Vicki Willden-Lebrecht can point to the precise moment that she decided to one day start her own business.
“I asked for a photocopier when I was seven,” remembers the agency founder, who was entrepreneurial beyond her years. As a youngster, she sold T-shirts to school friends and set up a stall in the garden of her home to sell accessories to passers-by. She made business cards by hair-drying bits of card wrapped in cling film. As a teenager, she washed cars and worked at McDonald’s.
“I always earned money,” she says. “I think that urge to start a business came from my financial independence.”
The idea for what that business would actually be came after she graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a degree in visual communications. “I went off to work in design,” explains Willden-Lebrecht. “But you couldn’t get published without an agent, and you couldn’t get an agent unless you were published.
“I realised that creative talent needed a first step.”
That light bulb moment led the entrepreneur to launch The Bright Group in 2003, aged 23 – the agency would represent illustrators and writers for children’s books.