Hello Marie & Julien and thank you for taking the time to tell us more about yourself, your company and how you organise your day in London, between a family of 4 and a full-time entrepreneur job for both of you!
You came to London from Paris, for the second time, with your family, in 2020. We were delighted to find you a bright mews in Fitzrovia last summer. You had a lot of projects at the time, primarily to grow your business in the UK market.
We would love to know a little more about you and your ongoing projects!
What motivated you to move a second time to London and how was your integration into this new life, in a new country with a new routine, for the entire family?!
The desire to go back to England reappeared on my side during the lockdown. Indeed, our start-up was only deployed in France and the pandemic pushed us to think further and faster! We came on the 14th of July to visit some properties (with you Victoria) and it confirmed our desire to come. Announcement to the family at the beginning of July / Announcement to the children on the 20th of July and moving on the 15th of September. Everybody was very happy to come back to London. We couldn’t imagine the aftermath of the pandemic at the time of our decision and our aim has always been to live between two countries that we love.
Pix.City is not your first entrepreneurial adventure… would you like to tell us more about Edit Place?
Edit-Place was born in 2010 and was our first baby that we created together. We were providing multilingual content to digital clients to improve their SEO. We settled up the company in France and came to London in 2014 (with our 1.5 year old twins) to follow one of our clients whose decision centre was moving to London. We stayed in Shoreditch for 3 years and loved it. We sold this company in 2016 to a French company and returned to France at the end of 2016.
How did you come up with the name “Pix.City” for your company?
Our first company name was already taken, so we looked for a new one that combined pix for photo and city for town. The aim was to bring together local influencers around good tips that could be marketed during weekends, short stays but… we realised that these locals had editorial skills, photos, in short, they could help local shops & businesses manage their social networks at a competitive cost. Then the pandemic arrived, and the business really took off at that point as everyone was on their phones during the lockdown! So today we help professionals to manage their social networks thanks to local influencers. Lockdown or not, all professionals need it!
What does make your company unique?
We are unique because we are in several countries and we talk to all the professionals about a semi-industrialised offer, which does not really exist today.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Work hard – Work more than the others – Building something – Creating a team – Getting help from people better than you on your missing skills
What are your responsibilities within Pix.City?
Julien is responsible for the technical and production teams. I oversee finance, product and we co-work with the sales teams.
How did you introduce the UK market and what are the cultural specificities in the English market?
At the moment we are working on the French and Spanish markets. The English market will be targeted from May 2021.
How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
We advertise on social networks and our prospects make an appointment directly on our calendar. We still have our professional network but in this period of pandemic, the independent and traders remain much more receptive than the large companies which have all stopped. So, we have to juggle according to the market and the time!
What kind of culture exists in your organisation, and how did you establish it?
We don’t have a corporate culture, but we are very vigilant when recruiting: education and politeness are fundamental values for me and make the difference on 2 profiles.
How do you define success?
The fact of creating, succeeding in making a living from your passion or your activity and then either passing it on to your family or to a buyer who corresponds to what your company needs.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
To take risks when no one else will and says it’s “too complicated, impossible, not the time, insane”!
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I would say that sharing the same desire to work with partners is key. It’s very important to have people who are “problem-free” but “with character”.
To what extent is the COVID forcing you to change your business model?
Covid forced us to rethink our sales strategy: 1) Everything went into online visio tools and for retailers this was not at all obvious at the start. 2) We had to adapt our prices and propose a special COVID offer from March 2020 3) Finally we completely changed our way of selling by taking the time to understand how to help our customers and adapt our product to their demand. Basically we did a lot of things “out of scope” for the end of coherent products. This requires a very flexible team that is willing to call back customers, propose something else, challenge itself and deal with the situation imposed. It’s not easy for everyone!
What do you think are the keys to a company’s success in 2021 and what is your development strategy?
I would have answered simply in 2020 with a clear answer. Today I have no advice to give other than to live from day to day, give yourself time and share the same objective with your partners. It’s not easy because in these complicated times, everyone is thinking about living at sea or taking more time… which is the opposite of what a start-up needs. So yes, we all live apart, we all work from home, but the people in our team share the same desire to succeed in this new project.
What does the day-to-day life of entrepreneurs in London look like at this time of year?
We work from home thanks to Victoria who found us (by video) the ideal house: not far from the school, with a ground floor area that serves as an office when our team comes to work.
And finally, what did the French Touch service bring you?
Victoria showed us around 3 neighbourhoods in one day after a telephone conversation about our family, our wishes/needs, our timing and our budget. Everything was done within 8 weeks. Great timing.
Marie Fouris & Julien Wolff | Pix.City