Mavis Amankwah, an award-winning multiple business owner, is no stranger to the struggles of life and business. Here she shares her personal journey along with 10 practical steps on how to overcome adversity.
I was born and raised in Canning Town, east London, a tough borough which in the 70's was extremely racist. As a young black girl, I was bullied and received racial abuse on a daily basis from other kids my age. Even in school, one of my teachers told me that I’d “never amount to anything”. My only real comfort was my mother who also had to adjust to becoming a single parent after my father walked out on us. My resolve was also hardened through having suffered traumatic childhood experiences – too much to go into here - sufficeit to say, as clichéd as it may sound, these situations made me stronger.
A chance event led Genevieve Murphy and Kate Barry to be approached by high profile angel investor William Reeve. The two Founders of Trinkets tell The NextWomen what impact he has had on their business and share their 7 tips for those seeking an angel investor.
Our first encounter with William Reeve stems from a great story about being in the right place at the right time. I was attending a free marketing week put on by Start Up Britain and during questions they encouraged the audience to state their name and company as the entire week was being streamed online. On the last day, I asked a question and a business friend of Williams was watching and went on to Google Trinkets. Discovering it was a subscription based business, she forwarded it to William and he got in contact with us.
In Jeanette Sklivanou’s second post for The NextWomen, she discusses the impact of austerity in Greece, with particular reference to how the plight of unemployed women with children has helped inform her hiring strategy.
Recently I watched a BBC television programme featuring celebrity chefs who briefly share the lives of families getting by on poverty-level wages. They try to help the hard-pressed households with advice on cooking nutritious meals with very little money. It made for disheartening viewing.
Frankie Armstrong tells us about her move away from her first passion - fashion - and explains the non-hierarchical leadership approach which she applies to her hospitality business Conoco.
I started my career working in fashion, after studying at Central St Martin’s and Kingston University. From a young age I have loved fashion in the way that it can make you feel, look and be.
It was in my final year at university whilst putting together my own collection/business that I realised what I really excelled at and enjoyed was the elements behind the clothes and the business behind great brands.
For me, looking at the commercial viability of a product and implementing efficient processes was a real strong point. Although fashion and design was what I had always thought I wanted to do,
I had never really explored using the fundamental skills I had gained from years of focused creative thinking and problem solving to excel in other areas.
It was these elements and skills that I was subconsciously bringing to Connoco - the business that my partner Tim and I had already started up, and it got to the point where what we were doing within hospitality and music really started taking off. It then came to making a decision to come away from what I was doing in fashion and to really focus and develop Connoco.
After taking up ballet at the ripe old age of 19, Simona Scotto formed her own dance company three years ago as a way to challenge society’s perception of ageing.
Born in Sardinia, Italy, Simona Scotto came to London just over 20 years ago to study and become a professional dancer. During the past six years she has been working for Sadler’s Wells Theatre where she became inspired by teaching and choreographing for the resident older people’s company.
Three years ago she formed her own dance company for the over 55's thanks to a BBC documentary by Alan Yentob featuring dance for older people and that became Counterpoint Dance.
Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande, Founder of online members only travel club Passepartout Homes Ltd, explains how launching her own business was the answer she was looking for in terms of balancing her work and family life, and shares some of the lessons she has learned along the way.
I’ve come a long way. Since launching my business in December 2012 and concentrating on it full time since April 2013, I’ve come a long way. The site, Passepartout Homes, started with just 5 properties; it now offers over 60 fine holiday rental villas around the globe.
I have learnt to cover everything from web design, copywriting, marketing, PR, advertising, accounting, solving IT issues, understanding social media (and trying not to waste too much time updating my posts), researching the market, writing a blog and more.
I also discovered along the way that to be picked up by the press you have to buy your way in. Who would have imagined? I thought you just had to be good looking and interesting to grab the attention of journalists and bloggers. I have had some nice press coverage though. Most recently I have been interviewed by A Luxury Travel Blog and a couple of our properties have been mentioned by this very well respected travel site as among the best places to stay.
Origami jewellery maker Cath Nunes tells us about the early days of her business and shares her top ten tips for entrepreneurs.
As a young I child I remember making things out of paper like fortune tellers, hats, planes and boats that I would send down streams in competitions with my brother and cousins. As my mum was a primary school teacher there were always craft magazines around and I used to make things out of paper from carnival masks to Christmas nativities. At a later age I remember helping my mum to make original gift wrapping.
Fashion entrepreneur Emeline Coates talks to us about her French influence, the importance of ethical trading and the pressures of starting a business during a recession...
My handbag label Torula was born in 2008, after initially starting out as a weekend venture. The business expanded rapidly into a full-time job but it was never a radical decision I made one day. I loved handbags, started playing around with ideas and designs, had a couple made, sold them on Portobello Road Market and gradually discovered something that I really enjoyed doing. The rest is, as they say, history.
In a tribute to US mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell, who asserted that all mythical heroes experience the same 12 steps on their adventures, Ondina Montgomery draws parallels between Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and that of the entrepreneur.
Part 2 of the Hero's Journey describes the protagonist's Call to Adventure, where the hero is presented with a problem, challenge or adventure. Click here to read the first part of Ondina’s series, The Hero’s Journey Part I: Ordinary World.
I need, I need! I want, I want! This is what Jacob Bronowski described in his seminal book The Ascent of Man. The power of the imagination! When I was a child growing up I just loved looking at the Atlas and imagining where I could go. I yearned to travel. To see other worlds and cultures! But when you “grow up” it is surprising how fast you can forget your dreams. Especially when you are woken up into other people’s realities.
Coral Turner looks at why startups are rarely 'overnight successes' and what to do if interest in your business is more of a trickle than a flood.
This is the latest in the series of Coral's Startup Diary entries about the challenges of being a fashion entrepreneur. To see her previous blogs, click here.
I’ve been meeting with a lot of my fellow female entrepreneurs recently who have been talking to me about the frustrations of their businesses, how the work they have been putting in has not been converting into the sales they need to sustain their business, and some are actually thinking of giving up.