There’s always a bright side to things, a good philosophical principle that has worked wonders for young entrepreneurs Emma-Jayne Parkers and Viviane Jaeger, who founded SquidLondon in 2008, a company that sells umbrellas and shower curtains that change color with water .
“The idea came to us on a gray and rainy day; We thought it would be really cool if clothes could change color when they came into contact with water,” explains Parkers, who was then in his final year at London College Fashion, a quarry for the most prestigious designers.
Development of prototypes
“We invested almost 10,000 euros of our savings and with the help of a prize from Deutsche Bank (they were finalists) we had enough to develop the product and some prototypes,” he recalls.
Within 11 days they ran out of stock, so they decided to get serious and started looking for potential customers. How could it be otherwise, to make themselves known, they chose London’s Shoredict Market – one of the hippest places in the British capital – and the idea took off: “Our first big client was the Tate Museum,” says Parkers, “which us asked to design an umbrella to sell in his shop.” And the museum shops are the main selling point for SquidLondon: “You can usually find different and fun things in these places, which because of their originality become a special gift,” says the entrepreneur.
Income, step by step
As far as the company’s revenue is concerned, “it’s going very slowly right now,” says Parkers. In this sense, they can pay their salaries and have a cash cushion in the bank of around 8,000 euros.
SquidLondon is sold in a dozen countries and this pair of young entrepreneurs has won the Smarta 100, the Shell Live Wire Grand Ideas Award and the Lloyds Creative Enterprise Award, among others.