Posted: Fri 7th Jun 2019
Majida and her old friend Lisa always wanted to run a business together. They ended up doing exactly that and have been trading for 19 years with Brennan and Burch, a company creating colourfully illustrated wallpaper and art prints. The Enterprise Nation member shares the entrepreneurs' inspiring story.
How did you come up with your business idea?
The idea for the business started when I was at school in Camden with my co-founder Lisa Brennan. We always wanted to have a creative business together. We have been making printed products since 2000. Our initial screenprinted ranges were produced by us in our studio and retailed first on a market stall and then in our own retail outlet.
What start-up challenges have you faced?
Like all start-up and growing businesses, the biggest challenge is usually money; how to cover your costs, make enough sales and have enough profit left over to market your product to new audiences.
We have also ridden out many changes in the wholesale market place, like the move from trade exhibitions from 'order taking shows' to showcases.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
That we are still in business after 19 years!
What is your next big business goal?
We would love to secure a distributor for our wallpapers to help get them out to a wider audience. The ideal partner would produce, market and sell our wallpapers, leaving us free to concentrate on creating new quirky colourful illustrated designs that are ahead of the game.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge?
Big businesses need to be persuaded to 'find' smaller designers, as if you approach them cold you may not be able to attract their interest. To find the right distributor will require research and possibly becoming more visible in our market.
How has Enterprise Nation helped your business?
We have participated in Meet the Buyer events, Meet the Journalists events, local business showcases, online and in person training and networking meet-ups. We have met some great business owners and generated new leads and opportunities.
Which other entrepreneur inspires you and why?
It sounds strange but... Kanye West. People think he is nutty as a fruit cake but he spews creativity from every orifice. He's a very talented guy and you can't knock him for that.
What are your three tips for business success?
When planning a project, double the time you think it will take and treble the cost. That way you won't get any nasty surprises.
Be nice to people on the way up as you may meet them on the way down.
Try not to get too disheartened when things don't go according to plan, as it crushes your creativity when you start doubting yourself. Not everyone is going to like what you do. Accept that and move onwards and upwards.
Anything else you would like to share?
We went to Japan on a trade mission (as you do). We were on the upper floors of a very posh multi-storey hotel in Tokyo. We woke up to the whole building swaying as we were caught in an earthquake.
We went down to take part in the day's trade activities in the middle of all this commotion. None of the staff batted an eyelid as glasses shook on tables and ceilings rumbled from the aftershocks throughout the day. Needless to say it was a very memorable experience!