Rising star: Jo Young on starting her Urban Sprawl sofa covers business

It's brave to start a business, but even braver to ditch it in favour of something else. Jo Young did just that and has turned her sofa throw company, Urban Sprawl, into a spreading success.

It’s brave to start a business, but even braver to ditch it in favour of something else. Jo Young did just that and has turned her sofa throw company, Urban Sprawl, into a spreading success.

How did you get the idea?

I started out in the last recession at the end of the 80s. My previous business was selling kids wear but that took a big hit in sales. So after spotting a gap in the market, I moved to upholstery instead.

What marketing have you used?

We did a lot of leafleting using slogans such: as ‘don’t buy a new sofa’. And ‘you can change your sofa for less’. But now we just use the internet and word of mouth. We tend to get a lot of customers who are environmentally conscious.

How has the recession affected you?

We’re actually doing really well out of it. It’s meant we’re getting more work, not less. People don’t want to throw things away – I think there’s been a real cultural change in that respect. We almost have more business than we can cope with.

What advice do you have for other SMEs?

The way to get out of the recession is to be prepared to do anything. Sometimes, only radical change can help. As a small business, you can do that more easily. Thinking things will just ‘sort themselves out’ will only lead you to bankruptcy.

Where next?

We want to create an online shop this August. This will make the whole process of ordering and delivering a lot easier and will mean we can take the business to a national level.

Also see: Rising Star Josie Beckett – From a market stall in Spitalfields to supplying Top Shop and internet-based retailer ASOS, Josie Beckett talks about the unexpected success of her label Whereareyounow?

Related Topics

Entrepreneurs

Leave a comment