Talk with Tessa McIver
co-founder of FixMix
This week, we talked with Tessa McIver, the cofounder of FixMix, about the motivation behind opening business during the pandemic. She shared with us a lot valuable hints, so make sure to read carefully!
FixMix provides a digitally driven service of remote repairs of personal items. The startup was one of the participants of the pre-acceleration program co-created with Huge Thing.
1.Why did you decide to open your business, what was your motivation?
Our founders team met at business school whilst studying for our MBA and discovered we really worked well together and had similar motivations and work ethic. After years of working in corporations, we dreamed of starting our own business. We wanted to create something that we could call our own. That is why we created FixMix – a service that empowers people to live more sustainably and move away from throw-away culture. We hope to make a difference and encourage people to taking better care of their belongings.
2. How did you prepare to open your own business, what was the process
In January we won a startup competition at Warsaw University of Technology Business School – this was the catalyst to transform our idea from a project to a real business. We were accepted to take part in Huge Thing and Google for Startups pre-acceleration program, as one of 10 startups from 110 applicants. The program helped us in our journey to actually go to market: our service is now available in Warsaw for shoe repairs! You book a slot online for the collection of your broken shoes, our bike courier comes and collects the package, and then returns the shoes a few days later – fixed! We are planning to expand the portfolio of services and launch in other cities. It’s very exciting to see our solution finally in action!
3. What obstacles did you come across? What did you learn?
Covid-19 was the biggest obstacle (and I realise not only for us!) as we had planned to initially launch the service as an employee benefit for those working in corporations and co-working spaces, with weekly office pick-ups of broken items – though when people were no longer in offices, this became impossible. We still plan to launch the service in this model when possible of course, although in order to start, we had to adapt our plans and concentrate on individual collections/repairs. We have definitely had to learn patience – and perseverance. There have been moments when we’ve had push back and people saying “this will never work” and “why are you investing so much time in this?” – but most of these people have come around and admitted they dismissed us too quickly and can now see the sense in what we’re building. Throughout we, as a team, have remained determined and have not faltered in chasing our dream.
4. How did you feel opening a business?
When we finally registered as a company, we were so excited! The following week we began our shoe collection across Warsaw and it’s simply amazing to see something that we initially spent hours discussing become a reality. It’s also so rewarding that the cobblers we are using are grateful for the extra revenue stream – and our first customers that they are getting their shoes repaired without the hassle of having to leave the house – many of them tell us those broken shoes have been lying around the house for months! So it’s an amazing feeling to finally have our own company – and an even better one to know that we are making a positive difference, just as we set out initially.
5. What learnings could you share with our community?
Deciding to start your own business is certainly not an easy choice. Working for someone else certainly provides a different level of security – at least on the surface. I think it’s important to stay determined and also not be scared to change the direction of your business from the initial plans – it may turn out that your assumptions weren’t spot on and you need to be agile and open to tweaking your plan – sometimes very quickly. Also – have fun with it! There will be sweat, blood and tears – however, part of what makes starting your own business fantastic, is that you can make the experience your own, and take time to stop, laugh and enjoy it! Finally, make sure you have the right team working with you – this has been by far the number one essential differentiator for us: we work as one, and support each other individually; we share a mission and value the input each team member brings to the table – the team spirit is the beating heart of our endeavour.
Good luck to everyone out there who is trying to make their dreams a reality – we’re still very much at the beginning of our journey, and we hope to facilitate thousands more repairs in the future!