Thank you so much for joining us today Paul Weston! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to start your business?
I guess I had always had a desire to work for myself, particularly when you are working for a larger company and inevitably over a period of time, you start to notice how inefficient things are and that you could surely do things much better if only given the chance. I’m sure we all have these thoughts from time to time to a greater or lesser degree, but most people will generally just chat to their work colleagues or friends about issues in the workplace, but very few say “enough of this”, “its time to put all my ideas into practice.
I have done this numerous times in my career, watching how things are done in certain professions and looking for ways to do things quicker, smarter and ultimately cheaper, resulting in potential savings for clients and in turn, giving my new business a chance to win new clients on both cost and better personal service.
So starting the Snazzy App was also born out of both me and my business partner looking at existing social media and looking for things which were not available to users and then constructing a product offering to offer something which was not currently available in the market place. The initial idea for Snazzy, came about because both of us were trying to identify an item worn by our favourite Celeb during a public event, but could not readily find that information anywhere, namely the brand, exact model style etc and where I could buy it near my home town. No matter where we searched we could not find the information we needed and quickly became aware that surely other people would be having the same problem. This was the spark behind the original idea and so we set out to try and solve that problem with an App called .. ‘Snazzy’— Sharing Celebrity Lifestyle.
Can you share the biggest challenges that you had to overcome since you started this business?
Unquestionably there are 2 main challenges for me personally, namely Money and Experience in this sector. I was not an App developer or computer programmer familiar with coding etc, so I was unsure where to start, plus if I had to start a new company and employ such experts, where would the money come from to do this. Serious challenges for sure, but I had to grit my teeth and not fall over at the first hurdle.
Fortunately my business partner and I had each other to lean on in this initial difficult period and we were very methodical in our approach, carefully interviewing and eventually recruiting developers and other specialists with the necessary skills to join our new fledgling company, BUT, on the basis that they would not be paid salaries commensurate with their knowledge and experience in the market place since we did not have an open checkbook, but would be paid minimum basic expenses only, until such time as we were in a position to make higher salary payments.
Imagine how difficult that was, but what this exercise proves, is that those who choose to join you under such conditions must surely believe in you and the idea, in order for them to take a chance on being potentially rewarded for their loyalty later.
I can say from personal experience that this was not easy, selling a “work now- pay later” job style, however, we were persistent and eventually realized that there are people out there who are inspired by the same challenge and actually joined us for the right reasons, not ‘just for the money’
What advice would you have for other new entrepreneurs?
For me it’s all encapsulated in one word, ‘Belief’.
Many of us dream about being successful and many of us can see either a better way of doing something, or a new opening in the market for a new product or service, but sadly for many, the idea stays in their head. This is either because they themselves don’t feel the confidence required proceeding, or worse, others around them pour cold water on the idea and it quickly fizzles out. How many times do folks discuss such things with work associates or family members only to be ‘put down’ and have their confidence knocked, and in the process another potentially great idea for a new business bites the dust? I always think about how many successful new businesses, never came into being, due to the above reasons.
Of course, not all new business ideas are going to set the world alight, But unless you have the strength of your belief, despite all the usual ‘nay-sayers” you will never know for sure, unless you try, no ifs or buts….you absolutely must try.
For me, it’s more personal and close to home, as I always remember as a kid, asking my grandfather what he did and how did he spend his life. His answer described 40 years of his life, in as long as it took to say it.
“Well Paul”, he said, “I worked in that factory from when I was 20 until when I was 60”., even as a young kid I thought, ‘That’s it’.. There has to be more to life than that, will I be going there too??
So I guess that little chat had quite an effect on me which I may not have realised until many years later, like a subliminal message you might say…
So my advice to other entrepreneurs is ‘Believe’ in your idea and more importantly than that.. “Feel it” in your bones so that you can’t stop thinking about it and you cant sleep at night. Also having a partner who shares your passion is a true bonus along with a willingness to apply a little ‘self-sacrifice”.
Finally I will say, don’t take investment money for the sake of having money, as this can be damaging, unless the investor shares your passion and brings knowledge and experience to the table in your particular field, otherwise try very hard to get as far as you can yourself with help from friends and family first if necessary.
How do you think that your Mobile App will make a huge difference in people’s lives?
Currently, there are many social media apps to choose from, but none give celebrity fans the opportunity to talk to each other anywhere in the world. Of course you can follow your favourite celebrity on Twitter and get one-way traffic when a celeb posts something, you read it. However, all the fans of the same celeb cannot talk directly to each other, only by posting and sharing within your own groups? The same goes for Facebook and Instagram where you can follow a celeb or other public figure and post and share within other smaller groups.
But what if a particular celeb or even your ‘Fave’ celeb, has 1M fans or more, say 10M fans, then how can all those fans worldwide get access to and talk directly to each other, share views or comments about that Celebs, Fashion, lifestyle, Brands etc.
Additionally, where can celeb fans get up to the minute breaking news about their fave celeb from thousands of news sources around the world in one place without having to search through dozens of different magazines or web sites.
Also where can celeb fans get to find out exactly which designer dress or accessory brand is worn or used by their fave celeb and more importantly where to buy it and then all within the same app, allow you to go straight to the Ecommerce section and ‘go shopping’ for those styles and brands used by your fave celeb again without having to search through many other clothing or accessory outlets or web sites to find what you’re looking for.
Finally if you want to follow your fave pop celeb to see them at a Concert or the Theatre, or follow your fave sports personality to a big game event in the NFL or NBA or book any event or entertainment tickets in the US or worldwide, plus have a choice of over 1M hotels and access to discounted member rates on all Airlines for all your flight bookings for either holidays or business.
Snazzy, gives all the above options directly to the user in one place, in 1 App, unlike any other mobile app available today. So when the question is how will our mobile app make a huge difference in people’s lives, it’s clear.
Now the user has direct access to anything and everything to do with Celebrity lifestyle, Latest trending celeb news, Online shopping of luxury items and a complete travel and entertainment solution all in 1 fabulous new app.
Can you share with us a personal story of an emotional struggle?
To be very honest the difficulty of balancing the need to keep your family well provided for and finding extra personal funds to start your new business is one emotional dilemma which I’m certain many people will recognize.
I talked above about ‘self-sacrifice’ as part and parcel of trying to do your duty as a husband and father, whilst at the same time desperately trying to follow your dream, that’s a tough balancing act and one which naturally has consequences when you’re using family money for the needs of a new business. It’s like having another mouth to feed; only this new one is hungrier than ever.
It would have been easier had there been funding available for this new business, except who will invest in an idea alone, and if they do, then you will pay heavily in loss of shares early on or worse have someone who doesn’t share your passion but who is just in it for the money.
I also mentioned above the importance of having a partner who also believed in the idea. In my case, my wife and I worked together to seriously tighten the purse strings at home in order to release money for the cash-hungry new business. No luxuries, no eating out, no holidays, no changing the car, etc. Any spare money was now diverted to the business to try and give it a small chance of survival.
Because of this approach, it became a way of life, fuelled by the belief and passion which we both shared and so, any chance of early investment into the business which would, of course, have been very welcome was strenuously resisted.
All personal savings from over the years were also channeled into Snazzy, meaning this was a huge gamble for my family, but at the same time, we saw it not as a gamble, but as an investment into our future.
As a result of this approach which many said was too risky, Snazzy Media Group Inc and the Snazzy App is still 100% owned by the founders
What are your future plans?
Snazzy has many future plans, not least to become a billion-dollar company within the next five years and the “Go-To” place for celebrity news & stories, luxury brand shopping and Travel. We intend to now consider external funding to grow the brand and scale up our operations and put together a board of directors from the worlds of Top Celebrity, Luxury Marketing and Specialist Travel solutions with a proven track record in order to fully realise the real potential of the company.
We will continue to be innovative and look to incorporate only new ideas that have a synergy with the core vision and grow the company from the US to worldwide recognition. We have already forged some exciting new partnerships with selected and established US companies during 2019 and will continue to seek further business arrangements with other leading designers and luxury brands which can add significant interest and value to our growing user base. New updated versions will be launched and we are currently re-designing the whole user interface and back end architecture with the very latest app development tools available for a much faster more responsive version ready for launch in early 2020.
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