Self-Starter Stories: From business development to interior design
This week's #SelfStarterStory features Amy Brandhorst, Co-Founder of Topology Interiors, and interior design startup in London.
'..an affordable interiors blog and e-decoration service from only £75 per room. Our aim is to show you that you can make your space look amazing on a budget.'
#PickYourselfUK caught up with Amy to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
Looking back, what lead you to be where you are today?: Persistence and commitment! Working over weekends. And of course, working as a team and motivating each other.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: Carrying on going when we felt like things were going no where. There have been times when we just think: will this ever work? But you just have to keep going at it and eventually it will work.
What did you want to be when you were a child?: An artist or a designer.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: Someone might pick us - who knows! But as soon as I saw this, I knew we should apply straight away!
What did you learn from your worst boss?: That you should treat everyone with equal respect, regardless of their role / level.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: We do everything ourself except some of the photography on our 'Style Files' features - this is because sometimes people already have their own amazing pictures! (which is great for us).
What is your productivity secret?: Literally just loving what you do. We are both obsessed with interiors, design, art, colour, fabric. We love reading about it and seeing it. So that makes us want to work at it.
What is your favourite app?: Instagram! Any artist or designer will appreciate all the beautiful images you see on images daily. What I see on instagram inspires me every day.
How do you market your business?: We keep our blog really strong and that's one of our strongest marketing points - showing people that we're always looking at the latest DIY interior design hack or discovering some ourself, then we market this blogs by emailing clients, sharing them on social media and contacting people who have featured in them to say let them know.
A lot of interiors brands consider themselves 'affordable', but they're simply just not for the average person, whereas we really are. We will find that Lidl are selling a desk cactus for £4.99 instead of recommending one from a high street retailer for £70.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: We posted adverts on Gumtree. Then word of mouth and referrals.
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: Twitter and blogs!
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Go for it!! It's going to be a huge challenge at times, but if that puts you off then you shouldn't do it.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: Sophie Ashby. She owns Studio Ashby, an amazing interior design company. I met Sophie once and she seemed really lovely. Plus I love the Studio Ashby style...a mix of random second hand finds and high end, great quality products. She creates really unique homes. She's also such an inspirational woman, setting up her own company at the age of 24.
To keep up to date with Amy's journey, be sure to follow her social media channels:
Amy Brandhorst has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.
Voting for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017 will take place in November 2017 so make sure you get your entry submitted to qualify.