Victoria talks to us about her experiences as a co-founder of Ceraudo and provides some insight on how to go about the challenging journey of building a startup from the ground up.
Can you introduce your start-up? What is it, and how did it come about?
Ceraudo is a cult interiors brand making luxury made-to-order furniture designs accessible.
We started the brand back in 2016 in order to service a niche in the market that falls between luxury high-end and low-quality high street products. We did this by sourcing and trading decorative antiques at affordable prices and reframing them in an approachable and contemporary way with slick photography and a great website.
This gave us the market insight and operational experience to launch our own in-house collection of fabrics and furniture in 2018.
Where are you in your startup journey?
We’ve built our brand and supply chain, and cemented our product-market fit. Now it’s time for us to grow the team and expand into new markets.
To date, what has been the biggest triumph for your business?
Securing full page spreads in Elle Decoration, Harpers Bazaar and The FT’s How To Spend It featuring our latest collection, and being approached by Liberty of London to buy our collection.
Are you a co-founder? If so, how have you found it? And do you have any advice for partners working alongside each other on how to make that business relationship work?
My sister and I founded the business based on the same experience of struggling to find design-led interior products that are both sustainable, high quality, and affordable. This common desire to change the market, the fact we know each other inside out and can be completely honest with one another, has been a huge benefit. We can also lean on each other for support in a way we probably couldn’t with a friend or colleague.
How do you manage to balance growing a start-up with having a personal life?
This is definitely a big challenge, but it does make you far more efficient and have a no-nonsense approach to diary management.
How do you cope with the pressures that come with building a business?
Exercise is a great morale booster, of course, and remembering to pause and appreciate any small wins.
Did you pursue investment? If so, what advice would you give on pitching? What was your secret weapon?
We are just about to start our funding round.
If you could name one thing that you wish you knew when you started, what would it be?
To concentrate on cash flow forecasting just as much as the creative stuff, and visit suppliers in person as much as possible to build and maintain a healthy relationship.
To date, what has been your most important lesson?
I have learnt to be skeptical of suppliers (warehouse, manufacturers etc) and how diligently they perform their tasks until proven otherwise. When we started analysing weekly invoices line by line, we realised many errors were going unnoticed.
Never expect couriers to deliver when they say they will and allow an extra day to be safe!
Don’t work with a supplier where the energy and relationship just don’t feel right from the start.
Keeping brand momentum is key.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone thinking about starting up their own business, or who has just started their journey?
Really think about whether it’s the right path for you – start-up life has huge benefits and every win feels like a direct personal achievement, but you must be prepared to be under immense pressure, work all hours, and potentially not be able to take out a mortgage until the business is profitable, and you can often suffer in silence as you might not have a big support network around you.
What has been the most challenging part of your start-up journey so far?
Being thrown every possible supply chain complication or delay over the last 2 years. Before the pandemic hit, we had just set up our relationship with our manufacturer in Portugal and received our first batch of orders, but after this point, there was delay after delay with production – whether it be Covid-19 lockdowns, Brexit and now the fuel crisis.
What’s next for your business?
Our fundraising round. We’re hoping to raise over the next few months to increase the team, invest in marketing and expand into new markets.
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