A few years ago, Laura Bartlett stood in front of millions of viewers on Dragons’ Den and was told that her idea of producing a travel/fashion magazine with the money that she was asking for was IMPOSSIBLE! Fast forward a couple of years with no investment and nothing but determination and that business, House of Coco, (which is available to buy in Harrods, Selfridges and other high end stockists) has allowed her to travel to Jersey, Gran Canaria, Dubai, Rome, Croatia, Egypt, Marbella, Turkey, New York, Geneva, Lausanne, Canada twice, Sweden, Tokyo, Milan, Portugal and the Caribbean – plus endless more adventures for her #TeamCoco and things are only just getting started!
Laura Bartlett // House of Coco // Media and Publishing // UK // 20s
What motivated & inspired you to start your business?
When I was 19 I was fortunate enough to land my first job working in radio and it was here that I had a taste of the glamorous lifestyle that it opens you up to. I made a decision, during a launch party, that one day I would be at similar events on my own merit, representing my own company.
What steps did you take to get things going in the beginning?
In the beginning this was a sideline – a hobby – and it wasn’t about making money. So the first year was just about building connections and content. I would give brands free coverage on the website and when I decided to move in to print, I already had all the brands that I had featured for free raring to sign up. Once I had enough of getting told off for doing ‘magazine stuff’ in work hours, it was time to quit. I did a lot of collaboration with other brands; its a great way to hijack their following and build readers
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I spent the first few years being the YES girl. I would literally go to every event, party, and launch that I was invited to as it was always an invitation to talk to a potential customer or business partner. Social media has also played a huge part. It’s so important to interact with your followers and to offer a friendly tone to which they can relate.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
My first business failed. I soon realised that FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning and I picked myself up and started again. After the exposure from Dragon’s Den, I was approached to be a media partner with one of the biggest fashion events in the country, the Clothes Show. It was an honour to be positioned along side Elle and Cosmo but sadly, the £100k I was told I had the potential to make at the show ended up being just £20! So I had to leave the event early, couldn’t pay the suppliers and sadly the company had to close. I could have gotten a job but after a few months out I realised I had learned so much from this experience and I was ready to restart my entrepreneurial journey. Since then, almost two years later, I have a magazine which is currently stocked in the most exclusive stores in London (including Harrods and Selfridges) and I have a team of 20 people who now work with me on achieving our goals to be the number one travel magazine for millennials.
Can you tell us about any habits you have/things you do, which set up success every day?
Routine is key. It can be monotonous but it has to be done. I wake up at the same time every day, my first 20 minutes is spent listening to something motivating or reading. I then make sure I’m ready to go for 9am. I set my day up the night before and write in my diary exactly what needs doing and what amount of time it will take.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
When I face a big challenge, I…
take a deep breath and jump in with both feet. I always know it didn’t come to stay, it came to pass.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done as an entrepreneur is…
go on Dragons Den in front of millions of people.
If I could go back in time to when I started my business I would tell myself…
it will all be worth it.
The best piece of advice I’ver ever been given is…
My favourite business tool/resource/book/podcast is…
the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
My favourite quote is…