Jane Adams from Farnell near Brechin launched Author this year. Author is an online interior design gallery, curating and selling the very best of British designed furniture and accessories. Here, she shares with us the story behind her business.
How and why did you start in business? During my interior design work with private clients I saw people struggle with pulling rooms together and in deciding which pieces they should invest in. I’m a big believer in buying quality pieces of furniture that will last a lifetime and I wanted to create a place that showcased the very best in design from the around the country, that wasn’t available in the high street. I felt there was a gap in the market for this type of business and although I knew it would be a long term project in terms of sourcing suppliers and building up a customer base, I was excited to get going and be my own boss of something new.
How did you get to where you are today? My family were always involved in upgrading and renovating houses so from a young age I was aware of space and as I got older I realised I have a good eye for space, colour and style. Although I became a dentist, I knew even before I qualified that it wasn’t the career I really wanted and after seven years I gave it up. I then learned interior design on-the-job working for a property developer – this experience combined with my natural flair made me realise this was the industry I should be in.
Who has helped you along the way? My husband and I set up Beam Orthodontics in 2008 and his support along with learning through doing has been fantastic as business acumen isn’t one of my strongest points; we pulled in help from dental coaches who accelerated our development. When it came to launching Author I have pulled in experts from external specialists in PR, strategic marketing, digital marketing, web development and graphic design, all of whom operate within the Tayside region. I have also had great support from Business Gateway Angus. My adviser Mike opened up doors I never knew existed, helping me with T&C’s, networking and taking on my first employee. Mike also told me about potential funding ideas and consequently I was successful in gaining some grants and introduced to Scottish Enterprise.
What was your biggest mistake? Images are extremely important for us and we committed to bringing down our fantastic Scottish photographer to London for our launch during London design week 2017. We took the plunge and tried to get some video footage of the event but I was optimistic with what can be achieved in a day and we wasted the opportunity to get some decent footage. That was frustrating as it was a silly mistake to make and one that not only cost money, but saw us missing an opportunity to capture the moment.
What is your greatest achievement to date? I’m very proud that I’ve launched Author and it’s exactly how I envisioned it to be.
What do you hope to achieve in the future? My main aim is to have a regular physical presence with pop-up shops in different locations across the country. I also want to build up a strong customer base who trust us and come to us for inspiration as a matter of course. Additionally, at the moment we source suppliers in a number of ways, and brilliantly they are now approaching us and eventually we would like to work on more designer AUTHOR collaborations.
Do you want to recruit in the future? Yes, I already employ one full-time member of staff and one part time; both are fantastic and whom I couldn’t be without and I anticipate the team growing with Author.
What is the hardest thing about running your own business? Time management.
Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs? Don’t over think things. There is support out there from organisations including Business Gateway who will help you – you don’t need to do it on your own.
Find out how Business Gateway Angus can help your business by visiting their local page or calling 01382 843 016.
Outwith this area? Find your local Business Gateway office or call 0300 013 4753.
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