Our first magazine of the year – the 2019 Work Better & Live Smarter issue – is out next week. As a teaser, we’ve dedicated today’s newsletter to the same theme. For all the stories, pick up a copy or subscribe here.
Courier celebrates people living and working on their own terms. When putting together this issue, we wanted to kick the year off with some of the most aspirational stories we could find about entrepreneurs who have beaten the odds.
Immigrant founders personify this challenge better than most. In both the UK and US, this group is twice as likely to start a businesses. Indeed, in the UK alone one in five tech startups is founded by immigrants – including Deliveroo and Farfetch, two UK companies valued at over £1bn each.
Mohammed Ahmed moved from India to the US in the 1980s – and since 1995 he has been building a media empire in the form of Casa Magazines, a New York newsagent. The store has become legendary for lovers of print across the globe (follow them @casamagazinesnyc) – stocking over 2,000 magazines and newspapers (including Courier, of course). Read our interview with Ahmed here.
For those hoping to launch their own ventures this year, we’ve put together a special 24-page guide to starting up which covers everything from financing and branding to building communities and sales channels.
Working on a business out-of-office-hours is a popular strategy to test the waters (it’s estimated 40% of people in the US and UK are hatching business plans in their spare time). This is exactly how Georgia Plaskow launched her candle brand Ohros in 2016. She has racked up plenty of sales and high-profile collaborations since – including with yoga brand Sweaty Betty – while still happily making her candles at the weekend. Get the issue to read her story.
One from the archives, but very much relevant to this theme: how should a CEO manage their time?
Craig Elbert is co-founder of Care Of, a New York-based personalised vitamins service and, as would be expected, he has a lot to do. The company closed on £22m in funding last year and has been expanding its team since.
Elbert previously shared how he gets (most of) his work done between the hours of nine to five. His top advice:
Startups are launching with slicker and more powerful brands than ever before. As Bloomberg points out: its not enough for a company to simply persuade people to buy products. Now, brands want to be loved.
Jenny Gyllander, Courier’s product tester and founder of Thingtesting (which has also just launched its own newsletter), is holding a microscope to many of these digitally native brands. In the latest issue, she tests out Not Pot, a CBD supplement brand which wants to win customers over with its kitsch branding and ethos of giving back to those most impacted by marijuana’s previous illegality.
‘Not Pot aims to de-stigmatise hemp with its quirky branding – designed by Leslie David, who also worked on beauty brand Glossier’s identity – and cute gummies,’ she says. Read Gyllander’s full review here.
To run a successful business, a founder not only needs to look after staff, balance sheets and product development, but themselves. Investment firms are getting the message and now some – like Connect Ventures – are funnelling resources towards founder wellbeing as part of an investment round.
There is much that founders can do to help themselves, too. In this issuewe look into the science of sleep – and how a good dose of deep rest can make the mind more nimble for the day ahead.
Oregon State University also has an idea for supplementing lack of sleep: this study says that 10 minutes a day of mindfulness exercises have the same benefits as an extra 44 minutes of sleep. However, adding up to 70 minutes per week, this may be a false economy.