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The Good Bamboo: Eva Brako and Nicholas Pragnell

The Good Bamboo is a consultancy-agency hybrid, working remotely with positive companies to deliver impactful branding and marketing services

Name of founders: Eva Brako and Nicholas Pragnell

Location: London

Date launched: 1 July 2020

Number of employees: 2

Age of founders: 28 and 32

Website: https://www.thegoodbamboo.co.uk/

Instagram: @goodbamboomarketing

What university, if any, did you attend? University of Creative Arts

The Good Bamboo is a marketing consultancy with a focus on helping organisations to grow, all the while maintaining its ethical ethos. Having worked together at a London agency, Eva Brako and Nicholas Pragnell decided to start their own business. Co-founder Nicholas Pragnell explains more…

Tell us what your business does:

Can a marketing consultancy have a positive impact? We think so. We’re The Good Bamboo and we’re “helping good grow”.

We work in partnership with positive companies, providing marketing and branding services to create impact in our world. We’re also flexible, remote, and high-quality, without having big-budget costs.

We’re unique in being a consultancy-agency hybrid, so we can follow up impartial marketing advice with creativity and brand production. And we’re remote too, working with companies in London and Amsterdam so far.

As we can provide anything from research to web design, long-term creative positioning or a quick marketing audit, we’re an ideal partner for small companies to scale with, or large companies looking for a quick boost of energy.

You can find our website at www.thegoodbamboo.co.uk.

Where did the idea of your business come from?

Whichever opinion bubble you’ve fallen into, you’ll have to be trying pretty hard to avoid the simple fact that our world is fighting fires.

Some say 2020 is a bad year, but we say it’s a good year to get going and make some change. That’s exactly what millions of people are doing. Every day, new projects, startups and charities are born to tackle our shared problems. We’re not just one of them – we exist especially for them.

Myself and co-founder Eva had worked together at a busy London agency on big, award-winning, global projects. By the time COVID hit, we were both looking for the next step in our career, but also had the need to add value back into communities with positive work.

So the pieces fell into place and we’ve ended up with something that feels unique – ethical marketing with punch.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Maybe there wasn’t? But we wanted to create one. This year, the world needs more companies that will make our lives better, and they need support.

What were you doing before starting up?

Eva was in Qatar, and Nick was in Madrid! We both travel a lot for work (thanks to those big global projects).

We’ve both worked in a variety of marketing roles, including creative, delivery, management and more. Most recently, Nick’s been volunteering with a Sunshine Charity as Head of Marketing as they launch and grow, building a team and leading on all comms-related projects.

The nice thing about The Good Bamboo will be the ability to spend more time with less clients and to focus on quality.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Not at all! I’ve never envied startup owners and have never had a problem with having a boss.

But it’s been so much fun. We’ve been able to make decisions and try stuff, and most of all, we’ve learnt a huge amount, with training to grow our skills and add services.

It’s been very fulfilling. We’ve both got a lot of respect for anyone who has made the leap and started-up.

How did you raise the money?

There wasn’t much needed. The total cost for setting up so far has been around £150. That includes server hosting for the website, Gmail, some research and project management tools; insurance etc.

I think it’s really important to say that not all startups need mega-investment, but that you need to be able to cover your own wages for that time. Eva has kept working her full-time job to do this, whilst I’ve had to pare back living expenses to a minimum. I think having a plan B is important. So the money came from savings – we’re bootstrapped.

Describe your business model and how you make money.

We provide growth, as simple as that. There’s no box to put us in.

Our core ability is communicating ideas – whether that’s through branding, performance marketing, organisational change or business development.

More importantly, perhaps, is that we’re willing to grow with companies with minimal budget: we’re open to ideas about how to grow together!

We’re a consultancy first and foremost, and we want to build an inbound funnel. Basically, we want to be good enough (and look good enough!) for potential clients to contact us, and we don’t want to be cold-calling or using hardcore sales techniques.

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

Well, it’s daunting to build a website and watch 0 visitors hit it. Building a reputation from zero is an awesome task, and we’re trying to be ethical about it too – no tapping up old clients from past agencies; not using old case studies etc.

The need for a case study made us do something ‘odd’. We worked on our first project for free, completely zero cost, in exchange for testing our processes and owning our first really nice case study.

We also offer some of our time for free to support other black-owned businesses, which aligns to our aim of spreading positivity and supporting communities wherever we can.

What was your first big breakthrough?

The Good Bamboo is just a few months old now but already we’ve made a difference to three positive organisations which are also at the start of their journeys.

We embedded in a technology startup to analyse their audience and define a content plan to give them cut-through in a dense, impenetrable marketplace.

We delivered a 6-month growth plan to a vegan bakery, with step-by-step instructions to make the most of the founder’s valuable time.

And, we saved a startup charity precious months from their roadmap by accelerating their comms, building a marketing team from scratch and reaching thousands of lonely people during a difficult lockdown.

We’re really pleased with our trajectory so far and now we’re ramping up.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Loads! The first is to learn how to listen to others and be honest with yourself, and the second is to trust yourself when you need to do things differently. Aside from that, also:

  • Consider getting a really good partner who can pull you up when you’re down and whose skills are opposite to yours
  • Don’t spend cash too early. Keep it in your pocket for as long as you can because you don’t need everything set-up straight away, and you also don’t need pressure to make the business succeed too early
  • Finally, don’t work in secret! Talk about what you’re doing. Early on it feels like it’s not true, or real, but speaking about your ideas makes them reality. And you’ll be amazed by the people that are willing to help who wouldn’t have known otherwise

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

We want to make a difference. It’s a time when you can’t just chill out on Instagram anymore, turning on Netflix ramps up the pressure, and whatever you do, don’t read the news.

So we want to be at the centre of a strong network of positive companies, who help each other out and amplify the total impact.

We all need people to care about our world and our communities. If you already do, and you’re trying to make things better, then maybe you need us too.

We’re Eva and Nick. And together, with you, we’re The Good Bamboo.

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Scarlett Cook
Scarlett Cook

Scarlett writes for the automotive, energy, hosting and website sections of the site. In addition, she promotes the newest small businesses by managing the Just Started profiles, and has also contributed to Tech Donut. Scarlett is passionate about championing equality and sustainability in business.