Today’s times are tough. Nobody has as much cash on hand as before and we are always looking for a bargain – but often just don’t know where to find it! Suzanne Noble, herself a bargain hunter, saw this gap in the market, and came up with Frugl – the app designed to help Londoners find great opportunities at a low cost, whilst also allowing vendors to get rid of excess stock. 

Can you tell us a bit more about your business and what it offers?

Frugl is a marketplace for events and offers for £10 and under (for now). Available on the web and on iOS. For cost-conscious Londoners (and tourists), it’s a great place to find fantastic opportunities going on in London during the week. For vendors it’s a way of marketing their unsold inventory on the fly, in a simple and fun way.

frugl homepage

And what makes your business unique? How are you different for example from your competitors?

Although for the most part we’ve been known for the under-the-radar events we have featured over the past year on our app, moving forward we think there’s an opportunity to attract a number of other verticals. We really want make it as easy as possible for anyone to be able to add an event or offer and fill more seats. Most businesses in our space rely on account management teams and charge high commissions. They do not directly compete with what Frugl is offering. For users we want to be their go-to place for finding great things to do on web and mobile.

How long have you been working on this project?

Our app launched in March 2014 but Frugl was around a year before that in various incarnations! Our new marketplace launched this month and we are also currently raising investment on Syndicate Room. (http://www.syndicateroom.com/frugl)

So what makes you so passionate about this business? Have you always been interested in running your own business?

The business sprung out of my own personal passion. I grew up in London and have been a culture vulture and bargain hunter since my teens. I very much ‘live the brand.’ There’s nothing I enjoy more than finding a great item of clothing in a sample sale or watching a five star play in a small, fringe theatre. Over the years finding those sorts of opportunities has become more and more of a challenge as the web has grown. I wanted to bring all that type of great content together in one place, making it easy for people such as myself to find great stuff to do, without having to spend a fortune.

And your personal background? How did you come from studying or working for other people to doing this for yourself?

I haven’t had a boss for over twenty years! I guess you could say I’m a ‘serial entrepreneur.’ In my late twenties I produced a television series for Channel 4 before founding a PR agency with my (now) ex-husband. That agency grew to become very successful during the 90s and early 2000s. I transitioned my career into tech about a year ago, although I still hold the occasional workshop for start-ups on ‘How to Achieve PR on a Shoestring’ through Monkfeet (both online and offline).

Tell us about your childhood – were there any entrepreneurs there who influenced you to becoming your own boss?

I was born in the States but came to the UK when I was 13. I come from a very close, hardworking New York, Jewish family. Both my parents worked, but always for other people. Bizarrely, my two brothers and I have mainly been self-employed so the entrepreneurial streak obviously comes from somewhere! As for myself, I’m very goal orientated. When I was in my twenties, I set myself the goal to be in the film union by the time I was 25 as it was impossible to get a good job in the industry otherwise. With Frugl, I very much want to create a word-class product.

Do you have a business partner? If so tell us a bit more about their background and how you met and came to work together?

I met my co-founder Tikiri when I asked him to build me a website for one of my client’s businesses. After that he became my go-to person when other clients and friends asked me if I knew someone who could build them a website. He joined me as co-founder a year ago when I decided to build the native app, managing the project. Since then he has been instrumental in managing our current development team and strategy. 

Tell us about the most exciting or inspirational moment to date – running your business, or in life in general? 

Every day I’m learning something new. I know that sounds like a cliché but it’s true. Recently I was asked to be a Virgin Start-Up ambassador and promote how, with Virgin’s help, we’ve grown our business. Our first meeting of ambassadors was at Richard Branson’s home where we spent an hour with him, taking a walk around his lake and telling him about our respective businesses. That was pretty exciting! He’s a hugely inspirational man and I admire the way he has been so central to the way others perceive Virgin. I’ve definitely taken a leaf out of his book by trying to align Frugl very much around my own passion for seeking out good value in whatever I do.

And the toughest moment?

I’m not really the type of person to dwell on tough times. I really do just believe in powering through! However, finding good developers has taken longer than I would have wished. We now have a fantastic team but unfortunately there were a few along the way that tested both my patience and resources and I now regret not firing sooner. That was a real life lesson but one I’m now glad I learned when I did.

And what about the next say three to six years? Where would you want to see your business?

I want us to be a business known through the world and for the word fruglit to be part of the Oxford English Dictionary! 

And finally any bit of advice for someone wanting to start their own business?

Be prepared to have to give it 150% to succeed. There are really no half measures. I’ve watched too many companies fail because the founders didn’t or weren’t able to put in the time the business needed to grow.

 

 

Comments

comments