How to Get Advice from Chloe Macintosh, Co-Founder, MADE.com
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Chloe Macintosh is the Co-Founder & Creative Director at MADE.com, a business which has grown from zero to a hundred employees in three years, making Chloe the perfect person to speak to about how to grow a business.
Launched in 2010, MADE.com offers customers original furniture at up to 70% off high street prices. Aimed at an influential yet bargain loving London crowd, MADE.com works with up-and-coming designers and skilled craftsmen to create their collections.
Made.com was awarded the Young Startup of the Year at the ‘Startups 2012’ awards.
Chloe currently directs all collections and product development at MADE.com, as well as directing and styling all the distinctive interiors shots for both online and offline marketing campaigns.
Her career in design and product development spurred from her early training in architecture. For 10 years she worked as an Associate Partner in Norman Foster's London practice developing projects with a highly influential client list.
In 2007, Chloe joined LastMinute.com Co-Founder Brent Hoberman to develop the design tools for his new home project mydeco. She was also leading the mydeco Design Board and she collaborated with Philippe Starck, Marc Newson and Terence Conran on design projects.
Chloe was born in Paris but has lived in London for the past 16 years.
Chloe is one of the many fabulous NextAdvisors participating in our Business Advice Programme! If you need some expert input on how to grow your business, or any other entrepreneurial challenge, click here for details.
To read our April 2013 interview with Chloe, click here.
TNW: What have you been up to since our interview in April?
CM: It has been a very busy time for us mainly because the team has been growing a lot in the different departments and we have had to spend time reorganising the business while keeping our momentum.
There are always quite a lot of growing pains in the process so keeping the team happy and engaged is a priority.
The past few months have been particularly crazy; we’ve undertaken some major projects for the business including creating our first ever TV ad and getting heavily involved in London Design Week by launching our new Emerging Talent Award, which gives very young designers their first opportunity to get their design into production.
TNW: You’d just launched in France when we last spoke. How is that going and what is your plan for expansion into other countries?
CM: We launched in France 8 months ago and the sales there picked up quickly; it now represents 20% of the group’s revenue. I have been going back to France a lot and linking back to my old network in order to build strong relationships with the industry there. Following the encouraging start in France, we decided that it was time to launch another European country, Italy, which will be live this week.
Although we are only online and it could mean that selling all over the world should be quite straightforward, it remains key for us to choose the right fulfilment partners and assure that our new customers will have the best experience not just shopping on the site but also receiving their furniture and connecting to the Made brand.
TNW: At what stage do entrepreneurs need to start thinking about scaling their business? Is it necessary to put processes and procedures for scaling right from the start? Or only when the business is ready to scale?
It depends on the business model. Made.com is very scalable and can grow with the customer base. With only one point of sale, we are able to pick up on the activity as it hits the site and react accordingly.
At the very beginning, it is important not to spend too much time trying to get it perfect. Instead, energy should be focussed on getting the product out there and launched.
Sometimes making mistakes can be a dynamic way to learn.
three years, we are making more fundamental structural changes to cope with the
volume of orders and the international distribution.
TNW: Can you talk us through the chronology of how you scaled your business, step by step?
CM: As we grow, it becomes more and more important to remember what is unique about the business and how we can best address the customers' need. Along the way, it is quite normal to try various avenues and this can result in the dilution of the proposition. It is therefore important to go back to the original idea, which is often the strongest and clearer message.
Refocusing the team around the core promise will also allow for the newer team members to feel as much part of the story as the initial team.
The most important
aspect for us it to be able to fulfil the growth of orders, making sure that
our expansion is not creating issues for the customers. This means that we need
to work closely with our partners to make sure that they also have the capacity
to grow alongside us. We work very closely to our manufacturers and logistic
partners to insure that they have what is needed in place to accommodate the
Growth spurs have also been an opportunity to force innovative solutions that would have not been envisaged outside of this context. Constantly re-thinking is key to our business especially as we get challenged by the industry which is not always ready to move as quickly as we are.
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