Kelly set up Rubber Cheese with her co-founder Paul at the tender age of 24. They had both been working as designers at an ecommerce company when they decided to take the plunge and set up their own company. This year they are celebrating Rubber Cheese’s 15th anniversary with an ambitious target to raise £15,000 for the Tamba Bereavement Support Group. We asked Kelly to talk about her work and give us a bit of a glimpse into what makes her tick:
I don’t think I ever really had a huge desire to work for myself, up until the point that I realised I didn’t want to work for anyone else anymore!
We set up the first Rubber Cheese website, designed business cards, opened a bank account and that was it, we were in business! Our first lucky break came around three weeks later when we received an email from an old school friend of mine. An architects firm he worked at needed a design team to partner with, and put us in touch. They had just won a large contract with Tesco and needed design support. It was a 2 year contract and gave us the stability we needed while we started to grow our client base.
Originally we thought we’d give Rubber Cheese a year and see what happened. Fifteen years later we’re an award-winning team of seven and work with amazing global brands. I do have to pinch myself every now and then.
I remember being given some key advice 15 years ago when we opened our first business bank account. Use your main account for operating costs and a money manager account for tax payments and building up a buffer. We put 30% of every payment that came in aside. This money then covered any VAT and tax payments, and started to build up a small cushion of cash. It was simple but effective. Building up that buffer means we’ve always had a fall back at any time cash flow has suffered, such as from late payments or a low sales month.
To be honest, there are times most weeks where I feel proud, mostly of how the team are developing and the people they are becoming. But turning 15 this year has been the proudest moment so far. Being able to celebrate with family, clients and partners that have been with us every step of the way was a huge moment.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the years building up an incredible support network of business owners who are also friends, that I am lucky to be able to call on for advice:
I believe the key ingredient for any website regardless of company size, is to fully understand and plan what you want it to do for you and your audience. Clients we work with have a need to either sell more tickets or products, or to automate a manual process which will save the company time or resource. We work with them to focus on understanding what users will need from the site and how we can make the website/platform a user friendly and accessible experience for them.
East Herts is a thriving district with so much opportunity. We are lucky to be so close to London and Cambridge, but with the bonus of beautiful green spaces right on our doorstep.
What would be your top Desert Island Disc?
I’m a bit of a retro girl so I’d probably choose something by the Rolling Stones. My luxury item would probably be my crochet hook and wool, although that’s two so it might be pushing it!
What makes you laugh?
My dogs, especially the mini dachshund Doris, she’s a right character. I love old sitcoms like Frasier, Sex and the City or The Office.
What’s your favourite food?
I’m a massive foodie and love everything except peas! If I have to choose then I’d say Turkish – Efes in Cambridge is our favourite date night place.