Friday 24 January 2014

2Inspire Business Profile: Natalia Komis founder of iamsociable and iamadventures

In this 2Inspire Network profile we meet Natalia Komis founder of iamsociable and iamadventures, 2 phenomal businesses run but 1 phenomenal woman. Read how she took her passion for art and creativity to start the life of her dreams.

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

I start the day with 5 minutes of meditation or yoga (though lately it’s been some simple breathing techniques and jump up). As I run two businesses I have to check all email inboxes first thing whilst writing my to do list for the day – without this I’m lost! I then am either out meeting clients or networking to find new ones! These days, a day working from home is precious.

What made you start the business and how did you get started? Not knowing what route to take after Art School, I ended up in Marketing whilst still trying to hold on to the art world through collaborations and being part of art collectives. Once I realised I couldn't juggle both I gave up with the corporate world & started freelancing as an arts producer. Still unhappy & knowing I wanted to start my own thing, I took the leap & launched iamsociable and later iamadventures.

I've always known I've wanted to do something that I can call my own, I guess I just never knew what. I'd go from one idea to the next without pausing for air and clarity. Being a creative person I seem to come up with ideas easily, but find it difficult to follow them through.

I'd wanted to start my own business and had a general idea for it for a while. But nothing felt right, the timing, the idea itself and I guess I just didn't feel confident enough to go ahead with it. It came to a point when my relationship was over, I had to move house, I had no secure job and I suddenly had to reassess my situation. And I realised, that I had been running around for everyone else but secretly feeling resentful for it. I wanted to run around for myself! Make me happy and do something that I wanted to do!

After I left my corporate job I’d been travelling to art fairs and running events all over Europe and was the producer and PR manager for the British Section of the Kathmandu Arts Festival in Nepal, where I also ran master classes in arts marketing for the British Council. With this came a whole new outlook on life, an approach to do things that I actually cared about and wanted to do for myself. So, when the opportunity to reassess my situation did come along I was ready to take a risk and try something of my own. I’d been thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago for many years as a personal challenge, a place to let go and be free and allow space and time for new inspiration, so I planned for this whilst also setting up iamsociable.

iamsociable kicked off slowly but surely and grew with its clients. The main objective? To help creatives in business; help them find and create their dreams through creative marketing and guidance support. Whilst making the preparations for my trip to Spain to walk the Camino (120km in 4 days!), I realised that I should be combining my thirst for adventure, inspiration and social change with my guidance support and personal development and offer this combination of services to others. This is where the iamadventures was born. With no back up plan and no extra money I did just that and launched two start-ups in less than 9 months. Now, it has developed into taking artists, entrepreneurs and social innovators on creative adventures all over the world. Offering the chance to be inspired, explore, learn and be guided to reach their personal potential.”

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Through meeting some amazing and inspiring people, both here in the UK and the rest of the world, I ended up being selected for the UKTI Entrepreneurs Festival, The School for Creative Startups and being nominated for a Shorty Award. Meeting Doug Richard and Ken Banks and having them as my mentors has been a great help and achievement also for without them the business may not have got to where it is now.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Money and finding my target audience – I have to sit down every week and ask myself where they are hiding and literally put myself in their shoes so that I can find them!

What are your future plans for the business?
I’ve got so many great plans for the future – sometimes I get too overexcited about these and forget to focus on the now. Iamsociable is just going to grow and grow it’s creative freelancers and become a business that truly is creatives helping other creatives succeed. Whereas iamadventures, is going to expand to more countries and also help the new generation of creative and innovative social entrepreneurs flourish and help make a difference in the world.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I’ d perhaps take one business at a time, or do it with a partner – 2 businesses is rather stressful for one person!

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
It is incredibly important to inspire young women to follow their dreams, to encourage, engage, empower support and mentor them, the next generation of female planetary problem solvers. It’s time for the ladies to emerge and inspire the world with their ideas, love and skills.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Make sure you know your audience – take the time to understand what it is they need or want and don’t be afraid to take a risk. Visualise what you want to happen, believe it and tell everyone about it.

What or who inspires you in business and why?
Other creatives and individuals around the world inspire me the most. I love learning about new cultures, new businesses, new social challenges that need to be faced. Making a difference in someone’s life is so rewarding. But also, those who are growing their businesses along side mine – it’s such a great opportunity to be able to have a network of like minded and supportive people around you.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. Mahatma Gandhi

and ‘We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.’ Gautama Buddha

Contact Details

Natalia Komis | |

@NataliaKomis | @iamsociable_uk | @iamadventures


Tuesday 14 January 2014

2Inspire Network Business Profile, Remi Akinmoyewa, Founder of Kupcakelicious

RIP Remi Akinmoyewa Sadly, we would like to share the news that one of our sponsors for this years Ladies Day event, Remi Akinmoyewa of Kupcakelicious was not present at the event because she died in a tragic accident on the Thursday prior to the event. Any of you who exhibited at the ladies day in October 2013 may remember her as she was a sponsor and an exhibitor at that event. We feel very saddened by the news, Remi was a lovely sweet young lady with a big heart who always supported the Network and Academy events. She leaves behind her husband and two small children aged 1 and 3. Many of you were kind enough to contribute items towards our Academy music project fundraising raffle, however upon hearing the news the Academy have said they want to donate the proceeds to Remi's family. You can read her inspirational interview here:

In this business profile we meet Remi Akinmoyewa, Founder of Kupcakelicious, a growing cupcake business which is set to take London by storm. Read this interview with Remi and find out about her business journey.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you? No day is the same. One day I am working on a new recipe and the next I am working on my brand image. Since I have children most of my work is done while they are asleep. I am a mumpreneur.

 What made you start the business and what steps did you take to start operating as a business? I have always wanted to work for myself but never had the boldness to do so. I studied Business and Administration back in France so knew all the basics. However it is not until I had my first son that I started considering the idea of starting my own venture. Like many mumpreneurs I was not fully fulfilled with my job.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date? Been able to build a brand from scratch and be a sponsor for the 2inspire ladies day. It was a first for me, and it was awesome!

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far? Finding adequate finances. There is so much I would like to do but finances always get in the way. That is one of the reason I had to resume work.

What are your future plans for the business? I would like to distribute my cupcakes and dessert tables to corporate businesses. I would also love to open a boutique in Essex.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently? I would do more research on funding.

What’s the best compliment you could receive in business? "Your cupcakes are exquisite!"

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
In a world dominated by men, it is crucial for women to follow their dreams and use their God given potential.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry? Do what you really love because when times are hard, it is your passion that will keep the fire burning.

What or who inspires you in business and why? Oprah Winfrey. She did not let her past block her future. It took her about twenty years to build her empire but she kept going. I am sure she felt like giving up but she did not and became the successful woman she is today.
What is your favourite inspirational quote? “What does not kill you makes you stronger”

Contact Details
Remi Akinmoyewa  -
Twitter - @Kupcakelicious

Friday 10 January 2014

2Inspire Network Business Profile: Kelly Ruston, Communications and PR Director of Lightbox

In this 2inspire Network profile we meet Kelly Ruston, Communications and PR Director of Lightbox, mother of one and partner to an accountant who shares her story on how she gave up her formidable and somewhat envious career to go into business in the Marketing and PR industry. Read her inspirational story below and hopefully you can also believe in the power of your own dreams.
Kelly Ruston
Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
There’s no such thing in my world! I work flexibly so every day is different but it’s always an early start and always a late finish (and that’s seven days a week!)
I work around my two year old daughter, so I’m usually up around 7am checking emails; journalist pitches mainly and then onto motherhood duties like breakfast and getting dressed.
After an hour of juggling business and childcare, I’m usually found in the office or at home working on proposals, PR campaigns, calling clients or something very different like toddler swimming lessons or soft play. As I said I am very fortunate that my business allows me to work around clients and my family so neither play second best in my life.
I have at least two days in the office or client facing so I am fully up to speed on what’s going on whether that’s internally at Lightbox or on the accounts we manage.  Office days seem like a breeze in comparison to working from home as you can actually drink a hot cup of coffee whilst working, but trying to have a cup of coffee and some lunch whilst working from home and juggling childcare is usually non-existent.
In PR, every day is different; so one morning I could be on the phone to a journalist for a National or I could be working on a pitch very late at night as PR doesn’t stop – especially now social media platforms are taking off! Over 59% of journalists use twitter for work purposes and lots of opportunities come in at night time – especially those that have a significant reach, so I can often be found tweeting after 8pm for clients after my daughter has gone to bed.
In a nutshell my day starts around 7am and finishes around 9-10pm on a good day but tied up in that is having fun with my daughter.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?

Throughout my ten year plus career as an employee I was frequently told to ‘go it alone’ but never had the guts to do so.  It was only when I was on
maternity leave in 2012 that the idea of going back to my then glamorous and very envious job as Head of European Communications at Claire’s Accessories and all the travel involved, did self-employment really appeal to me. At first I did a little bit of freelancing for small PR firms and then realised I wanted more. After a chance meeting at a networking gig in Birmingham, I met my now business partner Rob Pollard as we decided to merge our businesses together to offer all Marketing, PR, Creative and Digital services as a fully integrated creative services agency (Rob had a web and digital agency at the time).

We’re relaunching Lightbox as we speak through traditional and viral platforms including social media, filers, new website and more to highlight our new service offering and tell the business world so to speak about our ‘perfect marriage’ of marketing and PR.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
That’s a tough question, as I’ve been an ‘employee’ for so many years and have some fantastic shout out loud achievements but as a new business owner, I’d have to say landing our very first clients coverage in Hello Magazine. That was quite something.

I love to make clients happy and achieve their goals and this client in particular was new to their industry, had very little budget and was slightly concerned at paying for PR so when I called them to say one of their products was going to be featured in Hello’s Christmas Gift Guide for Foodies they were over the moon and so was I!

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?

Probably the workload, I’m used to working hard, working long hours – I’m a mum to a two year old so I never stop – but when you are working for yourself, you work a lot of hours and don’t get paid. That’s the challenge right there – turning your efforts into profit.

What are your future plans for the business?

Rob and I are very ambitious and have already said our short-term strategy (12-18months) is to double our 2013 turnover from the original business entities and recruit 2 more personnel. Our longer term strategy (3-5 years) would be to double our staffing and resourcing, move premises to the city centre and again double our 2014 projected income.

Our five year plan is somewhat bigger but we are very humbled to be where we are now so any growth is better than none.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I’m a big believer in fate, so I think my time came to go into business after having my daughter.  I could easily say starting my family earlier and going into business but then the timings might have been completely different and would never have met my new partner in crime (so to speak – we do everything by the books!)

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?

Women always have it tough; whether it’s staying at home to be a mum, running a business, getting ahead in business or for some just getting a job in a very male dominated industry. For me I want young women to realise that we can indeed have it all…yes you might have to make a few sacrifices like I have done (for example my party lifestyle of a singleton is no longer now I have a family and a business to run!)

I want women to realise that having children doesn’t mean ‘end of the road’ for their career or end of motherhood either. Working flexibly around your children and business commitments should be easy to ask for in today’s world but sadly it isn’t and women are usually faced with a dead end part time job or full time nursery care for their children.  I say live your life as mum and career woman and don’t sacrifice either. Many mums nowadays are setting up their own businesses, known as ‘mumpreneurs’ so they can work flexibly around childcare.
 What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?

Get experience in paid employment both client and agency side. Going it alone in Marketing and PR can be a lucrative choice but there are so many agencies out there and without experience, credentials and contacts you’ll get overlooked – regardless of how brilliant you are.

What or who inspires you in business and why?

Tricky one! I have so many but I’d have to say the founders of netmums; Sarah Russell, Cathy Court and Siobhan Freegard who have just received OBEs in the New Year’s Honours List. A very simple idea that was born from these three women meeting at a toddler group and spotting a need in the market. It certainly goes to show how ‘mumpreneurs’ can get ahead!

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Everything is situational and depending on where I am in my life, but I’d have to say my ‘borrowed’ inspirational quote (it’s actually my other half’s) is from Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Christo; Wait and Hope.
I’m normally a very impatient person who wants things done there and then and well I believe ‘Wait and Hope’ has kind of led me to where I am today; mother, partner, successful business woman and all-round nice person (I like to now think!)

Contact Details:

Twitter - @kelliruston
Website –