I am 20 years old and in February of this year I launched my company Flint's Yard. We manufacture and sell topical products for use on animals with particular skin conditions. Flint's Yard was launched at the UK's largest Equine trade event which is held annually at the NEC, Birmingham.
To date we have absolutely smashed sales targets originally set and are forecast to more than double in turnover in the next year, exciting stuff!
From day one, being my own boss was a huge deal for me. My original plan was to complete my A levels, however, after finishing my AS levels and hitting some decentish grades, my gut instinct (which I very much believe in) told me otherwise. Upon deciding not to continue with A levels and thereafter Uni, I received a few frowns from various people within education and the general opinion was that I was going to waste my career chances. However I was not swayed. With my AS levels in the bag, I bucked the trend and left the well-respected sixth form and began an apprenticeship at a very successful food marketing agency. Here I learned SO much, probably more in the first week then I had learnt in the last year of sixth form! The opportunities that arose from this job were huge for someone of my age and I worked all hours gaining experience after experience. Still in the back of my head was my grand plan of starting out in business myself.
During this time, one of my horses was suffering from terrible Sweet Itch; an allergy from biting midges that results in the horse excessively itching itself to the point of bleeding. I had tried many products, however nothing worked effectively and many had nasty chemicals in them, which I wasn’t a big fan of.
My mum, a very resourceful person, began researching extensively into Sweet Itch and eventually developed a lotion; and it worked! The results were fantastic and gained interest from our local Vet, who was treating my horse Flint.
I saw first-hand the potential this new lotion had and from that instant, the light bulb flickered and the ball started to roll with the development of Itching, and my new business was born!
Start-up money for this business idea, of course was a big issue, so I began to save big style and for a while, had to knock my social life on the head, this was huge for me as I am a big fan of a good party!
Lots of time was spent on research and product trials and my mum was a great contributor to this, ensuring the lotion was super effective.
Flint’s Yard was launched in February at BETA, the biggest equine trade event in the UK, this at the time was a huge investment, however, boy did it pay off as we secured a wholesale agreement with one of the UK’s largest wholesalers of agricultural products, a massive achievement.
From here the business started to fly, and I began to appreciate that saying there are only 24hrs in a day! I worked around the clock, seven days a week, some crazy hours, and I still am. However I know that it is all 100% worth it and I love it!
Across this summer our team have travelled across the country to many prestigious events promoting our product; Itching? We have travelled far and wide from The Royal Welsh Show to The Royal Highland Show, we haven’t left many stones unturned!
2015 is set to be another exciting year, we are expanding the product range and building our fantastic team.
Having a British business and supporting other British businesses is really important to me. I like innovation too, for instance; all of our office stationary and business cards are printed on PonyPoo paper, it’s totally different, and has proved a fab talking point in many a meeting!
Starting a business without a degree, in my eyes is actually better, a few people I have met that do have a degree are far less risk taking as they have learnt the text book do’s and don’ts of starting a business which I think can restrict you massively. Building a business at such a young age, I feel is the best time, as you don’t have very many commitments and responsibilities, should things not quite go as you would like. It’s not like I was walking away from a six figure executive salary and I don’t have a family to provide for, it’s just me; the risks and what if’s are way less.
You have to be determined, when starting out, as you will, more than likely come across a few potential knock backs. However stay persistent, maintain your vision and most importantly never give up!