Sunday, August 21, 2016

Insider Interview: Holly Simpson founder of Teddy Maximus

In our next Insider Interview we chat to Holly Simpson founder of luxury dog accessories brand, Teddy Maximus, and her empire that is fast becoming the leading luxury brand for pampered pooches.

1. What’s your usual day like for Teddy Maximus?
There’s never a normal one!  Teddy (my long haired miniature dachshund) usually wakes me up and then I’ll check on emails and deal with any urgent actions.
We are all about fun, luxury British style so I ensure everything we do reflects this.
I’m most creative at the weekends when my mind relaxes and I do a lot of my planning and thinking then. All of our products are made in the UK and most of our materials are carefully sourced here too. So I could be calling the foundry for more brass supplies (for our dog collars/leads) or visiting the leather works for more carrier straps for our dog carriers. Social media, inventory planning, accounting, trade shows and marketing all have to be fitted in too!
I always finish the day with a cuddle from Teddy – people say he has the softest fur :-)

2. What was your dream job when you were younger?
I went through a few stages – when I was a child I wanted to be a shop owner. I used to spend my holidays making things for it and planning out the layout and I guess this is where my business/entrepreneurial side comes from! At school I made jewellery and sold it at craft fairs and got a taste for making my own money.
Then as I got older I wanted to be a journalist or a pilot – I didn’t do either!

3. What's the best piece of career advice you've been given?
•    Put yourself forward – because no one else will
•    Find a mentor and work with people who inspire you
•    Never give up – nothing happens without a lot of hard work

4. What's your number one style tip/mantra?
In 1930, Vogue proclaimed, "The next best thing to having the world at your feet is to have a dog at your heels” – I fully agree with this!

5. If you weren't doing what you do now, what do you think you would be doing?
It’s hard to imagine something else as I love what I do! I really enjoy meeting people, creating business opportunities, travelling, eating and building new relationships, so something which somehow combines all of these!

6. If someone was looking to set up a business, how would you propose the best way to start?
For someone looking to set up their own business, start with doing a lot of research, but learn to go with your gut. Get to know who you’ll be selling to and don’t expect things to happen overnight. Be patient but persistent.

Find people who believe in your vision and want to support you – it might take time but it’s so important that you have the right people on your journey with you.

Don’t underestimate the amount of capital required for a start up – plan and then build in a buffer! Starting something on a small budget forces you to think creatively and carefully.

7. What's the best thing about having a business?
It has to be seeing lots of happy pooches, hearing great feedback from people who love Teddy Maximus and what we stand for. It literally makes my week when someone takes the time to send a tweet, post an instagram or facebook  picture or write an email to tell me how much they are enjoying their Teddy Maximus purchase. 

8. What's the toughest part of having a business?
When you work with a passion it never feels tough, but the main challenge is never knowing when to stop. Having friends and family who understand how much hard work is required in getting a business off the ground is really important. I’m fortunate to have a very supportive network around me.

9. Most proud Teddy Maximus moment to date?
Seeing the brand in Vogue was pretty awesome.  Being listed on top sites such as Pets Pyjamas, Ocado’s pet site and Not On The High Street has been another.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Successful in business surrounded by lots of dachshunds. Plus being able to look back on an intense period of hard work feeling really proud of my achievements thinking it was so worth it!

You can find Teddy Maximus on Instagram or on Facebook @TeddyMaximusUK and read more insider interviews here and look out for the next.


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