Retail Profile pioneered the concept now seen across Europe of leasing modern kiosks to small retailers in the common areas of shopping centres, railway stations, airports and other venues.
I founded it in 2001, starting off with a shared computer and just one member of staff. I had seen the concept working in the USA and realised there was a gap in the market when I came to the UK.
The business grew quickly and in 2003 won the Small Business of the Year Award in the London Business Awards.
It is a niche business which is perfect for pop-up shops and experiential marketing, allowing small businesses to test or promote a new product or service in a low-risk environment.
They can gain a valuable first step on the retail ladder – while at the same time the venues gain a valuable new revenue stream.
Our retail clients range from Marks and Spencer to Oxfam, from Samsung to the Germany Post.
After some financial issues in 2004, we went into receivership. I found investors very quickly, so was able to buy the company back and restart as Retail Profile Europe Ltd.
The new business has been hugely successful, working with thousands of small businesses, the most successful of which have gone onto to expand and secure both larger and longer term rentals.
One of my key ambitions was to export the concept abroad and we expanded to two European countries, Russia and Germany. In each case I customised the business model to suit the culture and business environment of the country.
In 2008 I set up a licensed partnership, Retail Profile Russia, and in 2010 a wholly owned subsidiary, Retail Profile Europe GmbH.
We successfully merged the business with the largest competitor, the Space and People Group, a PLC listed company, in 2010.
The company now has offices in London, Glasgow, Hamburg, Moscow and Delhi and over 110 employees. I successfully exited in 2014 to focus full time on training and leadership and set up this business, Bold Clarity.