Tuesday, 24 June 2014

2Inspire Business Profile: Tope Opayinka CEO Topaz Therapy Essentials

In this profile we feature Tope Opayinka, the CEO of Topaz Therapy Essentials, which provides holistic and sports massage therapy.

I am a specialist physiotherapist and a qualified holistic and sports massage therapist. I own and manage Topaz Therapy essentials on a part time basis.
A typical business day at Topaz therapy involves sorting out my diary, calling up my clients to confirm appointments, carry out home visits and finish up with some reflective practice.
My passion and genuine desire to care for others prompted me to start Topaz Therapy essentials. I went on to study physiotherapy as a second degree and my desire to broaden my skills in order to provide a more holistic care led me to train as a holistic and sports massage therapist. In addition, I’ve also completed other courses which include on-site chair based acupressure massage and vestibular rehabilitation. My proposed CPD portfolio is exhaustive with more training lined up to increase my clientele base.
One of my greatest accomplishments in business to date is my client retention. I’ve been very fortunate to have my client’s return for more therapy and also onward referrals.  This I put down to my exceptional therapy and customer service skills.

My biggest challenge I would say is time constraints, juggling a full time job in addition to running my business. I wish there was more than 24 hours in a day with a lot more energy packed into it.
My future plan for my business is expansion. I hope to set up therapy clinics with other therapists working in my team.
If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do anything differently. Everything is happening at the right time.

One of the best compliment I have received is “You have the Midas touch”.
It’s important for young women to follow their dreams as it would give them a sense of self achievement and satisfaction.
My line of business requires the natural ability and genuine desire to care for others. Be prepared for hard work and commitment. However, the big smile and gratitude from my client makes it all worthwhile.
I’ve been very fortunate to have great support from my family and close friends and I’m inspired by the improvement in health status of my clients.
One of my favourite quotes is “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still” Chinese proverb.

Email: tope@topaztherapyessentials.com

Monday, 23 June 2014

2Inspire Network Profile on Shine ALOUD UK, a youth owned and youth led sexual health awareness enterprise

Shine ALOUD UK is a youth owned and youth led sexual health awareness enterprise that aims to educate, entertain and empower young people aged 15 - 24. Through producing a quarterly publication, videos and running workshops and events, Shine ALOUD UK aims to equip youth with the necessary tools to confidently and comfortably negotiate their sexuality. 

Why are we different?
The enterprise is original and unique as it represents the voices of young people and provides them with the opportunity to learn about sex and relationships on a personal level where they can indulge in an online magazine, workshops and videos. But more so original and unique as it is combines the likes of arts and culture thereby appealing to the interests of our target audience as well as providing worthwhile media opportunities to allow young people to expand their creativity.
As a young person I felt there was no literature available that was engaging in regards to sexual health, all the magazine that were available were dominated by beauty, celebrities and fashion. I wanted to create something that was different and allowed young people to be empowered about sexuality as well as represented positively.

What feedback have we received?
All of the feedback we receive from young peoples and our readers we take on board to improve our enterprise. We were told that our magazine would be more appealing in a physical form so we produced the first issue in February which we circulated to 5000 young people in around East London at Youth Hostels, Colleges, Gum Clinics, Community Centres, Youth Centres, Arts Centres and more. Much of the feedback can be found online via www.shinealoud.co.uk , but here are two comments:
 “Shine Aloud has the ability to communicate with young people on a simple but effective way featuring articles that are true for those reading them. Quite often we read articles written about people who have not experienced what they are writing about so they don’t know how to talk to the reader, or relate to the reader. Shine Aloud has been a great service East London community and I hope that more people will read it and get more from it. By Verity Nelson

“What separates Shine ALOUD to other platforms in my opinion is its engagement with the youths and adults of our day; it is often surprising to hear what we have to say about our knowledge or thoughts and opinions within these topics. Controversial questions such as “Can friends date, their ex’s?” are questions that can often bring us together in debating in a productive manner, and in fact it is always interesting to hear what a majority of people have to say with regards to these topics. This is a magazine that will always be needed in our local community, schools, colleges and etc.” By Ruben Ferreira

Our current team
At the moment, Shine ALOUD works with a range of freelance writers, photographers and graphic designers which we are EXTREMELY grateful for, however we are determined to recruit and hire a team of young people to manage all of our activity, everything from editing the online site to promoting our campaigns, to contacting youth provisions and organising interviews. We are determined to allow young people to have an active role in the company by allow them to take and make work for themselves.

Moving forward
In the future we hope to produce a publication regionally across the country, in addition to maintaining a virtual online website. Secondly, we hope to deliver sexual health awareness workshops across youth provisions and in and around the community. And lastly, we hope to embark on cultural exchanges with young people overseas, providing education to those who most need it across the globe.

We hope you can support us on our mission by donating to our current Crowd funding Campaign titled: The Sexual Empowerment of Young People!
For more information follow and like us via @ShineALOUD
Shine ALOUD: Sex & Relationships with a different tone!

Friday, 20 June 2014

2Inspire Business Profile: Deborah Marie, The Founding Editor of AFRONOIRE Magazine

In this inspirational interview we meet Deborah Marie, the Founding Editor of AFRONOIRE Magazine, who is inspiring a generation with her hard work and dedication to the media.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
A typical business day for me sees me starting my day at 10am. Emails are always the first thing on the agenda, when I get into the office, which is in Camden. Most of the liaising with the contributors is conducted over email – with meetings scheduled 2 to 3 three times a week (in the afternoon preferably) to go over any projects. During my day, I edit, write, research and plan editorials. I sometimes design necessary literature and try to keep up with social media!

 What made you start the business and what steps did you take to start operating as a business?
AFRONOIRE first began as a personal project, which then extended into a full magazine when I came to realise that there were many women like myself in the UK who needed a publication of its kind. The idea came to me in the middle of night. I remember clearly, the date time and everything. I jumped out of bed, wrote a 2-page business plan, contacted a web designer the next day and fast forward months later, here we are!
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
It’s too early for me to say so but the website has been running for over a year! That’s an accomplishment! It’s so easy to give up when starting something! But the response from the audience has been great. It reinforces in the publication and all the plans I’ve got for it. I’m very much aware of the sentimental effect AFRONOIRE has and has had on individuals and myself even! That’s one of the many things that keep me going. I want to continue to acknowledge people, their accomplishment and be a safe platform via which their thoughts, fears and excellence is expressed, shared and celebrated!

 What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
The biggest challenge thus far has been maintaining my integrity and standards. Being in the publishing/media industry does come with a lot of pressure because it’s a very competitive industry. Many publications focus on the moneymaking blueprint of celebrity culture, hair and entertainment news. My aim is to tell stories and have a positive influence in how black culture – black women specifically are represented. Doing that requires selection, patience, and pep talks then and there!

What are your future plans for the business?
To grow internationally, firstly in Francophone countries.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Patience, I would have waited a while longer, collected a year’s worth of material before launching. 

What’s the best compliment you could receive in business?
AFRONOIRE looks ‘prestige, luxurious and high quality’. It’s ‘needed’ and that it’s going to ‘be big’ – that’s humbling! It warms my heart and cheeks from happiness and from smiling so hard! It’s nice to know that you’re on the right track of accomplishing what you have set out to do.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Dreaming is sweet but living out your dreams is even sweeter! With setting out to do what you want to do, you take control of your life and destiny as it relates to your career and that to me is bliss and happiness even at the lowest points of our journey because you are doing what most people aren’t brave to do because of fear. But as FDR said, fear is paralysing and that if one should fear anything, it should be fear itself!

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Know what you want to do! Set your standards…do not copy! Have your mission, aims and objectives be clear! Compromise is a must-sometimes but you shouldn’t always have to compromise when it comes to fulfilling your integrity. Integrity is everything! Learn the basics of media law and that goes for any photographers, designers, writers, etc.

What or who inspires you in business and why?  
AFRONOIRE is inspired by love, creativity, my desperation to see change as it relates to the perception of black women in this country and globally. Black history inspires AFRONOIRE because we live in a day and age where we have the means to tell our stories so I want to be part of that legacy for generations to come. Though I’m one to often preach that I am a human being before I am a woman then my race, it’s important that I focus of portraying the black female race as honestly as possible. My hope is that this will contribute to the acceptance of each other and our comfort with each other and other races and cultures.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

‘When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it’


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Isossy Children To Host Exclusive Childrens Fashion Show at The 2Inspire Ladies Day 2014

Isossy Children was founded by Amanda Rabor in 2010. Isossy Children is a celebration of colour, vivacity, global influences and fashion. It offers children and their parents’ choice, style and design, which is why many of the pieces are limited edition prints. "It keeps our style unique and fresh. We want you to visit the website frequently with the knowledge that our styles and colours will change offering parents new ranges for all occasions", says Amanda. 

ISOSSY CHILDREN continues to be the forerunner in global clothing for kids. The range sees lots of Tween pieces for girls and boys (2-12 yrs) that look as though they've just stepped off the catwalk. Key styles such as the all print pant suits for girls and boys is going to be a real player within the up and coming collections.

The Fashion Show starts at 6pm - don't miss out on seeing some amazing pieces for children! 

2Inspire Business Network Profile: Mane Divas

In this profile interview we meet Trina and Tamara, the phenomenal team behind the Mane Divas hair retail business.


Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
A typical business day for us is very hectic. Trina and I both have full time jobs, so juggling Mane Divas, motherhood and our "9-5's" means that we make 25 hours out of a 24 hour day. On days that we don't have events, we mainly concentrate on sending out orders that have been placed either directly on the site or via our Amazon shop. 
Our customers are constantly getting in touch with us with enquiries and queries about products, so a lot of time is spent replying to them, and ensuring that they are 100% happy with any and all purchases that they make. 

What made you start the business and what steps did you take to start operating as a business?

We started the company as we were dissatisfied with the current state of the UK hair industry and the very apparent segregation between naturals and other hair types. Our main aim was to educate and enlist women with the tools to enable them to have a healthy mane of hair; Natural, relaxed or wearing a protective style we wanted to promote the hair within. Our anecdotal research found that 80% of women wearing weave do so with natural hair underneath. Surely their needs mirror those of a naturalista so why not help each other out? A weave is just another form of a protective style. In our opinion the term 'natural' is a just how you wear your hair. The most important thing is knowing how to care for your mane, there are no hard fast rules. Which is what bought about our company slogan; Just remember; Executive Extensions or Naturalista, we're the MANE Divas for you!

Our main gripe with the current industry was information! There may be products but entering a ‘black retailer’ would not get you the explanations you required behind the item. This made us decide that Mane Divas should be a 'hair experience' company which would offer a range of 'extra mane' facilities. We would provide our clients with not only the highest quality products to get the most out if their chosen style, but the advice and personal experience attached from a brand they can trust. We use the word clients rather than customers as we believe we are offering a service to improve the black female hair regime rather than a product to generate income.

Before registration the company name we researched our target audience for a year before hand visiting salons and shops collating information on what our clients needed. We then looked at what products we would like to sell. Being religious users of their Jamaican Black Castor Oil we felt it was paramount to supply this brand onto our customers as it is not something readily available in shops, especially in our home town of Essex. Personal research has shown that Essex as a county have limited exposure for ethnic hair care products. We were frequently approached asking where we purchase such items. We flew to the head office in Jamaica to test and set up connections with the islands leading brand, Tropic Isle Living top source our Black Castor Oil. We don't sell anything that we haven't personally tested including our hair pieces! Our images are us with friends and family, no paid models. They have all shared their hair experiences with us so we could provide our clients with the best products. When we launched 1 year later we were proud to be the face behind the brand.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
It's hard to pinpoint our greatest accomplishment so far, because there have been so many moments that we have been proud of. I would say our most recent accomplishment was being invited by the BBC to be on the panel of a "weave vs natural" debate.  
To be recognised by such a large media corporation, and included in such a controversial topic, really highlighted our place in the hair community and showed us that all of our hard work was really paying off.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
I would say that our biggest challenge so far has been trying to combat hair stereotypes. Mane Divas is a company that does not solely promote  #teamnatural or #teamweave but we are all about #teamhealthyhair. That means that no matter what style we are choosing to wear on any given day, we are far more concerned with the healthiness of your natural hair underneath. 
This becomes quite a challenge to convey to the #teannatural fans when we are wearing/selling weave, and equally the #teamweave fans when they see our natural hair being worn proudly. 
It's an ongoing challenge that we are trying to combat every day.

What are your future plans for the business?
The business is in a very exciting phase at the moment. On the 6th July we will be launching a new aspect of the company called Divas on the Grow. This will be a mobile service offering a variety of topics for the customer to choose from. 
The launch party will be held in the prestigious Water Lily Banqueting Suite in Mile End (tickets are available now). It will be an interactive session, for customers to rotate between the four workstations offering Diva consultations, mini diva styling, diva kitchens and hair loss seminars. These are just some of the topics that will be available in the mobile sessions. 
Launching Divas on the Grow and making it a success is our primary goal at the moment.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I think that there is very little that Trina and I would change if we had to start again, because even with every failure and set back that we have had along the way has been a valuable learning curve and provided us with invaluable experience. 

Some of our most significant successes have been born from failures or accidents.  

What’s the best compliment you could receive in business?
The best compliment that we ever receive in business is from grateful customers and their recommendations to their friends and family. To know that someone is so happy with the service and products that they have received from us that they are willing to take the time out to remember us and pass on our information, shows that we are obviously doing something right. 

We absolutely love customers that take the time out to create, write and publish blogs and reviews on our products, we appreciate that everyone's time is precious, so to know that they have felt strongly and passionately enough to tell their followers (and the world) really does mean everything to us.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
It is very sad to say, but the world that we live in today is not one designed for the younger generation. Even with all of the resources and potential that young women have at their fingertips, it can still be difficult to find the opportunities.
Young women of today probably have more drive and motivation than any other generation, but without the proper positive inspiration, it runs the risk of being wasted and their talents never being realised.
Not all dreams are monetary; based on wealth and fame, some aspirations are personal and the achievement of goals will provide a sense of inner wellbeing and fulfilment which will trickle down the generations into their children and their children’s children.
I know that for me my mum was a great inspiration, without her, and seeing her drive, I never would have thought Mane Divas was possible.
A strong positive female role model, has the power to change a nation eventually.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
If someone was interested in starting a business within the hair industry, my one main piece of advice would be to do your research! The natural black hair industry is slowly becoming a saturated one, and the thing that will differentiate you from your competitor is the knowledge that you can provide your customers with, and the sense of security that they will get from your expertise.
There are many companies out there that are purely in it for the financial gain, and those are the companies that eventually customers will avoid because they know that their best interests are not being taken into account.

What or who inspires you in business and why?
On a personal level I am inspired by my parents. They have now retired and have given up the fast paced lifestyle, however throughout their careers, my mum was a leading IT programmer for Cable & Wireless and my dad a Lead Engineer for BT, whilst also running a number of companies, as well as raising me and maintaining a household. They are my true inspiration and proof that if you work hard enough and have the right support structure around you, then any and everything is possible, and nothing has to be sacrificed.
On more of a business level, Trina and I get inspiration from all of the women and vendors around us on a daily basis. Every business woman that we come into contact with has their own story, their own reason for starting the company and their motivation to keep it going. No-one is in this business purely to make money, but are more interested in providing a stable and positive image for their families. To see that they are able to make a success of themselves and their business inspires us every day.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
There are several quotes that I like to draw inspiration from whenever the need may arise, but in respect for the passing of the great Maya Angelou, I would like to quote two of hers that always make chuckle and think.

The first: “There is an African saying – Never trust a naked man that offers you a shirt”
The second: “I do not trust people who do not love themselves yet tell me “I love you”…”  

I hope that this answers all of your questions as hoped, if you need anything else from us, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Mane Divas Ltd
T: 0208 214 1390
Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @manedivas

Friday, 13 June 2014

2Inspire Business Profile: Christine Gordon, Founder of L.O.V.E. Chrissie

In this profile interview we meet Chrissie Gordon, the Founder of L.O.V.E. Chrissie, reusable feminine hygiene accessories.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
Getting orders out, while still working full-time in a large organisation. Plus preaching to as many women as possible on the alternatives out there to conventional disposable pads and tampons.

What made you start the business and what steps did you take to start operating as a business? It was an opportunity which came my way from absolutely nowhere! I was fascinated and passionate about reusable cloth pads, and especially the Party In My Pants range, which is fondly known as PIMPs. The owners loved my passion, and asked me to join their team in promoting their brand - so I took on the offer and haven’t looked back.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
I’ve just started out, but my greatest accomplishment to date is meeting amazing people who are backing me in making my business venture work!

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Cash flow! I believe in doing everything debt-free, and without borrowing money. It’s very difficult, and it shows that you really do have to have money set aside, as you never know what bumps you’ll encounter along the way.

What are your future plans for the business?
Spreading the word to as many people and organisations as possible of the benefits of using reusable cloth pads. 

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently? I don’t think I’d do anything differently, except for maybe not rush too much into the first opportunity I received for help in certain areas. Getting specialists who know what they are doing is 100% better than accepting good-willed friend’s help, who may not necessarily know what they are doing!

What’s the best compliment you could receive in business?
That I’m honest, and have integrity

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Because life is short, and people need to know what you’re all about - as long as it’s in a positive fashion. You can then encourage another generation of young entrepreneurs who maybe too scared to start anything, in giving them encouragement that they really can make a difference in this world

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Go for it! However, research, research, research - and I don’t mean online or speaking to people. Actually USE the products which you’re promoting and understand it from the bottom-up. Have patience and build your foundations first. Build your wealth, do not start anything while being in debt.

What or who inspires you in business and why?
My mother. She’s shown me that you can do multiple things all at the same time, and be successful at it - as long as you love what you’re doing and are passionate.
Also Dave Ramsey, who has shown that you can come back from bankruptcy, learn your trade from the bottom up, and then become successful in your own right, along with showing integrity, morals and just being a good person. Not all millionaires and successful people are horrible!

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

Contact Details:

- Company name: L.O.V.E. Chrissie
- Email: hello@lovechrissie.com
- Web: www.lovechrissie.com
- Telephone: 07887 535 668

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

2Inspire Network Profile: Author Molly Gambiza

In this profile interview we meet Molly Gambiza, who has published her second novel "Mistaken Identity", set in Uganda. A book full of twists and turns it's set to be a bestseller across the world we hope! Read more about Molly's journey here and catch her at the 2Inspire Ladies Day on June 28th.

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

I wake up at 4:45 in the morning to get ready for work, by 6 a.m. I’m waiting for the bus. That journey always provides some sort of inspiration for my stories. By 7 I’m booking on duty and at 7, 12 hours later I’m signing off for the day. In between however with what moments I do get on breaks I write or read. I’m a receptionist in a very busy building so I relish any chance I get to jot down a few notes.

What made you start the business and what steps did you take to start operating as a business?

My passion for books started from an early age when I was still at primary school where you would find at least twenty pairs of eyes sharing one book. There weren’t enough books to go around so we were told to put our heads together and share my desire to create more books was born during that time. It wasn’t until after reading Flowers in the attic by Virginia Andrews some decades later, that I wrote my first novel True colours and soon after that my second novel Mistaken Identity.

My Sons encouraged me to turn to Self-Publishing and I sought to republish my 2nd Novel Mistaken Identity. I wanted to have more control over my books and how they would be published and advertised. So at the beginning of the year I registered my company ‘Through My Pen LTD’ with company House, and here I am today.

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

Having Mistaken Identity re-published and made available in e-book format, the task of which was very meticulous. As a semi computer literate person I had to bring myself up to speed on what tablets and e-books are. I am very proud of the new cover and the journey I’m being taken on with my stories.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Getting my books into major bookstores has been a struggle, when approaching some of the major stores I was asked “Are you a celebrity” before I was asked my name. I knew the journey would be tough but it’s about how you overcome those challenges that define you.

What are your future plans for the business?
I plan to write more successful novels. I have already finished writing my third novel I am just waiting for the right moment to have it published. I have a few other plans cooking in the lab but all will be revealed soon.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would definitely go with self-publishing from the beginning; I prefer the freedom I have in the publishing and promoting of my work, as a Mother and Wife I’m used to being the boss I guess.

What’s the best compliment you could receive in business?
Being recognised by successful writers like Wilbur Smith, it would be like celebrating my Birthday and Christmas at the same time. My bookshelf has well over 30 titles by him; a “Well done Molly” by him would make my year. He’s one of my major inspirations to keep writing.  

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Every young woman has a dream, as a young girl I had a dream to create a better life for myself and my family. I also wanted to be like my sisters who were doing very well so in essence they were my inspiration. It’s important for role models to be there for young Women to help them realise they can accomplish anything in this world and should not feel held back on account of their gender. We live in a World where there’s so much noise and distraction that it makes it harder for our young Women to hear their own voices, at least through my writing I hope to remind Women of that voice.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
To work hard and to be prepared for ups and downs, it’s not always smooth, to keep pushing until they get the right formula, persistence and perseverance pay. 

What or who inspires you in business and why?
I would say Wilbur Smith, JK Rowling, Tolkein, George R.R Martin, Danielle Steel but above all my Family. My Husband and Children are my driving force in everything that I do and knowing that they are there to support me pushes me to make them proud.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read. 
Knowledge is power!

Molly Gambiza
Facebook- @SanyuGambiza
Google+ Molly Gambiza

Mistaken Identity Synopsis:

What happens when no-one can tell you or your sister apart?
Many people find it hard to tell Identical twins Denise and Annabella apart. This leads to all sorts of complications, especially with an impending forced marriage to content with…

Set in Uganda, this tale of multiple twists and turns proves that the course of true love never did run smoothly

All aboard for the ride!

Mistaken Identity can be purchased from any bookstore and also from the links below

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

2Inspire Business Profile: Kay Francis of Francis London

In this business profile we feature Kay Francis, the Founder of  Francis London, a line of luxury candle products which is making waves across the UK and is one of the businesses that will be exhibiting at the ladies day in June.
Kay Francis

A typical day for Francis London is sorting through online orders and organising shipment. 
We also work on new marketing strategies to promote our brand and forge good partnerships. 

I started this company after going natural with my hair, then to mainly purchasing organic food. I wanted to only use products that were natural without losing the luxury. I learnt how to make candles and found there were natural sources that could be used as wax. I visited various perfumeries to learn about scents and from there I began making candles at home and sold them at the local market. The public response went well so from there I began to think about packaging and branding and this has bought us to where we are now. 

My biggest accomplishment so far is doing my first exhibition in earls court.

My biggest challenge is learning how to deal with the negativity of competitors.  We have recently started so out plan is to develop our range 

If I could do it over I would have made mass orders as ordering in small quantities wasn't cost effective and a lot of money was wasted as a result. 

We have received excellent feedback about our scents and packaging. One customer has asked us to do her wedding. 

Enough young women aren't being told to take more risks in terms of business. Despite their best intentions sometimes out parents weigh heavy on is following the safe path in employment. 

Be sure about what you want to produce from the start as changes can be quite pricey. 

I am inspired by friends and other local brands I have seen develop and I always remember "Build your dreams or someone will hire you to build theirs". 

Kay Francis