The CEO & Co-Founder, Lenka Gourdie, is cognoscente of everything fabulous and luxurious and is respected by people who know her for keen eye for handbags, fashion and luxury products. Lenka has over 15 years experience in sales, marketing, business development and recruitment. Additionally she also has proven experience in commercialisation and new product development. Lenka worked for a fashion manufacturing house for over 2 years.
Hi Lenka, Thanks for doing this. How are you doing today?
Great, we are soon to launch our new competition Design own handbag, so it’s all very exciting.
Tell me how you initially got into business?
I had always been searching for a business idea. One day BagServant was born by combining 2 passions – technology and a love for handbags.
How did the idea for Bag Servant come about?
I always wanted to run my own business and searched for the right idea. I believe when you look for the right idea, you know when you’ve found it. I have always loved fashion and my disposable income has always allowed me to spend lots of money on new clothes, shoes and handbags. However, my real passion for handbags was born when I married my husband and he bribed me to take a helicopter trip together on our honeymoon in Hawaii. When he asked me what he needed to do in order to get me on-board, the first thing that came to my mind was a Fendi handbag! Since then, at every special occasion, I have treated myself to a new handbag. Years later, when I read articles about bloggers and fashion, Allan, my business partner presented me with the concept of a handbag search engine and the idea was born.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
Making the final decision to start and just go for it!
What is BagServant? And what are you trying to solve with it?
BagServant is the ultimate handbag destination for anyone who wants to buy a new handbag or find out the latest news about handbags. Our goal is to develop the most effective, fun and engaging handbag website for bag lovers and brands.
How have you been able to fund it so far?
We have bootstrapped it so far but we are now looking for funding to develop the ultimate handbag destination - an online handbag marketplace and a customisation platform.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
In the first few months Allan and I had part time jobs to fund the business. Although we were very busy, we were also very excited and have also learnt a lot. It is like bringing a baby to world - you can’t wait to see it!
How did you initially get traction?
We have relied on social media and SEO a lot from the beginning. With our new marketplace we have a full marketing strategy in place and want to integrate all the marketing channels to drive the traffic and increase brand awareness.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
Be open to shortcomings and prepared to experiment with new things, think outside the box and take a risk.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
I feel that we have learned many things and we have had many moments which stay with us. One of the highlights has to be when I personally interviewed Deborah Meaden about her handbags.
What should we be expecting from yourself and the Bag Servant team for 2013?
We are soon launching our mini marketplace and work with new designers, also collaborating to design an exclusive handbag collection, launching our new competition “Design your own handbag” which hopefully will lead to design and purchasing of our own bespoke handbags. Lots happening!
Lastly, what three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
Follow your passion, have your vision, be flexible and keep going - start today and take little steps everyday to achieve your goals and vision!
On Saturday 9th March we will be hosting, alongside Brightside, ‘Get Up Start Up‘ where you will be able to apply and be approved for a Startup loan of between £2,500 & £10,000 to help you get your business started!