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Being an unconventional entrepreneur: start your journey

Posted on 16/06/2016

The King’s Student Entrepreneurship Institute recently opened their doors to five entrepreneurs:

  • Heston Blumenthal CBE: Restaurateur and celebrity chef.
  • Jo Malone MBE: Founder of Jo Malone London and Jo Loves.
  • Joe Wicks ‘The Body Coach’: Creator of #Leanin15.
  • Philip Kallberg and Felix Braberg: founders of EatAbout (Philip is a masters student in the Department of Informatics at King’s).

The panel discussion titled ‘Being an unconventional entrepreneur: start your journey’ was co-hosted by Professor Edward Byrne AC, the president and principal of King’s College London and Anandana Bakshi, the head of entrepreneurship.

“All great inventions come from non-linear thinking.” - Heston Blumenthal CBE, Restaurateur and celebrity chef.

So first things first, how did they get started? That golden nugget of a question that every budding entrepreneur in the room wanted to ask. Heston discussed experiencing his first pangs of a desire to join the culinary industry on a family holiday in France. He mentioned being enthralled with French cuisine and the numerous details that were involved. Later on in life he’d combine this passion for food with his fascination with science. Heston appropriately identified imagination as a necessary ingredient to the recipe of success.

Jo Malone agreed with Heston stating that the triad of creativity, resilience and passion were necessary for her to build and maintain the global brand that we all know as Jo Malone London and her most recent venture, Jo Loves. She also discussed the role of the consumer and how in order to create and maintain a legacy, it is essential to incorporate their desires and needs. One example of how she did this was with her pop up store where individuals were invited to use their senses of smell of smell and touch to identify what they’d like in a perfume, lotion or bath cologne.

"Your team need to be you, not just copy what you do, they need to feel what you feel." -  Jo Malone MBE: Founder of Jo Malone London and Jo Loves.

Jo also spoke about the importance of having a good team behind you, that is as passionate as you are about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Without them, the chances of building your business into a success are slim.

All five entrepreneurs are what you’d call unconventional entrepreneurs. Their ideas be it fusing science with fine dining, creating an achievable lifestyle brand, applying an ‘Airbnb’ approach to fine dining or turning a candle business into a global brand were once considered avant-garde.

So how did they deal not only with the doubt of others but also their own self-doubt?

“Keep putting out what you think is valuable.” - Joe Wicks: ‘The Body Coach’ and creator of #Leanin15.

“Authenticity is key.” - Joe Wicks ‘The Body Coach’, creator of #Leanin15 - 15-second recipes of 15-minute meals.

With over a million followers, Joe Wicks is the Instagram star that everyone knows about. Having started out as a personal trainer, Joe has built a fitness empire focused on healthy ‘easy-to-cook’ meals and a fun approach to fitness. He talked about the doubt he experienced from his friends and family as he started out but his strong belief that all the videos he put out, be it of him making a meal or working out were positively affecting someone out there kept him going.

He fundamentally believed that there was a niche area in an already perforated lifestyle industry for an attainable way of life. Joe’s subsequent personal success is thus only a by-product of his belief in his authentic product. He went on to mention the importance of social media in the building of his brand and the correlation between that and a close to non-existent marketing spend. His key to this is having tapped into his market through posting videos on instagram, Joe quickly realised and harnessed the promise that social media promotion held as the backbone of his brand.

“I get really bored if I’m not questioning what I’m doing.” - Phillip Kallberg, co-founder of EatAbout.

“Attach importance to incremental efforts, no’s eventually turn into yes’s” - Felix Braberg, co-founder of EatAbout.

Phillip Kallberg and Felix Braberg are each one half of the team that bring EatAbout to us. What is EatAbout, you ask? It’s what we’d call the AirBnb of dining experiences. In an industry where innovation and creativity are encouraged and celebrated, Phillip and Felix are definitely succeeding.

Phillip, a postgraduate student in the Department of Informatics at King’s College London spoke about the importance of being intuitive and critical of the processes within your business - what’s working, what isn’t, the alternatives (and) or what can be improved. This would in turn give you the drive, perseverance and passion necessary to maintain a thriving business.

Felix talked about the small beginnings of EatAbout: direct marketing of the business on the streets of London which was no small feat but in that moment he realised the power of incremental efforts and how these spur you on to not give up and keep on going.

Speaking about the importance of Entrepreneurship at King’s, Professor Edward Byrne, President and Principal fittingly said, ‘Entrepreneurship is people having the ambition and energy to follow their dreams. To come up with something great, which is going to work in the marketplace and build a business that will make life better for people and hopefully be successful to those who develop it.’ 

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