An international career led Andrew to set up business to business image creation firm, Figolux. He explains how he made his hobby into his job.
What is it the company does?
Figolux is a B2B image creation business based in Redruth, Cornwall, that specialises in high-quality, product photography and videography. Using the very latest photographic technologies, we work from our purpose-built, 5,000 sq ft studio or at our customers sites. We help clients from a diverse range of industry sectors capture beautiful still images, 360-degree spins or videos of their products.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
My role is essentially what the company does, I am a director, a producer, a photographer, a businessman, a marketing manager, an administrator… all at the same time.
Above all, I ensure that Figolux produces the finest visual content for each and every customer!
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a varied career and have worked in England, Japan and France.
Several years after I left school, I joined the police where I worked as a surveillance officer. I had always held an interest in photography, but it was this role that inspired me to take it up full-time.
I moved to France in 2004 where I worked as a photographer for national and international press, specialising in sports photography. After a few years of travelling around France photographing sporting events, I settled at a product photography studio in Paris.
Although the opportunities for work in France continued to be very good, family commitments brought me back to the UK in 2014 which is when I established Figolux.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Leaders should be able to view themselves from the point of view of those who they lead, to listen, to self-criticise and to adapt as required. Having a strong support network in place or a good partner to back you up is essential. Throughout my career, my wife Lorraine has been an incredible support to me and to our three children.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
I definitely think that moving back to the UK and essentially starting over has been my biggest challenge to date. Leaving behind so many potential opportunities and starting afresh in an untested market was a big risk, but I saw the potential for success and decided to run with it.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Like many people who live by the coast, I spend a lot of time at the beach with my family and my two French Bulldogs, Rosie and Frank. I also really enjoy learning new things so I can often be found researching various styles of photography or the science of image making. It’s like CPD but in a recreational sense.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Honestly? Alive! I was a little bit reckless as a teenager, I was always up to mischief, riding motorbikes too fast or doing something I shouldn’t, so I always thought it would be a miracle if I lived past 18. From a career perspective, when I was really young I wanted to be a vet.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I don’t like laziness, dishonesty or when people aren’t team players. I have very high expectations and I expect the same from others. I’m not scared of letting people go if it’s the right decision for the business.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
In bigger premises, with a more varied mix of clients. I’m very keen to start working with agencies and businesses operating in creative sectors, such as furniture and lighting design and also food and drink companies, so it would be great to see Figolux grow as a result of this.
I’m also open to the idea of partnering with likeminded business owners to help expand Figolux or to increase the amount of time that I work with others as a consultant.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Work hard, expect success and failure. Delegate to others but be prepared to walk away from them if necessary.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Academic qualifications might open the door to opportunities you wouldn’t necessarily get without them, but they are not the be all and end all, success is the result of persistence, determination and of course, a bit of luck!
I heard a great phrase on the radio recently: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” I really liked that.
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