To mark International Women’s Day BIZL caught up with Leah Hutcheon to talk about life as the founder and CEO of Appointedd.
International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8th March to mark and commemorate advances in women’s rights and to celebrate the role women play in both business and domestic life. In China women get the day off, while over in Russia and the former Soviet Union countries it is an official public holiday.
In recent years the day has been more widely recognised in the western world and is helping to celebrate female-led businesses while shining the spotlight on gender imbalances amongst SMEs.
Let’s talk business
Award-winning Appointedd, based in the heart of Edinburgh, is revolutionising the way bookings are made online. Now in its 9th year of trading, Appointedd is going from strength to strength, with big name clients across the globe. We ask Leah Hutcheon about life at the helm:
1. You are the founder of appointedd.com. I’m intrigued…what is it?
Appointedd is an online booking and scheduling solution. We enable some of the world’s best-loved brands and a whole host of inspirational SMEs to take bookings 24/7, from their website or mobile app. We essentially turn any web platform into an online booking portal to enable businesses to deliver an on-demand customer experience.
2. When did you decide to start your own business, and why?
I started Appointedd because I struggled to understand why I couldn’t book services online in the same way that I could order a pizza or book a flight. This was way before the on-demand culture of Uber and Deliveroo was so prevalent. Consumers have become more demanding and we expect to get what we want, when we want, so this has naturally created Appointedd’s growth curve. We now handle online bookings for a myriad of independent businesses, as well as global brands such as M&S, Westfield Shopping Centres, and even one of the Big Four accountants.
3. What’s the best thing about running your own business?
I absolutely love getting to work with a team as passionate and talented as Team Appointedd! Startup is tough, and scaling up is even tougher – you need amazing people who you trust by your side. I never tire of seeing the team take another massive leap up – we are constantly punching above our weight. Knowing that something I started has brought these people together makes me so happy!
4. If you could go back to the start and do something differently, what would it be?
There are so many things I could have done differently – I made so many mistakes along the way but they are what lead us to the amazing product we have now. As a team, we make a point of learning from our failures – we even have a #fail-forward channel on Slack so you can update everyone with your latest ‘d’oh’ moment in the hope that you save someone else from making the same mistake.
5. In the UK there are twice as many male entrepreneurs as there are female entrepreneurs. Thoughts?
Yes – this fact makes me very mad. I’m based in Edinburgh and recently uncovered a fact that if women started businesses at the same rate as men, it would negate the economic impact of Brexit in Scotland. But in fact, it’s even worse when you get to the stats about high growth companies. Less than 1p in every pound of VC investment goes to companies with female founders. It’s crazy!
6. What advice would you give to encourage aspiring female founders?
Having just been made mad by the aforementioned stats, I’d tell them that it’s going to be tough but that they absolutely have it in them to smash through all the barriers. But I’d also tell them to be kind to themselves, know that they’ll make lots of mistakes along the way, and to not be afraid to ask for help.
BIZL: Leah, a massive thank you for taking the time to share a bit of inspiration with us!
If you’re a female founder we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch via our social channels below.