“Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and go for it.” — Gabi Cox
On Mel’s Talk, we want above all to share the world how diversified, and unique entrepreneurs’ paths are. Our goal is to inspire people and show them that you can do it if you want, regardless of your background and your education. Sometimes, a simple idea may lead to real business! You can start your business at any age, anywhere and when you want. It’s never too early or too late. Believing in you and your project is the key and the way to success.
Today, on Mel’s Talk, for our first British portrait, we choose to highlight young entrepreneur Gabi Cox, founder of online stationery brand Chroma Stationery. Here is her entrepreneurial story!
What’s your name?
- Gabi Cox
What’s the name of your company?
- Chroma Stationery
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur? How did you get started in all that?
- No! I set up Chroma as part of my final major project when I was at University. We couldn’t do anything hypothetical, so I did ‘all the hard work’, launching a product, branding, website, marketing etc. Once I graduated, I was looking for work but couldn’t find a job I loved that wasn’t in London. So, decided to do a Kickstarter crowdfunding to raise enough money to buy my first 1,000 notebooks.
At which age did you start your company and how old are you now?
- I was 22 and in my final year of University when the brand was created, I didn’t properly launch until I was 23. I’m now 27.
What was the first step you took to turn your idea into a business?
- After graduating and deciding to launch officially, it was securing some kind of funding. I opted for crowdfunding which worked really well for me.
Can you describe you product/service?
- Chroma Stationery is an online stationery brand that provides colour-loving personalised and branded stationery to individuals who shop through the website and in bulk to fellow brands and businesses. Unlike other companies we provide limitless personalisation & no minimum quantities. Since it’s launch she’s sold in over 28 countries and in bulk to the likes of American Airlines, Boots & ITV for things like employee and client gifting.
What means your products to you and what makes them unique?
- The fact we provide limitless embossing, we allow people to create whatever they want, whether that is adding a graphic or logo or choosing their favourite font. We’re all about allowing people to create their dream piece of stationery. Everything we source is also made in the UK which means that our carbon footprint is kept low.
What were the different challenges you had to face?
- The challenges have been so broad as the brand has grown over the last few years. From securing great new team members and managing cash flow to having to take time off due to illness and moving cities. The challenges that come with running your own business are so varied and change all of the time.
What mistakes did you make and how did you go over them?
- Not knowing my numbers and finances well enough at the start was definitely a mistake. It is such a crucial part in successfully growing a brand and scaling up.
What drives you to continue your venture?
- I love waking up every day and loving what I do. I want to always strive to make products that make people smile and brighten their day. If I can keep doing that then I’m happy.
What are your tips/advice to future entrepreneurs?
- My main pieces of advice for future entrepreneurs are to build yourself a solid support system. Whether that is friends, family, online or fellow business owners. Having people you can reach out to and lean on when you need boosting (or to celebrate) is crucial. It can be really lonely setting up a business and working for yourself, so having people around you is brilliant. Secondly, to not wait until it’s “perfect” it never will be — learn quick and learn cheap. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and go for it.
Could you share with us a quotation that motivates you?
- “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” — Henry Ford
Who are the people who inspire you?
- So many people, but more recently: Gina Martin, Dolly Alderton, Bryony Gordon and Sophia Amoruso.
One last thing you want to tell Mel’s Talk (your passion, favorite food, favorite app… anything)?
- I live in Bristol and am usually followed by my mini dachshund Toby. I am passionate about raising awareness for Crohn’s Disease, a lifelong condition I have suffered from since the age of 16. I am proud to be a woman in business and am a true advocate for women having the belief and confidence to do anything they want to. Some of my favourite things include dachshunds, pizza & football.
The portrait of an inspiring woman that shows that no matters the difficulties may be, courageous and determinate people succeed.
Thank you, Gabi, we wish you all the best in your venture!
See you soon,
The Mel’s Talk Team
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