Meet SODA; a destination for new tech products and ideas.
SODA is a retail company that sells smart tech to busy women. Not just that, but they do it in a fun, playful, informative way.
Entrepreneurs are such a vital part of our economy and any support to help them can only be a good thing.
Tell us what your business is/what your business offers?
We began with a pop-up in Notting Hill, west London in November 2016. Within a year SODA was selling to customers in Selfridges, recently voted the world’s best department store. Our curation of fun, colourful smart goods is now heading across the pond to America where we will open in ten stores come November. Our motto is "useful is the new cool". Through our irreverent look at the tech world, through our collaborations, the talks we’re attending, and expansions we're planning.
What was it that inspired you to set-up your own business?
It’s refreshing, as tech is so often encouraging us to be more insular, lost in a world of our mobile phones or laptops to find products about having fun and sharing experiences with those around you. I used to work at Apple Retail and my mum would wave her phone at me and say: “My Apple’s not working”. Or my parents would get an engineer out because the printer wasn’t turned on. No-one was talking to her generation about tech in a clear, clever way. Or at all. I wanted to start a company that spoke to women because they are the world’s largest consumers - in almost every category. And they are very interested in tomorrow’s world.
Do you think an Entrepreneur ISA and a Small Business Savings Allowance would have helped aid your company’s growth in the early stages?
Entrepreneurs are such a vital part of our economy and any support to help them can only be a good thing. Had there been the option of an EISA when we started SODA I'm sure it would have given us more support in our early stages of growth when we needed it most.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
To maintain a focus on your original idea - to sell tech to women. You can find yourself pulled in so many different directions. Going beyond the stereotype has also been challenging. Traditionally technology has been very gadget-focused, focusing on the specifications, the tech specs. What we do is focus on the lifestyle, the use case, how it impacts your life. That’s the fundamental difference. Tech shouldn’t be this intimidating space that is only for the person who is good at that type of thing; it should be for everyone.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
My dad passed away seven years ago and he wrote a letter for me that included five rules for life. My favourite one is, “it’s not the decision that you make, it’s what you do with that decision.” So just make the decision, go for it, and see what happens. You have to have an idea you are passionate about. Truly passionate. Then run with it and never, ever take no for an answer. Always work the problem.
What is your proudest achievement to date as a company?
Every milestone is an achievement. Getting into Selfridges straight from our launch. Now getting into America is something we as a team are incredibly excited and proud of - we are launching in Dallas next month. Mostly I’m proud of the team I have surrounded myself with. They share my passion and that is a great support.
Visit SODA at www.soda.shop