some evenings. Let’s break it down. How many hours do you reckon a week are you putting into Freedom To Exist?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Not as much as we should be, I think.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      You can always do more.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       We’re doing 40 hours a week for our day job officially.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      At least.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Even that, we do more than that. It’s probably the same again.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      I’d say, at least one day every weekend and probably 2 or 3 evenings. I think it’s really rewarding. So, I don’t really mind putting that time in. We actually really like having a weekend, where we have posters on our wall of what we need to achieve, and then taking them off.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       We do, because we still high five when we make a sale. We've got the app on our phone and it makes a special sound when we make a sale. If we're not together, then we’ll text each other. So, I think that’s something we’re keen to maintain. It makes it worth it I think. They are the moments that we’ll remember. Fortunately, it’s happening more and more frequently. It’s a great part of the project.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      This idea that you have a side hustle. Loads of companies are actually encouraging their employees to do it. I mean Google does it to a certain extent. But there’s plenty of companies that allow their employees to dabble in other things for a day a week or something. How much does it do you think kind of build the rest of your career and improve your work for the companies that you work for?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Well, I think it helped me get my most recent job. I was previously the product and design manager at Heal’s, the furniture store. That was when I started working on FTE, and we started developing it. From that, I know I was already managing furniture sheets, but I started to work with models, curating, imagery and really building a brand. So, when I went for my interview at Soho House, it was all part of my CV. I was talking about how I sort of did all of the elements. They really like somebody who’s rolled up their sleeves and got involved, did everything from doing the photoshopping, to getting the models, to directing the sheet, to designing the product. They really liked that element that I had experience in lots of different areas. So, I found that really useful for me.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       5 years ago, I’d be developing a product. So, I’ll be taking a sketch, go to the factory and make it come to life. But now I’m thinking the factory, the marketing campaign, the social media campaign. I’m thinking about the title of the product, the description, the keywords. So, I think it’s taking the skillset that I had, but then making it a bit more complete, that rather than sketch product, it’s sketch the customer’s home, giving the brands I work for, an item that probably sells more, that attracts more customers because it’s been aimed at a wider audience.

 

 

 

                            Google do a set of certificates that you do to teach yourself Google adverts and Google shopping campaigns. It was something that we investigated looking at external people to help with. But it was so astronomical. It was £85 an hour to hire somebody in. But I thought in terms of the journey we’re on, it’s one of those things as Kirsty said about managing, if we can tweak the website. The thing that we really like about managing ourselves is that we can control the entire process end to end, and if we can not have the parties. This means special events, I can get the computer and I can launch it. We can manage all our social media ourselves as well. For me personally, I've read and read a huge amount of business books, listened to a huge amount of business podcasts, Freedom To Exist is a real life case study. I think it's given me something rather than just absorbing information, it means I can test, and we can play, and we can learn. It gives us a practical side to a hobby that I had already. It's just something that we can commit to. I can read a book, and then I can try the thing on the product. If it works, great.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      You both said that you have this shared vision of where you want the company to be in 3 to 5 years. Where do you see the company in 3 to 5 years?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Brand wise, I really want us to maybe not necessarily stay in just watches. It’s all about the ethos and the integrity of the design and the brand, sort of minimal design, carefully made and considered. I think that could then roll out into other products over a likeminded customer base. But then for you, I think growing the company.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Yeah, to get a studio, to get a workspace together I think. At the moment, we work from our flat. So, we've got a spare room in our flat that is Freedom To Exist. That's where the stock is. That’s where everything is.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Yeah, no guest can stay.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       But to hire a studio and to recruit people, to have people join us on our journey. I think from made.com thinking back to our time there, when I was there, 15 people, we would be ringing the bell or we would be having something fizzy every time we hit a certain milestone I think. We high five now when we make a sale, but I think as we get a team and we can get a team of talented people to join us and to help grow, and to help scale quickly. Because ultimately, we need more people behind the brand to keep up with the demand. I think to have a studio workspace will be a great way to achieve that.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      Kirsty, in terms of the other products that you would like to add, I mean are we looking at wall clocks, or other projects?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Oh, the options are endless I think really. I think it would be really nice to keep it within the similar scale. Obviously, there's things like glasses, stationery. There’s so many different products, objects. I love the idea of just having something that’s really nicely designed and just fulfils a function. We haven’t really got anything on the radar yet. But there's always lots of ideas and sketches going on. It's just finding the time to do it.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      In terms of the workspace, can we expect that maybe 2018, or is it going to be 2019?

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Late 2018 would be nice. I think 2019 definitely, because that would be 5 years since we first started sketching and started discussions with our supplier. So, I think 5 years is probably a make or break as well in terms of is this a hobby or is this something we can commit to full time. So, I think definitely 2019, and hopefully 2018.

 

 

 

Matt Alagiah:      A lot of people would warn against setting up company with your partner for several good reasons. But you guys are a perfect example of how you do it and how you do it well. I guess what advice would you give to people who are thinking about setting up a company with their partner, but are a little worried about the repercussions?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Well, I think you just have to go for it, first of all, because you never know unless you do it. We are very much, if we weren’t doing this, I’m sure we’ll be doing another project together, because we’re always bouncing ideas off each other. We’ll be saying, why don’t we do this? Why don’t we do that? Actually we’re very much banned. There's no time to do anything else. There are key things you have to do. You have to agree who does what, first of all definitely.

 

 

 

Paul Tanner:       Yeah, we met working together. When we lived in China, we had a studio flat. So, we would work from 9 to 6 in the office. Then we’d come directly to the flat and work till midnight. So, it was an intensive experience. But as Kirsty said, I think having clear set parameters. So, from our point of view, Kirsty is in charged of the creative side of things, and I’m in control of money and logistics. I think having clearly defined roles makes a big difference. Celebrate success is important, that we will celebrate our second birthday shortly. We high five when we make a sale. It’s the fun side of things. I think celebrate the fun side of things. Have targets that you want to achieve, but then celebrate them once you meet them.

 

 

 

Kirsty Whyte:      Also, appreciate each other’s investment into it, not necessarily financially but also emotionally, because we both have a lot of time and effort within that. So, it’s also quite a personal thing to us. So, I think it’s really important to appreciate what each other are giving to the company together as well.

 

 

 

 


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