Emily Falcus of Bow Baskets
Problems with her health prompted Emily Falcus to set up her own business in 2014, now almost three years later she talks to BQ about how she started up and how she grew Bow Baskets into what it is today.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
I have a very exciting and varied role as CEO and founder of BowBaskets. It takes me in many directions and I wear many hats! I have the absolute pleasure of working with carefully selected staff and professional services who enable the company to grow with my vision for the business.
What is it the company does?
BowBaskets work with corporates throughout the UK who want to WOW their clients, staff, sponsors, suppliers… you name it! We specialise in personalised Luxury hampers and corporate gifts that boast the client’s brand. We strengthen relationships through the art of gifting, and do so in a manner that is consultation led and adds value. The BowBaskets experience is engaging and delivers with impact.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on
Two and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. I had invasive surgery, a further 6 months of treatment and learnt to live with excruciating pain that made it difficult to even stand up on a number of days. I know this sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true! I made the decision to leave my career of 7 years in Physical education and management within teaching. My health was unpredictable at best. I made it my mission to get in front of as many businesses as I could and make a success of running a business and living with a lifelong condition. I started with one client in September 2014 and I now have 91 clients nationwide, deliver internationally, have won four awards and have a 100% net promoter score. The company now employs three members of staff, has an intern, professional external services, and a link with the University of Bradford Business management School.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Dealing with large companies who create new pressures for smaller businesses. I had my first experience of this, just over six months into my business. It was hard, but I remained professional and factual, and got the right outcome. Small start-ups should never underestimate themselves against some of the giants out there!
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Gin and Tonic! Am I allowed to say that? In all honesty, I find solutions; I am a constant problem solver. I believe that stress can be managed to a degree, and by tackling what needs doing you eliminate unnecessary stress. I also take a step back, and look at the big picture. I also remind myself there is a huge wide world out there and amazing things happen every second of the day. I like mindfulness and enjoy reading inspirational quotes.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was little, I made friendship bands and sold them outside of my dad’s and my granddads fruit shop. I was five or six at the time. I also had jumble sales, cake sales and stalls at school fairs where I could spend time meeting people, making a little bit of money and getting a buzz selling something other people wanted. I don’t honestly think though that I spent a long time, if any time at all wondering what I would be when I grew up. I think I liked the idea that you could do anything if you put your mind to it, and fell in love with that.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I don’t like lateness, ill manners, a lack of effort, moaning or liars! (Within any work place). I think that setting a good example is the first thing you must do, and then surround yourself and employ individuals who have the same outlook and work ethic as you do. It makes for a positive environment, too. Sometimes life happens, and that can make it hard. Dealing with an illness for example. I admire the kind of people who are honest, up front and make the effort to deal with it as best they can.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
BowBaskets is a very trustworthy, honest and hard working company. Our clients see this and they value it a great deal. BowBaskets will be the number 1 go-to company in the UK for personalised gifts, and known as the business who go to the next level of understanding their clients needs, and make a difference. I would never try and spoil the growth and journey of the company, for the sake of greed. I will scale my business in such a way that each of our clients feel as though they are our only client. One thing I’ve realised is that relationships are everything. To become no 1, it takes time and emotional investment. Maintaining a no.1 position is the proof in the pudding and harder than getting to no. 1. People always come first.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Take time to understand your business and discover what is most important to you and why you got into business in the first place.