Entrepreneur Feature: Reg Wright & Richard Marshall of Hothouse Partworks

We are delighted to follow-up on the announcement of our investment in Hothouse Partworks with an insightful interview with the co-founders, Reg Wright and Richard Marshall.

Q: What time do you wake up and how do you spend the first hour of your working day?

Reg: I wake up to morning light from my as-yet-unblinded Velux window and the increasingly blinding news on my Radio 4-attuned alarm. Then it’s getting up, abluting, and letting the dogs out before the first of far too many of the day’s cups of tea.

Richard:  I usually get up at either 06.00 or 06.45, depending on whether I can face going to the gym.

Q: When you left school, what did you think you would end up doing? What were your aspirations?

Reg: I was a Trotskyist idealist, so I aimed high: I aimed to change the world. Now I can barely change my mind.

Richard: Honestly, I had no idea. I just wanted to be successful.

Q: How did it all start?

Reg: DIY. I did a lot of it after having supported myself at school by working on building sites so, after finally leaving school and university, and having no gameplan for changing the world, I started writing DIY articles for the rash of DIY magazines and DIY superstores which were fuelling the housing boom of the 80s. Then I was invited to work at Marshall Cavendish to actually produce DIY magazines – The Knack, Fix It, Handywoman, DIY Profile etc – before going on to more leisurely subjects, like The Great Writers!

Richard: I got my first job (in an advertising agency) because my sister recommended me to the HR director. Well done, sis!

Q: What’s the best part of your job?

Reg: Relative independence and creativity.

Richard: Having freedom to implement my ideas.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your career to date?

Reg: New Product Development (NPD) and the partwork-methodology for using research to help question your assumptions about a product and using real-time market-testing to see whether you have got it right.

Richard: Surviving the bad bits, collecting the scars, having a good time.

Q: What is your top tip to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

Reg: The ambivalence of a favourite saying: “Success has a thousand parents: failure is an orphan.”

Richard: Follow your intuition (if it’s good).  And there’s the rub.

Q: Are there any specific skills or qualities you believe are vital to make it in in the current economic climate?

Reg: Roll with the blows: get up again.

Richard:  Watch cashflow like a hawk.

Q: Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?

Reg: Doing different NPD.

Richard: Doing voluntary work for a cause I believe in – plus several holidays a year.

Q: What motivates you and keeps you going throughout the week?

Reg: Family, friends, books and dogs.

Richard: My family.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge?

Reg: A. Keeping going as intensely.

Richard: A. Dealing with failure.

Q: Are there any blogs/websites/influential people you recommend that people follow?

Reg: None, but especially not “everybody”.

Richard: Blogs – no. Websites – no. People – too many to mention.

Q: Who do you admire?

Reg: My two daughters and their mother.

Richard: Adventurers.

Q: What are you currently reading?

Reg: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (harrowing) and The Road to Somewhere by David Goodhart (revelatory and illuminating).

Richard: The Underground Man by Ross Macdonald.

Q: What technology could you not live without?

Reg: Hop-drying.

Richard: Fermented grape juice.