Meet Will Stewart
Will Stewart is the founder and Managing Director of The Point.1888, a company which is revolutionising the brand extension industry through partnership licensing agreements.
1. Why did you start The Point.1888 and what were you doing before?
I started the business to change the world and to change my lifestyle. I also wanted to realise a dream I had 20 years ago when working for a company that’s now a competitor to The Point.1888 to establish a business that would disrupt the licensing industry and give brands, retailers and manufacturers better opportunities.
2. What were the biggest sources of inspiration and support when you were starting out?
Support mainly came from other founders or business owners – they are the only ones who truly understand what it takes. Inspiration came from everywhere – a lot of people who challenged my vision, dreams, processes and ideas just drove me on to prove everyone wrong.
3. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting the business?
The biggest hurdle isn’t getting people to agree to pay for your services; it’s actually getting them to pay the invoice. I’ve never had to chase so much. The bigger the company, the longer they take to pay you.
4. What has been your proudest moment/biggest achievement so far?
There have been so many. 1. Every person I’ve hired so far as people do truly change businesses. 2. Working with my dream brand Innocent. 3. Going back into my old employer to launch a range of LEON cookware. 4. Representing the biggest licensed brand in the world. 5. Achieving £1m in turnover in our third year. A very small % of businesses survive into their fourth year and even fewer build a business that is turning over £1m per year.
5. What advice would you give to anyone starting out?
I used to tell everyone to start a business. Having done it and realised just how much it will push you to your limits, the impact it makes on every relationship you have and the commitment, drive, thick skin, resilience and graft required, I tell everyone NOT to start a business now. It’s a lot, lot harder than you think. You will have no money, no time and a lot more stress than you even thought possible.
If I haven’t put you off and you’re hell bent on doing it – massive respect. Make sure you heavily plan in the years before you take the leap – have as much in place as possible before you quit your job – there’s no turning back.
6. What piece of investment did you make in the business that was worth every penny?
My number two George Birtchnell. He was my first hire nine months into my adventure and to be honest, I couldn’t really afford to pay him but I found a way. Having someone with you (other than Ralf the dog) is an absolute game changer.
7. Which element of marketing has made the biggest impact on your business?
The Brand – vision, purpose and values.
8.What does 2018 look like for you?
Honestly no idea. This business amazes me every day. The growth we are going through is just phenomenal regardless of measure (people, turnover, clients, profits). Next year will be our biggest and best yet, just as this year was.
The speed at which we have moved through our initial sketchy business plan means we have achieved year 5 targets in year 3. Next year we will be expanding hugely internationally, should grow turnover to between £4.5m and £6m and potentially be hiring 15-20 new legends to join Team.1888.
I can’t wait.