Thursday, 31 October 2013

2inspire Network Spotlight interview: Founder, CEO Annette Clark-Headley

2inspire Network presents our 1st series of Spotlight interviews. The guiding idea of the series is to interview successful women about their life and their work so as to inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. It really is a great opportunity for our spotlight ladies to share their journey, their experiences and their knowledge with the 2inspire Audience. : Interview 2: Annette Headley of Almocado Interviewed by Patrice Buddington: @22patrice Filmed and produced by Dpickt:@dpikt Sponsored by Diva Choice www.dpickt.wordpress You can follow 2inspire network on facebook or twitter: @2inspireltd

Friday, 25 October 2013

2Inspire Profile: Thrashion Recycled Skateboard Jewellery ®



In this inspirational interview profile we meet the founder of Thrashion, Nat Rigby , a  forward-thinking jewellery line designer for skateboarding enthusiasts.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
My day starts by preparing the workshop, sorting through my broken boards and drawing out designs then I get cracking on the machines. I have a really good system to make the most of my day and to get the most products out of my time. The evenings are generally my time for working so I catch up on emails and social media throughout the day when I get time.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
The idea for Thrashion Recycled Skateboard Jewellery ® came to me when I fell over a pile of mine and my husbands old skateboards which we were hoarding in our attic. I was already making upcycled jewellery and it just seemed the perfect progression. I have been making since 2007 but the business really took off in 2009 when I started my online shop. I've never looked back.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
This has to be getting recognized in the UK skateboarding industry as I felt it took a long time to get noticed and to find my demographic. Since I’ve made the initial contact I’ve met some amazing and really inspiring people who have been really supportive of my business. I’ve also got to meet and converse with some of my idols and people who I really respect in the industry.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
I feel my biggest challenge is the crossover into the jewellery market. I find it really hard to get recognized as a jewellery maker and to get my jewellery in front of that audience. I’ve started working with other businesses on different projects which has allowed me to be more creative with my products which I hope will help this.

What are your future plans for the business?
I see the business turning into more of a lifestyle brand with a positive eco friendly message.


If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do a thing differently! I’ve learnt so much and it has been a complete learning curve. Any mistakes I’ve made have only led the business on a more stable path.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Unfortunately it’s still hard for women to be recognized in business even though there are so many successful business women out there. I have found it quite hard being a woman in the skateboarding industry as there are still some old tired opinions circulating (Nyjah Houston’s comments about women skateboarding being the most recent) I feel that gender is an outmoded form of bias and everyone should be on equal footing and especially in this economic climate we should be encouraging the entrepreneurs of the future.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Be true to who you are! I think if you’re honest and direct then you will command more respect. My business is a rootsy business with a lot of goodwill towards other businesses within the skateboarding industry but I would prefer to work with others who are about supporting the scene not just making money from it. Most of us are in it for the love of skateboarding not what we can make from it and I think that comes across quite strongly in our ethos.

What or who inspires you in business and why?
I am a visual person who is inspired by imagery,  I find my greatest inspiration comes from the actual skateboards I work with because of the graphics and innovation of the designs. I am very inspired by other brands and definitely have my favourites Heroin and Kill City being my top two. I also have a lot of respect for smaller companies like Breakneck skateboards who are so supportive of the industry.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
From Chaos… comes order

Contact Details
http://www.thrashion.com
http://twitter.com/_thrashion
http://www.facebook.com/thrashion.ltd
http://instagram.com/thrashion
  

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Spotlight Interview on YouTube: Ruth Odunuga of 360hypeMe



The 2inspire Network presents our 1st series of Spotlight interviews. The guiding idea of the series is to interview successful women about their life and their work so as to inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. It really is a great opportunity for our spotlight ladies to share their journey, their experiences and their knowledge with the 2inspire Audience. :
Interview 3: Ruth Odunuga
Interviewed by Patrice Buddington: @22patrice
Filmed and produced by Dpickt:@dpikt
Sponsored by Diva Choice
You can follow 2inspire network on facebook or twitter: @2inspireltd

Friday, 18 October 2013

2Inspire Inspirational Women in Business Profile: Shiloh PR


In this inspirational interview we meet Evadney Campbell MBE, co-founder of Shiloh PR and learn about her journey to business success.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
There’s no real ‘typical’ day as I work from home but, once I’ve returned from the Gym at around 12pm, I generally log onto my laptop and go through all the emails. I will then deal with the ones, which I may have seen but, not responded to yet and, check all new correspondences.

I’ll go into the kitchen between 2:00 – 2:30pm and make myself lunch which I will eat while checking our social media sites, Facebook and twitter. I’ll schedule tweets, check connections and respond to any conversations, which have included us as well as identify opportunities for our company to get involved with, like this one.  I’ll do both my personal sites as well as Shiloh PR’s.

I’ll work on proposals for new businesses, schedule meetings with potential clients or networking.  I have no specific time to finish work and will normally be on and off my laptop until I go to bed, which is around 12:00am.  I wouldn’t recommend this way of working but for me it still does not feel like ‘Work’!

What made you start the business and how did you get started? 
My business partner and I have both worked in the broadcast industry, for BBC for decades.  I presented a music programme with specialism in black music, while she worked as a producer on specialist music shows for BBC Radio 1 & BBC 1Xtra.  For several years, we were being constantly asked to help music event promoters with getting media coverage for their events. 

In 2004 we were asked, by Authentic Real Music whether we would carry out public relations for a music tour he was planning in Europe with some major reggae artists from the UK and Jamaica. We enjoyed the process so much that we decided that we would like to do more.  Over the coming years, we did several similar projects culminating in our most major project, - acting as the European Public Relations company for the relaunch of one of Jamaica’s largest music festival, Reggae Sunsplash.

Finally, in 2010 we decided to take things much more seriously so, after indulging in our ‘hobby’ we formerly launched Shiloh PR.  In December, I decided to fully commit to building Shiloh PR into the major entity we believe it can be, by giving up my job with the BBC to work full-time running the company.

We’ve been fortunate to date, to have been able to finance the company from our own personal finances and through the work it generates itself.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Shiloh PR has achieved a level of success many more established companies would be thrilled to experience.  This is mainly due to the professionalism of the founders.  To date, all our work has been awarded through repeat businesses, word of mouth and recommendations. 

We are however particularly proud of our work with the One Love Peace Festival:

Shiloh PR was responsible for specialist media publicity in addition to media accreditation for the One Love Peace Festival.
The sold-out event, held at Wembley Arena, featured performances from Busta Rhymes, Shaggy, Sean Paul, John Holt, Levi Roots and many more.
Shiloh PR scheduled over 70 interviews, organized press accreditation for over 100 media personnel, wrote artist biographies for the official website, and provided editorial features for international magazines, newspapers and online sites.

Although we are proud of all the work we’ve done, the most impressive was being chosen to carry out European PR for Reggae Sunsplash, which was one of the biggest music festivals in Jamaica.  This was awarded to us primarily as a result of recommendation of a Artist’s manager with whom we had worked in the UK the previous year.  He thought we were the most professional PR outfit he had worked with and recommended us to the organisers of Sunsplash.

Re-launching the company as Shiloh PR and Media Training Agency in June this year at the Jamaican Embassy was also something we could not have foreseen when we decided to start our own company.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
 We’ve been very fortunate to have, secured work solely from recommendations during the period we ran the company on a part-time basis. Our biggest challenge now, is securing new business and introducing additional areas to our portfolio.

There is an increase in the number of companies who are now offering similar products to Shiloh and targeting the BME communities.  Shiloh PR however recognises that keeping up to date with the media and in particular social media will keep them constantly ahead of the competition. 

What are your future plans for the business?
We’ve set ourselves a major challenge – “Shiloh PR will be the No. 1 Black owned specialist PR company in the UK within five years”.  To achieve this, our key strategy is developing strong brand awareness and building trust in the Shiloh PR brand to achieve results. We would like to be the go-to PR company for those wishing to reach BME audiences through the media.

The company also recognises that working in partnership with others is also desirable for long-term success.  To this end, we are developing a group of affiliates with whom we can work.  This will enable us to pitch for major projects, which would otherwise be too large for Shiloh PR.


If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Start the business years ago.  I would ensure we were better financially secured for the initial period whilst the business is getting established.  I would also have thought broader about my target group perhaps concentrating on potential corporate clients from the outset.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
It is important to encourage people, particularly women to follow their dreams because, many of us get caught up in our daily lives and, stay in jobs which do not make us happy but, which we believe we need so we can live.  Following ones dreams allows you to do something you are passionate about and as someone once said, means “you no longer have to work a another day in your life”.


What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Go for it.  It is fulfilling and rewarding when you make a living from your passion and the thing you love doing the most.

There are lots and lots of Public Relations companies operating in this country so, you have to find your own USP and whilst it’s important you’re aware of your competitors, try to find your own niche.

Go for it but do your research.  Try to have some finances available for some months and be aware that clients do not always pay on time.  It’s all about your contacts database and relationship with the media. 

What or who inspires you in business and why?
Oprah Winfrey. I’m inspired by the fact that she is self-made and has become this phenomenal person despite her difficult beginnings.  I’m also impressed with her philanthropic ethics.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

To contact Shiloh PR:
Tweet: @Shilohpr
Facebook/shilohpr
Evadney Campbell, MBE, 07716 289 171
Karen Campbell, 07811 472 007

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

2Inspire business profile: Samantha Mercer, Makeup Artist and directer at The Dollz.

Samantha Mercer is a professional makeup artist and founder of TheDollz, a website that offers online bookings for freelance hair and makeup artists. She offers a service that years in the industry showed her many young women were in need of,read her motivational story.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?

As Dollz is based online, our location for most of the day is the computer(s)! We have orders to process, emails to answer, live chat, website maintenance, blogging, social
networking…basically anything with an Internet connection we have open.
We also like to keep in touch with our ‘Dolls’ and find out what they have been doing, admire
their latest work, share it with our customers and hand over any jobs we have. 
As we are in the beauty industry things change all the time so we have to keep on top of all
the latest products and trends. Social networking is a big part of Dollz as a lot of our clients
connect with us through Facebook and Twitter. Let’s face it, this is where all the big news hits
first nowadays!
Being a Mum too, I also have the school run to do in the middle of the day. You can usually find me in the school playground on my phone making sure I don’t miss any emails or
tweets…or my daughter coming out of school!
Our days rarely end at usual office hours. We can usually be found up beyond the early hours
researching and networking, it’s a little quieter then too!

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
 I had previously been a sole trader and I loved it but always knew I wanted something a lot
bigger. When I started off as a makeup artist I was very computer literate and knew the online fashion and beauty industry inside out which really helped me build up contacts and find jobs. I acquired 90% of my clients online, providing access to my portfolio and CV at the click of a button worked really well and the shots I had worked tirelessly to achieve had the clients sold before they even knew my prices.

After three years I found myself stepping away from the fashion side of things, as I wanted to work on weddings and events. That’s when I discovered what I wanted to do with my training and talent. I met my partner who is an amazing web designer (and not because he is going to be reading this!) and as I went on more and more jobs I found that clients had the same problem over and over again. They couldn’t find their perfect makeup artist, beautician, etc.…anything for that matter. I had brides booking in with me last minute due to makeup artists cancelling and a recent bride having three previous wedding makeup trials that she felt weren’t up to scratch. I kept going home and telling Jonny (my partner) about my clients problems and after listening to me a thousand times (well he listened the first few times) he said "lets do something about it then" followed by "or just give it a rest!". From the start we had in our heads what we (well…I) wanted. An online service, no matter where you live in the UK you can log on, select your treatments, tell us when and where you want them, pay (by card unlike with most freelancers), job done! We researched all over the web for something similar and nothing exists, yes there are directories but this is not what I wanted. I wanted people to have the security of booking with Dollz in knowing that the quality of work was amazing. Not just choosing somebody from a directory because they had paid to be at the top of the list. From the customers’ point of view, they shouldn’t need to worry about anything.

With Dollz being Internet based, the website was key. We like to think it sells itself with the modern day generation. I used to go to bed at 2am and wake up in the morning to find the website had transformed and there was another cool animation or artwork on a page.
Unfortunately there is no website fairy, the bags under Jonny’s eyes every time I saw him gave it away. Kind of like when you learn the tooth fairy isn’t real! I found he'd been working till 7am through the night by the time on the emails he would send for me to read in the morning! 

I like quirky things and being different, looking across the board especially when it comes to makeup artists’ websites. The same black, white and grey colours are everywhere so I knew Jonny would have to pull something out of the bag with this one. I drove him mad with examples, colours and animations but now looking at the website it is everything I had in my head, with a little persuasion of calming certain aspects down! And somehow we have managed to stay together!


What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?

As we are fairly new what we feel are our greatest accomplishments will most probably be small to other people but as I keep saying… 'baby steps'!  Seeing the website up and running after 5 months of graft is the biggest accomplishment so far. To hear the incredible feedback from industry professionals and clients makes the hours spent on the little details worthwhile. I still get giddy reading the comments.

Also, we have 65 girls on our books who are all truly talented. To have secured the best
creative from each region in each area of treatment is no mean feat and I can tell you the number of portfolios I have vetted to get there would be pushing 4 figures. Originally, they had nothing to go off but my obsession with the Dollz business idea. Their enthusiasm was refreshing and told me I was onto something.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Our biggest challenge has been the 5 months of research and development in developing the website. It’s the heart of the business. We have had to learn a lot along the way and being the first of its kind in the UK we didn't really have anything to go off except for other businesses’ shortcomings and a lot of trial and error. Things you don’t even see as a customer take a lot of research like the web hosting (not my favourite part) and choosing the right payment gateways. Covering the whole of the UK we also had to look into the pricing of treatments It’s shocking the gulf between what somebody can charge around London compared with up North.
Press releases and media distribution is our next big challenge, we have to make sure we target the right audience and brand Dollz in our own enthusiastic, excitable way! 


What are your future plans for the business?
Our future plans for Dollz is to grow the business sustainably making sure we never compromise on our impeccable standards. Beyond that, who knows! One thing for sure is that my enthusiasm and drive will not change. There is something special about starting a
business. You almost consider it your baby and each milestone gives you a feeling of satisfaction like nothing else, whether it be the smallest thing like your first booking (even if it
was just £40...get the bubbly out!) or securing lucrative contracts with brands you see daily on the television.
 If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Nothing! Genuinely.


Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
I didn't know what I wanted to do for so long. That’s why I left school and went straight into full-time work. Then I had my little girl fairly young which meant my career had to be put on hold. I was (semi) happily plodding along in an administration role for 5 years and changes at work gave me the shove I needed to start afresh in something I loved. I have always been
obsessed with makeup but never thought about becoming a makeup artist. After meeting the owner of an academy in Manchester I then knew that was what I wanted to do. It's going to turn a little cheesy now! Becoming a makeup artist was the best thing I ever did.
Not only am I doing my dream job everyday, it’s changed me as a person too. I was forced into situations I had previously avoided (meeting new people being the biggest) and now when I meet new people everything just comes naturally. I would encourage anyone not to rush into anything. Have time out, travel, research, then when you are ready take the plunge and do the job you've always dreamed of. If you want something enough and are prepared to work for it, it will happen. There really is no better feeling than loving what you do. Granted my Dad, being a stereotypical tradesman thinks I just paint faces all day but showing him my name in his favourite newspaper one Sunday made me smile from ear to ear. Even if he does still think I just socialise all day!


What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Be prepared to graft! On my course there were around 12 students only 3 are still working in
the industry including myself! It’s a tough industry to crack but if you are dedicated you will get there. I worked for nearly 2 years with 80% of my work being unpaid. It's really hard for
people to understand why I, as a qualified makeup artist, and all others I know do that but it’s just the way it works in this industry. While working for free I built up my portfolio and a list of contacts. Every unpaid job eventually leads to a paid job!
What or who inspires you in business and why? 
This is the easiest answer for me. My Dad. I watched my Dad take a leap with his business growing up and it is still paying off to this day. He works super hard for everything he's got. Throughout the birth of Dollz I had concerns and worries and Dad was always there to tell me the same thing over and over again, "You don't get anywhere Samantha without taking a risk and working bloody hard". I want what my Dad has, not in a materialistic way but more to do with a sense of satisfaction and pride. I am patiently waiting for the day that he turns round to me and says "You did it". Some day soon…here’s hoping anyway!


What is your favourite inspirational quote?
"Screw it, Let’s do it!" Sir Richard Branson

Contact Details
info@thedollz.co.uk
07454 164 235

Friday, 4 October 2013

2Inspire Profile: Lina Gadi, Founder and CEO at Start Young Global

As a young business woman Lina Gadi struggled to find networking and business information geared towards young entrepreneurs. As a result, she has now set up  Start young Global, which provides a platform for young people to network, grow and develop their brands. 

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you? 
I start work at 8.30am every morning, check my e-mails. Then I spend the morning updating and developing content on the site with my Sr Content Developer Mumsie Uwakhoye and development manager Aaron Wallace, followed by searching for business events that are coming up, dealing with queries and requests from our members. We get a lot of those. We also spend a lot of time working on our events, as soon as one is finished we are already working on our next one. We find that our members find our events extremely informative and always ask us to host them more often
What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I started my first business worth mentioning aged 21 and found it a real struggle to find information and networking events for business owners my age. I also felt that information was too scattered on the internet so after attending a networking event earlier this year I came up with the idea of creating one central starting point for all young entrepreneurs where they can access valuable information and resources as well as connect with others worldwide. Within one week we created and launched our first website which grew rapidly in membership and popularity.
 What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Organizing our first event and managing to get high quality speakers involved. Through my ability to network and build relationships I have been fortunate enough to meet amazing people who were extremely enthusiastic about wanting to support and help me with my business.
The event was not only a hit with those who attended it but also with those who came to speak. We are now working on our next event on November 2nd which is a trade show for young entrepreneurs only, this one will probably give us quite a challenge to bring together but I am extremely excited.
  What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Marketing on a tight budget has been my biggest challenge. Marketing is a costly activity if you want to create a big impact but it’s not impossible to get the same results on a tight budget if you’re creative. By using social media smartly and creatively I have managed to keep marketing costs low whilst still making a substantial impact.
I have learned that with the right connections and a little creativity, it’s a little easier to stretch your budget. Connecting with the right people and establishing partnerships that are equally beneficial to both parties has had a major impact on our marketing efforts.


  What are your future plans for the business?
We have very ambitious expansion plans for the business, many of which involve us penetrating international markets. Our immediate plans include launching workshops, a young entrepreneur’s only trade show which is due to take place in November and an award show to celebrate our one year milestone.
Due to growing demand we are also looking into hosting events abroad so we are currently working on the logistics of that and connecting with companies abroad.  

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have started earlier. I spent a lot of wasted time on self-doubt and hesitation. I wish I had taken the plunge earlier. I am realising now that nothing in business will ever go 100% according to plan, for the most part it’s all trial and error.
Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Because many dream to do so but don’t realize how possible it is to make that dream a reality, I was one of those youngsters who didn't think it was possible. My entire business model is built around the desire to inform young people about the endless possibilities starting a business of their own can provide and how achievable those goals are. Jobs are created by business owners; we need young people to start businesses so that more jobs become available for the current and next generation. 
I think as young women we look at the business world as a male dominated environment and this can sometimes cause us to feel like we don’t belong there which impacts on our desire to chase that dream. Young women are just as competent and capable of running successful businesses as their male counterparts and I think it’s important that message is sent across to them.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Be passionate about wanting to provide a helping hand to people. My business is very much a service based business and you have to be passionate to be able to deliver those services to the highest quality. Also, be willing to admit when you’re wrong about something, many believe that admitting to a fault shows weakness when in fact it shows willingness and desire to improve which inspires a sense of trust from your clients.
What or who inspires you in business and why?
I am inspired by many different business people for different reasons but the people who tend to inspire me most of all are those who built their companies from the very ground up as I feel I can relate to their journey more. People like Kanya King who is my biggest role model and Hilary Devey who took on a male dominated world and won. These ladies don’t just inspire me in business, they inspire me in life
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
A quote by Henry Ford, “whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right”
Contact Details
Twitter: @LinaGadi
E-mail: lina@startyounguk.com 

Website: 
www.startyoungglobal.com 

Facebook: StartYoungGlobal

Twitter: @SYGlobal_

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

2Inspire Profile: Chantal Cooke, Co-Founder of Passion for the Planet Radio


In this inspirational interview we meet Chantal Cooke who co-founded her radio station over 10 years ago.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
My day is generally divided between creating content for the radio station (researching topics and interviewing experts, then editing and mixing those interviews) and promoting the radio station (giving talks, networking, social media, blogging et)


What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I have always loved radio and I’ve always been passionate about the planet so this is the perfect combination of my two loves. Radio is a very powerful medium, but having worked for many radio stations, as both a producer and / or presenter, I felt that most of them didn’t really use that power in an inspirational way. There seems to be a lot of blame, moaning and gossiping – none of which I find makes me feel good! So I wanted to create a radio station that was both entertaining AND inspirational. A radio station that intrigued and motivated people to live a full and ethical life.

 What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Raising over £500,000 to launch PASSION for the PLANET radio – and launching it, on time, under budget (in 2002).

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
It has always been matching the ideas with the resources. There is so much we could do if we had the resources. But I guess most businesses have that challenge!

What are your future plans for the business?
To keep growing the listener base, to make sure we remain the leading station for health and environmental issues, to inspire more and more people every year.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
There are lots of things I have learnt in the last 10 years since we launched PASSION for the PLANET so it’s inevitable that I would do things differently if I did it all again. But, that said, I am comfortable with the decisions I made at the time with the information I had at the time. I think that’s very important.


Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
It’s important to inspire everyone to follow their dreams – but it’s also important to help them understand what’s achievable and realistic. I am a real believer in following your dreams – but I do not believe we have a right to live them. We need to earn them and be responsible for our own lives. Sometime that’s means compromising. Just because it’s a dream doesn’t mean the world owes you the right to follow that dream. You earn the right through hard work and commitment. Some dreams are achievable, some aren’t. Some dreams are responsible, some aren’t. If your dream means that others have to suffer or shoulder a burden so you can live it, then I certainly wouldn’t encourage that dream.
 
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
You need to be really passionate and really committed. You need to understand the legislation and regulation surrounding the radio industry, and you need to be prepared to earn very little for a long while! 

What or who inspires you in business and why?
People who are living life to full, following their dreams and taking risks – these are the people that inspire me. I am lucky I meet quite a few of them in the course of my work at PASSION for the PLANET. When someone is passionate about what they are doing I can’t help being pulled into it and feeling inspired and energised. I believe that it doesn’t matter what “floats your boat” what’s important is that you float it with passion.


What is your favourite inspirational quote?
My favourite quote and the one I try to live my life by is: The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to stand back and do nothing.



Chantal Cooke, co-founder PASSION for the PLANET radio, http://www.passionforfreshideas.com

Email:chantal@passionfortheplanet.com

Twitter @passionftplanet