Advertisement

Danielle Kendall: hatching a plan from a hen party

Danielle Kendall had had enough of tacky hen party gifts, so launched her own company, Team Hen, to make more tasteful products.

939-MM-Danielle_10
Danielle Kendall

"I was looking for favours and gift bags and everything was just gross and garish. Flashing head boppers and tutus, really awful," Danielle Kendall, 36, tells Josie Griffiths in The Sun. She had been asked to organise a hen weekend, but the party products she had found online were "tacky". The bride "was in her early thirties and it was just not the sort of look she was going for". So Kendall decided to make her own.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Her range of "Team Hen" badges and gift bags proved a hit on the weekend away to Bath. "I threw myself into the plans, because it was quite boring being a stay-at-home mum," she says. She sold what was left on Etsy, a website for selling handmade items, reinvesting the proceeds. What had begun as a hobby became a business when Team Hen was listed on trendy retail website Not On The High Street (NOTHS) in 2015.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

"We turned over more in the first week on NOTHS than we would in a month on Etsy that was when I realised it was a proper job," says Kendall.

"I was working out of the spare room and at busy times we'd have to get the whole family involved." Sales jumped from £500 a month to £55,000 in the first year, then £150,000 in year two, and £180,000 the following year. This year, sales are projected to hit £250,000, with celebrities such as reality TV star Olivia Buckland becoming fans. She now has three employees working for her, all sourced from a local mums' Facebook group. "My staff are hugely flexible, which just supports the way we work."

A billion-dollar business and not a suit in sight

939-MM-Mike-Scott
Scott Farquhar, left, and Mike Cannon-Brookes, right

Scott Farquhar had been accepted into the Australian Defence Force Academy. But the letter confirming his place got lost in the post. If he had received it, things might have worked out very differently, the 39-year-old tells the BBC's Virginia Harrison. Instead, Farquhar enrolled on a computing degree at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where he met Mike Cannon-Brookes. After graduating, they decided to work for themselves.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Their aims were simple: no suits, and earn more than A$48,500 (£26,000 a graduate-level salary). "At that stage I was living in a shared house at university and eating noodles every day," says Farquhar. "We didn't have much to lose."After a brief spell as a "terrible" tech support company, their focus switched to providing business software.

They founded Atlassian in 2002 with a credit card and not much else. Orders came mostly from friends at first, but then one day in 2003 a faxed purchase order arrived from American Airlines. "That was the turning point when we knew we'd make it," he says. Sales took off, and last year revenues topped $1bn. Thousands of firms use Atlassian's software, including big-name brands Coca-Cola, Twitter and Visa. In 2015 Atlassian listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York. Today, it is valued at $25bn and Farquhar and Cannon-Brookes are worth around $7bn each.

Opening up Asia to fashion's small sellers

939-MM-Ankiti-Bose_1
Ankiti Bose

"I busted my ass, working 18 hours a day because it was so much fun," Ankiti Bose tells Yoolim Lee on Bloomberg.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Bose was working as a 23-year-old analyst at venture firm Sequoia India when she got chatting to a neighbour at a house party in the Indian tech capital of Bengaluru. She and Dhruv Kapoor, a 24-year-old software engineer, realised they had complementary talents and similar ambitions. So they decided to team up together.

Four months later, in 2015, they had quit their jobs and plunged $30,000 each of their savings into setting up Singapore-based Zilingo, an online fashion platform in southeast Asia, geared towards giving smaller sellers greater market presence. Listings on the platform are free, and Zilingo charges a commission of between 10% and 20% on orders. "We were a bunch of 20-somethings with nothing except this dream and we decided to chase it," says Bose.

As many small sellers lack technology and scale, Zilingo has since branched out into developing software and other tools to facilitate greater access to factories from Vietnam to Bangladesh, along with working capital, so that small sellers can buy the ingredients to make their goods.

Revenue came to S$1.8m ($1.3m) in the year to the end of March 2017, up from S$434,000 in the first year. It grew twelvefold in 2018, according to the firm. Last month, Zilingo raised $226m from investors, including Sequoia Capital, valuing the business at $970m. It has 400 employees in eight countries, and runs e-commerce sites in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. An Australian launch is planned for the near future.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Don’t squeeze our entrepreneurs with higher taxes
Economy

Don’t squeeze our entrepreneurs with higher taxes

Britain’s entrepreneurs and business innovators get generous tax breaks. They should keep getting them.
17 Nov 2019
Philip Day: the retail knight falls off his horse
People

Philip Day: the retail knight falls off his horse

Retail baron Philip Day, once seen as the saviour of the British high street, is under fire for holding to a monastic silence as his suppliers struggl…
26 Jul 2020
Mahmud Kamani: a modern rags-to-riches tale
People

Mahmud Kamani: a modern rags-to-riches tale

Mahmud Kamani turned fast-fashion website Boohoo into a business worth billions. The coronavirus crisis may have brought the company’s biggest challen…
19 Jul 2020
Deadline looms for self-employed to get government help
Small business

Deadline looms for self-employed to get government help

Time is running out to secure help from the first round of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
3 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Eagle Lightweight GT: the reincarnation of the E-type Jag
Toys and gadgets

Eagle Lightweight GT: the reincarnation of the E-type Jag

Jaguar’s classic E-type sports car has been reinvented for the modern age. The result – the Eagle Lightweight GT – is a thing of beauty.
7 Aug 2020
Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold
Silver and other precious metals

Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold

Gold and silver continue to soar, but there's still time to get in. And there's another precious metal that looks set to go on a bull run too, says Jo…
7 Aug 2020
UK house prices hit a new record high – can it last?
House prices

UK house prices hit a new record high – can it last?

Despite the pandemic, UK house prices have hit a new high. John Stepek looks at what’s driving the surge in prices, and what it means for house prices…
7 Aug 2020