Wednesday 23 September 2015

2Inspire Network Inspirational Woman: Lauren Moss, Founder of Vivimoss

Founder and designer Lauren Moss has turned her love for health and fitness into a growing business. In October 2015 her company vivimoss is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month by donating 20% from the sale of their ladies hot pink shorts and tees. Read about Lauren and her journey to business success in our interview feature with her.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
I typically start my day at around 7.45am, when I check my emails, and have a quick coffee before taking my dog, Chewie, for a play in the park. There-after each day is different. I tend to try and split my day between social media, sales calls, manufacturer research and keeping on top of the financial side of everything. I work from home, and vivimoss is a one man band at the moment, so theres a lot to keep on top of! Im a great believer in work/life balance, so I always make sure I make time for a trip to the gym when required, and try to switch off (as much as possible) each evening!

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I had been working in finance in Edinburgh for close to 10 years, and although I loved my colleagues and clients, I just did not find the job fulfilling. At the same time, I was rediscovering my love for health and fitness, but could not find the type of clothing that I wanted to train in. In a moment of madness, I decided to take the leap and try to create my own. Since then I havent looked back!
I fortunately have a very supportive, patient partner who has helped my immensely whilst Ive been setting up the business!

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
I think that simply launching the range was a huge accomplishment for me, it was a long process and a bit of a leap of faith!

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?

Moving into a totally new industry was a big challenge, it was a terrifying leap. I have to say though, that it has been so worthwhile. It is such a supportive, friendly industry - the majority of people want to see you succeed and are happy to offer advice and support.

What are your future plans for the business?

Its still very early days for vivimoss, but what I would really like to do, is move the production to somewhere in Europe. When I began searching for suppliers, Taiwan was at the forefront of technical sportswear fabrics so it was a no brainer! Ive recently found a potential supplier in Portugal that I hope might be suitable, so watch this space!

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

Thats a tough one - obviously Ive made a lot of mistakes, but if I hadnt made them, I would never have had that experience - its always easy with hindsight!

When I first launched my site, I was really keen to use regular people for models, in regular locations. Im a keen supporter of promoting body confidence, and thought that it would be a great way to promote the clothing. Im not sure that the industry is quite ready for this just yet though, and in the future will probably have to move towards using fitness models!

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

Life is simply more fulfilling if you are doing something that you are passionate about. Its easy to settle into a job that is just ok and that pays the bills, and its tough to break away from that. There are opportunities out there though that will help you follow those dreams - and I think young women need to be made more aware of them.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?

Do your research! Possibly my way of entering the industry (with absolutely no experience) was not the most sensible! There are lots of businesses in the industry that welcome interns, and that would be a great way to start. If thats not possible, make sure you talk to as many business owners as you possibly can. Other business owners are a great source of information, and you can benefit hugely by learning from their mistakes!!

What or who inspires you in business and why?

I have met a few owners of very successful businesses of late. And I was totally blown away by their generosity of both their time and their advice, despite them clearly being ridiculously busy. Id like to be one of those people!

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Oooh, thats a tough one. This would change regularly depending on my mood, but my current favourite would be:

The best advice Ive ever received is, no one else knows what theyre doing either Ricky Gervais

For more product information please visit

Sunday 20 September 2015


I would like to introduce you to the "I AM" programme, which I have personally written to help to transform the lives of others. This programme is so important to me as it contains steps that I have gone through to get to a point in my life where I feel like anything is possible and that we all have the power to change our life if we take the right steps and persevere.

Like most of us I tend to complain that life is not easy and that I need a break, however over the past year I have been equipped with some wonderful coping mechanisms and knowledge that has helped me to look at  life from a completely different perspective.

We are all on our own unique journey and so encounter different trials and tribulations but one thing I have learnt despite the ups and downs is to enjoy life, stop worrying about tomorrow or what others think about you and to simply live in the moment.   It is so important that when you do something in life make sure it is for the importance of yourself. This is why I wanted to share the I AM programme as part of a retreat weekender, where your focus will be on you and only you over a period of 3 days. 

My take on life is that none of us are getting out of this alive so stop treating yourself as an afterthought. It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority. It is necessary. 

I have partnered with some amazing individuals and organisations to make sure that the "I AM" project will make a positive impact in your life. So for this reason I urge you to take a look at the details of the retreat and take that step to make a positive difference in your life.

I hope to get to meet you on this journey.

Hazel xx

Click on the link below to find out more about the "I AM" project:

Friday 18 September 2015

The 2Inspire Network Meet and Greet at The O2

The 2Inspire Network had a fantastic evening at The ALL BAR ONE VIP Showcase on September 17th 2015. We were asked to extend our exclusive invitation formally to the network and it was a great chance to meet you all.
It was a chance to network at a great location in All Bar One and to meet fellow members. There were at least 300 other delegates from a variety of sectors at the event so it was great to 
The 2inspire Network Founder Hazel Chawapiwa and the organisation's PR & Marketing Consultant, Ronke Lawal were there to meet some amazing women in a great space!  
We had some great feedback with people saying that it was one of the best networking evenings that they had ever attended. High praise indeed.
Here are some pictures from the evening!
Please tweet @2inspireltd #2inspiremeetandgreet if you attended.
Hazel With Eveline of Blow Fast Beauty


We recruited a new member! 

The Ice Bar

Happy Networkers!

Caught in conversation

Ronke Lawal and The Editor of African Dazzle Magazine, Gold Ola

Photo-bombing fun!


Unlimited Baileys!


All that glitters is gold!

 2Inspire Network Members

Cocktail Shaking

Cocktail making! 

Beautiful ladies!

Card From Divine Goddess Greeting Cards

Wednesday 16 September 2015

2Inspire Inspirational Woman: Victoria Lee of Socialee Media

In this 2inspire Interview we meet Victoria Lee. At 24, she become the founder and Managing Director of a successful London-based social media and content marketing agency, Socialee Media. Initially starting her business at 23 she had been recovering from her 3rd spinal surgery. 

You can read Victoria's extraordinary story and the breakthrough challenges she faced while managing her business. 

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
Head stuck in my laptop wishing there were more hours in the day! I work from home mostly and occasionally coffee shops for a break. About once a week I have meetings in central London with current or potential clients. My typical work day involves creating social marketing strategies, analysing data and responding to client requests or phone calls.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I started my business by accident while recovering from back surgery. A few months previously, I'd left my job as a Digital Journalist and Producer at the Daily Mirror to go travelling. For someone with a life-long dodgy back this turned out to be a bad decision and I quickly found myself back home on an NHS operating table.
Jobless and recovering from major surgery I emailed everyone I had ever worked for, explained my situation and asked if there was any work they could throw my way to keep me busy while I recovered.

I got lots of encouraging replies, the game-changing one from a lovely ex-employer; her marketing department was lost when it came to social media and desperately needed someone with digital marketing know-how to generate and put into action a social media and content marketing strategy.

I gratefully accepted the challenge. Within one month of starting on the project, my ex / new employer's blog traffic had increased by 235%. Within two months their Twitter engagement had increased by 2,532%. Needless to say she was pretty chuffed!

Just as I was getting back on my feet post-op, ready to look for a 'real job', two new clients popped up - both on the back of word-of-mouth recommendations. I took them on.

It wasn't long before I realised I was making almost as much money as I would if I went back to a 'real job. It was then that I decided to stick with my new business and see if I could make something of it long-term. So far its paying off!

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

Establishing a business from my sickbed!

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?

Finding the right people to hire and creating smooth communication channels within our virtual office.

What are your future plans for the business?

To grow in size and to become an established name within the digital marketing industry.

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

Nothing - every step has been an amazing learning curve.

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

There are not enough women in business - especially the tech industry, and especially in senior roles. Its easy to be deterred from male dominated industries or to aim lower because of the lack of female role models in senior positions.

But the workplace is changing - flexible working hours, for example, are now compulsory. With the influx of Startup businesses which are predominantly run by young people, young women must understand that the workplace is rapidly changing from a traditional middle-aged male-dominated arena to a place where talent outweighs social class or gender.

With focus and determination you can achieve anything. We need more organisations like the 2Inspire network to instil this message in young women and to help them feel empowered.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Find a mentor in a similar industry who can help out with questions or when you get stuck, and then start! There is only so much prep you can do; you will learn the most important lessons as you go.

What or who inspires you in business and why?

Steve Jobs quotes always give me a boost when Im not sure about something! Im also inspired by women who run similar (but more advanced) businesses to me. Im lucky to be able to interact with them via social media and pick their brains!

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
"Half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.  Steve Jobs

Tweet @GoSocialee 

Wednesday 9 September 2015

2Inspire Inspirational Woman: Ruta Uleviciute

In this 2inspire Interview we meet Ruta Uleviciute,  who went from doing business in  London’s high-end jewelry circles and working with some of the world’s wealthiest people to becoming a partner at a real estate agency, on the tropical white sand beaches of Tulum, Mexico. How did she make this dramatic lifestyle move and why? Read this interview and find out!

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

I wake up at 6.30 AM and go for a run with my dog while the sun is rising and it’s not too hot. The heat is a part of living in the Caribbean all year round.
After greeting the sun, I am back home and while I am having a breakfast, I start answering emails.
If I do not have any meetings with clients or sellers before, I go to the office at 10 AM. The first thing that I do is organise the day with our development manager and office administrator, my right hand. When the day is planned, my meeting marathon starts. The list of things to do increases while the day is progressing and every day is different and exciting. Different people, different stories, different dreams and I am part of all of them.
If I can, I try to have my “lunch hour” on the beach around 2-3 PM just to unwind with the sound of the sea and think. After a short break I come back to the office and continue with meetings, emails and presentations.
At 6 PM I go to the gym, for a “me” hour and then home back to the office desk with more emails and presentations.
If I am lucky, I might have an evening off, but that is rare, as clients and their enquiries always come first and offering them personalised opportunities and advice always take time.
Even if it sounds busy, my day brings me more joy than stress. I love what I do and I enjoy the beautiful place where I live. If you want to have a successful business, you have to put in the work no matter where you are. Your business is your direct investment- its success will depend on how much work and passion you will put into it. I enjoy meeting with clients, showing them around and giving my best possible advice regarding their investment. This is a paradise-like place with its own pace, where people come for holidays and say “I would love to live here... “. I do live here and help others to make their dreams come true.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
This business was born out of passion to provide good and honest advice in real estate with A to Z services.
I have worked in a fine jewellery retail in London for over 10 years, where my work became my hobby and the hobby became my life. My clientele who was buying big diamonds as a part of the investment started investing more in the exotic, undeveloped land and the real estate there, as it was giving them more satisfaction and the ROI was quicker and higher. I got curious and that is how I discovered Tulum in Mexico.
After moving to Mexico, I just could not accept the fact that people who wanted to invest in Tulum had to stumble with every step in this complicated system of investing in Mexico. I saw a gap in the market and I got determined to fill it.
When I moved to Tulum, there was no place to go and say: I want to invest money and build a house, can you advise me?  Everyone would say different things; everyone was a “specialist” even if it would not make much sense.
Therefore, my business partner started a restaurant business on the beach to understand the business system and real estate situation in Tulum. After we understood basic rules and common foreigners’ mistakes, we slowly and carefully started a vacation villa project, researching and analysing every single move and learning many valuable lessons. I decided to learn all the rules and regulations regarding the developing in Tulum myself instead of always asking others.
With experiences and learning came the knowledge and we started giving advice to both sides – people who wanted to buy and people who wanted to sell.
Shortly after, my partner and I met with other two very passionate professionals and I decided to make it real - that was when Riviera Maya Property Consultants was born.
I joined the company as Sales Advisor and Executive, my partner joined as Development Manager, and our two other partners are an experienced public relations and marketing professional and an Italian architect/ engineer. We also connected with the best local lawyers, accountants and other carefully chosen professionals. My idea is that if I cannot give the best answer, I will find the professional who does. In this business, incorrect information can have very bad consequences and I do not like when sales people advise wrongly just to have the money.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?

The biggest challenge starting here was to succeed as a foreigner in a very different business market and as a woman in the “men’s world” kind of business. To my advantage, I had this experience before, when I started in fine jewellery and watch retail on Bond Street in London long time ago, when it still was the area of male professionals. Due to high product value in both businesses a deep knowledge and understanding of a typical male thought process is required, as it is often men who are the main buyers – but happy to say we are getting an increasing number of female clients as well.

The real estate business system in the Riviera Maya is very different even from that in Mexico City or other parts of Mexico. In order to learn to do business here, I had to quickly acquire all the knowledge of the continuously changing local rules and regulations, as well as business culture and specific Mexican way of thinking, not only the Spanish language. It is still old patriarchal mentality here, where men do real estate trade, so I have to prove myself every time.

I learned about local real estate, laws governing land purchase by foreigners, rules for architectural design on the beach and so on, as well as met local people in the industry.

Against all odds, with lots of hard work to overcome all the obstacles, we created a strong company that provides high level A-Z assistance for all the investors who are coming here to invest in real estate, land, property or projects.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Since I am working in a real estate and I am luxury retail professional, of course I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I close a million dollar deal.
However, my greatest sense of accomplishment was the result of my biggest challenge in Mexico. We came to a very different culture with very different rules, regulations and mentality and in just one year after having officially launched our company, we were recognized as the new respectable agency by the oldest international and local real estate companies in the Riviera Maya, and received lots of praise from our existing and potential clients. Riviera Maya Property Consultants is a small boutique company, but we stand proud with all the “old sharks” in real estate industry here, and I am the only young woman in this place managing a real estate company. This is the result of our passion, focus, hard work and dedication to achieving high standards.
I think this is an example that with a focus, passion and hard work anybody can achieve their aims.

What are your future plans for the business?

Besides growing as a company, we want to promote and secure the eco-conscious growth in Tulum, so that the town develops, but the nature is preserved and cared for.
Also, we are aiming to help children in our area to get more opportunities in life. There are many young people here becoming parents at 16-17 and lacking on basic education. We are collaborating up with Les Couleurs Charity in New York and some other local charities to start an educational program for local children in the future.

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

I do not think I would do anything differently. I simply followed my natural path unfolding in front of me, and one thing led to another. It took almost two years of careful planning, learning, and selecting other professionals that we would like to work with before we launched Riviera Maya Property Consultants. However, that was the necessary base for a successful company.

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

I think that unspoken rules of society still see women in roles of supporting their husbands, who are achieving their dreams, while women stay loyal to the family and take care of million things at home. Yes, family is very important, but if we do not have big professional dreams also, we will always wonder what we missed out on and some of us might even blame men for being their “servant at home”. First of all, it is not their fault, it is our choice and secondly, we live once, so we have to make sure that we use all the opportunities provided to us to achieve our dreams. The main goal in life is to be happy, so my advice to women everywhere is to be bold and brave, and go after their dreams, whatever they are.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?

Take time and do your homework.

If you are launching a real estate company in another country, you are embarking on a journey with very different rules, regulations and mentality from your own country. You have to know how to walk in their shoes before you introduce yourself - and sometimes it is not as easy as it might seem.

What or who inspires you in business and why?

Coco Chanel opened the doors to many entrepreneur women, while Hilary Devey is also a living proof that anyone who sets her mind to do something can achieve amazing results, even when others might not approve.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
There are some very good quotes that have helped me a lot, and proved to be very true.
The first is “you never know unless you try” - this is the most important thing in life, no matter what you do. 
The second one is: “you can do it if you set your mind to it”. Anything is possible with the right amount of effort.
Last but not least is: “every mountain has a path” – it does not matter how big the obstacles might be, there is always a solution and a way to overcome them.
The living proof is Riviera Maya Property Consultants in Tulum, Mexico, created by a former Londoner, originally from Lithuania. Anything is possible. If I can do it- you can do it, too.


Wednesday 2 September 2015

2Inspire Inspirational Woman: Nadia Takyiwaa Mensah - Founder of Sixth Sense Manifesto

In this inspirational Woman Profile we interview Nadia Takyiwaa Mensah.  Nadia Takyiwaa Mensah is the founder of Sixth Sense Manifesto (a brand management agency) in Ghana and Nigeria and Sai (a wine and champagne cafe).
She has been writing a weekly article for the Business and Financial Times Newspaper in Ghana for some time now and her passion and energy are clearly reflected in this interview. 

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
Teaching, holding my head, cringing, laughing, a lot of planning and strategising

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
Both businesses were a spiritual calling for me to work on them. For each, I was guided by my spirit on what to do, when, how etc. I got started by simply having faith, trusting God and obeying my spirit


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

  • Opening a new business within 5 years of living in Ghana
  • Re-branding into Sixth Sense
  • Opening a branch in Lagos, Nigeria and successfully winning and executing contracts
  • Sixth Sense winning an International Star of Quality Award in June 2015
  • Getting my recruitment process right and being able to retain my employees
  • Keeping the business growing year on year

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Communication between myself and staff and the lack of exposure that my staff have received.

What are your future plans for the business?
For Sai it would be to open up more branches throughout Accra each with a slight twist to the original café that has been opened.
For Sixth Sense Manifesto it would be to continue to build a stronger team and position the agency very well in Ghana and Nigeria, ensuring that at least 1 in every 10 person within our industry knows our name.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Start younger! But I guess my destined time is my destined time, so asides from that nothing!

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
I believe coming from a traditional family culture, it is important to inspire young women so that they know that it is OK to be the best you can be without offending anybody. Also, without necessarily compromising family life.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Know what you are doing, don’t look left, don’t look right, just straight ahead! Focus on what is going on in your vision for your business and build on it. Fall in love with your vision and have fun building it and making it come to life. Your vision will eventually become reality as you allow them to enter your world.

What or who inspires you in business and why?
Innovation and change inspires me because there is so much opportunity in Africa to do things better and bring an experience to people. Our future generation inspires me to depart something for them to take and run with. Secondary to this, my son and family inspire me in business as I have made a lot of personal sacrifices because of business and they have been supportive of this.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Luke 11:9-10So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.