Don’t you just hate getting up in the morning and waking up to bills? Sometimes, we just simply ignore them, tip toeing around them and the heading for work. Well, imagine… instead of waking up to bills you could wake up to gifts. Gifts? Really? Yes gifts. This is what made Ned Corbett-Winder, founder of Not Another Bill quit his job at M&C Saatchi and start-up Not Another Bill, a new subscription service that offers bespoke gifts sent to you through the post.
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
My Name is Ned, I spent my school, college and university years studying art in its various forms, and then took my First Class degree in Graphic Design from Central St Martins to M&C Saatchi advertising agency.
Tell me about how you got into business?
I’ve had small businesses my whole life, from selling conkers on the school playground to T-shirt businesses at university.
What were you doing before you founded the company?
I founded Not Another Bill whilst I was working at M&C Saatchi as a creative in advertising. I did both for nearly a year but finally left Saatchi to concentrate solely on NAB in February this year.
How did the idea for Not Another Bill come about?
The idea sort of stemmed from the fact that I am a compulsive shopaholic, and when I was an art director at M&C Saatchi I had cool things arriving in the post most days.
My copywriter and good friend Martin always complained he never got anything in the post apart from cruddy old bills - hence NOTANOTHERBILL was born. I went about just building a basic site and from there blogs and people started talking.
Tell me about the early days of Not Another Bill, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
Finding the conviction to leave a job that I absolutely loved for something I didn’t know was going to work.
What is Not Another Bill and what are you trying to solve?
Royal Mail’s falling share prices and dwindling popularity...
What is the business model?
There are lots of aspects to this business model, it sort of acts as a marketing tool for the brands to get their products out there in an interesting and diverse way. Due to this we can make it so The gifts you receive are worth more than the subscription cost. Win win for everyone.
How have you been able to fund it?
Being subscription based and paid in advance the business needed very little initial start-up cash so I managed to fund it when working full time in advertising.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
I think the most crucial thing was leaving my full time job, which allowed me to dedicate all my time and energy to NAB. Other than that I’ve recently taken on a great PR company and two full time staff who both help me with PR, social media, website design and the general spreading of the NOTANOTHERBILL word.
Could you give us an example of a setback you had in the early stages of the business, how you overcame it and what you learnt from it?
Packaging up whole batches of gifts and discovering too late that they were one millimetre over the regulation 25mm deep that can qualify as a largeletter (therefore more than doubling postal prices for every parcel) meant I learnt the strict sizes of postage the hard way. I’ve now become something of an expert on the Royal Mail’s rules and can now tell the price of any parcel just by looking at it.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
I think the most rewarding part of running Not Another Bill is seeing people’s positive reaction when i describe the business. It reassures me i’m onto a good thing. We’re also lucky enough to have some of the loveliest subscribers, who’s feedback is so encouraging and gives me so much job satisfaction after every send out.
What should we be expecting from yourself and Not Another Bill for the rest of the year?
The build up to Christmas (our busiest time) has begun so we’re frantic getting bigger and more beautiful gifts in to send out after the Christmas rush. There are some really beautiful gifts coming up which is always exciting. We’ll be showing at the Spirit of Christmas fair as well at the end of October so come and say hello.
What three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Ideas tend to grow and change as you develop them, so don’t get too bogged down with the initial details, just throw yourself into it rather than worrying about how to start it.
2. Buy a web address. It makes it feel real. Also buy it the same day you’re looking at them (as the price goes up if the companies know you’re after it!).
3. Don’t take it all too seriously, laugh a lot and make sure you are having fun every day.