Home-based Business of the Year 2014: Meet the finalists
Startups reveals the shortlist of entrepreneurs who have grown seriously impressive start-ups from the comfort of their own homes...
Starting a business from home can certainly be low-cost, but it is rarely easy.
Not only do you have to contend with the myriad challenges you face when starting any business, you also have to deal with the question of working from home itself – where do you work? How do you keep focused? Do you have enough space to store your products?
There is a popular misconception that all home-based businesses are more modest in their outlook, and whilst this might be true in some cases, this award category shows that starting a business from home is no bar to creating a start-up with real potential.
A shining example of how e-commerce can generate serious dividends for canny entrepreneurs, Samantha King initially launched Lime Lace as an independent home and gift shop but has seen it become a leading one-stop shop for eclectic and off-beat designer furniture, home accessories, jewellery and art. A leading seller on notonthehighstreet.com, Lime Lace has amassed a cult following of more than 5,000 Twitter and Facebook followers despite all PR and marketing being conducted in-house.
A glance at this creative events and networking agency’s list of clients – which include Lulu Guinness, Lamborghini, the British Council, and even members of royalty – and you’d be forgiven for assuming Meredith O’Shaughnessy’s business ran its operations from a swanky glass-fronted office in the West End. However, she has managed to run it all from the modest environs of her own home, achieving exceptional growth with no external investment to boot.
Growing a home-based web design start-up from scratch into a business with a team of 15 freelancers and interns is an impressive feat in itself, but doubly so when you consider Towers Design founder Ben Towers is just 16-years-old – having started up at the tender age of 13. Having mastered the art of juggling the demands of a start-up with studying for his GCSEs, Towers Design now has more than 500 clients, including Olympic athletes and Britain’s Got Talent finalists.
With long-standing experience of the challenges and joys of starting a business from home, Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts heads up the high-profile panel for this award, which also includes Chemist Direct and ecomfactor founder Mitesh Soma, and Michael Hayman MBE, co-founder of campaigning communications agency Seven Hills.