Eliza Kesuma, the founder and head designer of Moody Monday, talks to us about the company’s experience in the recent Start Up Hub conference, in which it reached the final 12. Eliza also tells us about the company’s history, the inspiration behind it and what support she’d like from big business.
Tell us briefly about your business, what inspired you to set it up and what you offer to your customers.
Moody Monday creates contemporary hand-printed premium wall-coverings, textiles and homewares. Our designs are inspired by imagery from modern urban society, objects, and machinery parts making up our daily lives.
Having been frustrated by the lack of exciting wallpaper that does not involve the heavy use of things that are already obviously aesthetically pleasing, I set myself a challenge of choosing an unlikely subject. Instead of using something floral, I found something in the junkyard as the design subject of my first wallpaper collection.
All of this happened after I had been made redundant from my full time job at a major interior furnishing company in 2010, putting plans for my own business ahead of schedule.
How did the history of your company contribute to your success in the Start Up Hub?
I think our success is mainly due to the fact that we offer such a unique design idea. That combined with our strong background in design and interiors. I was trained in Printed Textiles at the Scottish Borders (Galashiels), and have had years of experience working in various design studios and in interiors.
We’ve also attracted some positive attention with what we are doing. We have been featured in various leading publications in the UK and abroad, which has helped drive brand awareness.
How was your experience of the Start Up Hub? Do you feel you were able to showcase your business to a receptive audience? Do you feel it opened up any opportunities?
The Start Up Hub has been a great opportunity to present our work to a very different audience. Through our participation, we have learnt to connect and communicate our ideas with new people in a manner tailored to them. We also had the opportunity to meet some other great businesses and start ups, and of course a few political figures that were around.
The Start Up Hub is an example of Government and large business working together to help small businesses grow and succeed. Do you feel that it succeeds in this objective? Do you feel that small businesses can collaborate with large business? Are recent Government plans for SMEs heading in the right direction?
I think this initiative has a lot of potential. There was a very genuine desire for the large business to try and help the smaller businesses during this collaboration. I was also very pleased with their enthusiasm during the course of the event. But like any new plans, it requires a few tweaks to point it in the right direction. We’re getting there though!
As a start up enterprise what challenges do you face that you feel large businesses could help you tackle?
Trying to get your business and its message heard amongst the white noise is an incredibly tough task for small businesses and is definitely an area in which I would welcome help.
It would also be great to have some guidance as to what kind of support is there for smaller businesses (access to funds and advice), that doesn’t just necessarily come from a government funded establishment.
What advice do you have for people looking to start up their own successful business?
Trust your gut feeling, no one knows your business better than you. So if someone tells you what to do or not to do, don’t just take their word for it. Follow up with research and speak to your customers directly to make your own decision.
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