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We Catch up with our 2013 Self Starter of the Year- Jennifer Duthie, founder of Skribbies

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by Startacus Admin

We are delighted with last weeks launch of our annual self starter awards which aims to recognise the work of early stage self starter / entrepreneur / startup folk who are demonstrating that they’re doing something of note with that big or small idea that they have!

The 2013 winner of the coveted ‘Self Starter of the Year’ award was Jennifer Duthie, founder of the innovative footwear brand Skribbies and now that this years awards are off to such a cracking start, we reckoned its about time we caught up with her to see what exciting developments have taken place since she was named our Self Starter of the Year.2013 Self Starter of the Year

Hi there Jennie. Last time we were speaking you had just been awarded the Startacus Self Starter of the Year! Tell us what you have been up to since and hows Skribbies going?!

It has only been about a month since we found out we were the Self Starter of the Year but it feels like much longer. We have had an incredible month. We have been to Paris to check out a trade show which we will participate in the summer. We have met a major retailer and are in talks to develop a range of shoes for them. We are in talks with distributors in Eastern Europe and America to take Skribbies global. We have been accepted onto a UKTI exporting programme which will give us a lot of practical support and we develop the international side of the business. We have invested in developing videos for our youtube channel so we can convey the Skribbies concept better: All in all it has been a pretty incredible month and an exciting start to 2014.

What do you think are the key criteria that make someone a Self Starter?

At the moment I really feel that its how you react to the bad times that makes you a self starter. It is natural in business that people sing their successes and that is all you hear about. Look at my answer to the question above. However, what you don't hear about are the bad days, mistakes, dead ends, frustrations and delays that are a natural part of business. I think being a true self starter is being able to take the bad days in your stride, cope with them and grow from them. For every success there are 100 failures, it's normal and not everything is going to work exactly the way you planned it. Remember that failure can be enriching and to celebrate when you do get the success!!

We've just launched this years Self Starter Awards, and Marketest are again giving the overall winner 1k of consumer market research - tell us where you are at with your own Market Research prize and how is it being used?

We are really pleased to have won the Marketest package. We did a lot of our own research before we launched Skribbies and the discoveries we made during this research period have really affected the development, design and marketing of the product. By doing research we were able to avoid costly mistakes and tweak our proposition to give it the best chance of success. Having launched we are finding it more difficult to find the time and resource to be able to invest in research despite its importance. We will be using our prize soon and are developing our research brief so we ensure we get the most out of it.

Self Starter of the Year What fab advice would you give to a 'just starting out' Self Starter?

I am a huge fan of the lean startup methodology. I would encourage people starting out to read Eric Ries 'The Lean Startup'. The whole idea behind the lean startup is that you test your business idea by actually launching it and adapting the business based on real-world feedback. The whole idea is that this feedback allows you to develop your product so you have something that customers actually want not something you think they want. You don’t have to launch with the perfect product, it’s better to launch something and perfect it along the way. This works really well with technical products. What I love about the lean startup philosophy is that it encourages you to start your business and develop it based on what the customer says and the book gives plenty of tips on how to test your ideas with the minimum level of costs. I shouldn’t really quote a competitor here but Nike has got it right. Don’t sit around talking about your ideas. Do it!!! Just do it! I firmly believe that it is better to regret the things you do and not the things you don’t do.

What are your key goals for the rest of 2014, both personally and as a business!

  • Set up distribution agreements in European, Asian and American markets.
  • Extend our product range with new styles and sizes of shoe and new customisable products.
  • Get investment into the business so we can really scale our grout
  • Go on a holiday!! I haven't been on a proper holiday for over three years.

Thanks Jennie! We cant wait to see what is next for you and Skribbies and congratulations once again for being our 2013 Self Starter of the Year.

If you reckon you have got what it takes to be named one of our 2014 Self Starter Award winners then what are you waiting for, click here for all the info you need on how to enter and the fabulous prizes on offer!

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Published on: 5th March 2014

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