Sean Spooner, Louis Porter & Tom Coleman (16 March 2016)

Sean Spooner and Louis Porter’s entrepreneurship journey started with Corby Magazine in 2008. They got media coverage such as BBC Breakfast and TV stations with the aid of Ian McGregor, a radio host who was inspired by their determination and perseverance to succeed. Their main competitor was the local newspaper in their area who refused to cover their story. The magazine ran for over two years and sold over 2000 copies. At the age of sixteen Sean applied for the Young Apprentice Show, but was fired after two weeks due to a publishing task.

This motivated Sean to start Magnate Media in December 2012, of which he is the Brand Director. Initially, he printed 10,000 copies per quarter but after three issues he decided to move the business online. His target market is between 18 to 24, a market segment he shares with competitors such as GQ. He wants to grow with his customers in order to meet their changing interests as they grow as well. His information comes from contributors and blogs which he and his employee select and edit to suit the specific needs of their customers. Magnate Media reaches over 60,000 people per month, a number Sean plans to increase in the near future.

Louis met Tom Coleman through Twitter in 2014 while they were both working in London.  They started a business called 36&5. During the Christmas season they began searching for alternative sources of revenue, leading to the Handmade Christmas Co.; a designer of premium customised Christmas sacks. Louis and Tom used a strategy of advertising for less and selling for more through websites such as AmazonLocal and LivingSocial, resulting in the sale of 42,000 sacks within eight weeks without any formal market research.

In 2015, Louis and Tom re-invented their brand: they developed a website and introduced nine new designs. They continued to partner with third party sites, sold non-personalised sacks in-store along with direct selling from their website. They sold 92,000 sacks. This year they are introducing sacks for pets, developing a partnership with a high street retailer, and hoping to move into their own factory.

Based on a report by Lindiwe Chakhala