TEN MINUTES WITH TILLIE FREDERICKS, FOUNDER OF THE MUSTCARD
With so much in the media regarding sustainability, there has never been a better time to take a closer look at what we can do to help. With recycling at its optimum the world collectively is looking at more ways to avoid even more depletion of natural resources. Small changes can make a huge difference.
These days life is so fast paced, virtually everything can be bought on Amazon and delivered the next day. Again, online food shopping and fast fashion clothing brands such as ASOS have also contributed to the demise of the local high street. As with all these online options, being green is not at the forefront of the companies plans. However, our local stores are starting to recognise that this is now an important factor for the shoppers to feel like they are doing something for the environment.
After moving to Sussex from London, founder of The Mustcard, Tillie Fredericks realised that the smaller boutiques and businesses were the backbone of our gorgeous rural villages. Knowing that it would be such a shame if they started closing due to online trade taking their business away, she set about looking for a solution.
Tillie recognised a gap in the market for a loyalty card that is designed to encourage people to love local living and started to pitch the idea to the local area. Although still in its infancy, The Mustcard has had amazing feedback and has grown substantially in the last four months.
I met with Tillie at The Angel Inn, Petworth to find out more….
What was the inspiration behind The Mustcard?
Since moving to Sussex from London, I felt like the local business community was detached from one another. There are so many great luxury brands and amazing shops in the area that just weren’t working together. Back in London we pulled together and Maida Vale had a real sense of comradery between business owners. It is now more important than ever to buy locally, and I wanted to emulate those relationships down here.
What was your background?
It sounds crazy but I started off working in the construction industry for Boxmill Consultants who helped build several Grange Hotels in the city. Then one day, whilst working for another firm, I decided that I wanted my own business and threw caution to the wind and opened a day spa in Little Venice, Maida Vale. I had the spa for five years and won the professional beauty awards, it was a huge learning curve, but it paid off and I absolutely loved what I did.
Have you faced any setbacks?
Not really. In fact, all the businesses that I have spoken to are supportive. The only setback is not having an app, that will happen, just not yet. Also building members has taken a little longer than expected. however, that is now gathering pace through word of mouth and social media.
How did you overcome them?
By building our following through continual interaction. Instagram has had a pivotal role in reaching out to both local businesses and subscribers.
What has attributed to your success?
I think the fact that I am passionate about the concept. It will be beneficial to all involved. I know it works. Local businesses need to be supported to make them sustainable in the current climate.
If you could do it all again, would you do anything differently?
I would have had an app made at the beginning. It would have made the transactions more fluid, especially when going to claim the discounts. With each subscription I donate £1 to charity, currently my preferred charity is Haslemere Hub Youth Centre., but if I had an app the members would be able to choose who they wanted to donate to.
Describe the Mustcard in one sentence?
Love Local Living
Describe your average Subscriber?
It would be a young family, that is conscious of their local area and sustainability.
Do you have any exciting plans for 2019?
This year, for me it is really all about pushing brand awareness. I want to offer deals that are good for both businesses and the members and make it accessible. I will also be exhibiting at local fairs, wedding shows and building the memberships that way.
Where do you see the business in five years?
I would love to see it being slightly more real time. Imagine if you owned a salon and had a last-minute cancellation that day, you could offer a last-minute booking for a discounted price with an hour to go. It would be a great way of ensuring that you never lose out on business.