The craft is greener on the other side. Timely advice for fellow start-ups

By on February 3, 2012

So… After several months of blood, sweet and tears (it’s been a bit more fun than that, honest!), hubbub is finally on the brink! Of being launched, that is 😉 We’ve got together a fantastic bunch of launch projects and we’re ready to rumble. Here are one or two things we’ve learnt along the way…

1. NEVER (EVER!) take over a phone line from a beauty salon.You think I’m joking, don’t you? Here’s the deal. We get AT LEAST 10 phone calls per day from various people asking for our tender loving care (not that we’re averse to giving out a little TLC every now and again but this is simply excessive). In actual fact, we’ve had requests for just about everything from teeth whitening to pet grooming. Pet grooming?! It’s a great hope of ours that one day some of you might end up calling the office line to speak to us about fund-raising! (We’ve now sampled the pet grooming. The grass is definitely greener on hubbub side.)

  1. You get a real buzz starting something from scratch.When you’re building something utterly new there are a lot more decisions to make, risks to take and, inevitably, things that can go wrong. But having a vision of something as empowering as hubbub and seeing it through to its completion is an amazing feeling. For our founder, Jonathan May, it’s been a three-year project, having originally demoed a hubbub prototype at Cambridge. There’s still a LOT to be done, of course, but it’s awesome to see our work up and running on the web and hopefully helping your ideas and ambitions come to fruition too. (Well, not hopefully. We’re already a chunk of the way there with some of you!)
  1. It takes a while to build a new company. Er, yeah. That’s pretty much it really.The hubbub funding model took a while to evolve. Work on today’s incarnation of hubbub began last Summer (2011). Market research takes time to prepare. Investment takes time to secure. In addition to this, the original Sponsorcraft needed some serious re-branding. Believe it or not, we were once green. Green and grey. Eugh. Those charming little jellybaby Crafters you see today were only born in August. Having created our beautiful brand, everything we release now needs to be carefully produced so as to remain consistent in both style and in tone. Even as I write, we’re rearing to go – we’ve built the website, we’ve got our first 8 projects in place, we’ve prepared our launch strategy… We’re ready for launch! And yet we’re waiting on the folks at PayPal to give us the go ahead. It always felt like we were a few weeks from launch. Since (a surprisingly sunny) October, we were only a few weeks from launch. But it’s never quite a few weeks, is it? Unless, in business talk, “a few weeks” is code for 2-3 months!
  1. T-shirt printing companies can be unreliable.Really, you say?! Bleedin’ ‘eck, can they! We were forced to endure a thoroughly soul-sapping back and forth with the original cowboys we had on the job. Every time we got a shirt delivered from their warehouse (the guys our order was being outsourced to as the parent company were apparently too busy), there was a new and staggeringly inventive issue with the print. You just couldn’t write some this stuff. So the first lot came through – boy, were they a treat. Picture the scene: all of us excitedly huddled over a box in the corner as the postage cords were released… only to find :O They’d managed to print using different pinks. A lovely variety of different shades of pink, to be fair. An issue which, when combined with the saw-dusty surface of the logo, created a shirt only a 5th string frisbee player couldn’t be proud of. Whether you’re going with maroon or magenta, call us old-fashioned but we were always of the impression that the first rule of creating a strong brand was to bloody well stick with it! Not to worry. Our technicolour t-shirts were shortly replaced by another load :) which demonstrated a similar degree of dizzying ineptitude. Until, finally, having had an angry exchange with the head of this bunch of brigands, we were promised something truly extraordinary. No refunds, but, wait for it… Louis Vuitton’s own t-shirt printing company! FREE. What could we say? 2 weeks later, and having been given the big build-up, the shirts eventually arrived at the office amid a tense atmosphere of excitement. We eagerly open up our festive parcel (it’s nearly chuffing Christmas by now) and what do we find? Our logo has been rhombusified. Is that even a word? I don’t care. Our logo had been utterly disfigured. And that wasn’t all. The supposedly straight lines on the shirt now jutted out at all sorts of crazy angles, and, just to add insult to injury, the printed layer pulled apart completely when stretched leaving huge gaping gashes in the logo. On describing our disappointment at this final attempt to the company, we were greeted with “welcome to screen printing.” Riiight. Louis Vuitton must’ve gone down the pan lately.
  1. Working radiators are generally a good idea in winter.I don’t want to make any sweeping assertions here but, radiators… Well, let’s just say I’m a fan. The hubbub team slaved away through the long winter months and Arctic office conditions to bring you the website you see today. Enjoy it. Love it. Get the most out of it :)

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