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Cally Russell

Mallzee
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Cally is a passionate entrepreneur with a focus on changing the way we shop online. Passionate about creating a global e-commerce brand that pushes boundaries and creates a shopping experience that is shaped by the user.

60-Second Interview

Who was your biggest hero when you were younger?
Batman, no, that’s a really difficult question to be honest with you, I’ve had a lot of heroes in my life. I've always looked up to my mum and dad and respect the opportunities they've given me. My dad had his own business when I was younger too making television programmes and I always found that quite amazing so I slightly grew up on TV sets which was cool. You can find heroes in any walk of life if you look for them so I was always impressed.
What initially attracted you to enterprise?
My first experience of enterprise was actually young enterprise when I was in 6th year at school and we had a company called Cowl Place Mats and Coasters and we made £5000 in sales. We had an absolute ball. It was me and all my mates at school we had such a laugh, such good fun and I learnt a huge amount in that process. I did the sales side of things which now works out nicely for me; I learned loads through that as well. That was my first taster, but past that I set up my own DJ business when I was still at school.
Can you tell us about the first £10 you ever made?
I've always worked, always did chores, etc. for pocket money and then I worked in a kitchen so learned to cook from a young age which is a great life skill now. My first proper job was as a KP in a local pub and restaurant.
What has been your biggest challenge so far with your business?
There are so many different types of challenges but it’s how you adapt to them and embrace them. When things are really hard I think it brings out more of you. We've done lots of different things. I can’t really pinpoint one. Our business is really capital intensive so we have to raise money. It’s always really difficult to raise money but it teaches you a huge amount. When you get it done it’s a great achievement and also great backing to you as a business to say established business people believe in what you’re doing.
Who is it that keeps you going through any tough times?
My team, they’re all really good. We’re now 8 members of staff, we’re very close. We celebrate and commiserate together. And my mum and dad they’re very supportive As well.
What is it that gets you out of your bed in the morning?
I’m not really afraid of failing at what we do. I’m afraid of being mediocre and being a zombie and just trundling along so I have that desire to make something really big and push myself to do that. So no issue getting out of bed in the morning, more of an issue getting to sleep sometimes.
Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time?
I want us to be a global tech start up based in Scotland. The example of Skyscanner is a great one; it’s a fantastic business that has become massive run by fantastic people who have done the thing you’re not meant to be able to do in Scotland. In a country of 5 million they’re the second top place to buy flights online. That’s where I want us to get to.
If you could give your “teenage self” one piece of advice, what would it be?
Make decisions faster. Even if they’re the wrong decision. I’d much rather do something and it fail than sit and worry about should we or should we not. I’d rather just go with you r gut. If it feels right do it, if it doesn't don’t do it.
If you could have any 1 person on your business contact list who would that person be and why?
Jack Dorsey founder of Twitter and Square just because he’s made 2 fantastic massive global businesses and he’s only 10 years older than me.