There are many motives for starting a business, and Julie Deane’s is one of the purest.
Concerned that her daughter was being bullied at her school in Cambridge, Julie Deane realised that she couldn’t afford the fees to move her to a public school. Determined to protect her, she wrote a list of the ten things she could do to make money.
At position number four on that list was the idea of selling traditional satchels.
She turned this idea into the Cambridge Satchel Company, a business that within four years had a £12 million turnover. Her high quality satchels in bright as well as traditional colours have become a fashion craze, with stars such as Alexa Chung, Fearne Cotton and Elle Fanning sporting her bags.
So what drives her? Apart from her motherly love, Deane says her childhood in a Welsh mining area during the pit closures made her realise the social value of industry and of bringing manufacturing jobs to the UK. Julie was the first person in her family to go to University and says she was always driven to set a high goal and then “work like mad” to achieve it.
Perhaps her upbringing in Wales also affected her other ethic – that of hating waste. One of the reasons she designed the satchels was to produce something that would last rather than be disposable, as was the case with the bags her children took to school.
With just six weeks in the summer holidays to get the business off the ground and £600 to invest, she and her mother turned a kitchen table business into a runaway success that now owns its own factory and employs 65 people.
Julie Deane shows the world that quality really does shine through!
“I don’t care what anybody says, it has never been easier to start a business than it is right now… The key is to stop waiting until you think you have time and just get on with it.”
Julie Deane’s dedication to work was motivated by the immediate need to make her children’s lives better, inspired by her experiences as a child and driven by her ethical stance. It’s a wonderful story for anyone wondering how to make their business really shine. More power to Julie Deane! – Bernardo Moya
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