Posted: Fri 26th Jul 2019
Deidre Mc Gettrick is the entrepreneur behind Kuldea, an online search engine that allows people to search, discover, compare and shop furniture products across all UK furniture retailers in the one place. The Enterprise Nation member shares her business story.
How did you come up with your business idea?
Kuldea was born out of my frustration when furnishing my apartment back in early 2017. I knew what furniture items I wanted from seeing them in friends houses, restaurants, hotels, Instagram and Pinterest but I found it extremely difficult to find the products in my online search!
I kept finding the same retailers with big marketing budgets on Google and I continually asked my now fiancé 'why isn't there an online aggregator that puts all retailers and products in one place?'
I felt Kuldea was a cool idea and turning my cool idea into an actual business was really a decision about leaving corporate life and pursuing the opportunity. I was motivated by my lifelong desire to start my own business and the fact I could combine business with all things interiors, which I have always loved. Ultimately this was where my heart and head took me.
Consulting colleagues, friends and family on their thoughts on Kuldea has helped me evolve the proposition of why and how Kuldea will serve the market needs.
What start-up challenges have you faced?
I've been on a steep learning curve since starting Kuldea. Learning all the new skills required to run a business after eight years working in the same niche of the finance world has been a challenge and an exciting opportunity. The learnings extend to running operations, legal, finance, marketing and product management. Basically, I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable!
Ensuring not to get overwhelmed by all the tasks required means I had to prioritise tasks based on what would have the biggest impact and focus on that each day.
Changes in legislation, for example GDPR and ensuring the business is compliant, has been challenging but I also think we have an advantage versus existing businesses to put in place systems from day 1 that are compliant without having to redesign all existing processes.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Designing and building the Kuldea website and back end infrastructure for a website of this magnitude has been my biggest achievement.
Alongside that onboarding 46 partner retailers and driving sales through the Kuldea website to prove the concept have been massive milestone achievements.
I am super proud of specific functionality on the website, namely collection folders which give consumers the ability to save, share and set sale alerts on furniture products. Through Kuldea, gone are the days of multiple tabs, screen shots and emails of URL links. I've also being researching and writing home furnishing top tips and inspiration articles to support consumers searching for furniture. Here's an example of a piece I recently wrote.
Kuldea has been written about in numerous national newspapers which gives great credibility to my business and makes my initial success feel so much more real.
What is your next big business goal?
There are two big goals for 2H19. The first is continuing to get the Kuldea brand out to the public to drive awareness and drive traffic to the website and our second goal to undertake our first funding raise which will help me scale Kuldea and ensure it is an innovative market leading product.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge?
On the fundraising side of things it's a combination of time to write all the funding materials and time to go meet all the investors whilst keeping the daily operations going and growing.
On the brand awareness and website traffic side it's about competing and raising Kuldea above the noise in market. This will require me to navigate the business marketing strategy in a highly tactical way to maximise results.
How has Enterprise Nation helped your business?
The resources and events from Enterprise Nation are unparalleled. I recently attended an event where Twitter and Square Jack Dorsey spoke. It's not often you see and hear from such a high calibre of speaker.
More importantly I think starting a business can be isolating for founders so being part of a community of like-minded people who are facing similar challenges is a great benefit.
Which other entrepreneur inspires you?
There are so many inspiring entrepreneurs out there but Anne Boden, the founder of Starling Bank, demonstrates that you are never too late in life to start a business and compete in a male dominated field! She started a business with fresh concepts that have the consumer and their needs at the heart of what the business stands for. This has really inspired my thinking on what I want Kuldea to achieve.
What are your three tips for business success?
Concentrate on that one thing that will make the boat go faster each day and don't get distracted or sweat the little stuff. Someone once said "add things to the 'not to do list' rather than the 'to do' list".
Find a great mentor, someone you trust to always tell you the truth, someone who can lift your spirits or bring you back to earth when needed.
Never stop believing in yourself. As Steve Jobs said "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice." Which isn't about ignoring the non believers but rather taking their criticism seriously to improve your proposition, but remembering it's not personal.
Anything else you would like to share?
I feel it's crucial to truly know what your business is about and embed your vision and values within its DNA. You have to clearly state your vision and values for everyone to see and demonstrate them every day.
For example one of our values at Kuldea is simplicity. I believe in keeping the furniture search process as simple as possible for consumers so we focus the development of our consumer facing website to deliver a straightforward and easy to navigate solutions to people.
We have five core values at Kuldea. Here is the link to see them all.