Jack Wills: For those that don’t know, what is PRESS, and what do you do there?
Ed Foy: The vision for PRESS is to be the most respected, diverse and truthful health & wellness company in the world (possibly a naively large goal… but dreaming big is what it’s all about.) Our mission is to create products, provide services and develop relationships that deliver positive, tangible change to peoples lives.
We have our own juice bars all over London, sell wholesale to other retailers across the country and run a growing B2C ecommerce business. However, the vision for the company is something a lot bigger and with the launch of our magazine, new products and online platforms things should continue to grow.
JW: When did you start working at Jack Wills?
EF: I was at Harvard Business School in the US and ended working with the Jack Wills US team on a social media project as part of my course. When I graduated I was lucky enough to be offered the role of Head of US Marketing and then later moved back to the London headquarters as Head of Global Marketing Operations.
JW: What is the one memory of Jack that you look back on most fondly?
EF: In the first week of starting my job, I visited all of the US stores and at one point was on a single prop plane traveling between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard at sunset… it was a pretty special moment and one that only Jack Wills could have made possible.
JW: How did your experiences at Jack help you to launch PRESS?
EF: The growth trajectory of JW was incredible and all started by two smart, ambitious founders. So in some ways it set a precedent and a benchmark for how high you can aim and that it really is possible. By the time I had joined, the company was a large business and being a part of somewhere that was sustaining growth but not losing the magic and the story was inspiring.
JW: What gave you the inspiration to go it alone?
EF: To be honest, getting old and knowing that it was now or never and that there was a generation of tech savvy future entrepreneurs snapping at my heels (a lot of them from inside Jack Wills!) I was also involved in another early stage business in the US after JW, before starting PRESS.
JW: What has been the key to your successes?
EF: Some brutally long hours, focusing on what to say “no” to and on our business rather than the competition. At the bedrock is being laser-focused on the numbers because business isn’t just sales – it’s also the bottom line. So get someone in the business with a sharp financial mind and background, and find a business partner (mine is Georgie Reames) with whom you can rely upon during the low times and laugh at the madness of it all.
JW: What does being ‘entrepreneurial’ mean to you?
EF: It’s having high energy through the sometimes, very hard journey and not losing the ability to be flexible around what the business does – sometimes things don’t work in their original concept and you have to be fast to recognise that and change direction. It’s about remembering that every single person, both inside and outside the business, should walk away feeling motivated and excited by your energy and attitude. Industries are small worlds and building good relationships is key. I recently stumbled upon a concept as to why successful entrepreneurs tend to be quite happy in their lives and it’s simply because we get to choose who we have around us from 9-6pm.
It’s also about building a responsible businesses that delivers value to all of their stakeholders; customers, employees, shareholders, the community in which it operates and the environment. Truly sustainable success comes from balancing all of their respective needs.
JW: What would your advice be to people looking to start up their own business?
EF: Look for a great business partner, ideally one very fast and experienced with numbers (unless you are the finance person in which case look for someone with complementary skills). Everything always takes twice as long and costs twice as much… literally. Make sure you budget for both of these things and make sure that you have enough buffers to allow your idea to get there – so often small and start-up business run out of money before they get a chance to win. Finally, remember in the end it’s about the size of the pie not the equity ownership.
JW: What does the future hold for PRESS?
EF: With our vision as it is, it holds quite a lot! We have so many more areas where we can add value to customers looking to engage in their own health and lifestyle. Looking at one vertical at a time, we want to develop our relationships, products and services. One fantastic part of being three years in is that we have a great team and enough people to allow us to really get excited about evolving and growing without getting too stretched.
Finally (and hopefully): fun! People here seem to like coming to work – me most of all and I feel like the two-and-a-half years it took to get here (which was truly miserable a lot of time) has got me, and us, into a place where I get to really love coming to work on a Monday. I can only hope it continues and that many more people starting their own businesses get to this point.