Managing director, Lost Ferret, aged 26
“It just seemed like a good idea at the time,” Tom Cahalan says matter-of-factly, describing the reason why he decided to set up his own business at just 18. “I’d been coding since I was 15. How hard can it be to get a business going? Well, the answer is really hard.”
Cahalan says his big break came when Lost Ferret, his ecommerce solutions provider, secured Quiz Clothing as a customer in 2009. From there, Lost Ferret started working with Cecil Gee, Moss Bros and The Officers Club among others, with more recent clients including Oki-ni and Fuse Fashion. Not bad for a 26 year old.
“Winning Moss Bros, when we were a tiny company with only a few staff, was a great achievement,” Cahalan remembers. “However, we’ve helped some customers in three years to increase their sales tenfold, which is what I’m most proud of.”
Cahalan says he’s got to where he is today with “a lot of hard work, long hours, no social life and great staff”. And his biggest lesson so far? “Find your niche. Once you’re completely aware of what you want to be doing, don’t try and do anything else; just do what you’re doing the best you can,” he says. “Simplicity is king. Stick to one thing and do it well and everyone benefits.”
Cahalan’s ambition is to help some of the best-known fashion retailers across the UK to grow by “offering fantastic support, a quick turnaround and an easy to use content management system”.