Lessons learnt from trying - Part 1 / by Frankie Baeza

I really didn’t want to ever go to university, in fact to this day I still have no idea how I managed to get onto an actual course with the my A-Level results.

Rewinding back, to when I came to the end of my studies at Woking College in 2011. There was a broken and discontent person inside of me that really felt every book, question and fact that I tried to digest from the teachers simply wouldn’t happen the way it was expected to. Ignoring all the complications this caused at home (My mum is and always will be very passionate about education) against all odds I managed to complete the courses I had started. 

My girlfriend at the time is someone I will forever be thankful too for pushing me to do a UCAS application, and 2 weeks before the deadline, with the help of a very pro-active careers advisor who made pretty much every decision for me I ended up with an interview at Bournemouth University. 

So with the prospect of possibly going to university and having not really taken my eBay business to it’s full potential, it was time for my notice to Superdry to be handed in. The week after, my single stall at Woking market had been erected. Selling American team snapbacks, Shamballa bracelets, Kanye West inspired jesus pieces and kids animal backpacks? 

WHAT WAS I THINKING. Well, for the past few months I had been helping cash up the tills at Superdry and just felt sick knowing that on a good day we were banking £15k. Holding the cash in my hands made me think, there is no way I’m going to be handing over this sort of money to a boss for rest of my life.

Day 1 - What did I bank? Well excluding the £90 on the Gazebo, the £500 on stock the £30 table, the £100 public liability insurance and the £30 rent I paid daily. £0

Day 2 - £0

Day 3 - £0

Day 4 - £15 - First sale and was haggled hard from £25!

By this point I’m thinking to myself - What the fuck have I got myself into?

Woking Market 2011: in all it's glory

Woking Market 2011: in all it's glory

 

Luckily my madre gave me a “Rafa Benitez - Istanbul” pep talk and gave me the boost to finish of the week.

Day 5 - £275 banked cash in my pocket…  for a fact this was the day I knew I’d never turn back on the dream of owning my own business empire. I could have cashed less that day, but it was the sheer fact that I could count up at the end of the day and take the money home after all the hard work I had put in was such a great feeling.

Looking back in hindsight, 30 hours over 5 days totalling at £300 made me £10 an hour, right?

Nope -  £720 start-up costs and the £30 daily cost of renting the market space meant I was still in quite a muddle with cash flow. 

As word spread of my stall “Frankie Says inc”,  I started to understand the art of haggling, at least one of my varied product range would seem to be perfect for passers by. The key benefit to owning your own business is you can make fast decisions, although I had a pricing structure in mind, it was optimistic and I valued my items at a higher price then customers perceived them to be worth.

My sources were reputable and they were good quality items, but having a flimsy gazebo on a non-existent market meant it was very hard for punters to ever justify paying the prices I wanted. So taking a hit on the price was something I had to do to sustain myself for another 3 weeks.

In these 3 weeks my grand parents came to visit all the way from Essex:

Abuelo & Abuela travelled from Basildon to visit me.

Abuelo & Abuela travelled from Basildon to visit me.

What a choice by my grandad Basilio

What a choice by my grandad Basilio

Not having done the research on the market prior to setting up, my knowledge of what my core customer base would be was non-existent. At the start of week three, there were already four regular visitors. All of them were grannies. At first they were just excited about there being another place to “browse” an have a natter with me, possibly due to them feeling sorry for me they would always buy the item I’d give my lowest price on. 

They were always asking me about the hats but when mentioning the £25 price they would look at me like I had said the lords name in vein. “Who are these teams?” “Have you got a Liverpool hat for my grandson” “The San Antonio Spurs, have Tottenham changed there name?”

These blessed grannies and their brutally honest opinions on the hats that I tried to sell to them sparked the idea for finc. It dawned on me, why had I began to sell hats with teams that I have barely ever heard of? Why were there UK teenagers spending money on sports team apparel from teams that they didn’t support. To put it simply, English football clubs have not engaged with youth culture enough to understand on how to make their team garments cool, and still to this day struggle.

Having read an article on the fact that, the best brand names have three syllables or less: NIKE, A-DI-DAS, FACE-BOOK, AP-PPLE the list goes on. The name Frankie says inc had to be scrapped.

Football inc. Finc. Easy.

Logo designed, a place at Bournemouth Uni on offer. The stall sadly came to and end and all remaining stock was sold in bulk to some local shops bar the hats. These hats where coming to halls with me.

Written - 01.12.2015