10 Minutes With: Whistle + Bango Co-Founders, Ania Kubow and Rosie Parkes
Coinciding with International Women’s Day, which this year aims to draw attention to parity, we meet the London-loving friends behind Whistle + Bango, the jewellery range for the ambitious and adventurous.
30 Second CV
Name: Ania Kubow and Rosie Parkes
Age: Both 28
Current Title/Company: Co-Founders of Whistle + Bango
Career History: Ania: Broker in the Commodity Markets | Rosie: Marketing Manager
Educational Background: Ania: Architecture at Nottingham University | Rosie: Business Management at Oxford Brookes University
The Real Deal
Brief overview of what you do:
We are the London-loving friends behind Whistle + Bango, a British based jewellery company who create personalised pieces embossed to order.
Can you describe your job in 3-5 words?
Ania: Operations and creative | Rosie: Marketing and customer acquisition
Do you have a weekday morning routine?
First thing, we check emails on our commute, to see if any of our Dubai, Singapore or USA stockists have had any issues overnight. We then go on to check the status of each order (we have jewelers, engravers and multiple suppliers to manage for every bangle). We allocate an hour in the afternoon for either meeting potential stockists, generating partnerships, and/or working on our e-commerce strategy. Post-work we’ll attend networking events, go out for dinner with friends, or head home for an early night.
What does a typical day at your desk look like?
As Whistle + Bango is relatively young, we both hold jobs full time in the day, working in Marketing (Rosie) and Finance (Ania). We outsource customer service specialists to work for us during these hours – so a typical day at the desk would involve a lot of delegating. Evening is the time when we get together and work really begins! We are a small team at the moment, but have big plans for the future.
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
There have been so many, but a highlight has definitely been helping SHP – our charity partner. They work to help vulnerable and homeless young people in London. We have huge amounts of respect for them and are so proud to be associated with the team. We have already hosted various Whistle + Bango events throughout London for our friends in aid of this charity, and hope to put on many more, inspired by the likes of the Boodles Boxing Ball.
Your job – the good, the bad, the ugly:
The good: Running a company with a friend has been really rewarding so far, especially as our natural skill sets compliment each other so well. We’re pleased to have been recognised by businesses such as Not On The High Street and Wolf and Badger, and respected publications such as Elle, Stylist and GQ, while also seeing our bangles appearing on celebrities – check out our ‘friends’ page for a peek at our famous fans!
The bad: We honestly can’t pull out anything bad in what we do, but there are a couple of challenges, such as social media. As soon as you feel you are excelling on certain platforms like Twitter and Instagram, a new hype lands such as Snapchat – a brand new area that demands time and attention. It is important to always be aware of the newest technological trends, especially when running an online retail company which relies on customer acquisition through social media.
While on the topic, we very much like how Snapchat does not allow for Photoshopped images, and is just raw and real videos. It really allows our customers to see our bangles for what they are. You’d be mad not to follow us @whistleandbango! Another challenge, of course, is competition. Finding your USP and sticking to it is harder than it sounds but, so far, we’re doing ok.
The ugly: Imagine our workspace after a busy week of sales – you can’t see the floor through packaging! But, rest assured, it’s an organised muddle, and we do whatever it takes to get our customers their parcels on time. Once, a customer needed a 24 hour turn around which we pulled a few strings for and got done. We travelled across London to meet her with a bangle containing a special message for her sister and when she saw it, she cried. That was a memorable moment.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Not to take time for granted.
Who are your role models?
Julian Metcalf, Joe Malone, Johnnie Boden, Tracey Emin
What’s the last book you read?
The Chimp Paradox
What’s your favourite way to treat yourself?
Flowers! At the moment, every room has a bunch of daffodils in it.
Complete this statement: I feel most powerful when wearing _____ a Roman numeral birth date bangle.
What social or political issues matter most to you?
We’re big charity people. Our charity of choice is SHP who help to support vulnerable and homeless Londoners.