After being made redundant from his job teaching innovation and creativity in the public sector, Rob Hutt decided to go it alone with the launch of Big Shiny Ideas Ltd.
Hutt got off to a strong start in business and his years of teaching innovation and creativity paid off as his first product, Super-Stache, proved a resounding success.
“Super-Stache is an independent manufacturer of fake beards, goatees and moustaches typically for fancy dress or cosplay,” Hutt told BQ.
“What makes Super-Stache different from other manufacturers is that we only use premium materials to manufacture our products and each of our beards, goatees and moustaches are all individually handmade.”
Over the past 18 months Hutt has been blown away by the positive reception from people towards the products, shipping thousands of orders all over the world.
One of the company’s key highlights has been the sale of 3,500 Richard Branson blonde fake goatees to Virgin and their best selling fake beard 'The Beast' appearing in the US rock band's music video 'Vicious Love'.
“I was teaching innovation and creativity in the public sector and I felt growing pressure to put my money where my mouth is and take my own product to market rather than relying on other people's success stories.
“After shopping for a fancy dress moustache and only finding cheap and poorly manufactured products from China, I thought 'if I can successfully launch a new range of fake moustaches then I could probably take anything to market'.”
Hutt is now looking to continue growing the company and has turned to crowdfunding website KickStarter to help launch an app to act as a virtual showroom.
The campaign has only recently went live and is hoping to raise £20,000 to procure the services of a professional web development agency to create the app.
“I had heard of other small independent businesses successfully funding new products via crowdfunding and I had wanted to explore this option of raising finance for Super-Stache for a while.
“When a US company that supplied some of our equipment wanted to do a video feature on Super-Stache for the launch of their new website, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to pursue a crowdfunding campaign at the same time.
“I hope that if we successfully get funded that our new app will allow us to reach an even greater global audience and help us engage with them in a unique interactive way.
“I also believe opportunities sometimes develop when you take a step out of your own bubble into another and crowdfunding is a great platform to start a dialogue with the world outside of your bubble.
“If nothing else we have already made some great new contacts from our campaign being out there and if it wasn't then we wouldn't be doing this interview.
“I see Super-Stache as a brand as much as a range of products and I can see it going on to launch some exciting new spin-offs. For example we've looked into launching a beer or clothing line in the past.”
When asked what advice he’d give to an aspiring entrepreneur looking to start-up in business, he told BQ: “I was literally laughed out of the room when I first told people that I was considering launching a new range of fake moustaches.
“The idea itself is key but the implementation and delivery of that idea is what really matters. My advice is to believe in your own ideas and pursue them with self belief and determination.
“Also, build a prototype and test it as quickly and cheaply as possible to find out if your idea will fly, sometimes research is overrated!”