WHO'S WHO: young entrepreneur Neil Sanyal
PUBLISHED: 17:03 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:11 07 September 2010
Since completing his A-Levels last year, Neil Sanyal, 19, has been dubbed one of Britain s most promising young entrepreneurs, opening Chaiwalla - London s first authentic Indian tea shop, in Perrin s Court, Hampstead. He is now looking towards expanding
Since completing his A-Levels last year, Neil Sanyal, 19, has been dubbed one of Britain's most promising young entrepreneurs, opening Chaiwalla - London's first authentic Indian tea shop, in Perrin's Court, Hampstead. He is now looking towards expanding the business throughout the capital and beyond.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT HAMPSTEAD?
It's an interesting area. During the week, we have lots of interesting local characters and, at the weekend, we get a lot of tourists coming through - internationals who have heard of Hampstead village. Our product is alternative and appeals to a wide range of people - so it's good to have a mixed community. Indian customers like being treated to what they're used to at home, while others just love chai.
IS CHAIWALLA OUT OF PLACE IN HAMPSTEAD?
It is out of place, but that's part of why I like it. It's a conservative area and the coffee shops around here are the mainstream high street ones, independent cafes generally struggle to stay up. It was a bold move to open here.
WHAT IS HAMPSTEAD'S BIGGEST EYESORE?
WHEN DID YOU LAST GET A PARKING TICKET?
Three days ago. I've paid that one off, and all my others. But I've decided to start coming to work by motorcycle because of my record in that department.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE OPENING A RESTAURANT IN HAMPSTEAD?
Firstly, decide exactly who your target market is going to be. Who are you going to attract? What are you going to attract them with? My general advice to anyone starting a business is to make the business their life. By staying fully focused on it and eradicating everything else, you can fully concentrate on succeeding.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN?
My mother told me not to sleep for 12 hours a day and to do some work. I've found that in business, you can't afford to sleep more than six hours a day. My business partner told me never to ask for reinvestment because the investor will crush you.
IS LIFE STRESSFUL?
Running the business is stressful. There are payments to make at the right time, stock to be ordered. I need to be constantly innovative, thinking of new ideas and products.
IF YOU HAD A MILLION POUNDS TO SPEND IN ONE DAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
For business, I would immediately invest - increase my percentage of Chaiwalla. For pleasure, I would rent a nice car and go for a long drive. Forget business worries and the stress.
HAVE YOU SPOTTED ANY CELEBRITIES IN THE AREA RECENTLY?
We've had a few in. Geri Halliwell came in and so did Jamie Oliver's wife. Oh, and that guy who says "goodness gracious me".
IF YOU WERE MAYOR FOR A DAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Scrap the congestion charge.