Impact Hub members are a diverse lot, from seasoned professionals to start up entrepreneurs, running businesses and charities spanning the social spectrum.
We’ve established a network of hard-working and interesting individuals who believe that co-working is more than just office space – it’s an opportunity to grow the positive impact of your work.
Keen to find out what makes our members tick we caught up with Giles Fernando, Founder and Director of woofthis.co.uk to find out about his journey.
What inspired you to start your social enterprise?
A combination of:
(a) spotting a gap in the market
(b) a constant frustration with the failure to promote domestic craftsmanship as modern, or to engage with the reasons for the decline in UK design and craftsmanship
(c) a desire to promote the benefits of domestic production, in terms of worker rights, lower carbon footprint, and saving traditional skills, in a way that was exciting to UK consumers
How did you meet your team?
Through personal networks. I think it would be very hard to find people otherwise who shared the necessary passion and commitment to get a social enterprise going.
What has been an important lesson you’ve learned so far?
Maintain your focus, but prepare to be flexible when the market isn’t quite as you had anticipated it to be. I think you can be too dogmatic at the outset. At Woofthis, we noticed that we were getting followed and retweeted by lots of crowdfunders and angel investors, even though our primary focus was UK consumers. We could I think have seen that as simply a side benefit, but instead we decided to investigate why we were proving so popular with angel investors and alter the services that we offered fledgling designer/manufacturers. As I think others have found in this arena, a key difference with crowdfunders is that they can be both investors and consumers.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received so far?
Keep going, and never be afraid to take risks. What is failure to one person is simply an opportunity to learn for another. I love Edison’s great quotation about not failing, but simply having established 10,000 ways that wouldn’t work in the quest for establishing what would.
Who would your ideal collaboration be with?
Interesting question. Our ideal collaboration at this stage in our development would be with an alternative investment platform. There is enormous untapped potential for the UK designers.
What does impact mean to you?
It means to us a measurable increase in any of the things we set out to achieve. In our case, every time a designer makes a product in the UK as a result of our efforts, or every time a consumer purchases a product through the woofthis.co.uk, or an investor funds a new design venture, then we have made a difference.
What’s been your favourite/ most useful tool to help you get started?
Almost everything we do depends on interaction. Although a lot of our interaction in the UK is face-to-face at exhibitions and shows, I think Twitter has been incredibly useful for us. Its reach and the ability to target those who are interested in what you have to offer has been invaluable.
Thank you so much for Giles for taking the time to speak with us!