From Mr T lookalike to building a rapidly-growing business with his son to overcome a tragedy – a conversation with John Lashley, co-founder of the Brooklyn Brownie Co

It’s not often you talk to someone who has worked on the CBeebies show In The Night Garden, performed as Mr T on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent and created a business with his 12-year-old son. But he is much more than this. In this episode of Business Leader Conversations, brought to you by Knightstone Capital, we talk to John Lashley; the ‘Main Dude’ and co-founder of the Brooklyn Brownie Co.

It’s a big shift to go from a creative lead in production and film, and becoming a Mr T lookalike, to creating a brownie business, but it is just a snapshot of John Lashley’s journey. John Lashley founded Brooklyn Brownie Co. in 2019 with his then 12-year-old son Leo. The start of Brooklyn Brownie Co. has extra significance to the pair as Leo’s mother and NHS nurse took her own life only days after it was set up.

This candid and inspirational interview gives you an insight into the world of a father who isn’t growing his business for the love of money, but out of love for his son. Follow Brooklyn Brownie Co. on Instagram and check out their website to pick up some tasty treats.

Watch the full interview with John Lashley here

Here’s a breakdown of what we discussed in the interview:

• Could you tell us about your experience growing up and did you have any interest in business from an early age? (1:23)
• You’ve mentioned before that your mother was a strong driving force in your education and path. How important was that figure in your life? (3:21)
• Could you tell us about your journey after you completed your early education? (4:34)
• You worked at Ragdoll for a while, the production company behind the CBeebies show In the Night Garden and then went on to be a lead creative. Working in film production is often seen as a very high-pressure job. How did you find the transition to leadership in this field and are there any lessons in particular that you learnt at that time? (8:20)
• Could you tell us a little about your rise to fame as the world’s only Mr T look-alike? (10:57)
• You worked as a creative lead on a freelance basis for a while. Did you feel like this gun-for-hire approach affected the way you were seen by the team you were brought in to manage? (14:19)
• Could you tell us a little about how you ended up launching Brooklyn Brownie? (16:54)
• How has your business grown since its launch and has the pandemic affected your business at all? (22:01)
• You had a creative past before starting Brooklyn Brownie Co. How creative do you allow yourself to get when making your product? (24:42)
• Do you want your son to stay in the business long term or do you want him to make his own decision on it? (26:18)
• Where do you see the business in 10 years’ time? (28:44)
BUSINESS LEADERS ANSWER THE INTERNET’S QUESTIONS – How do you even start a business? (31:00)

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