Website of the Year

Trouva

Co-founder, Alex Loizou talks about how Trouva is helping inspiring small independent shops.

Trouva is a breath of fresh air in this world of identikit high streets and mass produced, trend-led ‘stuff’. Trouva works with a handpicked selection of the most inspired independent shops out there, to bring you a shoppable collection of beautiful, unusual products that stand out from the crowd. Co-founder, Alex Loizou tells us more.

What was the inspiration for the site? We are aware of how many unique, interesting and inspiring small independent shops there are in big cities like London, that are often never discovered. We have created a way for these hidden gems to be found and their hand selected products to be made accessible to the rest of the world.

When did you launch the site? Early August 2015.

What are your greatest challenges? Enabling the small independent shops to provide the same exposure, quality and experience as the big corporations.

Finding the best of the best boutiques to provide people an accessible online platform with the finest selection of curated items.

What's your background? I like building and creating stuff. I am a self-starter who used to work as a freelance developer alongside studying. I studied at LSE and then went on to be a part of the Entrepreneur First programme and eventually started StreetHub back in 2013 with my co-founders Maxim and Mandeep.

Who do you admire in business? We have got to hand this one to our independent store owners and founders. It is inspiring how so many of them have given up their lucrative careers to pursue their passions and work tirelessly to make it happen. For example, one boutique, Our Daily Edit, was founded by two former television producers, Ella Wells and Marc Lewis, whose aim is to introduce lesser-known labels and emerging designers to one of Brighton’s most saturated shopping districts. We are continually inspired and motivated by the shop owners who have the courage to go it alone, and support young and emerging designers and talent.

Please recommend a really useful website that helps you promote or run your business As a business, Slack is vital to our daily flow and communication, and for visual inspiration and exposure, Instagram is an ideal platform for pushing brand awareness and promoting the unique products our shops have curated.

What is the best piece of business advice you've been given? A good friend once told me “Be patient & work hard that’s all you need.” I initially doubted him, turns out he was spot on.

What is your motto? 'Quality wins over quantity.'

Where do you see the business going from here?

• Promote London boutiques under Trouva
• Expand internationally and become the destination shopping site for independent boutiques
• Get the local feel/scene/style

Have you entered an award before? Before we rebranded to Trouva, as StreetHub we have won membership of the SVC2UK Scale Up Club, Everline Future 50, Startups100, Tech City News Hall of Fame and were nominated in the 2015 European Start-Up Awards (Europas). We entered these awards to promote our business and hopefully to gain recognition for all our hard work.

October 2015