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Penelope Sacorafou - Creative Walks entrepreneur

The journey from starting a blog to founding a business

Since 2010 I have been managing my own company, Fox & Squirrel Ltd, which gives creative walks for the culturally curious. I set up Fox and Squirrel Ltd with my friend Jojo Provatidou. We met during our MA at King's College London and in that year we enjoyed becoming Londoners. We absorbed the city's energy and creativity. We loved exploring the many different boroughs, markets, high streets, galleries and museums. We started writing about our explorations and our finds on a blog. Gradually we got enquiries from people asking us to take us to these places. And from a blog we evolved into an independent walks company. 

I started my MA year the same week Damien Hirst had his Sotheby's auction, the same week Lehman Brothers collapsed. The financial crash made me feel like all my dreams for a successful career had been shattered. Trying to get a job in the cultural and creative industries at that time was particularly difficult but in hindsight I'd say to people to not despair. Financial crises are scary and very real but in all that chaos give yourself space, evolve, become a solution maker. By positioning yourself as such during uncertainty, opportunities are bound to come your way. Fox & Squirrel is very much a result of this. 

Within 5 months of setting up our business Claridge's became our first client, followed by The Grosvenor Estate. We had proven to them that history and craftsmanship were pivotal elements in the new luxury travel industry. The uncertain conditions spurred the big guys to become more adventurous and come out and play with us new kids on the bloc.

I love my job primarily because it is so social. I get to meet new people constantly be it corporate clients, tourists, founders of creative businesses. Learning how to guide has improved my public speaking significantly. As so much of our career trajectories are based on social impressions I’d say that guiding for Fox & Squirrel has been the perfect spring board for me to get involved in different projects across the creative industries. At the moment I am Director for Grosvenor Estate's Designed in SW1 a program of design led events that will take place during London Design Week 2016.

As Fox & Squirrel evolves and as I do too, I'm looking in new directions. I'm hoping to use the knowledge that we gain on the streets speaking to travellers, businesses and Londoners, to create a trend forecasting and travel consultancy. 

I think the most important lesson I’ve learnt so far is to not get upset by change. The best business opportunities are often the result of change.

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