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Catching up with Grand Ideas Award-winner Andrew Jervis (PieBoy)

Thu, 01 November 2012

Andrew Jervis was in the Hot 40 for the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2012. We caught up with him to find out how things have changed since he won his award...
Andrew Jervis was in the Hot 40 for the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2012. In 2011 he founded PieBoy clothing, for which he won a Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award back in February this year. Andrew is now a cohort member of Entrepreneur First and is working on his latest start up ClickMechanic.
Describe your business(es)
PieBoy is an Urban Student Fashion Label which was born out of the simple identification of an opportunity to create current fashion items which encompassed the flavour of a University and City. We started the PieBoy adventure in the winter of 2011 with the Manchester Beanie, and have since gone on to supply a number of universities and work with societies across the UK. However, PieBoy don’t stop at just making amazing products, we specialise in unorthodox marketing which grabs attention and entertains our customers. Some of our Viral Videos have attained thousands of views (try typing “Manchester’s Gorgeous Girl” into YouTube) and we place creativity and collaborations at the forefront of everything we do.
My most recent start up with Entrepreneur First is another business I’m equally excited about, although it’s very different. Currently the automotive repair industry is fraught with problems and pain points. Consumers get ripped off, people don’t trust their garages and, to top it off, it can be a real pain to take their car to a garage as this often means taking time from work. ClickMechanic (formerly known as ZipMechanic) is changing this. We bring the mechanics to you. Give prices up front on the site for the work and make sure that all mechanics are the best in the business! So next time you need a car repair...try us!

How have things changed for you since you won your Shell LiveWIRE award?
Shell LiveWIRE is the pioneer of championing youth enterprise in the UK. It has been going for as long as I can remember so to be shortlisted and to win the Shell LiveWIRE award was pretty amazing for me! Since winning the award PieBoy has gone from strength to strength, with more customers and more crazy viral marketing. The award has really helped in generating genuine credibility when talking to potential investors, as well as helping create some great exposure on a PR stage.

Away from PieBoy, I finished my Masters dissertation in early September and then made my way down to London to join the first cohort of Entrepreneur First. I’ve since started a new enterprise with my tech co-founder based on the work I was undertaking for my Research Masters thesis around the car repair industry, with some very exciting things to come on that front!
How have you had to adapt as an entrepreneur?
Doing your own thing is certainly exciting and liberating but comes with a lot of uncertainty, which took a little getting used to in the early days. If you’ve come from the salary space where you’re used to getting those 4 digits coming into your bank account each month, then those first few months where there is little or no money coming in and lots going out can be daunting.

Another element that perhaps took a little adaption, but in the best possible way, is the liberation and freedom. You literally have the freedom to do what you want, when you want. This is fantastic in so many regards as you can fit your work around your life, as opposed to the other way round, but it means you have to be disciplined to get stuff done as there is no one breathing down your neck to be in the office between 9 and 5. The truth of the matter is that if you’re a self-starter this discipline will come naturally and will make you feel more empowered and motivated to get things done!

What has been the biggest obstacle you have overcome in business?
Hurdles rear their head all the time. I wouldn’t say there has been one that has been bigger than the others but there has certainly been a few interesting ones. A couple of Christmas’s ago I returned home to my native Isle of Man for a nice relaxing break away from work and the hustle bustle of the city and had a few letters waiting for me at my parent’s house. One particular letter was from Vauxhall threatening various proceedings against me and my company and a hefty bill of several hundred pounds just for the liberty of covering their inconvenience of sending this letter out (heavens knew what else they were going to demand), for accidentally using their trademark in some of our online marketing. Due to the festive period, it was not possible to speak with their in-house council until after New Year so I promptly replied, sending a hefty cheque and leaving a lingering little annoying thought in my head over the festivities. However a call in the New Year and a few hundred pounds later I was on the straight and narrow and a lot wiser about Intellectual Property law! Although this wasn’t a massive hurdle it was certainly one of those smaller hurdles that builds that real life learning curve.
You can follow Andrew on Twitter @adajervis

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