Today’s story is from Thirzie Hull and Samina Raza, owners of Jeeves & Jemima Lifestyle Management. In business for only a short 6 months, Jeeves and Jemima call themselves ‘London’s most exciting Lifestyle Managers.’
Their mission is to help busy Londoners live simple and beautiful lives.
We believe that beauty should permeate every area of life, even the most mundane. We help London’s busiest people live simpler, less stressful and more beautiful lives.
Our unique service was created in response to the fast pace of city life, ours is a service designed with style in mind. At the heart of what we do is the ethos that through collaboration anything is possible. We don’t believe that if you want a job done properly, you have to do it yourself: you just have to know who to call…
1. What drove you to start your own business? What was the turning point?
Thirzie came up with the idea for Jeeves and Jemima whilst working in television. She became acutely aware of the stresses and strains most London professionals were under on a daily basis. The idea gained momentum, and she quit her job to form the company. A few months later, Samina came on board and the company went from strength to strength. We both wanted to work for ourselves, but working completely alone wasn’t quite right, as our concept involves being able to achieve the impossible at the drop of a hat . A partnership is the perfect answer.
2. Who do you admire or look to for inspiration as a business owner?
Both Samina’s parents ran their own businesses, so they were always an inspiration for her. We’ve been lucky to meet Sháa Wasmund, she’s a law unto herself. Straight talking and full of beans, this lady really packs a punch and has been incredibly kind to us in these early days of our start-up. She has a can-do attitude that is the stuff of legend and her books are a great motivational kickstart for any entrepreneur.
One of our freelancers, Maria, is amazing. She works every hour god sends, never turns down a job and does it all with a big smile on her face. When it’s cold and wet, and you’ve got a punctured tyre and are running late, you have to ask yourself “What would Maria do?” She’d smile broadly, hop on a bus and get on with it.
3. What are your goals for your business?
We want to keep growing and working with the finest of London’s designers and craftsmen to make London more beautiful than ever. We see the brand developing into a one-stop-shop for living well in London.
This month we are launching our new Lifestyle Blog, The Great & The Good. This photo journal will feature the best of young, creative business in the Big Smoke. Our bright young things show the sort of pluck, drive, business savvy, and design innovation, that is the antidote to the current fears for Generation Y. Revolutionizing trade in their own neighborhoods and using space innovatively, these kids are letting the fall of the High Street make way for the rise of the Urban Cottage Industries.
We definitely want to get into the position where we can take on a full-time team. We aim to be there by the end of the year. Oh – and we want to get a Vespa. Cycling across London in the rain is great exercise, but a whole day of it can leave you seriously wiped!
4. What would you do differently next time around?
It’s hard to say as we’re still such a young company. However, everything has been a huge learning curve, with every mishap bringing with it an idea of ‘what not to do’ next time.
5. What difficulties and challenges have you had to overcome and how did you keep going?
Of course the financial strain is an impact; a steady income is sorely missed when you go solo! We didn’t want a reduced income to make us downhearted, so we both created a timeline chart, reminding ourselves of where we wanted to be and of where we were coming from. This helped us to remain mindful that each difficulty was only a step on the way to something much bigger.
6. What legacy would you like your business to leave to the world and your family/friends?
We would like to see a culture where delegation becomes much more normal. In this modern world, many of us tend to take on huge loads that can leave us stressed, unsure of our own abilities and with little time to really unwind and enjoy our hard-earned success. Having trusted, flexible support can help free up mental space and allow for your free time to be truly yours. With so many more educated and qualified freelancers out there, the time is right for this kind of tailor-made partnership to become accessible to more and more people.
We think that life is for living, and a work-life balance is easier to achieve when you learn to ask for help.
7. What support did you seek out and what difference has that made to your business?
We were very lucky to have the chance to have our own space in an office for 6 months, through a scheme called Somewhere To . Matt from SMARTA came down to their event, and saw our 60 second pitch. We couldn’t believe it when 2 weeks later we got an email, asking us to come down. He showed us our desks, and where to make coffee, and just said, “see you tomorrow.” After 2 months of café hopping and working from home, we were elated; we had a little screech out in the street. The difference it has made has been incredible.
8. How far ahead do you plan and what keeps you on track and motivated?
We have an entry and exit meeting each week. In the Monday meeting we go over our schedule for the week, look at the finances for the week before and set objectives. The Friday meeting is a roundup and a chance to digest what’s gone on. We have a rough idea of where we want to be in a year, broken down into 3 month windows, but this is by no means set in stone. Right now we’re focused on being flexible and taking every challenge as it comes.
9. What has been one big success that you have achieved in your business?
So far, we have had lots of little successes, every time we exceed the expectations of our clients and make their day go that bit smoother. Being in a position where we can facilitate beneficial relationships between talented young artisans and clients always gives us a little buzz!
10. What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business?
With a positive attitude and relentless effort, nothing is impossible.
11. What are your top 3 tips for someone who would like to start a business now?
Really try to look past the glamour. Running your own business is fashionable now, but the reality is tough. Are you completely up to this challenge?
The lows are just as useful as the highs. It won’t be a bed of roses, but focus on what you are achieving and try to learn from every setback, and to make a point of celebrating each win. Accept that mistakes will happen and this is not a reflection on you or your business, just the inevitable.
Find support and use it. Some people are lucky to have a partner, friends or family who will understand and support them on their business journey, but not everyone. There are lots of professional networks around you can access. If you don’t have much luck on the web, look at the flyers of small businesses in local cafes and start your own. Starting out can be lonely, and the old saying that a problem shared is a problem halved rings true.
12. What are 3 books, websites or resources that you would recommend to other business owners?
Online accounting tools such as QuickBooks.
Read the papers….all of them! If you want to know what your clients are thinking, you have to be on the ball.
Take the time to consume literature that you enjoy, a good book can take you far away from the headaches of the day. We would recommend reading an old-fashioned paper copy to give your eyes a break from those screens!
You can find Jeeves & Jemima at www.jeevesandjemima.com/