I hope you’re all having a fantastic week. Today I’m here to share a very interesting Behind the Biz story with you. If you haven’t come across my weekly interview series before then you can find out more about it over on my podcast.
In today’s Behind the Biz I’m chatting with Ian Unsworth, the founder of Pangea Sculptures. Pangea Sculptures was founded in 2014 and offers a wide selection of quality garden sculptures, handmade by African artists.
Where did the inspiration for Pangea Sculptures come from?
On a visit to Nairobi, visiting my uncle, I saw the sculptures being made at the side of the road, after doing a double take I stopped the car and went to investigate further. I was amazed at the detail on the elephant sculpture and the sheer size of it. Intrigued to see what response the product would get in England I shipped a container full to the UK – the sculptures were loved by everybody who saw them – this is when I decided to go back to Africa and see if there would be an opportunity to create a new business whilst helping a community less fortunate. The rest is history…..
How did you decide upon the name of your business?
The name Pangea refers to the super continent and included all current land masses, before the continents broke apart. We like to think that Pangea Sculptures is now bringing the continents together again through its art work.
I was the co-founder of Aimia Foods Ltd – successful food and drink manufacturer located in North West England.
Did you always plan to set up your own business?
Yes from the age of 7 (delivering newspapers) I always knew I wanted my own business. A neighbour commented to my father, when I was about 12 that I would either be a millionaire or in jail by the time I was 21 – I failed on both counts but success came shortly after.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
Getting the sculptures produced fast enough to meet the demand in the UK. It is a different way of life out there, no urgency, everything stops for the smallest thing.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
Aimia Foods became a very successful business and I am proud of what I achieved there. Meeting Richard Branson has to be the highlight for me, we were both on a flight having a drink at the bar, I had 90 minutes with him – it was fantastic, inspirational!
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Social media is something I leave to the team, not something I use personally but I am told that Facebook does well for us with lots of interaction.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Focus – if you get this right everything else clicks together. Dream big, be ambitious, take risks and follow your gut instinct.
Where do you hope to take your business in 2018?
The international market is appealing, we have had some success last year with an exhibition in Mallorca, giving us distribution to Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France and the US to name a few. This year we are hoping to sell the products further afield in Dubai and across the UAE.
I’m delighted that Ian took the time to be a part of Behind the Biz. I really enjoyed learning about his business journey and and the story behind Pangea Sculptures. The business brings stunning artwork to the UK and helps a less fortunate community with regular income and employment. I love businesses with a social mission.
Ian is successful entrepreneur and offers very wise words for others – find your focus. It’s not easy to do but it’s essential to ensure everything else clicks together.
I wish Ian and his team here in the UK and artists in Nairobi the best of luck in the future. I hope I get to meet Ian one day and find out even more about his business journey.
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