The Lightbulb Moment
After 6 years in PR I was itching to finally start a business of my own. To get some hands-on ‘business-side’ experience, I took a pay cut to work with a number of creative start-ups on a freelance basis. During those projects, I kept meeting London artists and designers who were struggling to find new audiences for their work. I could see real potential for a new platform that helped them drive sales and commercial opportunities.
In the same year, London was basking in the glory of the Olympics and had just become the most visited city on the planet with the annual tourist footfall figure at over 16 million. With so many international visitors heading to the West End for creative and cultural experiences, my lightbulb moment was sailing past one of the many souvenir stores in London on the number 19 bus and thinking ‘surely we can do better than that!’
In a nutshell, I wanted the business to offer both international visitors and locals the chance to take home a souvenir that really reflected the creativity of London - and at the same time supported the city’s most exciting creatives. On a personal level, I wanted to put my name to revolutionising an outdated and tired industry.
Everyone told me I was mad to even think about launching a physical store and tried to convince me to start online. I wasn’t deterred. Souvenirs for me are an emotional purchase, offering a tangible connection and memory to the place you’re visiting. I wanted WBTC to be as much of a physical experience as any other London attraction on a tourist’s journey through the city.