21 Aug Client chat: Mark Owen, Mocha Furniture
Mark is not only a client of ours but also a fellow Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce member, so we’re often found together at networking events or committee meetings! Despite having spent many hours in shared company, there’s still things we’ve learned about Mark from his Client Chat answers below…
Name: Mark Owen
Business: Mocha Furniture Ltd
Tell us in one sentence what your business does: Supply and installation of commercial furniture for office, leisure, hospitality and educational premises.
Where is your business located? Worthing but we operate nationwide and also in mainland Europe for some clients.
Have you always worked in this type of business? If not, what else have you done? I have a very varied career history! I have run a 120 acre beef farm, worked as a game ranger in Namibia, as a dairy farm consultant, been a sales manager for Pedigree Petfoods and travelled around farms artificially inseminating cows before stumbling into selling office furniture 21 years ago!
Tell us an interesting but little known fact about you or your business. I have a degree in Zoology and I’m a qualified plumber!
Where do you see yourself and/or your business in five years time? I see myself still loving outdoor life by the sea in Sunny Sussex and Mocha continuing to grow and enhance its reputation as a major player in the office interiors industry.
Do you have any workplace rituals? Not really apart from always rewarding ourselves for large project wins with some kind of treat and ensuring the kettle is on within a maximum of 30 seconds after entering the office in the morning.
Have you read anything good recently, whether for fun, work or both? I’m currently reading Bill Bryson’s The Body which is a popular science book about how the human body works. Bill Bryson has a gift for taking complicated subjects and making them totally accessible and brilliantly entertaining. All his books are superb and I highly recommend. Did you know we eat 60 tonnes of food in a lifetime?!
What’s your greatest achievement, whether at work or personally? My greatest work achievement is turning Mocha into a respected, recognised, profitable player in the contract furnishing industry from a start-up position of no clients nine years ago. Most companies like Mocha start with the financial backing of a manufacturer, or by stealing a large client from their last employer. I didn’t do either of those, I wanted Mocha to be truly independent and had too much respect for my old employer to want to do the dirty on them. I simply wanted the freedom to make my own decisions and see if the ideas I had to do things in a better way would actually work. So I opened the doors one day and got promoting a new company no-one had heard of. Five years later we had a yearly turnover of a million pounds.
If you could invite four guests for a long lunch, who would you invite and why? Where you go for your lunch? David Attenborough, Ben Elton, Russell Brand and Richard Dawkins. David Attenborough is basically the grandfather of the world and I could listen to his anecdotes and thoughts for the future of the planet all day. Ben Elton has had his finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist better than anyone for my whole life and expresses it so satirically and wickedly I think his company would be fascinating. Russell Brand isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I love his intelligence, wit, wonderful use of language and attitude of peace. Richard Dawkins is divisive but imagine him thrown into the mix with the other three – what a conversation that would be. Think I’d meet them on top of a hill in an African national park overlooking a waterhole for a picnic – if Dawkin’s knees were up to it.
If you could be transported to anywhere right now, where would it be (and without any quarantine restrictions!) and why Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, with my family, in rainy season. I’ve travelled a great deal and it’s the best place I’ve ever been hands down – awesome. It’s a total assault on the senses – wildly beautiful, deafening and like standing in a power shower as you get soaked from the spray in the warm African air even from 100 yards away. One day I definitely want to share it with my wife and daughters.
Thanks Mark. What a fantastic set of answers. We’re deinitely going to read the Bill Bryson book and we’ve added Victoria Falls to our list of must-visit destinations!
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