Electric Standing Desks UK: William Hart

Already achieving significant popularity in the US, standing desks are now being seen more and more in UK offices. Meet a start-up supplying them...

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Name: William Hart
Company name: Electric Standing Desks UK
Location: London
Date launched: 10/01/17
Twitter handle: @standingdesksuk
Website: www.electricstandingdesks.co.uk

Tell us what your business does:

Electric Standing Desks UK offers affordable, high-quality standing desks. They are Danish designed and perfect for the home office. Unlike hand-cranked alternatives, our desks are electrically powered and height adjustable with a touch of a button.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

My work colleague was struggling with back problems, exacerbated by long hours in the driving seat and in his office chair. I had heard about sit-stand desks before, but trying to find an affordable, yet high-quality option in the UK was quite a challenge. That’s why we started this business – to deliver quality desks to UK customers at an affordable price.

How did you know there was a market for it?

We’d seen electrically powered desks in the US, and that employees at companies like Google and Facebook were beginning to use them in their offices.

The market seemed to be growing in popularity abroad, so we knew it was only matter of time before they became commonplace in the UK. It looks like we were right, as they have been appearing in offices all over London!

What were you doing before starting up?

We were physicists! Specifically, we looked for new ways to diagnose cancer. My partner and I had always dreamed of starting a business that we believed in and that was socially responsible. When we hit upon our idea, we knew it was going to be a winner.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Always! It has been a long-time coming and I couldn’t be happier with how things are going.

How did you raise the money?

We had seen so many colleagues give up valuable equity in return for funding, but this wasn’t for us. We decided from the outset to grow our business with a bootstrapping approach – minimal capital and a lean business model!

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We are primarily an online business. This allows us to cut operational costs, while maintaining product quality, and providing great customer service. We found a Danish manufacturer and fell in love with their products.

Our business thrives because the vast majority of our costs are invested in the products themselves, rather than in marketing or operating costly showrooms.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Operating a lean business model has come with its fair share of challenges. Developing our offering and marketing from scratch with practically no capital is not easy.

The solution has been providing excellent and personal customer service, so that our traffic grows organically. This allows us to focus on the things that matter, not on marketing.

What was your first big breakthrough?

If you ask a sample of entrepreneurs, I’m sure nine out of 10 will say that the first sale was the most satisfying. I couldn’t agree more. It is a vote of confidence from a real person that your business is doing something great.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

At the risk of sounding cliché, market research is absolutely vital. And I don’t mean just going online and looking at what’s available.

You need to make sure you are solving a real problem that people have, before you develop something that (unfortunately) no one ever wanted. There are many resources on lean market validation out there, so get reading!

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

I want to have established our business as the first choice for quality standing desks in the UK and to be on our way to achieving that in the European market and beyond.

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