Hi, I’m Syed @ The Hire Street and this is the first in a series of interviews by with founders and leaders of leading hire businesses. In this first interview, we are joined by the wonderful Aundrea Insinna of GreatHire. Do let me know what you think and if you’d like to be interviewed see the bottom of the post for details of how to get in touch.
Syed @ The Hire Street Tell us about your background before starting the business.
AUNDREA @ Great Hire I was in the hospitality and events business for 20 years prior to opening Great Hire. I had a company called Conferences and Incentives Plus Inc that still operates from Toronto. We did incentive travel, events, conferences and meetings around the world with Fortune 500 companies. I have done it all, in all aspects of events. I know our client base and what they go through. That is very, very helpful.
Syed @ The Hire Street When did you start the business?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire Great Hire opened in London in 2008.
AR @ The Hire Street What gave you the idea to start your business?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire I have always worked for myself. There was a great need in London for high-end, good quality furniture available for rent. I knew that the events industry needed good furniture and there was a space for luxury product.
Syed @ The Hire Street What did you think you could provide that wasn’t already available on the market?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire We are all about quality, luxury, well designed and current products. Service is key to our philosophy but mostly we care about good design, quality and staying ahead of the curve.
“We are very focused on what we do and what we offer our clients”
Syed @ The Hire Street What were the biggest difficulties you faced when growing your business?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire Growth is always a challenge. It’s people that make the difference. We really want the best in the business working at Great Hire and that takes a lot of time. It’s important to keep your eye on the ball and not let any part of the product or service suffer while trying to keep up with the demand/growth. We have never tried to be all things to all people. We are very focused on what we do and what we offer our clients.
Syed @ The Hire Street What are the main challenges you face (such as customer expectations, competition, getting paid, software to manage the business etc)?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire We have created our own challenges by offering product in such good condition that the clients often forget it is not brand new!
Syed @ The Hire Street Now you opened a branch in Miami? Most people advise against expanding internationally too quickly. What motivated you and do you think the decision was a good one in hindsight?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire We opened Miami right in the midst of a recession. everyone thought we were mad, but we know the events industry and our client base very well. That is key. The business there has gone from strength to strength. Taking risks is something you have to prepared to do in business. It was an intelligent risk, we gave it a lot of thought and we did a lot of research. We knew the market well. Timing is everything with expansion. We were in a good position and it was a good time to expand.
Syed @ The Hire Street Do you have any advice for event organisers from your vantage point, that might help them get the most out of hiring?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire Visit us!!! It’s unbelievable how many of our clients have never seen our showroom. By not seeing our product in real life and knowing us better, they are not getting the best out of Great Hire. Colours and textures don’t mean as much on the internet as they do in real life. It also helps to know us and our philosophy better and allowing us to know more about your business in order for us to be able to offer more of our expertise.
Syed @ The Hire Street What would you do differently if you could start over again?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire That’s a great question…. will come back to that in a min. The answer is not so clear to me…
OK, I’m back… I have such a perfect life and work balance, the company is in such good shape, the team has never been better, the clients are wonderful, the future is very bright, I can’t honestly say I would change anything…. of course, every day isn’t easy but that’s part of the joy. Perhaps if you over think things you do nothing at all….
Syed @ The Hire Street Have you noticed any effect on the business from Brexit and the election?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire Our suppliers have put their prices up. Product and transport have gone up. This will have an impact. We have not put our prices up though.
“We manufacture 90% of our own products”
Syed @ The Hire Street What are your growth plans for the next 1 to 2 years?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire We are always planning the next new and wonderful products. We manufacture 90% of our own products. We are looking to expand more in Manchester serving the north more than we currently do. We are branching into new product lines that will be very exciting. We get asked all the time to open offices in other cities and we are always looking at those options. Watch this space.
Syed @ The Hire Street What are your biggest anticipated challenges to achieve that growth?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire It’s always, people, money and timing.
Syed @ The Hire Street Finally have you ever had any event disasters or near disasters? and how did you recover?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire As an old event planner, it’s in my DNA to plan for worst case scenario, so thank god no disasters to date. There are always challenges that come up but we are professionals and that’s what we anticipate. We strive to stay ahead and be prepared to handle whatever gets tossed our way.
Syed @ The Hire Street Do you have a favourite event that you have been involved with?
AUNDREA @ Great Hire We are working on something as we speak that will answer this question very well. It’s a secret for the time being so I can’t elaborate just now. Again… watch this very exciting space…
Syed @ The Hire Street Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your experiences Aundrea.
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