The Twenty Fifth Hour: Anisa Topan
Fired last week in The Apprentice, Anisa Topan talks about "pitching at the world for nine whole months" and pawning family gold to raise finance
Name: Anisa Topan
Company name: The Twenty Fifth Hour
Twitter handle: @Twenty5thHour
Tell us what your business does:
We service fashion and wellness clients by promoting their products and services to the media and influencers.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I trained in PR, my degree was fashion communication with promotion from Central St Martins and after working agency side I wanted to create a small, boutique PR firm that was hands-on and agile in fulfilling client goals.
How did you know there was a market for it?
It was instinctive. I felt that being in a smaller firm at a time, where budgets were being cut and the digital landscape was transforming, that I could make a difference to my client’s lives.
How is our business different from what’s already out there?
We are so light on our feet that we’re able to work on everything from passion projects to activism to fashion and wellness. There are no limits to our versatility. We are also incredibly dynamic and can move on things very quickly.
What were you doing before starting up?
I had been freelancing independently since 2008 so I had plenty of experience in running my own business on a consultancy level. I had worked at, and with, brands such as Coco de Mer, Agent Provocateur, Navman GPS, Eager drinks, Jelly Pong Pong cosmetics and Channel 4.
When I started the business, I worked with integrity from the outset by pitching to new clients and emerging designers, without existing representation, and persevered for nine months before winning my first client.
I built up my business slowly and managed to achieve excellent results by listening to my client’s core goals.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
How did you raise the money?
I pawned my dearly departed father’s gold he left me – not much at all! And lived frugally until I won my first client.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Monthly retainers, from servicing our clients is our lifeblood.
The most important thing to keep track of in business is expenditure and cashflow as well as where your time is being spent, daily.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The biggest day-to-day challenge we face is keeping up with the digital landscape, trends and social media!
What was your first big breakthrough?
Winning my first client after pitching at the world for nine whole months.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Go for it. Live your dream, try it and fail spectacularly as it’s only through failing and taking risks that you ever get anywhere. Don’t doubt yourself and persevere, even in your darkest days.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
To be confirmed!