5 Questions With… Hak Huseyin

We’re back this month with the latest edition of “5 questions with…” to promote business owners/entrepreneurs in Islington. The aim is to gain knowledge, understanding and motivation in business through learning about another person’s career journey. Our next business owner is Hak Huseyin, Director of Absolute Print & Co-Vice Chair at Islington Chamber of Commerce.

How did you start out?
Whilst I was at the London College of Printing one of my lecturers recommended me for an apprenticeship at a Litho Printers in Hackney.

I did a 4 year apprenticeship and during my 5th year I started picking up small print jobs for people that knew me. I then spread my wings a little further and started cold calling high street businesses in roads where there were not any printers.

Within a few months it was apparent that I couldn’t do both my job and bring in work (and produce it) so my now Business Partner and I got together and went searching for a retail unit, we decided very early on we wanted to be High Street rather than warehouse.

We came to Archway to visit a mate at the barbers in Junction Road and whilst sitting in the chair I really liked the client base, the banter and community spirit was amazing. We then found a shop 30 doors away from him and that was in 1996.

What is one pitfall you faced when starting out in business and how did you overcome it?
After 3 months we had a burst pipe in the top floor flat that came through the building and took out the entire contents of the shop, all the stock the machines everything GONE! So we spoke to the insurance company who pretty much ignored us for a month. We didn’t have a clue what a loss adjuster was and we didn’t use an insurance broker so like most of the best lessons in life we learned this one on our own.

It was coming up to Christmas and the quarterly rent was due and the suppliers were all screaming for their monies! (and we didn’t have any) That was the turning point for me, I picked up the phone and rang the insurance company and told them if they did not get us funds within 24 hours we were going to close the business and sue them for the closure. They biked down a cheque that day.

What motivates you every day?
Within our industry the technology changes every week, the change and keeping abreast of what goes both helps us push our own boundaries and delivery to our clients expectations is my key motivation.

What changes have you made in the past year that has allowed you to grow/expand your business?
In October we purchased a new Digital Printing Press which has cut out production times by 25% as well as expanded the amount of products we can produce in-house.

What one tip would you give your younger self starting out in business?
Use a broker for insurance and a loss assessor!


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