Just Started – Bobbi Beck: Jason Arrowsmith, James Mellan-Matulewicz, and Rebecca Mellan-Matulewicz

Bobbi Beck's inspirational founders were driven literally up the wall by the climate crisis. Below, we learn more about the launch of their new studio which designs and prints sustainably-made wallpaper.

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Helena Young

Name of founders: Jason Arrowsmith, James Mellan-Matulewicz, Rebecca Mellan-Matulewicz
Ages of the founders: 33, 30, 31
Location: Scorrier, Cornwall
Date launched: 04 November 2021
Number of employees: 5

What does your business do?

We’re a design and print studio specialising in sustainably-made luxury wallpaper.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

We’d worked in the industry for a number of years and felt we could create a product that’s better than anything else out there, particularly from a sustainability perspective.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Our first-hand experience of the industry really helped. We recognised that there was increasing demand for sustainably produced luxury wallpapers, suitable for both residential and commercial spaces.

Have you always dreamed of starting a business?

Yes. It’s something that all three of us have wanted to do for a while. We’d had numerous conversations in the past about starting something, whether that be on the side or full time, but now felt like the right time.

How did you finance your business?

We’d all managed to put money aside over a number of years, and were happy to put this in to get up and running. We also have a couple of investors involved.

Explain your business model and how you make money.

We market, design, produce and everything in-house and sell through our e-commerce site.

We recognised that there was increasing demand for sustainably produced luxury wallpapers, suitable for both residential and commercial spaces.

What are the main challenges you have faced? And how did you overcome them?

Trying to get up and running during the pandemic has caused a few challenges, with the main one being that we couldn’t demo some of our machinery in person. That meant a big commitment without seeing everything up close. Eventually we got the setup we needed and are now in a great position from that perspective.

What has your experience been of starting a business during a pandemic?

Aside from the above, travel disruption has presented some issues, so, like most businesses, a lot of our communication has taken place over video calls. In terms of demand for the product, this has never been higher. People are thinking about their spaces more now than ever before, and are taking the time to find the right products, not just for themselves, but also for the planet.

How has Brexit impacted your business? Do you think it will in the future?

We didn’t exist pre-Brexit, so haven’t had to change anything that was already in place. We’re also fortunate in that our delivery partners are able ship to Europe and the rest of the world without any issues or delays. Our suppliers have been great and we don’t envisage any issues from that perspective either. Keeping on top of tax and duties is something that requires more input now.

People are thinking about their spaces more now than ever before, and are taking the time to find the right products, not just for themselves, but also for the planet.

What advice would you give to other aspiring business owners?

Take the time to think about the business that you want to setup, but once the timing feels right and you’re happy with your business idea and market fit, go for it!

Focus on what differentiates you from others and how you can improve on what already exists, even if that’s only for a particular segment of your target audience.

How do you see your business developing in the next three years?

We’re looking to scale pretty rapidly over the coming 12 months by building out our product range and developing our brand identity. Following that we’ll be focusing on expanding internationally to become the number one sustainably-made luxury wallpaper brand in terms of size, quality, and offering.

If you're a business owner with a startup that's less than six months old, apply now to feature as one of our Just Started business profiles.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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