William Forshaw

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William Forshaw is a British entrepreneur. William started Maxwell Scott Bags Ltd in 2002 and is based in York.[1]

William Forshaw, founder of Maxwell Scott Bags LtdWilliam Forshaw, founder of Maxwell Scott Bags Ltd


Maxwell Scott Bags Ltd


Early Career

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Maxwell Scott Bags Ltd

William started Maxwell Scott Bags Ltd in 2002. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: [1]

Q: How did you get started on Maxwell Scott Bags Ltd?

After university, I attempted different jobs but nothing seemed to suit me and I saw no career potential. After I had been made redundant from the advertising industry after only 12 months, I knew that I needed to refocus and find a path that I felt truly passionate about.

It was on a holiday to Italy that I realized that those plastic carrier bags and poor-quality briefcases, that I had seen my corporate colleagues carrying, were an opportunity to offer a better option.

> The hardest part of designing any product is working out exactly what the customer wants and needs. You can design a product which you think is amazing and yet, your audience is not as receptive as you thought.

In fact, my mother would bring back leather handbags from her trips to Italy to sell to her friends and so, Italy seemed the right place for me to manufacture exactly what I had in mind. My mother also conceived the company name - Maxwell-Scott - a mix of mine and my brother’s middle names.

With little expertise, but a significant sense of exactly the quality product I wanted, I searched tirelessly for the right factory, finally settling on a family-run factory in the heart of Tuscany.

Here, in Italy’s traditional leather industry, the Maxwell-Scott artisans now handcraft each briefcase, handbag, holdall and smaller accessory. Their knowledge and workmanship forms the crucial foundation to Maxwell-Scott. In fact, each piece has a 25 year guarantee which was an absolute imperative for me as I design accessories to last a lifetime - it is a testament to slow consumerism.

Going straight to the consumer

In the beginning, I sold my briefcases where I had originally spotted the problem. Therefore, I would sell in receptions and cafeterias or would hire a meeting room in the office buildings exactly where my target market worked day in day out.

The success of the first two years operating under this method meant that I had the money to expand to do exhibitions as well as having stalls at Cheltenham Racecourse, Burley and Badminton Horse Trials.

This is exactly where I found professionals with high disposable income and, as such, it felt the correct fit. It was hard, demanding work though as, at the peak, I did 50 shows a year with my wife, Charlotte.

Pivoting to ecommerce

After years selling straight to the consumer, I decided to pivot into an ecommerce brand and launched the website in around 2008.

This was a truly crucial moment for the brand and has dictated the future of the company as we know to focus on online sales. There have been two more important turning points for the brand. Firstly in 2012, I moved the business from London to York in the north of England.

I decided to take the plunge because I had a young family and wanted a change of pace, moving back to Yorkshire where I had grown up. It was certainly the right choice, personally and professionally. The other decisive change was the rebrand in 2015 which set the company onto a new, better, trajectory.

It has, in general, been a large and continuing learning curve thankfully with very positive results.


Source [1]



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