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Don't dither, dream big and have passion! Lessons learnt from Julie Deane OBE

An iconic British brand that started with just £600, a dream and a big dollop of passion, Julie Deane’s story of founding The Cambridge Satchel Company is packed full of invaluable lessons – whether you’re at the beginning of your journey or a seasoned entrepreneur!

Here are my top takeaways from my chat with Julie, covering everything from motherhood to establishing an entire factory in a matter of days!

“Your life will have chapters. Enjoy every one of them and make the most of all of it.”

£600 is enough to find out if your idea is a good idea
With a fierce ‘do it yourself’ attitude, Julie believes that “when you don’t have money, you don’t waste money”.

Don’t dither!
If you have no sense of urgency, you will dither – don’t. I allocated myself 10 minutes to think of the name of my company and made my logo in word art!

Be careful when it comes to ‘experts’
Don’t be a control freak, but actually you need to be a control freak. Because nobody cares as much as you care about it. And nobody cares about the tiny, tiny details that actually do make a difference.

Being self employed is not for everyone
That’s not a bad thing, but what you need to do is really know yourself. If you’ve always wanted to try something, get on with it!

Find something that you feel completely passionate about
When you’re tired and working into the early hours of the morning, you need something if you’re really passionate about, just to remind you of why you’re doing it. It doesn’t matter what it is, but finding something you feel really passionate about I think is really key.

Dream big
I’m always more motivated by something that looks like a real moonshot – you know, the big dream. Don’t get scared of it and scale it back. Figure out what you really want and what you need to get there and then that’s the challenge.

Shout when you’re proud of something
Our satchels, our British bags, they need to be made in Britain, and anyone can visit our factory. It’s absolutely wonderful to see them being made. And you should shout when you’re proud of something – it doesn’t have to be British made. For me, there is a real beauty in craftsmanship.

Storytelling is important to your brand
If we do storytelling properly, people can enjoy the experience and feel an ongoing happiness and continue to get joy from it, rather than just “okay, I need a bag”.

Related podcast

The power of doing it yourself, with Julie Deane OBE, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company

September 3, 2018
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