... was leaving the comparative security of the City in 2002 to pursue the 'big short break idea' that is Original Travel. I ended up squeezed in my spare room with my two fellow-founders. Going from the glamour of the City to that was quite a move, particularly as Sars and 9/11 had just happened.
We started trading in 2003, so the war in Iraq was going on and the global financial markets were taking a turn for the worse. We pumped all our start-up capital, which was just personal savings, into creating the brand. We thought, if we're going to do this, we should find out as soon as possible whether it will work.
Having a consistent brand from the beginning meant that we came runner-up in Marketing's 2003 Best Brand in Travel award, pushing Opodo into third place. We now turn over £3m a year. That never would have happened if we hadn't created a strong brand from the start. If we were going to leave the City and work in this environment, there was no point in creating a brand that wasn't going to punch above its weight.