I HEART WORK
Who are you: Ned Corbett-Winder
What is your work: Founder of a surprise gift subscription service called NOT-ANOTHER-BILL
Describe your work in 5 words? Source, design, create, pack, surprise.
Can you tell us why you set up your business? I set up NOT-ANOTHER-BILL after a combination of factors. Firstly, because I realised that people didn’t receive anything great in the post, but mainly because I have always had a fascination with design and products. At the time I was working as an Art Director at M&C Saatchi advertising agency, and I would regularly be sent beautiful things from artists and designers wanting us to use them in campaigns. This would fuel my collection of wonders arriving on my desk each day…and then it all began!
Describe a typical day at work. There never really is a typical day as such, but the months have the same cycle. It all focuses towards the first week when we ship all our parcels. The rest of the month is split between sourcing new presents, photographing what we’ve just sent, designing new ones, studio visits, meetings, packaging, and general tomfoolery!
What is the first thing you do when you get to work? Feed our new courier pigeons we have just bought to help deliver our parcels. A recent purchase in the wake of Royal Mail’s price increases!
Where is your office/studio and what is the view out of your window? Our office is in the Old Gaswork’s units in South West London, and occasionally, when we can see out of the windows through all the boxes, we have a view of the old gas towers and pipes.
What are the tools of your trade? I have this very nifty ruler that can measure the depth of objects very easily. Beyond that, a Mac, my bike, a good set of crayons and a giant sketch pad.
What can’t you work without? A franking machine.
Why do you love what you do? I love what I do because I get to satisfy my creative thoughts, however silly or farcical they may be. To actually make an idea happen is very satisfying.
Who or what inspires you? I hate answering that question because it really is from everywhere and everything. My favourite colour though is teal-grey-green, and that flows into a lot of my work.
What is the best advice you have received? “You have to learn to fly the plane whilst you build it.”
What is one moment in your career you will always remember? Leaving my full time job in advertising to attempt to run my own business.
What is the best part of your job? Getting to work with a brand you love and creating a new product with them.
And the worst? Subscribers screaming at you when their parcels get lost in the post, or attempting to balance the books.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I’ve been lucky enough to have a few, but having our subscriptions sold in Selfridges concept store has to be up there. Or building a giant pop-up postbox that is now in the shop at the Bluebird.
What are you working on at the moment? Well our business is all about sending surprise presents in the post so I can’t really say too much. But there is something exciting with Sony music on the horizon, as well as a few of the big Danish design houses.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life? Extra hours.
What have you learnt the hard way? Value added tax.
If you could do another job what would you like to do and why? I’ve always wanted to be an architect and I’m hoping one day I will get to design something of scale.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to do what you are doing? I’d say there are definitely easier careers paths to choose from, but being your own boss is very rewarding if you can make it work. Not to get too bogged down in the detail and always ride the horse in the direction it is travelling.
If you could be someone for a day who would it be? Completely unrelated to my world but I’ve always thought I’d be a great racing or rally driver.
What would you like to be doing in five years time? In five years time I would like to have grown NOT-ANOTHER-BILL to have global satellite offices around the world, and to have a higher price tier. Also to grow NOT-ANOTHER-BILL as a brand where we can encompass things like a physical shop - such as ‘NOT-ANOTHER-SHOP’ and NOT-ANOTHER-RESTAURANT and so on and so forth.
If you had an extra hour each day what would you do with it? Start designing the ‘thing’ I’m going to build.
How would you like to be remembered? With a set of commemorative stamps
Thank you Ned for talking to The Lifestyle Editor. www.notanotherbill.com