Introducing May’s instalment of our Business Success blog
series. Last month we spoke to Anita
Massarella about her couture design service and this month, we’re talking
with Andy Stephenson, founder of Weekend
Box Club about his mission that began in 2013 to provide parents and
children with an activity subscription
box to help them make the most of their weekends.
What’s the story of weekend box club, in a nutshell?
began when I was looking for gift ideas for my niece and nephew (who were five) –
I wanted to find them something fun and engaging that would help teach about
the world, but
something very different to school and homework. I couldn’t find anything that
seemed to embody the variety of activities I wanted so I quit my job and
started making boxes. The rest is history!
How do you stand out from the competition?
give more variety than others on the market – each box contains things to make,
bake, explore and more so you’ll never have a boring weekend!
How do you keep a strong work/life balance?
A little while ago I realised that some days you’ll achieve
a million things and just be in the zone but other days you’ll really struggle
to get focussed or into a task; I’m a firm believer in understanding how you work best and focussing in on that, rather
than just doing a daily 9-5 grind. Sometimes I get my most productive work done
in the evenings when there are fewer distractions and I can get more creative
after a glass of wine! Since starting Weekend Box I made a point of working
really hard in the week but taking weekends off – in the early days this was
more important than ever as otherwise you just end up burning out and becoming
Tea or coffee?
Coffee all the way.
Who is your business role model/idol and why?
who’s created a successful international company where profit is not the only
objective or someone who uses the power of business to help deliver a positive
change in the world. Richard Reed (innocent), Clare and David Hieatt
(Howies) spring to mind.
What’s your recipe for a productive working day?
work on a sunny day – those endorphins will keep you firing on all cylinders!
What is your management style?
We hire for
values and train for skills. It’s an old cliché, but since I started doing that and sitting
down with every new employee and talking about our philosophy and core values
on their first day our staff retention has increased and we’re a more
productive, close-knit team as well. After that, people have the free reign to
work wherever and whenever they like as long as they get their job done –
there’s no point sticking around in an office if you need to be creative!
What advice would you give to an aspiring startup company?
as soon as you can, don’t worry about perfecting anything in the early days
because things will change so quickly as you find out where your product/market
fit is, but whatever you do, start with a cause and sell a story, not a
What’s your secret to success in one sentence?
bairns get nowt
(Geordie for ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’).
What will the future bring for weekend box club?
currently in the process of our European expansion for Weekend Box which is
really exciting, whilst also working to diversify our product line so we can
create different products for different age ranges as well – watch this space!
If you would like to become part of our Business Success
series let us know on Twitter at @viking_chat.