For Izzy Howe, university proved to be a pivotal period in her life as an entrepreneur, business owner, and all-round start-up enthusiast.
Originally studying a degree in mechanical engineering, Izzy, by her own admission, “loved the maths but knew this wasn’t the right career”.
So, upon achieving her bachelors degree, she decided to switch her focus and apply her enterprising ambition to a postgraduate in business.
Izzy’s studies opened her up to an entirely new path, picking up knowledge on the likes of business management on her way to creating her own start-up alongside a fellow student. While her tech company did not realise the potential Izzy had once hoped it would, the experience itself was vital in shaping the direction she took thereafter.
Life as a start-up owner can be challenging, and such was the case for Izzy.
With her company in an incubator, she had to deal with the harsh reality of dedicating massive effort to secure funding, only to be knocked back by investors who, sometimes, cited her young age as a barrier to investment.
In spite of this, Izzy took the experience and channeled it in a positive way that would help other new businesses, becoming a start-up consultant and helping lots of companies to grow and succeed based on the direction she provides.
However, despite her positive influence on other companies, Izzy still had the urge to try again with starting her own business, this time going for a more tangible, sales-driven product.
It was at this point she started The Flat Lay Co.
Based in Shoreditch, The Flat Lay Co. is dedicated to making practical solutions for everyday problems, with a specific emphasis on the quality of their products. Founded in January 2017, their sole product to date has been a first-of-its-kind, intelligently engineered makeup bag.
“I think there was a month between having the idea for the bag and actually testing samples, it was very fast,” said Izzy.
“We were the first company to start selling this bag in the UK and that gave us a great opportunity to build a brand around the product, too. The original plan was that it (The Flat Lay Co.) would be a side project, but to be honest it’s just been so busy,” she added.
Besides the amount of time that goes into getting any new business off the ground, Izzy has also had to deal with a rapidly increasing workload as demand for her product has skyrocketed in the 10 months she has been selling.
In fact, following a sell-out month on Amazon in December, Izzy saw new competitors swoop into the marketplace and try to compete with their own version of her product.
“We had a great month in December and actually ran out of stock for January. In the time it took to restock I saw about 10 new competitors start selling similar products to mine on Amazon in an attempt to get a share of the market.
“This has only further underlined the importance of continuing to build our brand and be synonymous with a product that is of higher quality than others like it. We have always been focused on top quality and I think for most consumers that is the most important box to tick when they’re wondering which product to buy,” said Izzy.
Overall, the future for Izzy and The Flat Lay Co. looks, quite literally, bright. In addition to the success to date, the next priority is to add products with stronger colour and more detail to their offering.
Additionally, this summer, The Flat Lay Co. will be launching in Australia with a distribution centre based in the country to make it easier to supply the ever-growing demand down under.