#BABEALERT: ZOE POCOCK, FOUNDER OF MUCK N BRASS
Muck n Brass stand out for their statement mannequins lamps and upcycled (but not in a crap way) furniture and home accessories. 'Luxecycling' if you will. In a sea of monotonous design, I caught up with the chick who's going against the grain and encouraging us to be a little more daring, Zoe Pocock, in her South London studio.
Tell us about your business...
MnB is a unique furniture upcycling business. I take unwanted and discarded items and turn them into individual, one off pieces. I started MnB for the simple reason I couldn't find a tv table that didn't look like JayZ had won the lottery or wasn't made out of a wooden pallet. I wanted fashionable and funky. As if Topshop made furniture.
What has been the most exciting part of your career so far?
Moving into the new workshop space. I'd been dreaming of this place for years. Never thought it would become available but one day I got a knock at my old workshop from the previous tenant, offering it to me. It's opposite the old place so I used to look in awe every day. Dream come true.
What is your biggest regret?
I've learnt from my mistakes and I've made some big ones too. Im always telling the kids to embrace fail. Sometimes what you think is a failed move can actually take you in a different direction and things turn out better. The best learning comes from experiences. Sounds cliche but it's true.
What is your favourite way to spend money?
I've loved being able to re-invest into the company over the last three years. It's grown very quickly and we've managed it all without loans or credit. That's been a great feeling, but I do love spending cash when it's a bargain. Wheeler dealer deals.
What app / piece of technology / software could you not live without?
iPhone 7. It never leaves my hand. I do pretty much all my day to day business on my phone. My husband has a relationship with the side of my head but he's got used to it now. He's very supportive of the importance of the phone.
You're feeling a bit 'meh'. What do you do to cheer yourself up?
Sardines and plum tomatoes on toast and a steam bath. Not at the same time though. Although I would if they served sardines at the spa.
What is the naughtiest thing you have ever done?
Getting arrested within hours of landing on my first trip to New York. It involved an Alexandra McQueen suitcase, a bomb scare, swearing at a police officer and spending a night in a cell in Queens.
Who or what is your dream collaboration?
You have the day off. What would you do?
Sit there and wonder what I've forgotten as I don't often get a day off.
Have you ever had a moment of 'shitting it' about your business or career? What happened?
When a large online retailer banned me from selling. They hadn't liked the fact I was selling on my website and etsy as well as them. I used to sell a lot on their platform so the cash flow was welcome, but they got shirty and apparently their terms and conditions (who reads those?) are you can’t sell on any other platform. They lost out in the end as I sell very well on my sites and they don't earn from me anymore. Was a ball ache at the time though. Taught me that the bigger guys aren't always very small business friendly and I appreciate companies like etsy as they really work hard for the smaller businesses.
What has been your ultimate kick ass moment where you felt amazing?
I'm a very positive person and I have mini kick-ass moments daily but a couple of big ones were when Matthew Williamson contacted me to buy one of my pieces for his lounge. That was cool. Being asked to present a tv show was pretty cool too.
PIN FOR LATER!
What is your best piece of business advice?
Be prepared to change direction. If it doesn't sell change it. It's either the price or the product.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt since running your business?
Cash flow, cash flow, cash flow.
You're stuck in a lift with a famous person. Who is it and what do you talk about?
This is a true story. Had pie, mash and gravy in a styrofoam box from catering at the royal Albert hall. Pressed the button and the lift opens, two security guards flanking Gwyneth Paltrow. I paused, they stared.
I said *can I come in I've got pie.
Gwen said *yes,
I got in and the doors closed and she said
*That smells delicious.
*Yes its steak and kidney pie.
Gwyneth *Im a vegan.
Me *It's not for you.
The rest of the lift ride was silent and awkward.
What pisses you off?
Hermes delivery service.
People who can't take a good picture.
What would you say to your 18 year old self?
You gonna need a bigger boat.