Recently in my Management 3000 course, my professor spoke about entrepreneurial spirit and success stories about self-starters. I’ve always known that I would never have the ability to start up my own business mainly because of the risk of not being able to generate a successful idea.
However, I recently read a Mashable article about Julie Deane, founder of Cambridge Satchel Company who started up her own company with an initial budget of only £600. I have become so accustomed to the process of how an entrepreneur started his/her company, but Deane’s story shocked me.
Deane should be the poster-child of a self-starter. Due to the limits on budget, she literally learned everything by herself through the Internet. She made the right steps in initially ensuring that her product would be unique. Additionally, Deane learned how to make a website in two days and made her own in one. She immersed herself and her products online through the Yellow Pages, Etsy, eBay, and a few blogs by using guerilla marketing. As things picked up with selling products, Deane was able to interact with some of her customers and receive feedback. One in particular completely revolutionized Deane’s company.
Fashion blogs are notorious online. You can find them on YouTube channels, Tumblr accounts… literally any social platform. Deane was able to catch onto this and worked with some fashion bloggers to help generate ideas for new products while also increasing her customer base. As a result of her interaction with blogs, Deane grew widely renowned in the fashion industry and quickly became a huge success.
What I found incredibly respectable was Deane’s desire to give back to the online community that helped her achieve success by using the ground floor of her first brick-and-mortar store as a space for fashion bloggers to write their next pieces on the next big thing.
For all those entrepreneurs out there, here are some lessons learned from Julie Deane that Mashable listed:
- Take risks
- Be resourceful — DIY as much as possible
- Know your audience, how they behave and where they spend their time
- Don’t give your product away or sell it shot, but strategic gifting can go a long way
- Seize opportunities
- Engage your fans, offer them a stake in your company
- Find valuable brand partners with whom to run competitions and giveaways
- Be authentic — Julie tweets about her dog, Rupert, which humanizes the brand
- Embrace the web and the platforms that live on it