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!