Getting to know you: John Lakey

What to you currently do?
I am the director of Candlelight Creations. We are a Cornish company producing goods for retail. Mainly handmade paper goods and now with sock creature kits!
What is your inspiration in Business?
My main inspiration comes from my wife and son. I want to provide for their wellbeing and happiness. My wife is the main designer in the company and we work very close together. Something we do well together.
Who do you admire?
There are many different businesses and leaders I admire. Sir Richard Branson, Theo Paphitis, Lord Sugar, Tim Smit, and Bill W. humble beginnings with bigger visions.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
I would have asked for help earlier on. I tend to try to do things on my own and if I had asked for help it would have helped my business grow quicker and made less silly mistakes. I also do not shout enough about how we produce and who for. We are really green in what we do and we don’t carry it across enough, something we will be shouting about more in the future.
What defines your way of doing business?
I am the hands on driver of the business. Big thinker and facilitator of fun. When ever we have produced something I have had large retail outlet in mind for them.
So far it’s worked and got us into M&S, Debenhams and Eden Project. Next year with new products we have bigger plans. We also work hard at what we do and find that a good mix of fun with it makes us work so much better. Our sock monkeys have really kept the fun in the business!
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Identify your market.  Do Market research; make sure there is demand for your product. Think big and where you want your product to end up. Know your strengths and weakness’ and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Create a time line and try to stick to it. Things out of your control take longer so be prepared for this.
Keep knocking on doors – Eventually they will open up!
Enjoy what you’re doing as you are going to spend a long time doing it. Be prepared for many sleepless nights.
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