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Chrissie Rucker, Founder of The White Company

Chrissie Rucker, founder of the White Company, was kind enough to give OxWIB an interview to share her success story and her best tips for anyone wanting to make it as an entrepreneur. Chrissie started the company in 1994, after spotting a gap in the furnishing market. She recalls attempting to find white furniture and being confronted with two options; the cheaper, high street brands where quality suffered, or the luxury brands which had amazing products but were very expensive. Instead, she wanted to provide fantastic quality products that were affordable in shops where customers would feel welcome. She realized that this could be done; the luxury brands have a huge mark-up on their products, and by minimizing this mark-up she would have the same quality for a more affordable price and still make a profit. Tips for Anyone Wanting to Start their Own Business

  • Have a great idea that you believe in 200% - only become an entrepreneur if you have an idea that you absolutely believe in, something that keeps you up at night

  • First work for other people. Chrissie left school at 16 and learnt everything from working odd job; it also makes you get to know what its like to be in that junior position so that you can understand your own staff

  • Get help; she joined a business group which helped her write her first business plan

  • Make sure you have a safety net. Chrissie recalls that she had to stop working, so it’s important to make sure that in some way you can afford to live (she got a government grant) and that you’ve thought about what you will do once the cash runs out

  • Wait for the right time, have some money saved up that you can invest

  • Be able to spot an opening – she was lucky that her first shop was an instant success

  • Never be afraid of asking someone who knows more than you; She had her boyfriend at the time who had had a business for 3 years and he became her mentor. Its about learning from people with experience

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