Osborne Clarke, Corporate Solicitor, Bristol
|Starting a business|
Career Change Story
I have become a potty salesman. I had an idea for a child's potty that could be empited without making a mess everywhere. I had always wanted to set up my own business and so set about applying for a patent (with the help of some patent attorneys). The initial examination of the patent was positive. About 3 months later my firm offered all lawyers voluntary redundancy. The fact that I could get paid for 9 months to see where I could get to with my potty idea was too good an opportunity to miss. I took voluntary redundancy and set about developing my product. As a safety net I also made preparation to set up a legal recruitment consultancy and launched a website called Professional Bristol.
Although the Pourty potty was well received by retailers and we quickly got listings online with Tesco, Boots, Amazon and Mothercare, you have to sell a lot of potties to make a living. After the end of my first year out, I became the Group Legal Office for Mulberry Group on a part time basis. This helped pay the bills as the potty business grew. The role at Mulberry grew and so did my potty business and after 1 year I had to take the decision to focus full time on potties.
Now in our third year, we are finally making a small profit and are busy developing new products and expanding our sales overseas. The Pourty potty is the best selling potty online in the UK and is doing well in store with Boots, John Lewis and Kiddicare. It is also listed online in the US with Walmart, Amazon and Babies R Us.
Career Change Reflections
I really enjoy being able to take my own decisions on risk. As a lawyer you are constantly looking for what might go wrong and covering your back. Running your own business is all about finding opportunities and maximising them. I find it far more rewarding and hope to build up a business of value and sell it. However, I do sometimes miss the adrenaline and challenge of negotiation meetings and late night completions, especially when you get tied down in boring admin.
If you have a desire to run your own business, then I highly recommend having a go. The one good thing about being a lawyer is that you can hopefully go back to a sound profession if it all goes wrong.
Location: North Nibley