Month: April 2014

Former business student opens pet accessories shop in Covent Garden

By Taro Takeuchi

Until June 2013 I had an office job working for a theatre ticketing agency but I always knew that I wanted to start my own business.

I chose City because a friend of mine did a ‘Starting up in Business’ course here a few years ago. Since then she has opened her own cake shop called Cuckoo’s Bakery in Edinburgh and it is doing really well.

So I thought, why not, and got myself onto the same course and I wasn’t disappointed. In ten weeks I learnt a lot. The course is really condensed and focused. There is an understanding that you cannot learn everything about starting up a business in 20 hours but Kulan Mills, the course tutor, gave me the base from which to start thinking seriously about what I wanted to achieve as a business owner.

My original business idea has changed dramatically as a result of attending the course. At first, perhaps naively, I wanted to open an old-fashioned sweet shop but Kulan got me to consider profit margins and helped me realise that my sales volume would have to be huge to make any kind of profit.

So I started thinking what I am passionate about and realised that I love dogs and know a great deal about them, so I decided to open a dogs’ accessories shop.

My store is called Bow Wow London and it’s in the heart of fashionable Covent Garden.

I am still in touch with Kulan and sometime come to speak to his students as a guest lecturer. I always tell them that being a business owner is hard work. It requires bravery, passion, conviction and a lot of investment, both in terms of time and money. But it really pays off when you get it right. For the first time in my life, I feel pride and satisfaction every minute that I am in my shop. I look forward to coming to work and I don’t mind doing my accounts or tweaking the website when I get home at night. It is truly a 24/7 job but I love it.

Was I born an entrepreneur? I guess so. Was I born a successful entrepreneur? Time will tell. I think I have a natural flair for marketing but the Bow Wow London brand is still very young. I’d like to give it a year before I can say that my first business venture has really worked. So far so good though, shop has been doing really well and is certainly going in the right direction!

Starting Up in Business is one of the many business and management short courses we offer at City. For updates on all our courses and events follow us @cityshortcourses.

Business founder credits digital marketing masterclass for improved performance

By Rav Roopra

At City I took the Integrated Digital Marketing masterclass – a three-day intensive course on practical digital marketing.

Customer education is a key part of what we do at Stubble and Strife. We want to ensure that customers get access to the best advice, information and curated products in the UK. To do this we need to be easy to find on the web. I was therefore keen to learn the key components and strategies in digital marketing.

Choosing City, University of London as a short course provider was a natural decision for Stubble and Strife. The company has strong links with City: one of the co-founders is a Cass Business School alumna. We have also had the support of City graduates. We recognise that there’s a large pool of expertise at City, especially in design, marketing and technology, which complement what we are doing at Stubble and Strife.

For the masterclass City teamed up with dynamic digital marketing agency, MintTwist, who delivered the course content. I was very impressed with the expertise of the speakers, as well as the actionable insights designed to deliver results. Victoria Lennon, MintTwist’s marketing director, is an exceptional tutor, very experienced in her subject area and willing to share her up-to-the minute knowledge of digital marketing strategies and technologies.

Our study group was very diverse, with students coming from a large range of disciplines and backgrounds, which helped to bring different perspectives to the course.

I have already implemented a number of strategies we picked up at the masterclass and the business is seeing improvements in results. I have also brought this new knowledge into our technology and marketing roadmap for the future. It might be too early to measure the impact but initial returns look promising.

As a founder, I want to take Stubble and Strife from a start-up venture to a fully-fledged omni-channel retail business, tying the latest bricks and mortar retail technology together with online convenience, data analysis and digital marketing. I believe that the knowledge I gained at City will be a significant aid in this process.

Rav Roopra is the founder of Stubble and Strife, an expert retailer of shave, beard, moustache and skincare products.

For more on our business and management short courses visit our home page. Or follow our twitter updates @cityshortcourses.

 

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