Monday, 25 May 2020

Let's Get Down to Business: Eva Rickett, Henley Scan

EVA RICKETT and her husband Graham own Henley Scan, a creative business run from their home in King’s Road, Henley. Born and raised in Sweden, she graduated from Lund University with a degree in computer science. She met Graham in 1985 in Linköping, where he was working as a software consultant. They moved to the UK in 1987 and were married in the Swedish Church in London. They moved to Henley in 2015 and have three children. Eva strongly supports local charities and was an enthusiastic collector and helper at every night of the Henley Living Advent Calendar. She swims in the Thames and loves walking the towpath. She’s also a film fanatic.

Describe your business

We bring memories back to life by taking images and footage from old media, such as photos, slides, negatives, videos, camcorder tapes and 8mm cine films.

How many people does it employ?

There’s just Graham and me but we have a part-time freelancer who helps with scanning and two ladies who help us with marketing through networking.

What did you do before you started this business?

After university I was a graduate trainee at Ericsson in Sweden. Then I met Graham (who is from Windsor). We were married two years later and have lived in the UK ever since. I worked in software and telecoms at Racal and then stayed at home to raise the children. When I returned to work it was as a special needs teaching assistant and voluntary work. We lived in Newbury and Wokingham but when I first came to Henley I fell in love with it. Coming home, I still get a thrill when approaching the bridge.

When did you start your business?

February 2018 but it took us until the September to realise it had the making of a real business and not just a hobby. That’s when we got started properly.

What was your objective?

To earn enough money to pay for a few holidays.

Who or what influenced you?

It was a talk we heard at the Creative Duck that really inspired us to give it a go. It was by Ben Keene and entitled “How to turn your dreams into reality”.

Do you have a mentor or role model?

David Rodger-Sharp, who owns a jewellery shop in Duke Street, has been very supportive and has become a real friend. We met at the Creative Duck.

What would you do differently if you could start again?

At first, we mainly just restored customers’ old photos and negatives. In hindsight, we should have worked with more old film media from the start.

How is your business doing?

Our turnover in 2019 was three times greater than the previous year. Being the “techie” one of us, Graham keeps his pulse on how we are doing — he likes doing graphs.

How do you market your business?

Networking, social media. We also have lots of Henley Scan champions, especially fellow members of the Henley Business Partnership. Referrals provide a huge proportion of our business.

What’s the best thing about running your own business?

Flexibility and the pleasure we get out of what we can do for people.

What’s the most challenging aspect?

Maintaining the quality of our work. We take great pride in what we do but this does create pressure.

Where is your business headed?

We see lots of potential in the corporate world as well as sports clubs. We also plan to hold workshops on how to store, tag, organise and archive old photos and documents.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?

The need to be flexible and creative in order to find the solution to a problem.

What would you advise someone starting a business?

Go for it.

What three qualities are most important to success?

Being customer-focused, the ability to get your pricing right and. most of all, loving what you do with real passion.

What’s the secret of your success?

A customer wrote to us recently to say that Graham I and are a great double act, which is probably why the business is successful.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?

We didn’t get our pricing right to begin with and soon realised that quality has to be paid for.

How organised are you?

We had to get better and we did. We had 60 customers in December so being well organised was a must.

How are you planning for retirement?

We are hoping that Henley Scan will ultimately be the vehicle for our retirement. We’d love to be able to live a good life when we retire and we think that our business model and processes could eventually be replicated on a franchise basis.

How do you dress for work each day?

It’s important to be smart because it reflects who you are.

What can’t you be without every day?

Graham, my mobile phone and social media.

Lunch at your desk or going out?

Both. No fixed routine.

Do you continue to study?

Yes. This has been a huge learning curve as there is so much technology involved.

What do you read?

Because of my strong faith, I read the Bible regularly. I also read business books and listen to audio books.
I read the Times every day and the Henley Standard every week. I read books mainly when we are on
holiday.

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