Gus Bartholomew is the latest entrepreneur to feature in our success stories. Gus is the co-founder of SupplyCompass, a company that helps clients in the UK get in touch with manufacturers in India. In this success story, Gus discusses working with a partner and working in both the UK and India.
What is Supplycompass?
Supplycompass is a platform that makes it easier for fashion and homeware brands to find and work with the best international manufacturers. Our intuitive platform brings clarity and structure to a notoriously complex process. We put brands in the driving seat.
We are a people + tech business with offices in London and Mumbai. Our focus is on facilitating better relationships within global supply chains, embedding greater trust and transparency throughout. We want to offer brands the most responsible and innovative sourcing solutions and to provide the most seamless production experience.
What inspired you to start Supplycompass?
Building a reliable, streamlined and cost-effective supply chain isn’t something that businesses can do overnight. The truth is, finding the right manufacturer for your product is time-consuming and, even once you’ve found someone who you think is the right fit, building a trusted relationship and working with them can be full of challenges. These difficulties become even harder to overcome when you start looking at overseas production.
After seeing so many businesses struggle with this, we set out to build a solution that made this process easier for all. We wanted to provide easy access to the best manufacturers around the world and bring greater structure to the whole process – making the working relationship easier for both brand and manufacturer.
You’re a co-founder, how did you find the right business partner?
I think the best way to find the right business partner is to start by looking at yourself to understand your strengths and more importantly your weaknesses – then look for someone who compliments your skillset. The whole needs to be greater than the sum of its parts.
How do your background and skills complement your partners?
Our skill sets are different and therefore we are able to lead in different areas of the business.
What are your day-to-day activities?
My core responsibility is meeting manufacturers when I am in India and meeting clients when I’m in the UK. I spend time explaining what we do at Supplycompass and the value we can bring their businesses by making their supply chains more efficient and stress-free!
What led you to India?
We started in India because of its breadth of offering and longstanding heritage with textiles. The manufacturers we work with are highly skilled and able to produce high-quality products, at competitive prices – whilst also being committed to responsible production. For the sectors we currently work in, we believe it offers the best solution.
How does having a small team impact your business?
We are in the business of building long-lasting relationships. As a small team, everyone knows each other very well and with clients, we are approachable, personable and hands-on.
What are some of the skills and lessons you have learnt setting up and running a business?
Grit, organisation and endless reserves of energy are fundamental.
What are the main perks and disadvantages of being a business owner?
You never stop “working” as the business is always in your thoughts. But, on the plus side, it’s something I am so passionate about that it never really feels like work!
If you could go back and change one thing about your business journey, what would it be and why?
Be more agile. As a business in the early stages, it can be easy to make decisions based on your feelings rather than the facts. It’s important to look at the data, be highly flexible and be ready to change things quickly to sculpt your solution into what your customers really want. Get your product out and into the hands of real users as soon as you can, learn from them and improve
Is there any advice you would offer any prospective entrepreneurs?
Be determined and take advice from everyone who will give it.