Not long after we launched we came across The Princes Trust... perfect timing! Amongst many things, the Princes Trust covers all the basics of running a business.
As part of our involvement with the Princes Trust we are very lucky to have been assigned a mentor. Of course, the courses and learning materials are great however nothing quite matches the benefits of having a mentor who runs successful businesses themselves.
We wanted to introduce you to our mentor, Karon Foxwell, and what better way then with a Q&A:
Hi Karon, It's been fantastic to have your support and guidance over the past months. Introduce yourself...
'After living and working as an Interiors Contractor in Brussels for the British Embassy in the early 90s, I came back to London and opened my first business, a shop named Wilson a Lifestyle, in Clapham. A fusion of clothes and interiors, the boutique was a fantastic success. I have 3 puggies which is insane and am married with an empty nest.'
Was there anything that happened that pushed you in this direction?
‘Yes, leaving to live in Brussels when Belz was 2 years old. I wanted to work and was not a fluent French speaker so I had the idea of doing interior design working with the British Embassy. Luckily it worked! I became their British Contractor, made some money and learnt a huge amount.’
At what point did you decide that you wanted to be your own boss?
'After moving to Brighton in 2001 I realised that commuting and raising a family wasn't working, so decided to sell Wilson and concentrate on working from home in Steyning, West Sussex where i've lived in my dream home ever since. This way I could work around my two girls and the freedom to create something of my own. My main focus today is on styling and co-ordinating events.'
When and why did you become involved in the Princes Trust? What were you doing at this time?
'In 2017 I became involved, because my beloved neighbour and friend Mary had been doing it for 30 years and had just been honoured and was off to a garden party at Buckingham Palace ....I thought I want some of that...no really she just hugely inspired me so I jumped on the band wagon.'
How do you know when the right company comes along that you want to work with?
'You have to trust your judgement and for many I bailed out as the process was going no where.'
What did you see in L M Watch Company?
'With LM Watch Company I was impressed that you started following me on Instagram before we had made contact which made me think that you were proactive. I also liked the fact you had already set up your business, were making money and keen to learn and go forward and now I know you have a tortoise I will definitely stick with you!'
How do you split your time between Princes Trust and your own endevours?
'I do not take on very much of PT work I tend to pick and choose to be honest and I just wrap it all up with what else I am doing. It seems to all work out in the end!'
What advice do you have for individuals who are thinking of starting their own company?
'Honesty is the most important thing. Do you really think you can make a living at this? Its OK to have a dream but reality is very different and how much effort are you prepared to put in to achieve this goal? You have to live and breathe a new business it comes first before anything else and the thought of failure should never be an option. It is very tough especially now so you must be brave and resilient.'
What Princes Trust companies have you worked with over the years that stand out in your mind? For positive or negative reasons!
'I first met a young girl who stole my heart, but her business plan was never going to work, we remained in touch. I have had very funny ideas put to me which I still laugh about one was the "Bamboo Vaginal Cup" Approx 25 years ago in Brighton however it had already been thought of.'
What you're up to now...
‘Well that is a very good question… trying not to panic about our business Galathee in Ile de re. This year has been terrible. Building my Tropic Skincare business which is hard in lockdown as you need to let people feel, smell and try out the gorgeous products. Lots of cleaning and gardening and trying to remain positive and looking forward to Christmas when my girls come home.'
What are your plans for the future...
'I would like to be really successful with Tropic and earn a living from it as I believe in it passionately. That Galathee goes back to into profit with bookings and that perhaps I can go back to styling and that the Galathee Retreat I had planned for this year and had to postpone to next, actually happens as it will such a fantastic opportunity for guests to learn, enjoy and be inspired.'
Any final words Karon?
'Im only doing it for a free watch!!!! No seriously it works both ways and I am enjoying the process too I want to see you succeed and grow into L M and make some decent cash and I want to meet Mo!'
We cannot believe our luck to have Karon Foxwell as a mentor. Her guidance is already proving invaluable and we look forward to working together going forward.
... watch this space!