“Focus on short-term goals that will add up to ultimate achievements”– with this belief Ashleigh started her professional journey with passion and energy blended with client servicing, creative output, and overall delivery. The Co-CEO of Bagboard, Ashleigh Bishop believes in hard work and dedication to be the pillars of success.
Ashleigh Bishop, the Co-CEO of Bagboard, along with her long-time schoolmate, Ben Ayres, founded the company. Ashleigh had an earlier industry exposure in advertising, working with McCann London, and created advertising campaigns for Nestle, Pandora, and Nespresso.
Ashleigh Bishop spoke with Business Upside in this interview on her business goals, success parameters, and entrepreneurial motivation.
Edited Excerpts from the Interview
Business Upside [BU]: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Ashleigh Bishop [AB]: Our founder and my Co-CEO Ben Ayres left his job as a credit trader when deciding he wanted to direct his efforts to an idea that drives change for the greater good. He woke up one day and realized the untapped potential in the real estate of reusable paper shopping bags, and the opportunity to use that real estate to redirect the billions spent on advertising each year to do bigger things than just advertising.
Bagboard works by replacing single-use plastic bags in independent retailers with our eco-friendly paper smart bags, paid for by the conscious brands that advertise on the bags. By downloading the Bagboard App, consumers link their smart bags and share their bag journeys as they generate impressions (or eyeballs) for the ad featured on the bag. They are rewarded for their time and attention by way of conscious coins (aka CCX), which can be spent back on the sustainable products and services featured in the in-App marketplace.
Business Upside [BU]: What is unique about your Business?
Ashleigh Bishop [AB]: First off, our business solves more than one problem. Advertising as we know it today isn’t working – we are bombarded with ads for things we don’t want, making us tune out the messages we’re seeing. We’ve created a solution whereby people are given control of their data and how it is used, are rewarded for their attention, and are incentivized to spend with conscious brands, meaning consumer spending power is redirected to products and services positively contributing to both people and the planet. At the same time, single-use plastic continues to be a significant issue, and our eco-friendly reusable paper bags provided free of charge to independent retailers and consumers offer an alternative and offset even more plastic with the use and reuse of every single bag.
Secondly, we love that our story starts with one of the simplest of items – a paper bag, and yet this paper bag is the gateway to leveraging technology that creates real change by helping us all to easily support the companies that are solving some of the world’s biggest issues.
Business Upside [BU]: What made you choose this type of Business?
Ashleigh Bishop [AB]: As old school mates, Ben approached me with his idea given my background in advertising, hoping that I’d be willing to jump from the security of my full-time job into the world of a purpose-led tech start-up. So, I guess you could say, the business chose me. But ultimately, my desire to contribute to the world positively has become the force that drives me daily.
Business Upside [BU]: What are your company goals?
Ashleigh Bishop [AB]: We want to create conscious consumerism on a global scale. We believe there is a huge opportunity for brands and consumers to create a cycle of spending that truly gives back to people and the planet.
Business Upside [BU]: What are your responsibilities as the business owner?
Ashleigh Bishop [AB]: It ranges from investment strategy to constantly anticipating the next steps beyond what we’re achieving at that moment to being the CBO or Chief Brand Officer of our business who ensures every touchpoint is consistent and contributes to our overall culture which ultimately drives how our most important stakeholders see us.
Business Upside [BU]: What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
Ashleigh Bishop [AB]: A desire to be in control of my destiny. But I quickly realized there’s no such thing so that motivation was quickly replaced with a desire to pay the bills by building something meaningful.
Business Upside [BU]: How do you measure success?
Ashleigh Bishop [AB]: We are good at focusing on short-term goals that will add up to our ultimate achievements. We celebrate all the successes, whether it’s securing a new investor, releasing a new version of the app, or a social media share by someone we admire.
Business Upside [BU]: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ashleigh Bishop [AB]: Speaking to exceptional and inspirational business owners and creating a platform to shine a light on all of the brilliant stuff they do and make. I’m incredibly satisfied that over 50% of them are female-founded and 25% BAME founded.
Business Upside [BU]: How did you raise funding for your business?
Ashleigh Bishop [AB]: Sporadically at first, through angels and friends & family, as the research phase required. Then as the business proposition became clearer and the long-term strategy was better understood, through a formal pre-seed round with Sky Ocean Ventures, and a Seed round taking place now. We did a small crowdfund during the pandemic which was initially meant to coincide with our launch and be much bigger but due to the lockdown we went for a smaller goal (which we did manage to double), and this will convert into the Seed round when it closes later this year.
Business Upside [BU]: How do you want to help new entrepreneurs?
Ashleigh Bishop [AB]: In whatever way, I can. I didn’t know where to begin and no one in my network or group of friends had ever done anything like this, so entrepreneurship and how to go about building a business was very new and alien to me. I had to find a lot of information out for myself and through a lot of trial and error. Over time I connected with other entrepreneurs and sharing our experiences means we can learn from and support each other as we go through our journeys.