The Viking Blog

Business Success: Oliver Bridge and Cornerstone

Business Success: Oliver Bridge and Cornerstone

Welcome to the latest instalment of our Business Success blog
series. Last month we spoke to Simon Frewin about his culinary venture Epicure
Bar and Kitchen
. Today, we’re talking to Oliver Bridge from Cornerstone about his mission to change
the face of the male grooming industry, launching an online shaving
subscription and his goal to help men “never have to go into Boots again”.

What’s your career story in a nutshell?

I started my first business aged 15 – Biggerfeet.com, which
I started in response to having large feet and being unable to find suitable
shoes! I later sold that to my brother. After university, I worked for an
‘innovation’ consultancy helping large companies like Cadbury’s and Lemsip
develop and launch new products, and then after that, I worked in venture
capital for a couple of years, investing in technology-focused companies. I
left my job in venture capital to launch online shaving subscription, Cornerstone,
in summer 2014.

What is your proudest career moment to date?

In December 2016 we had this amazing week where we hit
100,000 customers, won People’s Champion at the Startups Awards and had our
Christmas party on a speedboat on the Thames, surrounded by our fantastic team.
I remember thinking at the time that this was a truly amazing moment.

Tea or coffee?

Tea – I’ve never been able to get into coffee, though this
is an ambition for 2018 – I feel like I’m missing out!

Who is your business role model/idol and why?

I don’t really have a role model per se – I read a lot of
autobiographies of successful entrepreneurs and CEOs, and try to take the best
bits from everyone. That said, Steve Jobs approach to designing products
through relentless attention to detail and also the Zappos’ team obsession with
amazing customer service have been two strong guiding lights for us as a
business.

What’s your recipe for a productive working day?

Focus on the 2-3 things that you really want to get done,
and get them done first – refusing to give into procrastination and small
tasks.

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Describe your workspace

Generally, quite tidy, though I prioritise getting things
done over being tidy, so expect to see lots of post-its and online shopping
boxes piled up on my desk which are
periodically cleaned away!

What advice would you give to an
aspiring startup company?

Get a co-founder! Although I have had some tremendous
support from mentors from day 1, I’m a sole founder and there have been times
when I’ve found it pretty tough. Starting a business from scratch is an immense
undertaking, and having someone to share the burden with day-to-day makes it
much easier and lower risk.

What will the future bring for Cornerstone?

This year we’re launching a lot of new products to give us a
whole bathroom range – with our own dental range, vitamins and shampoo coming
out in the next few weeks. This is a big leap for us as historically we have
only sold shaving products, but it will transform our offering for customers if
we can pull it off – meaning they never need to shop for toiletries ever again!

If you would like to be a part of our Business Success
series let us know on Twitter at 
@viking_chat.

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