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Martelo and Mo

Lucas and Monika Equi had a shared passion for craftsmanship and design, so when they moved in together, they set themselves the challenge of building their own furniture.

They realised they could turn this into a business when orders started to arrive from friends and family, and Martelo and Mo was set up from their spare room.

About Martelo and Mo

Despite their shared talents, they had never run a company before. Monika said, “We were naive to the challenges that come with running your own business. Cash flow was difficult, and we struggled to buy machinery, tools, and materials. Managing our time was tough, as we continued to work full-time jobs, whilst trying to build the business. At times it felt very lonely, we didn’t know anyone else that was going through what we were facing.”

As the business started to expand, Lucas and Monika outgrew creating furniture on their patio and rented a double garage in Hatfield, giving them a larger space to work from. “We were introduced to the business incubator at the University of Hertfordshire by the owner of the garage we were renting. She is a member of the incubator and felt we could benefit from the support, so invited us along to a meeting.”, explains Lucas.

Monika in her workshop, creating a wooden tray
Lucas talking in the workshop with another staff member
MOnikia using a hammer to finish creating a wooden tray
Lucas putting together the wooden legs of a stall he his building

How we helped

“We immediately felt a true sense of community. The other businesses had gone through, or were going through, similar challenges and provided us with reassurance, potential solutions, and contacts that could help.”, said Monika.

The couple were signposted to Hertfordshire Growth Hub, who helped them create their first business plan. “This was huge, as it forced us to focus on what we wanted to achieve, which was giving up our full-time jobs so we could dedicate our time to the business. We needed to generate more revenue to be able to do this and set a goal of £50,000 by 2021. We surpassed this, and now work solely on the business.”, explains Lucas.

“We were also put in touch with an expert who helped us improve our website. After implementing these changes, we went from one sale through it in three years, to multiple sales in one month.”, said Monika. “When we experience difficulties now, the first people we reach out to are the University of Hertfordshire. I don't think we would be here without them.”

Martelo and Mo continue to experience rapid growth, with orders coming from across the world. They moved into their own workshop in Hertford in 2021 and have grown to a team of three. Monika said, “We’re creating high-end bespoke pieces for multiple clients, including the Sky Garden in London. In the next five years we’d like to expand the team further, so we can delegate some responsibility, and possibly open our own boutique store”.