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    Alex Narcott

    People — 27 April 2017

    The ideas people:

    From contemporary art to car insurance, look out for these five inspirational entrepreneurs who are taking their businesses from strength to strength with creativity, hard work and dedication

    Words: Anna Beesley

    Photography: Trent McMinn

    Scarlett Bowman

    Scarlett Bowman, 31 (above)

    Founder, Projects on Walls

    Multimedia artist Scarlett Bowman set up Projects on Walls after realising there was a gap in the market for sourcing contemporary artworks over a range of budgets. ‘Unlike many art procurement services, it’s not about paying a small fortune,’ says Bowman, who started her business after friends and family began asking her to suggest artworks. ‘Many of my friends were moving into their first homes and wanted to find interesting artworks for their walls, so I built up contacts with artists and galleries and started sourcing on an ad-hoc basis, whether the budget was £500 or £50,000.’ Intended to bridge the gap between the worlds of art and interior design, which is getting blurrier by the season, Bowman’s Projects on Walls curates the aesthetic of restaurants and offices as well as private homes.

    The thing that sets Bowman apart is that she’s been at the epicentre of the fine art world, from school to master’s level: ‘There is more than several lifetimes’ worth of mediums to encounter. I couldn’t have strayed away if I tried!’. A tour-de-creative-force, she is a peer of her contacts and so has access to the most contemporary and on-the-pulse artists in the country, if not the world. ‘Next up, I want to set up Projects on Wedding Walls [POWW], giving couples the opportunity to set up a wedding list with us, whereby guests contribute to an art fund for the newlyweds.’ Watch this (curated) space.


    Dalia Daou

    Dalia Daou

    Dalia Daou, 30 (above)

    Founder, Daou Jewellery

    There’s no doubt that Dalia Daou knows her tourmaline from her tanzanite. Jewellery has been in her family for three generations, so when she decided to quit her finance career after five years, a move into jewellery-making was a clear choice. ‘It meant so much, not just because I love and grew up with jewellery, but family, tradition and longevity too. It was a big responsibility to revive the jewellery name Daou and to do so successfully’. ‘Daou’, which means light in Lebanese, is referenced throughout her creations, the most recent being the Phoenix collection, reigniting the family name through the exquisite forms of the mythical bird in gold with precious gemstones that delicately reflecting the light.

    There’s no denying Daou’s talent and success after she recently scored a hat-trick of accolades, winning ‘New Designer of the Year’ at the UK Jewellery Awards in 2016 as well as a place in the British Fashion Council’s prestigious ‘Rock Vault’ (judged by jeweller Stephen Webster) and being interviewed by Vogue’s Suzy Menkes at the recent Condé Nast International Luxury conference. Despite these esteemed awards she still feels the pressure of previous family success. ‘I was and still am daunted by living up to the heights of my father’s career as a jeweller – he had clients such as Grace Kelly and even a royal appointment,’ says Daou. ‘I compete with myself and that heritage more than with contemporary designers!’


    Alex Narracott

    Alex Narracott

    Alex Narracott, 33 (above)

    Co-founder, Much Better Adventures

    Along with Sam Bruce and Guy Bowden, a trio of young entrepreneurs and adventure enthusiasts who formed Much Better Adventures, Alex Narracott is on a mission to recalibrate the travel industry and inspire people to be more adventurous. ‘We want to give travellers much better experiences than large tour operators. They often fail to offer the level of personal and local experiences that holidaymakers are looking for.’ Narracott and his partners joined forces under a three-part plan after starting the business in a ‘very old chalet in the Alps’. Firstly, to inspire people to be ‘active travellers’, seeking adventure and experiences. Secondly, to empower other entrepreneurs to make a living doing what they love and, thirdly, in the process, help conserve the planet’s most inspiring wild places by incentivising communities to protect the inspiring environments, which attract travellers in the first place.

    Statistics show how many travellers want to book directly with locals, and the Much Better Adventures platform has tapped straight into this. ‘I was incredibly lucky to have very nomadic English teachers for parents,’ says Bruce. ‘They grew up in small towns in Scotland and wanted to become teachers so they could travel the world – no points for guessing where I got my travel bug from.’ He and his team haven’t looked back since opening an Australian outpost recently. ‘It was a nice milestone but I still feel like we’re just getting started’.


    Freddy Macnamara

    Freddy Macnamara

    Freddy Macnamara, 28 (above)

    Founder, Cuvva

    The consumer insurance business has been stagnant for years, with outdated services and a severe lack of innovation. Underwriters may have banned boozy lunches in an attempt to create a modern reputation but they were still one of Freddy Macnamara’s hardest obstacles when it came to setting up his own revolutionary, pay-as-you-go car insurance business, Cuvva. ‘I always thought the premium you pay for car insurance was opaque and unfair. With Cuvva, we’ve fixed this by allowing you to insure yourself for as little as an hour in a couple of taps on a screen. No more meerkat toys or singing tenors’. For Macnamara, the idea of paying for car insurance by the hour was conceived when he wanted to lend his car to a friend. ‘The difficulty of finding and getting short-term cover was ridiculous’.

    Macnamara has proved that car insurance can be sold on an app. After raising £70,000 through friends and family, as well as some pure hustle and hard work to find investors, Cuvva began providing hourly cover. It will soon launch a subscription-based service, which allows infrequent drivers to pay for full car insurance as and when they need it. ‘Our biggest breakthrough was selling the first hourly policy in 2015. It was a huge success, considering so many companies have tried and failed’. This is a huge feat for Macnamara and there’s no doubt that his technological advance will kickstart new life into the industry.

    Hannah McCollum

    Hannah McCollum

    Hannah McCollum, 26 (above)

    Founder, ChicP

    It’s no secret that food waste is an epidemic: a third of the food we produce in Britain is never eaten and 40 per cent of UK crops are rejected because of their shape or size. Hannah McCollum created ChicP to address the issue by turning surplus vegetables into healthy hummus. ‘The inspiration behind the business was the overriding determination and passion to change the way we approach cooking and food waste’. McCollum initially started her career as a private chef in the UK and Europe, and after becoming eager to prevent the overwhelming waste, would convert her signature Ottolenghi-style salads into dips for the next day. ‘Nearly every day the question would be “what’s the dip of the day, Hannah?!” I hate food waste and love hummus, so I put two and two together and created ChicP as a fully self-funded business’.

    Finding a manufacturer was a difficult process as was making all the business decisions on her own at first, which can be the case with all young entrepreneurs. But her determination has paid off and ChicP is now stocked in WholeFoods and independent food stores across London. What’s next? ‘Chocolate hummousse (banana, avocado & cacao hummus) is a trend ahead of itself. Think sugar-free Nutella – a healthy chocolate mousse, amazing in porridge and for baking. Watch out for lots more events with new creations in this field’.