Festive Focus series: In conversation with Waldo's Ashleigh Hinde
To mark the beginning of the festive period - and with 2018 soon coming to a close - we wanted to get in touch with local businesses to find out their successes of this year.
That’s why we’ve started the Festive Focus series, which will run throughout December. Picked from our three regions - North East, London and Yorkshire - we will be chatting to businesses on their current successes to goals for 2019 and beyond.
Our first businessperson of London’s Festive Focus series is Ashleigh Hinde, of Waldo.
Can you introduce yourself and your business to our readers?
I’m Ashleigh Hinde, founder of direct-to-consumer contact lens brand, Waldo. After working all over the world and finishing a course in entrepreneurship at Harvard, I settled in London to launch Waldo.
“At Waldo, we’re simplifying the process of buying contact lenses by delivering high quality daily contact lenses directly to the consumer, providing a more affordable, superior customer experience.
“The idea started as a personal pain point while buying contact lenses, and with a mother who is blind in one eye, it was imperative to me that we make a great quality product and provide a positive branded experience for customers.
“We launched Waldo in the UK on the 1st August 2017 and have since expanded throughout the UK, EU and most recently into the USA.
“When I launched Waldo, I wanted to put the power back into the hands of the consumer and create a brand that people felt emotionally engaged with as I feel that vision is something which should be personal and exciting.
“There is so much to talk about when it comes to vision and people’s perspectives, so we fundamentally believe that it should be a more exciting category. It’s our personal mission to bring this side of the industry out.”
What was your company’s biggest achievement of the year?
“Positive customer feedback and international growth. Waldo has grown incredibly quickly over the last year. We celebrated our first birthday on August 1, and have been able to congratulate ourselves on some serious milestones!
“At the beginning of 2018, we were just five employees in a tiny London office shipping to customers in the UK. We now have eleven members of full-time staff in our London office (with several others working remotely), we’ve expanded our service to 27 countries in Europe and have found over 60,000 people who are now wearing Waldo around the world.
“Within a year of working, at the end of July, with help from series A funding from PROfounders Capital, Tectonic Capital and YYX Ventures and Tinder co-founders, Sean Rad and Justin Mateen, we expanded to the USA.”
How would you approach 2018 differently, given the chance?
“The key lesson I’ve learnt this year is to not let myself get distracted. I have always been open to listening to ideas from other entrepreneurs, investors and mentors about how to run a company, and many of those have been hugely valuable.
“However, I have become more cautious with what feedback I take and place high value on the context that it’s given in.
“The startup environment can be full of distractions, so I think it’s super important as a business owner to be focused and diligent about how we spend our time.”
What are your company’s plans for the new year?
“As we move into 2019, we’re continuing to expand into new markets and we’ll keep progressing to offer additional services to our customers, ensuring we’re offering not only great contact lenses but also a service that completely fits in with their life.”
What are your plans for the festive season?
“I’ll be spending time with family, friends and incredible team - celebrating the end of a great year… and preparing for the next!”
Want to get involved in our Festive Focus series or know someone who would be a great match? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.