Meranda Peart delves beneath the doom and gloom of the unemployment statistics by talking to young, successful and talented businesspeople…
What with the alarming statistics of unemployment, notably the shockingly high youth unemployment, in the wake of the financial crash we seem to have found ourselves in a time of pessimism about finding future employment.
Now factor in the high numbers of teenagers choosing to attend university thus flooding the market with others just as qualified as we are. All this adds stress and strain to the aspirations of many young people. Further still, if you aren’t feeling the pressure to “do something with your life” from your parents, you are sure to find that anxiety from the biographies of many young, rich and famous people of the music and film scene.
The bar has gotten higher. What once marked the achievement of older, mature, highly qualified professionals, now being a multi-millionaire has become commonplace in Hollywood and pop circles. Twenty-something year olds, with standard qualifications are becoming magnates, businessmen and women, and influential characters with a buying power that way exceeds that of our parents.
Whether the media has exaggerated or augmented the truth about the current job situation amongst our demographic is debateable; but there is definitely an unrecognisable or invisible force which has driven many young people to take matters into their own hands, harnessing their potential and talents into something profitable.
I turned to two twenty year olds, Bruno Crosier and Etienne Eduard, partners in a clothing company Vincentius Apparel, along with nineteen year old CEO Ross O’Donoghue of the music production and multimedia company R&R Productions to get more perspective on the issue.
When did you start all of this?
Bruno Croiser: I thought it up in mid-April, LTD company since May 28th, but I’m aiming to launch by August at the latest, in time for the start of the Premier League season. Ross O’Donoghue: I started around May 2011 with a good friend Alex Robinson who is the other CEO of the company.
How did you get into this and what made you think that this was a good route or industry to go down?
BC: I saw so many people wearing caps with the names of American teams that they probably hadn’t even heard of before, and thought “why don’t they have snapbacks with British teams?”.
EE: Bruno I have always loved to talk business probably because we were the only two people who still watched the apprentice and we both were constantly looking for gaps in the market and ways to make money!
RO: I had the grades and the choice of going to Leeds to study music production, but with a lot of deliberation I came to my own realisation that I didn’t want to just study music, but DO music. So Alex and I started up R&R, which we started off by filming acoustic sessions in my studio.
What are your daily sources of inspiration that motivates you to carry on and persist?
BC: I’m incredibly lucky to be sharing this business with my brother and one of my best friends, and while we all surely have our own individual inspiration, I’d say we’re all motivated by the fact that we have this one-off opportunity to run a business however we want to, with people that are important to us.
EE: Stories in the news of how people are selling their companies for billions of dollars and I think this really spurred Bruno and I to start something.
RO: My will to succeed is what motivates me and get me out of my bed every morning, also the support of my team helps me along, and as for motto ‘hard work leads to success’ is one phrase I especially like.
What would you consider to be the hardest things you had to do or face when starting out?
BC: Setting up any business is by definition always going to be a gamble, by far the hardest thing is trying to gauge whether your product is actually going to sell.
EE: The allocation of the funds that you have access to is one thing which we have found quite tricky as if you put too much in one area like the photo shoot and not enough into the actual advertising, then you’re going to have problems.
RO: One of the hardest things was getting noticed in a world where anyone can get a Canon download some editing software and then upload a video to Youtube, there is so much competition out there and a quite saturates market which is why you really need to believe in your idea and that you are bringing something unique to the market.
What were the main reasons for wanting to start you own “business”?
BC: Business is something I’ve always toyed with since an early age, but up until now it’s been a sort of “thing on the side” whilst I concentrated on school, college and university. But when I thought of this idea I really thought it would be the one worth investing considerable time and money into.
EE: Being my own boss is probably my main reason for starting up the business but the opportunity to make money with one of my best friends and his younger brother is also something I couldn’t turn down.
RO: Honestly, if you get the chance to do something you love with your friends, how can you turn that down?
Do you know others of a similar age to you that are going down the “entrepreneurial” route?
BC: Unfortunately not, although I think that’s more a testament to Britain’s failing economy than the laziness of my friends.
EE: Yes, one of my friends has dropped out of university to start up his own company which I have the utmost respect for.
RO: Yes I do, I have a close friend who is starting up his own discount website but a lot of my friends have gone to university even in my own team, two thirds are or have been in higher education and I really respect them as going to university doesn’t mean that you can’t have other ventures at the same time.
Would you agree that too much stress is being put on not having enough experience in the field you want to pursue or do you believe that you can do anything you want to, someone just needs to show you how?
EE: I’ve always thought that a mixture of life experiences and being taught how to do something is the best recipe for success. With almost every single person growing up in our generation being internet literate almost any skill is at your fingertips and as cliché as it sounds anything is possible.
RO: I think once someone has introduced you to something its up to you to then learn some more independently as Alex and I have both learnt a lot from just messing about on final cutpro and logic.
In years to come, how will you measure your success?
BC: I wouldn’t mind an office with a leather swivel-chair a and mahogany desk on the top floor of a skyscraper overlooking the Thames.
EE: How recognisable our designs are and how many continents they have reached. And of course the 0’s in the bank balance!
RO: I don’t believe that success comes with just one thing there’s credibility within the scene, downloads followers, channel views and of course that money baby!
What are the events for us to look forward to this year for your company?
BC: We’ve got a couple of chart-topping artists from across the pond lined up our sleeves that have asked to wear and promote our caps, so that’s pretty exciting!
EE: The company’s proper launch is approaching fast and after that the sky’s the limit!
RO: This year is really the year when we want to build on the foundations we set up from this year. Something that I’m really excited about it is with one of our artists Kristie Killick is going to be massive for her really talented song writer and singer and we’re hoping to release her first ever mixtape this year with an EP coming out towards the end of the year.
The decision and motives to go into business originate from different places for different people, but the most prominent one seems to be independence. Having sole responsibility, although it carries many consequences, is both a liberating and burdensome feeling. I think the source of courage to start something like this at a young age is having a vision. A vision that you believe has the potential to be realised and to become successful in the future. For these people, starting up their own businesses allowed them to improve their own financial situation and their career prospects as well as to express themselves creatively.
Who knows, in a few years from now, they themselves could be offering out internships to a whole new generation of young people just like us.