Home Business Heroes: Miranda Harper

Home businesses generate £284bn of the UK's GDP making them the true heroes of our economy. So to continue Smarta and Viking's celebration of these brave entrepreneurs, we spoke to Smarta 100 winner and founder of Zaini, Miranda Harper.

How did the idea come about?

Basically I was a ski instructor after leaving uni and had a bad accident which meant I was out of action for about six weeks of the season which left me fairly bored during the day, so I started making my own hats (I had struggled to find one quite bright and baggy enough for my style!) and soon everyone wanted one so I started selling them and soon realized that this wasn't just a hobby and could actually be a feasible business. So on returning home I roped in my Grandmother to help with orders and set up Zaini hats.

How did you turn your idea into reality?

With a lot of hard work, enthusiasm and commitment. Gran and I were struggling with the orders so I knew I had to outsource the production line if this was ever going to be a proper business and it meant that I could crack on with other aspects of setting up a business so I sourced a supplier and set up a website and after about 6 months of 7 days week and 16 hour days Zaini hats was ready to launch!

(Although I still pass on a few orders to my Gran to keep her in the loop!)

What were you doing before?

I was at university then doing a ski season - so very little to be honest! But I always had a passion for making money so knew working for myself was the route to take, I was just waiting for the right idea to come along.

How did you fund it?

Savings and private capital.

Where in your home do you work?

I work from my bedroom in London - half is bed and wardrobes and the other half is desks and folders! It also turns into a storage room during the winter so it turns 30% bedroom and 70% office.

Miranda Harper new

How do you start the day?

Have to admit I love a bit of Lorraine on DayBreak with a cup of tea whilst checking my emails in the morning! Then walk 10 yards to my desk without even stepping out the door - fastest and easiest commute ever!

Do you find it hard to switch off?

Luckily I live with 3 other 25 year olds so when they arrive back from work they soon switch me off! But we have rules that they abide by, like if my door is shut that means do not disturb or if it is open then can pop in and see how my day was! Living with them means there is always something going on(!).

What's the best thing about running a business from home?

The amount of money you save. As a start up minimizing overheads is crucial or you can soon find your cash flow draining away and working from home has removed this worry and also its nice having five yards to walk to my office while my flat mates are struggling on the tube each day 

What's the worst?

Going a day without leaving the house or even my bedroom! Can get slightly claustrophobic and sometimes just going to the Post Office can be a breathe of fresh air for me.

Do you ever go the whole working day without talking to anyone?

Absolutely  - but luckily I love my own time so have no problem with that but yes some days, if my flat mates are away, I can go a day without saying a word.

For more information about Zaini, click here

To vote for Zaini in the Smarta 100, click here

Home Business Heroes, in association with


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