Meet The Indytute; the experience gift company with rave reviews.
The Indytute is an experience gift company; we pride ourselves on curated London experiences. The experiences are chosen because they are run by people that love what they do, they don’t cost a fortune but most of all they are fun, they inspire you to do something a bit different.
Tell us what your business is/what your business offers?
The Indytute is an experience gift company; we pride ourselves on curated London experiences. The experiences are chosen because they are run by people that love what they do, they don’t cost a fortune but most of all they are fun, they inspire you to do something a bit different. You could tour gin bars of London in a Classic Mini Cooper (don’t panic we provide the driver) or you could learn how to make a neon sign. One of our most popular experiences at the moment is paddle boarding on the river at Kew in London. We are the solution to thoughtful gift giving, we don’t clutter cupboards and we create brilliant memories with people you love.
What was it that inspired you to set-up your own business?
It is said you are born an entrepreneur, and I certainly was with all my family being self-employed. The Indytute is my second business, the first being a gift and accessory company that I ran for 10 years - the first business I ‘fell’ into by creating a few bags that I sold to friends and family which then took off. The Indytute has been much more carefully thought about - I addressed all the issues I faced with my first business and all the bits that made me unhappy and vowed not to do that again. After working for myself for so long I didn’t think I would be very good at being employed, I’ve also become a jack of all trades so decided to start again, but do it better. Entrepreneurship is not a road guaranteed to lead to fame, fortune and success, but you can have a very exciting time trying.
Do you think an Entrepreneur ISA and a Small Business Savings Allowance would have helped aid your company’s growth in the early stages?
The Indytute was launched on £2000 of my own savings, knowing that for every £200 I saved was matched would have helped me to be more careful with my cash from the beginning. I think it would have incentivised me to run a more streamline business from the beginning.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Last year the Indytute had two main revenue streams - ticketing and selling gift experiences. I realised that the ticketing side of the business (although the turnover was good) was costing a lot in admin and making a loss. I cut 50% of the business so that it turned over less but became more profitable and more secure for the future. An upcoming challenge is pushing the Indytute to the next level - as a very small business I work a lot on my own and make all the decisions, which can be wearing. Luckily we are now in a position to find people and investment to accelerate forward.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Start lean and don’t build all the features or all the products at once! You don’t need a huge amount of money to get something off the ground. Often you can start your business while working elsewhere until you see if your idea works. As soon as you know that one product or feature works then you can keep on adding - otherwise you’ll find that you’ve scrapped half your work within the first few months and wasted a fortune.
What is your proudest achievement to date as a company?
I launched the Indytute in Selfridges off the back of a very pretty brand document that I had pitched to the right person - when they asked us to have a space for three months over Christmas I thought - wow, I haven’t even got a website but this is really happening. But what makes me really happy is that four years later and most of our original experience partners are still on the website. We send hundreds of customers their way and they say really lovely things.
Visit The Indytute at https://www.indytute.com/