Dragon’s backing for 18-year-old’s business

Findlay Downing with some of his cufflinks and his award.
Findlay Downing with some of his cufflinks and his award.

An 18-year-old web developer, who also runs his own company, has received an accolade from one of the country’s top businessmen.

Findlay Downing, who works freelance following an apprenticeship in web design, set up The Little Cufflinks Shop online last December.

The former Duchess’s Community High School pupil runs the business from his home as a sideline, but its success has seen it start to take over.

“I set it up to live a dream, because I have always wanted to to have my own business,” he said.

And last month, his fledgling firm, which he would like to expand into having a shop, received another boost – in an online competition.

Small Business Sunday, shortened to the hashtag #SBS on Twitter, was created by Theo Paphitis in October 2010.

Theo is chairman of Ryman Stationery plus Boux Avenue lingerie and Robert Dyas and one of the former mentors on the BBC television show Dragon’s Den.

Each week, Theo rewards small businesses that tweet him between 5pm and 7.30pm and describe their business in one tweet including the hashtag #SBS.

Findlay, of Oaky Balks, said: “I have been on Twitter since the start and I saw the hashtag and started taking part, not really thinking I would win, because you never do.”

But on June 23, The Little Cufflink Shop was the winner for its tweet, which showed a photo of some Concorde design cufflinks and said ‘Our Concorde moment would be winning #SBS!’

It means his business now has a profile on Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday website and there are a number of perks and prizes, including meeting the man himself.

The profile for the company says: “The Little Cufflink Shop was started by myself, an 18-year-old web developer who didn’t want to go to uni!

“It started off with a small website with a few hundred pairs of cufflinks available, and quickly grew to having nearly 900 cufflinks, in 37 categories, and even offering small, independent cufflink designers the chance to appear on the website.

“I’ve always known how difficult it is to start your own business and get your name ‘out there’, so this is my way of helping others.”

And the publicity for the win was also very welcome.

“It has tailed off a bit now, but the fortnight straight after was hectic,” he said. “We got a lot of extra orders and an extra 150 followers on Twitter within 24 hours.”

Findlay also admits that the use of Twitter in general has been key to the success of his business so far.

“Facebook was quite simple and Twitter never really meant much to me on a personal level,” he said. “Now I would probably say we wouldn’t be where we are today without Twitter, because most of our orders come from Twitter.”

Visit www.thelit tlecufflinkhop.co.uk or follow @TL CufflinkShop on Twitter.