Lucy & Meriel both received a Start Up Loan of £7,000 for their frozen yoghurt ice lolly business Claudi & Fin.
After winning the ‘PitchUp to Sainsbury’s’ competition in 2013, the lollies are now stocked in over 700 stores across the UK and Ireland. We spoke to co-founder Lucy Woodhouse about her startup experience of finding workspace and how it has changed as the business has developed.
Where is your business based?
We work one day from home, but for the rest of the week we are based from a local business centre in South East London.
Has your workspace changed since you started Claudi & Fin?
We started our business working from home, trialling recipes in the kitchen. After two years working from home we decided to move to our own office.
Why did you decide to change your workspace?
When we were working from home the house was full of ingredients, packaging and trade show materials and this became quite hectic. We didn’t manufacture our product on site, but if we needed to hold meetings it’s unusual to ask someone to come to your house!
What research did you do when looking to move?
Affordability was really important to us, as well as the time to get to the workspace. We wanted an easy commute and somewhere that allowed us to position ourselves as a professional brand. We looked at variety of options such as co-working spaces and offices and eventually chose an office in a local business centre.
What are the benefits of working in a business centre?
As well as ourselves, there are a mixture of businesses close to us including a chocolate company, children’s clothing and architects. We all talk when we meet in the kitchen and it’s a really friendly and helpful environment. Another great thing about working in the business centre is it gets you out of the house! The work life balance can be hard when you have your own business, but we’ve found that separating home from business definitely helps.
Are you looking to get your own premises in the future?
Right now we aren’t looking. The great thing about the workspace that we are in is that they understand businesses are growing, and can offer different sizes should you need it. The business centre hosts networking events and a summer and Christmas party, and allows all the businesses to showcase their products. They understand the importance of networking for small brands, and we wouldn’t have as many opportunities like this if we had our own premises. We still develop new Claudi & Fin recipes and formats in our kitchens, so we are occasionally still busy in our own homes prepping and tasting with our chief tasters, our children Claudia and Fin!
What is your advice for small business owners on choosing workspace?
You will know when it’s time to move! Working from home is great to start with as it can lower your costs, but it’s not always convenient and you can start to feel a little lonely. As a business owner you watch every single penny, using your own printer, computer, broadband and mobile, and moving to premises can feel so expensive. But there are huge benefits to being around other creatives, especially asking questions and getting advice. My advice would be to stay at home for as long as you can afford to, but moving out can help you feel more like a business.