female entrepreneur

Learning the business of Macrame with TwoMe

2020-02-01T14:40:49+01:00 September 13th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , |

Is there anything more rewarding than mastering a craft you love and sharing it with others?

I never knew what Macrame was until I came in contact with TwoMe, a creative business run by Isabella Strambio who teaches the craft. Macrame is a type of textile produced using knotting patterns and techniques.

Isabella started originally with a blog about learning twelve crafts in twelve months. She tells The Startup Gold “My first craft was macrame and I got addicted, the same thing with natural dye. After about six months of starting my blog, I started teaching workshops and I haven’t stopped since“.

Isabella loves teaching and sharing her knowledge with others, inspiring people to be more creative in their daily life. In summer of 2017 she quit her career as an interior designer to work on Twome full time. Today she teaches regular workshops, at events, team building workshops, writes tutorials for magazine, blogs and runs online courses. Since her article published in the Sunday Telegraph , she has been asked to run macrame workshops at big brands including Facebook, Moo, Beyond, Nandos & Creative Debut.

She also has a curated online shop with natural dyed and macrame homewares. One of her favourite items, a naturally dyed Japanese apron, is a finalist for the Etsy Design Award 2019.

You can join one of Isabella’s workshops in London or in the lovely English countryside here. You can also sign up for an online course if you are abroad or just want to test the waters before attending a workshop.

Shop your home living, style accessories and learn the business of Macrame with TwoMe

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Back to School survival tips for working mums

2020-01-04T21:49:18+01:00 August 30th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, working mums|Tags: , , , , |

It’s the end of August and plans for autumn are in full kick off. Between curating your wardrobe, planning an autumn or winter escape and clearing the garden……dear lord, the kids are going back to school.

For some mums it’s a relief and for others..breathe, inhale, exhale and repeat – crazy hectic mornings and part time taxi job are here again. If you barely survived the summer holidays you may want to read Mums Make Lists school holiday survival tips.

Moving on, here are some tips to help you thrive as you run your business and navigate back to school in the months ahead.

1. Be mentally prepared

When you are aware of what’s coming and accept it, you unconsciously become prepared to cope with any challenge that comes with it. The good news is many working mums have charted the same path and thrived. In moments when you begin to doubt your ability to cope with balancing work and home life, motivate yourself with inspiring stories from other successful women. Surround yourself with words of inspiration that keep you fuelled with positive energy. Facebook groups like mums in business association as well as parenting forums like netmums and mumsnet are great for venting and getting support from other mums.

2. Mobilise your support network

Don’t do it alone, life is so much easier when you have a support system. This is more true when business and kids are involved. Sick days and untimely school appointments are sometimes unavoidable, so have a system in your business that gives you some flexibility to adapt. This might be a trusted virtual assistant, colleague or a partner. If you don’t have one, you may want to invest in proper gizmo to make having meetings on the go much easier. Take care to avoid calls while driving and only engage on calls when it is safe to do so. Cisco Webex, Skype and Zoom are some good options for voice conferencing and mobile meetings.

You should definitely have a reliable support system outside of your workplace as well. This might be other mums you can call on when running late for pickup, out of school clubs, family or a childminder.

3. Stay organised

Be diligent in keeping a note of school events, appointments and deadlines the same way you track meetings and appointments in your workplace. Have these stored on your favourite mobile app so you can receive reminders and notifications on the go. This works better if your work and home calendar are synchronised or on the same app. You may want to decide how you use this though, if you have a shared calendar with your work colleagues, you may not want to share details of your personal events.

The other part of staying organised is planning ahead for your appointments. A last minute dash to the store to grab packed lunch for a forgotten school trip, improvising with random items in your kitchen to complete a science project that’s due in tomorrow or carving an email to your favourite teacher explaining why costume for the school play hasn’t been handed in can be avoided by being diligent with your calendar and planning ahead.

4. Make yourself a priority

Be disciplined about taking care of your health and well being so you can operate at your best. Each day that passes may require a lot from you to deliver at work and at home, stay fuelled with a positive mindset and keep to healthy habits. In between the hustle and running around, make time to recharge and centre your thoughts. You aren’t much good to your kids or business if you are burned out, stressed and exhausted. Wearable technology for keeping track of your sleep and stress levels can help monitor unusual activity. I particularly like the Leaf Urban from Bellabeat that’s wearable as a clip, bracelet or necklace.

5. Live in the moment

Life really is hard on some mums and it’s almost cheeky to tell them to “enjoy the moment”. At times even with a support group, staying organised and using every other tip out there, being a working mum can be a most trying exercise, so you say it at your own risk when you tell some mums to enjoy the moment.

Being a mum is the single most selfless job that exists. Regardless of personal circumstances or situations we find ourselves in, we owe it to self to live in the moment with our kids. Find things to be thankful for, remain optimistic and hopeful that all of the today’s hard work is for tomorrow’s success.

43 amazing Inspiring quotes for business owners

2020-02-01T15:58:30+01:00 June 9th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , |

Running a business can be a true test of personality, strength and courage. In between the overwhelm, a good quote can be your source of encouragement. From art, to religion, music, politics, business and every walk of life in between, quotes have inspired people through challenging times.

"Nothing is impossible, even the word itself says I'm possible."

During periods of self doubt or experiencing a challenge in your business, this is a quote that reminds you not to give up. Keep this in mind as you find methods to overcome the obstacles in your way.

Stephen Covey will be remembered most as the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which has sold over 25 million copies. Rather than being a victim of your circumstance, accept that life happens but the ultimate goal is where you are headed. Make a choice to avoid blaming your circumstance and take a stand on making decisions to get you to your ultimate goal.

When one door of happiness closes, another open, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us - Helen Keller

Love, Love this one by Helen Keller. Helen was a political activist and author who was the first deaf, blind person to achieve a bachelors degree in Art. How amazing is that? she could have looked at her obstacles as closed doors but she accepted and used them as a platform to become a world famous advocate for people with disabilities.

"Build your dreams or someone will hire you to build theirs" - Farrah Gray

So harsh but so true. If you have an innate desire to create something, to bring an idea to life, do not let your fears or circumstances stop you. Go for it.

Ideas without execution have no value. We must apply our knowledge, and act on what we are willing to do for the dream to materialise.

"Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear - George Addair

No further words needed on this quote by George Addair. As you start a new week, remember that fear is the greatest thief of your blessings. Be bold to do that thing that scares you and start making the moves to achieve your dreams.

It does not end here, we have 37 more quotes for your mantra list and they are oh so good. Daily inspirations remind you that you are not alone. Write them and pin up in prominent spaces in your environment such as your fridge, desktop, somewhere you will be sure to see them every day. Share them with friends, family any co-workers and let it frame your conversations.

The Boss Lady recipe for building a thriving business

2020-02-01T15:55:46+01:00 June 1st, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Boss Lady – Two words that define the successful savvy female leader. In business, a boss lady executes and delivers big ideas. This trending breed of entrepreneurs are your go to kind of people to get things done. Confident, knows her value, quick to learn and adapt, does what she says she would are only a few qualities of a boss lady.

Making your mark as an aspiring female entrepreneur in a growing world of business can be daunting. With lots of things to consider as you start your business, staying true to the things that matter can be a challenge. Here is a recipe you can live by to remain focused as you work your way to building a successful business.

#1 Work on building a business you can take to the bank

Herein these eleven words lies a tonne of effort that justifies the reason your business exists. Unless your goal is to run a non-profit business, you need a way to monetise whatever it is your business is about. Say for instance, you have a huge social media following but not converting this to sales of some type either through paid ads, affiliate marketing or promoting a paid service or product you aren’t quite scratching that boss lady surface yet. Think of ways to monetise your skills, talents or ability to solve a problem.

“Sales are incredibly important because that’s what really makes or breaks a business

Ade HASSAN
FOUnDER NUBIAN SKIN

#2 Find and know your ideal customer

Marketing your service or product to everyone, promoting your content without knowing who your target audience is like playing a game of tag with blinders on. You are feeling around hoping to catch someone with no clear direction of where everyone is. When you know who your ideal audience and customer is, then you can start to create content or products that delight them. You keep their attention focused on what you can do for them. This is a great way to build loyalty and a way to grow your business.

#3 Confidence, Optimism and Resilience

Wear it, feel it, own it…. there is just no other way to it. If you are not confident of your ability to deliver why should others be? If you are scared to market your business and sell, do not sell yet. Go back to learning more about your offering, fix any gaps before going back into the market. When you can stand 100% by what you offer you will feel more confident of your ability to deliver.

Optimism will get you through tough times that will come. Maintaining a positive mindset that your business will thrive regardless of internal or external challenges is a must have for you as a business leader.

Below is a video from Refinery29 I quite enjoyed on 5 women entrepreneurs who share their secret to success.

The saying that tough times don’t last but tough people do, couldn’t be more true. A mix of confidence, optimism and resilience will keep you on top where other business leaders have failed.

#4 A daily routine

Many successful entrepreneurs practice a daily routine. It does not necessarily have to be a series of back to back activities but something you live by to improve yourself and ability daily. It is best not to copy someone else’s routine but find one that is meaningful and works for you so you can sustain it.

#5 A support network

No-one builds a business alone. A support network in the people around you within and outside your business circle can be one of the most powerful tools for your business growth. Most women juggle a number of hats in between work and life. A support network can be a good outlet to help find a balance. The online world has a growing community of support networks for busy women in business, one of which is our facebook group at The Startup Gold

#6 Good business and finance acumen

We’ve discussed the idea of building a business you can take to the bank and targeting your ideal customer. There are other skills essential to running a successful business. You do not have to be an expert in all and can hire the support you need. There are however areas you need to be comfortable with. Some of which include understanding business contracts, cash flow management, marketing, leadership, presentation and communication skills.

#7 Self love and care

I use almost every opportunity I get to remind entrepreneurs of the need to properly manage their health and well being. Why is this important? The mind is a space where the entrepreneur works a lot. Out of it will flow ideas for project plans, creativity and decision making. Keeping the mind flourishing requires self care. Resting regularly, exercise and a good diet are all part of this. A lot of people take this for granted and almost always at some point will reach their breaking point. For a business to thrive it needs a leader that is constant in her ability to work and deliver. Maintaining proper care for health and well being is essential.

Hope you enjoyed reading and will try some if not all of these. Can you add anything else to spice up the recipe? Share them in the comments.

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Business Feature – Ade Hassan of Nubian Skin

2020-02-01T15:17:52+01:00 March 7th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I am not entirely sure where to start with this post.

I could start by describing the excitement when  I finally bought hosiery in my skin tone. I could start by describing how inspiring it is seeing a woman of colour redefine the marketplace in an industry. Maybe I should begin by describing the thrill when I learnt Ade was going to share some business insights with me…. I was so chuffed.

I’ll just get right to it.

Ade Hassan, a member of the order of the British Empire, Fashion Entrepreneur of the year and UKs favourite British designer of the year award winner is the founder at Nubian Skin, a company with a carefully edited collection of Lingerie and hosiery providing the essential underwear needs of women of colour. Available at Nordstrom, House of Fraser, Bravissimo and other big brand stockists in the UK and Internationally. Nubian Skin has gone from strength to strength since it officially launched in 2014 and has received interest from celebrities like Beyonce, Thandie Newton and Beverly Knight.

On her immediate thoughts when her first photoshoot for Nubian Skin went viral – “I was shocked. I didn’t fully understand how it all worked because I wasn’t big on social media. At the time, Nubian Skin had a Tumblr and an Instagram page that had about fifty followers from random images. It was our first product photo. I didn’t think anything of putting up the image of the four girls wearing our product. I actually went on holiday directly after but my phone kept buzzing. I was shocked and amazed just to get one hundred followers. By the end of the week, we had a thousand followers. I started to feel anxious because I didn’t really understand what was happening. At the end of four weeks, we reached twenty thousand followers and the press started picking it up. Kerry Washington retweeted a post that Self Magazine had done on us and we were on DailyMail. And, all of a sudden, it was everywhere. And it was insane because we didn’t have products to sell yet. We didn’t even have a proper website up”

“My name is Ade Hassan and I’m the founder of Nubian Skin. I was born in the UK, but my family is Nigerian.  I grew up all over the world, in the UK, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the US. After I finished my masters I ended up in Banking, which was something I had been interested in doing, but ultimately, I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur.  Both my parents are entrepreneurs, so I guess it’s in my blood. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I’ve always had an affinity for fashion”

TSG: When you founded Nubian Skin, you were addressing a gap in the market for women of colour. How did you get past any reservations or concerns you had as to whether your idea would become successful? What sort of research did you do and what support did you have?

Ade: I did a lot of research and discovered that what I was looking for simply wasn’t available. This was a great starting point that validated my idea. After that I did a lot of testing and research amongst my friends and family. I also did a lot of research at make up counters that catered to women of colour to find out the most popular hues. Once I had that information, it was a huge process of refining these colours with the factories.  I had no idea how to find a manufacturer or how to break into the industry, so I hired a consultant who introduced me to tradeshows which was incredibly helpful.

TSG: What are the key areas you focus on in your business, in other words when you review your business metrics what areas are you concentrating on first before others?

Ade: Sales are incredibly important because that’s what really makes or breaks a business. We also take a look at our social media metrics, customer data and google analytics to get an idea of who our customers are, their behaviour and location etc. Another important area of focus is cost – it’s important to repeatedly analyse what you are paying for/whether it’s necessary/where it’s possible to reduce cost, because if there is a problem, you want to fix it immediately.

TSG: During your TEDx talk on “The reality of reaching your goal” you mentioned bored, frustrated and annoyed as really good motivators when you’re trying to figure out what to do next, a lot of women can relate to this, the question is when they figure out what to solve for, what do they do next?

Ade: For me it was figuring out what my end goal was (launching my e-commerce website) and then plotting backwards to where I was and figuring out every single step that was needed to get me to my goal.  Then it was a matter of putting one foot in front of another one step at a time.

TSG: You’ve talked about switching jobs when you figured out your business idea and moving into equity finance in the corporate world because you needed to save a lot of money. In a time where women aren’t getting a lot from venture capitalists, is bootstrapping the way to go and a more effective option for female entrepreneurs?

Ade: I moved from consulting into working for a private equity placement agent, which I really enjoyed and it enabled me to save a good amount. Bootstrapping worked for me, but it has its pros and cons.  I do think fundraising is also a very good option, and I think it’s important for women to keep seeking finance from angels and ventures because there are so many amazing ideas out there that are deserving of finance.

TSG: Obtaining Trademarks and Copyrights are essential to protecting your brand , in your experience at what point will you advise entrepreneurs to consider this and make it a top priority above everything else they must execute to scale their business?

Ade: It’s one of the first things you should do!

TSG: On manufacturing and bringing your product to life what advise will you give entrepreneurs when sourcing manufacturers and vendors for a product?

Ade: Figure out what is going to work for you.Do you need to do a smaller production run (which will be more expensive) or are you producing large quantities (which may be cheaper)? Find a vendor or manufacturer who you have good communication with because communication is key.  Finally, do your research, visit the factory to make sure it’s being produced in an ethical way.

 TSG: Nubian Skin is stocked in Europe, Africa, the US and Caribbean, what challenges have you had operating in International markets and how have you overcome them?

Ade: Communication and figuring out logistics are important.  Some of it is trial and error, it’s just a matter of refining your methods and figuring out what works.

TSG: Looking back on your journey as an entrepreneur, what advice would you give to women starting their business journey today?

Ade: If you’ve got an idea you’d like to bring to life, it’s really important to research your idea to make sure that whatever it is, it’s valid. Make sure you really believe in the idea especially if you’re working in another job. If you’re up at 4:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. working on this, then you want to believe in it. You also need to be willing to work really hard. Everybody who is going to start something anticipates that it’s going to be difficult, and that it’s going to be hard, but it will be so much more difficult and so much harder than you can prepare yourself for. And also – have faith in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will?

TSG: There are so many products and services out there today, the internet has made it easy for everyone to start a business, what marketing advise will you give to small business owners so they can rise above the crowd?

Ade: I would say that good imagery is key – make sure your photos stand out and are of the highest quality. There’s nothing worse than visiting a website with grainy, low-res images. I would also say it’s important to do your research, make sure your idea is valid and be prepared to work really hard!

Beyonce and her Formation World Tour dancers in undergarments made by Nubian Skin

TSG: Finally on collaborations and Partnerships, how has this helped your business and what advice can you share with budding female entrepreneurs looking to engage in partnerships that can help grow their business?

Ade: We occasionally collaborate with influencers and bloggers to create content. It’s really important that the people we work with appreciate our ethos and that the partnerships are as organic as possible. I would say that collaborations and partnerships can be a great way to widen your audience, but make sure that you also think about return on investment and whether the money you spend is going to be worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Ade Hassan of nubianskin on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @nubianskin

To see more of Nubian Skin and place an order visit the Nubian Skin Website

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