Welcome Caz - I thought it would be great to pick your brain a little, and find out some more about what you do.
I am the founder of two online businesses. I started Cyclechic.co.uk in 2008 after a frustrating search for a stylish bike helmet. I realised there was no one catering for the growing breed of fashion-conscious female cyclists. I launched Cyclechic to source and sell stylish cycling accessories and to promote cycling as a desirable, accessible lifestyle choice to encourage more women to take to two wheels. In 2016 I launched my second business, Now Frame It, a website that enables you to frame your favourite photos in seconds from your phone. I work between London and Kent and live with my partner, daughter and dog in Faversham.
What were you doing before you created Cycle Chic?
I worked in TV for 8 years. I was a casting assistant at the BBC auditioning actors to be in EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty. It was a great job but ultimately the desire to set up my own business was calling…
Getting involved in Tech is still a new thing for women, what was the motivation for you?
When I started Cyclechic I wanted to fill the gap I had identified in the market for stylish cycling accessories. I was about as un-techy as they come. But I realised the way to monetize my idea was to create an online retail business. After having developed and run an online business for a few years, I became inspired by what is possible in the lifestyle space through tech. Now Frame It was born through understanding a consumer frustration and an knowing what would be possible from a tech point of view to solve it. This is a huge motivation for me, solving consumer/lifestyle problems with tech.
How have you found your journey so far and what has been your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest long-term accomplishment has been building a profitable business that delivers on its mission to encourage more women to start cycling. But my recent and very satisfying accomplishment has been working with my developer to create a responsive website that helps people frame their photos with ease. They key thing here has been the customer feedback. I have had young mothers telling me they have been able to frame baby photos from their phone whilst breastfeeding and pensioners get in touch to say they don’t usually do things like this but they found it really easy! Both accomplishments are delivering on a mission you set yourself and that feels good.
What has been the most challenging thing so far?
Trying to run one business and start another. This has been incredibly difficult and I have learnt a lot about what not to do as well as what to do. Finding the route to market for a new online business is still one of the big challenges we face with Now Frame It while we are small and starting out. Designing a UX (user-experience) from scratch, rather than using software, and knowing how to make it simple and intuitive for the all users across all devices. I could go on….
Do you think more women should get involved in Tech and why?
I think a lot more women are getting involved in tech. I was recently part of a course at Google Campus, called Campus for Mums. The course consisted of 30 women (all mums), all with tech-based businesses or start-up ideas. It connected me with strong female tech community so I think more and more women are coming up with tech business ideas that solve modern day problems.
What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs who are stuck on an idea?
Talk to people about it, get feedback. Think about what problem it solves and for what market. Start blogging or instagramming about it and see if people are interested. If you can get interest and can work out how to monetize, then you’re on the right track.
What does it mean to be a female tech entrepreneur and what challenges do you think women face in the industry?
Being an entrepreneur is all about having a vision and belief in a business and finding the best way to make it happen. Tech is the exciting means to get there. The challenge for an entrepreneur is keeping hold of that vision and overcoming all the things that can go wrong.
Overview of how Cycle Chic works:
Now Frame It might be more relevant here. Now Frame it enables customers to frame their favourite photos in seconds from their phones, tablet or laptops. You simply choose a frame, then upload your photo (from your phone/computer, Facebook or Instagram) into the frame. Position it how you want it, then order it and we print frame and delivery it to your door.
How to find Cycle Chic:
How to find NowFrameit: