#Entrepreneurlife

‘Surround yourself with people who share your dreams and see your visions.’

Being an entrepreneur has its challenges but I can tell you (from personal experience) the rewards outweigh them by far. This is the reason why so many people choose to leave the 9-5 routine for a the #entrepreneurlife. But who are these people? Why did they do it and what advice can they give you?

Any good marketer will tell you, story telling is extremely important and who doesn’t love a good story? So each month I will feature one entrepreneur, these are real people with inspiring stories to tell!


FEBRUARY ENTREPRENEUR

Emma Parry, Founder The Bloom Project

Leicester born and bred entrepreneur Emma Parry founded The Bloom Project in 2018 and since launching in September, the quirky florist and plant store has seen great success, a big achievement for our youngest featured femprenur. Moving away from the traditional label, Emma describes herself as a new age florist and the eccentric shop is a reflection of this; on visiting, you’ll find a colourful jungle showcasing unusual blooms, fun flower pots, a statement piece flower fridge and lots more flower inspired nik naks.

RenuRavalia-36.jpg

So, what’s your story and how did you know you wanted to be a florist and own your own business?

My Mum is the reason I’m a florist. When I was 12 we were daydreaming about what I’d be when I was older and she said she pictured me being a florist and encouraged me from there on. At 16 my Mum drove me round all the Leicester florist shops and one offered me a job as their Saturday girl and that was the beginning. I didn’t want a shop at first, it took a few years and I gained confidence and grew from a shy girl to a confident woman. My love for plants and flowers took over my life and I visited Holland and then knew for sure I needed to bring unusual house plants and blooms to Leicester. Who doesn’t want to be their own boss?!

The Bloom Project isn’t like any other florist, how did you come up with the concept for it?

I take inspiration from my visits to quirky concept stores and plant stores across the country that I saw on Instagram. I needed to open one in Leicester in my style, selling cool plants and flowers. I wanted my shop to be like a little jungle, full of colour and nature. When my friends come to the shop they say it’s exactly like me and my style. I love interior design and it’s great being able to play with that in my own shop. It’s also important to me to be the face of the business. I want to be approachable and friends with my customers. I love having regulars pop in for a chat and building relationships with the locals.

‘It’s also important to me to be the face of the business. I want to be approachable and friends with my customers. I love having regulars pop in for a chat and building relationships with the locals.’

You have had an amazing few months. How have you been growing your business and what has been your highlight?

Instagram – it is amazing for promoting the shop and getting people’s interest. I often have customer’s travelling from all over Leicestershire to come visit  because they’ve seen me on Instagram. I’ve had so many highlights, it’s hard to pick one. A highlight is my first booking for a wedding, a month after opening. It seems silly as it’s part of the business, but it was an honour to have a couple choose me for their special day and I get butterflies every time somebody books with me. Another highlight has to be going on BBC Radio Leicester. They interviewed me and I was so nervous, but I faced my fear of public speaking and it was a great platform to talk about the shop.

‘Instagram – it is amazing for promoting the shop and getting people’s interest. I often have customer’s travelling from all over Leicestershire to come visit  because they’ve seen me on Instagram.’

What does the future look like for The Bloom Project? What is your vision?

My future at the shop is to be fully booked with weddings, doing more workshops and I want a member of staff; it gets lonely! I hope to also take on more contract work with businesses, providing fresh flowers or plant styling in offices/work spaces. Having the business is also a way for me to progress in life. I want to have a steady income, move out from my parent’s and a holiday every year!

‘I want to have a steady income, move out from my parent’s and a holiday every year!’

Finally, what advice would you give to others who want to follow your journey?

Learn your trade. It took me from the age of 16 and I studied it for 2 years, whilst working in the industry and was open to every opportunity that was presented. It takes patience and determination, but it pays off and dreams can come true for average Joes from humble backgrounds. Be prepared to sacrifice parts of your life. The business means not having a busy social life and giving up any special holidays because it’s the busiest time for the shop. It’s worth the sacrifice to me because I have freedom in other ways and have the creative outlet I crave. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and help. You have to start somewhere and I asked anybody with a little bit of business knowledge for help. It’s hard work and I’m in my shop 6 days a week, 9-6, but I wouldn’t want it any other way and in a year or two I will have the lifestyle I am working hard for.  

Tip of the month
‘Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and help. You have to start somewhere… ‘

Check out The Bloom Project on Instagram here and if you are a local Leicestershire resident, visit the website here for up coming workshops and additional services. 

 


JANUARY ENTREPRENEUR

Ashesh L Sajnani, Owner Bombay Food Truck

Mumbai based restauranteur and Director of OPA Hospitality Ashesh Sajnani left India to study at the prestigious Hosta Hotel School of Hospitality & Tourism in Leysin, now a part of Glion Hotel School. In 1999, he returned to India determined to marry his knowledge of the European food culture with his Indian routes and as a result has gone on to open some of the most creative and adventurous food establishments Mumbai has to offer. His accolades include ‘Le Cafe’, Chembur, Bombay’s first floating food truck ‘Bombay Food Truck’ and most recently, the multi cuisine ‘Via Bombay’.

unnamed-5

Tell us your story, why hospitality and why more specifically food?

I have always been passionate about the F & B (Food & Beverage) industry and always loved the idea of food and hotels. As a kid and as early as 12 years old I knew I wanted to pursue this as a career choice. I believe food is a great way to connect with people, it’s offers an opportunity to be social. Food feeds the soul and the happiness it brings and untold unheard stories only come with a full tummy. 

‘Food feeds the soul and the happiness it brings and untold unheard stories only come with a full tummy.’ 

Who has been your biggest inspiration in the industry?

My biggest inspiration…if I have to be honest, originally I had none! When I started all I knew is that I had a deep desire to be in the industry. Once I finished studying in Switzerland, I returned to Mumbai and worked at ‘Gallops’, a restaurant located at the Mahalaxmi race course that served Indian and continental cuisine.

It was here that I met my boss at the time Rahul Malik. Rahul had a wealth of experience, he would eat, drink, talk and sleep food. I loved his aura, his vigour and hard working nature, as well as his constant passion for helping people through sharing his culinary knowledge. He became my first inspiration and role model in the business.

Where does your creativity and vision for the concepts you have created come from?

When I first moved back to Mumbai, I used to love going to the local coffee shop but the food they sold lacked imagination! There was a real coffee shop culture starting in India at this time and I knew I could create something to fill this niche, that is how Le Cafe came about.

The restaurant Via Bombay was my attempt at giving back to the city. The concept had been on my mind for a few years, its a reflection of the Bombay that existed back in the day, a city where so many different cultures moved to and called their home. For this reason, on the menu, you will find a dish from every culture. It is a restaurant with no bias, there is something for everyone!

‘Via Bombay was my attempt at giving back to the city I call home’

Bombay Food Truck is a passion project. In my career, I had built a cafe, restaurant and a bar and I wanted to do something completely different and original. Bombay Food Truck was the first of its kind in the city (and country), it serves an authentic fusion of Mumbai flavours with a gourmet street food twist. Popular residences are commercial residences in BKC (Bandra Kurla Complex) and Music Festivals, it has visited every single one in India! It is one the biggest food truck brands in Bombay and has built up a strong reputation across the country.

What has been your biggest achievement and what has been the biggest challenge you have faced being an entrepreneur?

In my career, I still feel I have a lot  to achieve, so I can’t pinpoint one thing as being my biggest achievement yet but I feel it might be around the corner!

Being an entrepreneur, you face a new challenge everyday and you are constantly learning. I have been in the industry for 15 years and I am still learning!

‘I can’t pinpoint one thing as being my biggest achievement yet maybe it’s around the corner.’

Finally, what advice would you give to others who want to follow your journey?

When you are thinking about opening a restaurant, it’s important to do your maths. This is vital for success!

Something else you need to do is stay focussed, follow your heart and dreams and do exactly what makes you happy. Believe in yourself and take risks, it’ll be worth the story in the future.

Tip of the month
‘Believe in yourself and take risks it’ll be worth the story in the future.’

Follow Ashesh and his journey on Instagram here and learn more about the Bombay Food Truck including a video about how it evolved here.

 


DECEMBER ENTREPRENEUR

Saheli Mirpuri, Founder Saheli Events

Sahelo Events

After working in the wedding industry for only 20 months, 25 year old Saheli took the plunge and launched her own business Saheli Events in 2017 with a clear vision – to be the go-to events planner in the London area. After only being in the industry for a year, in February, she won the “Best Wedding Planner 2018” award at the British Asian Wedding Awards and was recently awarded the “Most Outstanding Luxury Event and Wedding Planning Agency” in the UK, at the 2018 Luxury Lifestyle Awards by LUX Life Magazine.

What made you decide to start your own business? Where does the passion for Wedding Planning come from? 

Planning events has always been something I enjoyed but I grew up thinking Event Planning was just something you can do on the side or for fun, so I never initially pursued it. However, whilst I was at University, I had been President of the Indian Society for 2 years. An event we used to plan for the members was the Indian Society Ball – which in many ways was like an Indian wedding. I literally loved every minute of planning it and that’s when I had my lightbulb moment and realised… this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

So now I had this idea, I knew clearly what I wanted to do and as luck had it, our family friends were building a wedding venue and some friends recommended I approach them to ask about wedding planning, I applied for a position and that’s how my journey into the Industry began. When I started coordinating events there, it became apparent very early on that the planning side of the job was definitely my strength.

When did you decide it was time to go it alone?

By nature I was always an ambitious person, I knew I always wanted something of my own. So in December 2016, I decided I was ready to go solo. Many people shared their own opinions about my bold decision, but I think when you feel that genuine fire inside you and have so much belief in your own dream, you just have to go and get it and that’s exactly what I did. I’m lucky I have such supportive parents who encouraged me to take the plunge and do something that would make me happy.

‘If you have a goal or genuinely are passionate about doing something, then don’t wait for something to fall on your lap.’

How would you describe a day in the life of Saheli Events and what do you love most about your job? 

Literally I wish I could! Every single day is so different. As we have so many different couples, different events and they’re all at different stages of their planning, our day to day role differs drastically from having back to back meetings on one day, to follow ups and admin on others. Event days are obviously our busiest, where on some days we are up from 3-4am and only back from the shift 20+ hours later. For me, the fact that every day is so different is exactly why I love this job so much. We meet so many amazing people and the way we get to see an event go from sketches and mood boards to reality, is genuinely so rewarding.

What has been the most important lesson you have learnt since launching your business? How has this impacted you? 

The most important lesson I’ve learnt is definitely self motivation. On a daily basis, I literally sell myself the dream telling myself things like ‘If you work hard now, you can retire early and spend time with your family all the time’ or ‘Don’t worry you’ll be a millionaire by 30 if you make x amount of bookings’. It’s different things all the time, sometimes they are just over ambitious, other times I’m super real with myself – but in a nutshell it’s something that’s going to get me up in the morning to do what I’ve got to do. I’ve had to learn to be my bestest friend and biggest fan to motivate myself all the time, otherwise I’d just find myself constantly wondering ‘what if..’.

‘The most important lesson I’ve learnt is definitely self motivation. On a daily basis, I literally sell myself the dream…’

Finally, what advice would you give to others who want to follow your journey?

Honestly, I follow my absolute favourite quote ‘Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do’. If you have a goal or genuinely are passionate about doing something, then don’t wait for something to fall on your lap. You have to start somewhere! We all tend to look at the well established businesses within our the Industry, who become our inspiration or people we look up to, and I think it’s really important to remember that they also started in a similar position and have also worked their way up. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you can always look back and say you tried.

Tip of the month
When you feel that genuine fire inside you and have so much belief in your own dream, you just have to go and get it.’

Follow Saheli on Facebook here and Instagram here and watch out for her newest project, Sit Back with Saheli, a talk show style series that goes behind the scenes with some of the finest Asian wedding suppliers in the industry.

 


NOVEMBER ENTREPRENEUR

Grant Pierrus AKA The Interior Style Hunter

CarolSachs-Christies-Bloggers-5D3_2768-HiRes

Influencer Grant has been running his award winning blog Interior Style Hunter since 2015. The London based Interior design blog is dedicated to giving design and lifestyle inspiration. His passion stems from the idea that ‘everyone should have access to good design’ and its not necessary to invest in a designer to do so. I interviewed Grant about his blog, achievements and what it’s like being an entrepreneur.

So what’s your story? What’s your background, what did you study and how did you get into interior design? 

Gosh, where do I start, in Cape Town in my early 20’s finding my way through the business world. Touching on a few things here and there, property development being one that I really took a shine to. After moving to London and working for a finance firm in the city heading up their marketing, I realised that I didn’t want to be doing that forever. So I took myself off to Central St Martins and studied interior design. I loved the course, and started blogging about it.  The blog wasn’t even 6 months old when we started hitting 10’s of thousands of followers on social media and readership. It just exploded, I like to think of it as the right time, but it was a LOT of hard work to get noticed.

Why did you set up your blog? What has been your biggest achievement from it? 

I knew from my experience in the City that blogging was absolutely key to building a profile in a sector, and this sector had no idea who I was. So that was my goal in year 1, get recognised. The blog gave me a platform to showcase others and in return, myself. So that really helped me leap my way to the top. I can remember getting a call one day, and it was the PR from Christie’s asking if I would like to join their campaign and create a room set celebrating iconic pieces from their November interiors sale. I almost fell off my chair, but I never said no to these opportunities, no matter how scary they were. Another particular frightening experience was hosting a talk at Maison et Objet with the CEO of Christian Lacroix, I couldn’t even speak on my way to the show. But it was all part of the learning curve, now I’m able to calm people down who are on stage with me so it’s a more enjoyable experience for them and of course the audience.

‘I never said no to these opportunities, no matter how scary they were’


Other than your managing your blog, what else do you do? 

So much! The blog is probably 10% of what I do now. I run a marketing agency for interior designers, architects and design brands, we have a wonderful Facebook group for interior designers to share experiences and to learn from each other. I helped launch the first UK interior design charity showhouse last year, and took a group of 60 interior designers to Paris for a design tour. I recently hosted a private tour of the Mayfair Design District. There’s so much, but essentially, once I figured out why I do what I do, my business exploded, and that is that I build community. So anything that falls right into that space, is mine and I’ll run with it.

What opportunities has working for yourself created for you? 

The ability to create the life that I want, it sounds glamorous, but it’s very hard work and such a lot of responsibility, especially when you’re responsible for team members too. Not only their salaries, but also helping them to grow and learn more. I look at life differently now that I work for myself, always seeing new opportunties and trying to help others with their businesses too. It gives you a freedom to be your best self.

‘I look at life differently now that I work for myself, always seeing new opportunities and trying to help others with their businesses too’


Finally, what advice would you give to other people who want to follow your entrepreneurial journey? 

It’s hard work and you’ve got to learn to sacrifice your time. There are a lot of people out there all trying to achieve the same thing, so you’ve got to work harder and smarter. I recently started working with a wellness coach to help me slow down – I know it doesn’t make sense, but I get so caught up in the fast paced world in London that I can forget to look after myself. But I also know that in the first 3 years, that 24/7 dedication most definitely fast tracked me to where I am today. Also, people are nice, so ask for help, go work for a business owner and learn.

Tip of the month
‘There are a lot of people out there all trying to achieve the same thing, so you’ve got to work harder and smarter.’


You can  see some of  Grant aka Interior Style Hunters’ latest Instagram posts below or follow him 
here.  Take a look at his Luxury Interior Design Blog and join his exclusive Facebook group here.