Find out how Successful Mum Jacqueline Gyer went from investment banker to being her own boss.
Can you tell me a bit about your business?
I’m the Founder & CEO of East Meets West Direct. I help UK based businesses by taking the stress, risk and cost out of importing 4 key products: furniture, IT hardware, upholstery & textiles from China. However, the product listing doesn’t just end there. We design and/or manufacture and/or ship directly to the door of any UK business. I look after sales & marketing, client relations and my business partner and our team carry out all the logistical side of the business.
How far had you come with your idea before you came on the Successful Mums course?
I had the idea for almost 18months (prompted mainly by my business partner) but the timing was never quite right. I had followed the work Successful Mums did for years and thought that this year was the time to go for it!
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I’ve wanted to be my own boss for a while especially after the birth of my second child, I want the flexibility around family life. I really want to teach my children the spirit of entrepreneurship, ( thinking outside of the box) it’s not something that they’ll get taught at school. Plus I get to utilise both languages, I speak.
Were you working in the same industry before?
Completely different as I’ve only ever worked in investment banking, for almost 20 years. It’s a massive transition for me, hence I find it both challenging and exciting.
What was your experience of the course?
I really enjoyed the course and surprised myself what you can actually achieve if you put your mind to it. There was some homework and research to do but it was a good as it kept me focused. I hadn’t studied for a long time so I had to get used to getting into a learning environment but Jane and the team are very supportive. It was really helpful to meet like-minded women as we were able to inspire each other.
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
Flexibility. Learning something new every day. I get to know myself better through running my own business. Meeting loads of new faces and making new contacts.
What have you been most proud of since setting up your business?
I’ve been working with a client who has now agreed to visit the factories in China with my business partner at the beginning of 2020.
What have been your biggest challenges?
I was quite naive not knowing how much budget to put aside for marketing. I think there’s only so much out reach you can get by using social media. So finding the budget for marketing has been challenging but key for any business. Jane and the team provide some great marketing tips to gain life long customers.
What’s been the most important thing you’ve learned along the way?
Get organised and get help whether it’s free or paid. You can’t be Jack of all trades. I think, as a business owner it’s much better to concentrate on areas that you’re really good at and get help from someone who is an expert in the area that you are not so good at. Jane talked about being niche so you can focus on that audience which is a great tip.
Any next steps or new plans for the business you can tell us about?
Yes we have got big plans in 2020 towards helping clients to import sustainable products.
What one piece of advice would you give a mum in your position who’s thinking of starting their own business?
Make sure the timing is absolutely right for you because that would have an effect on everything. If there was one thing I knew from the beginning is to make sure I put more money aside for marketing!
Find out more on our website East Meets West
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