Entrepreneurial Lessons: Jo Garside, Coach and Founder of Time to Glow

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The story may seem familiar: you are unhappy with your job and feeling stuck in life but doesn’t know what to do about it. Jo Garside felt exactly like this until she decided to take action and make a change, leaving her corporate job behind to become a certified coach and founder of Time to Glow, where she helps individuals and organisations.

Jo recently hosted an edition of the Business Breakfast focused on confidence and how to tame our inner critic, a subject we can all relate to. I caught up with her to learn more about Time to Glow, the challenges of becoming your own boss and some advice for those thinking about taking the leap of faith:

Project M: What motivated you to launch the brand?
Jo Garside: I had been in the corporate world for almost 10 years and I was constantly “switched on”, overwhelmed and frazzled. The turning point was when we started to receive the RSVPs to our wedding in 2017 (we had lots of friends and family travelling from Australia and we thought many wouldn’t be able to make it). I was completely humbled that people would travel all that way for us, and it was at that moment that I knew something needed to change in my life. I was a slave to emails and my job was very reactive, to the point where it was seeping into my personal life. So, I finished up at my current job, took the summer off to get married and became a full-time coach. I haven’t looked back since!

It took me a while to come up with the brand Time to Glow but I absolutely love it! When we have clarity and are living a life in line with our values, we glow with confidence. It’s that inner glow that you can’t really put your finger on, but when you meet someone who has it, it’s infectious! We also put off taking risks and going for things that we really want – often because we are scared of failure and judgment. I always say to my clients, “stop putting it off, NOW is your time!”

Project M: What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Jo Garside: The biggest challenge has been owning my story and sharing that with people. I always thought my story wasn’t interesting – why would anyone want to hear about ME?! I’ve since realised that stories are incredibly powerful and everyone has a story to tell, no matter how big or small. Getting more visible and putting myself out there (on social media, speaking at events and running workshops) has connected me to so many amazing people. That’s the beauty of being authentic and vulnerable, it unites people and helps us feel less alone.

The other challenge has been getting comfortable with marketing (I guess that goes hand-in-hand with being visible!). I’m a bit of a technophobe, so learning about Facebook ads, Instagram algorithms and how to launch a podcast has been a steep learning curve!

Project M: What advice would you share with those thinking about creating a business?
Jo Garside: I know a lot of people have said this already, but honestly just DO IT! If you are passionate about something and you truly believe in its purpose then you’ll make it happen. It’s hard work and entrepreneurialism can give the impression that we’re sat on a beach sipping a cocktail whilst answering emails, but that’s not the case! Yes, having my own business gives me more flexibility and freedom, but it means that there’s always something to do – so make sure you do something that you love!

Follow Jo at:

www.timetoglow.co.uk
Instagram: @timetoglowcoaching/
Facebook: timetoglowcoaching/
Linkedin: Jo Garside

Sustainability for Meaningful Brands

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Branding, Cases & Strategies

What makes a sustainable brand now? The term has acquired such a broad context – it can refer to the use of naturally sourced ingredients, biodegradable fabrics, recycled materials, transparent supply chain, second-hand/vintage pieces…  It can be a few or all of those things together. On the other hand, we know that the best sustainable practice is to consume as less as possible, which is a total paradox business wise.

So, is there a way to mind your environmental impact and not just follow the trend for marketing sake? Yes, as long as you are honest with the brand values and live by the standards you are communicating. Using organic fabrics or ingredients? Great, make sure that your packaging is also made from natural or recyclable materials. Promoting a transparent supply chain? Pay competitive wages to employees and don’t try to get services like styling, copywriting or web design for free just because you are a startup or a small company.

Most importantly: don’t try to fool consumers. The damage can be really serious.  If you can’t guarantee what you are promising, don’t do it. It’s better to state your intentions to be environmental friendly and grow your brand towards it in the long run than make a void statement and be called off. Your credibility will be lost and customers will disappear.

Remember: meaningful brands are honest brands. They stick to their values and live by them. If sustainability is among yours, make sure to employ it from the first scratch of a product or service. Always.

Entrepreneurial Lessons: Cynthia Morrow, Founder and CEO of Covett

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Who doesn’t love a beautiful piece of jewellery? But buying something that is pricey and will only be worn maybe a few times a year, plus the worries of keeping it safe can be discouraging. So, why not co-own it instead? That’s how Cynthia Morrow had the idea to launch Covett, a smart ownership model for luxury jewellery. We talked to her to find out more about the business model, how to target early adopters and the challenges of scaling a company that is changing the market mindset:

Project M: What motivated you to launch the brand?
Cynthia Morrow: I was interested in launching a business in the sharing economy that would have low capital requirements.  Years ago a friend of mine and I were going to share our diamond jewellery and that idea has stayed with me.  When I originally started I was going to launch a company that delivered the co-ownership of luxury goods but I realised I needed to focus, so I decided to start with my true passion which is jewellery.

Project M: What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Cynthia Morrow: Covettism is a mindset shift; people have to understand that they can actually have more by owning less. So it’s going to take a while for people to get the concept.  Which leads to the biggest challenge, which is finding early adopters because the concept is new and really only about 10% of the population are early adopters.  We are focusing on building awareness and spreading the word right now.  We have a handful of early adopters, but we must really grow those numbers in the coming months.

The second challenge is finding the right people to connect and partner with, especially on the jewellery side. We are constantly looking for people with unique offerings of very high quality.

Project M: What advice would you share with those thinking about creating a business?
Cynthia Morrow: Sounds cliché, but just do it.  We are following the Lean Startup Model, which allows you to focus on doing what you need to do without spending a lot of effort and money on things that aren’t important for the stage you are in.  I highly recommend it.

Learn more about it  and how to register to become part of the Covett Community: https://www.cove.tt/

Why We Buy Brands?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Archetypes, Branding

Have you noticed that although there’s no shortage of options to purchase a similar product, we are always inclined to prioritize certain brands? It’s because at the end of the day, we don’t just buy a product, we buy a brand. We buy what it represents and how it will make us feel. It’s an aspirational process about our perceptions, desires and needs. So why we try to rationalise something that’s purely emotional?

Coca-Cola it’s the greatest example of how emotions reign supreme in the purchase behaviour. It’s notorious that Coke has lost to Pepsi in many blind taste tests. Nevertheless, Coca-Cola represents happiness, joy, nostalgia, something very familiar that we keep close to our hearts – like the image of Father Christmas they crafted.

When we talk about the brand building process, keep in mind that it’s a balance between the rational – the sales channels, marketing strategy, positioning statement, financial projection and all the actions that turn an idea into a proper business – and the emotional – the purpose, the essence, the why: what will make you unique in the eyes of consumers and employees, what motivates you as a brand?

The emotional part is the key to make your brand stand out, have a purpose and win the consumer’s heart. Archetypes trigger the limbic brain (the area responsible for instinctive reactions) so when you have a brand working on archetypal territory the chances that it touches customers in a much deeper level, with a meaningful, consistent message is significantly higher.

For more inspiration click here

Image: Daniel Murphy

Entrepreneurial Lessons: Bhavna Malkani, Co-Founder of MeeBox UK

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Subscription beauty boxes are nothing new but one entirely dedicated to nails and with specific themes is ground-breaking. That’s the idea that Bhavna Malkani, along with best friends LJ and Nathalie had over a post on Facebook that changed their lives forever.

In this interview, she talks about the Meebox USP (from homage to pop star Rihanna to their favourite cocktail, themes are creative, random and always a hit), the challenges to scale and run a business where partners are separated by three different time zones, and the advice they took from Nike.  

Project M: What motivated you to launch the brand?
Bhavna Malkani: It’s such a funny story on how MeeBox was launched. It all started with a comment my best friend Nathalie, made on Facebook about buying yet more nail polish. LJ and I commented on her post straight away, and immediately said the same thing which was Nathalie had too many red and coral shades and perhaps she should venture into other colours. We joked and said that we could actually start a business from Nathalie’s bathroom by starting a nail subscription box from her and boom! A magical light bulb moment happened and MeeBox was born. We didn’t quite sell Nathalie’s nail polish collection but it certainly was our inspiration! We took the conversation off Facebook, started a Whats App group called ‘Who Run the World,’ and since then, we eat, sleep and breathe this amazing adventure! We literally live in each other’s pockets with our group chats as we’re located in 3 different time zones –California, Florida and London

We are 3 best friends who are nail polish fanatics, just like our customers. Our combined professional experience, passion and interests is what drove us to launch MeeBox. Within just a few months of launching, we’re so happy that we have created a fun brand, constantly planning new ways to bring creativity, surprise, fun and value for money to our customers. We interact with followers morning, noon and night, offering personalised interaction, nail advice, tutorials to the MeeBox community, that is continuing to grow on a monthly basis. MeeBox is our dream and passion.

It’s no happy accident that we ended up running a creative nail business.  Back in 2012, Nathalie and LJ lived in the UK, they were flatmates and I would hang out with them every weekend (picture a scene from Friends – it was kinda like Monica and Rachel’s apartment!) At the time, LJ was training to be a nail technician, so Nathalie and I were more than happy to be her guinea pigs. We loved shopping for nail polish, trying different colours and brands. It definitely built a strong foundation for MeeBox.

Project M: What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Bhavna Malkani: Although we have many positive experiences with MeeBox, we have of course faced challenges. One of the USP’s of MeeBox is we always make sure we find the exact shade or product that fits the theme perfectly otherwise we might end up postponing the theme, which is exactly what we did with our Intergalactic theme. We were keen to release this theme in the winter months due to the colours and nail art accessories being quite wintery. We also had a specific magnetic polish in mind however it wasn’t quite released in the market yet. Can you believe we came up with the idea for this theme in 2015 but didn’t release it until December 2018!? It wasn’t until an indie polish called Wikkid released a beautiful magnetic polish called “Taboo” that we were able to then release this box. Had this not been released, it may have been shelved for another year! HA.

Project M: What advice would you share with those thinking about creating a business?
Bhavna Malkani: Often people ask us for advice on business as we work with many small and independent businesses. Our advice is stolen from Nike – just do it. Put yourself out there. What’s the worst that can happen? So many people have such amazing ideas but often too scared or worried. You’re not alone!  It will never be the ‘perfect time’ and the time is now. There’s an amazing community out there to connect with, platforms and resources to support you in your goals such as workshops, networking events and business breakfasts in workspaces such as Hunter Collective. We have connected with amazing people on our journey.

Learn more about Meebox here: https://meebox.co.uk/

Entrepreneurial Lessons: Mikaela Jackson, Coach and Founder of She Almighty

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Some people know what they want to be as grownups very early while others struggle to find a career path and don’t settle for anything less than a fulfilling work. The latter is the case of Mikaela Jackson personal performance coach, full-time ‘freedompreneur’, female champion and the founder of She Almighty.

In this inspiring interview she talks how this lack of fulfilment made her rethink her life and take a complete new route – not without a few challenges along the way.

Project M: What motivated you to launch the brand?
Mikaela Jackson: The short answer is not knowing what I wanted to do when I grew up! She Almighty was born as a result of my own personal journey and my struggle throughout my twenties to figure out what I wanted to do, that would give me the sense of purpose and fulfilment I yearned for and would enable me to have a positive impact for others and in the world. Coaching became the vehicle through which I discovered that, chose to build a business through and I now enable other women to do the same. It’s such a powerful, positive and enlightening process and everyone no matter what age, stage or profession can benefit from it. She Almighty is now about women self-empowering to be the best version of themselves and to create careers, businesses and lives they love with positive impact. She Almighty is that for me and it’s also a freedom and lifestyle business enabling me to live my dream!

Project M: What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Mikaela Jackson: I feel incredibly lucky that I haven’t faced many to date – touch wood. But what I would say is that first year of setting up a business is an emotional rollercoaster! You are wearing so many different hats, trying to figure stuff out as you go along whilst you’re doing lots of things for the first time, not to mention how to find your clients and bring in a steady stream of income! Plus you’re fielding those feelings of self-doubt, fear of failure and so on. But I found once you get through that you build an incredible resilience and working in personal development I know that mindset is key. For me year 2 was about consolidating what I knew I could already do and year 3 is about taking on new and exciting projects which I don’t have all the answers for but I know is all part of the ride!

Project M: What advice would you share with those thinking about creating a business?
Mikaela Jackson: Do it!! The idea of a creating a business or the end result can feel huge and overwhelming and that can stop us in our tracks. But firstly, if we allow ourselves to create and fully associate with the vision and why we want to create the business (e.g. for freedom and lifestyle) then the motivation should be high. Secondly, break that vision down into key milestones – things that need to happen in order to make it a reality (e.g. website, quit your job etc.) so that you can form a clear roadmap. And then lastly, chunk it all down into a plan of actions that you can take today, next week, in a month, 3 months, 6 months’ time and so on and keep revising. I call this the dream, design, do approach! A tip for the ‘do’ part: make sure those actions are prioritised, highly intentional and impactful in light of the bigger picture, rather than just because they are easy to tick off your to-do list! Also remember to enjoy the process and the journey, there’s no end result in business so if you think that way you’ll miss out on all the fun! And always celebrate your milestones 🙂

Find more here:

www.shealmighty.com

Instagram: @_shealmighty

Twitter: @_shealmighty

Facebook: @shealmighty

Rewind, Review and Refocus

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Career

Yes, 2018 is wrapping up and you probably have been thinking about what do you want to accomplish for your brand in 2019. But let’s be realistic: you don’t need to do it all at once and definitely don’t need to set unreachable goals. Let’s be reasonable here.

Start by rewinding a little bit and listing what went well and is worth keep doing. It can be anything: from your social media strategy to the way the team is communicating or that new supplier that never fails a deadline. Then, review what needs improvement and what can be done about it. Again, in a realistic way. Should customer service deserve more attention? Or the team needs to grow? Or maybe it’s time for a new strategy for client acquisition? Now that you have a clear view, focus on the execution.

Instead of throwing everything together in an endless to-do list, set short-time goals (e.g. every month or every quarter) and divide your tasks by urgency. Have a down to earth approach and take small steps. It’s much easier to start, change or build something this way than feeling overwhelmed by the size of a task and procrastinate or just give up entirely.

Remember how good it feels when you see things you worked hard for being materialised and make it as the ultimate incentive for 2019 and, well, ever!

Entrepreneurial Lessons: Adriana Chede, Jewellery Designer

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Follow your instincts! It’s the main advice from jewellery designer Adriana Chede, founder of the namesake brand, created when she was only 18. In this interview she talks about how her relationship with jewellery is intertwined with her family history, the challenges of starting over in London and why listening to your intuition makes all the difference.

Project M: What motivated you to launch the brand?
Adriana Chede: Everything happened so naturally, I was only 18 when I first launched the brand. It started as a hobby when I was 12 and was always driven by passion. My longest memory of how it got to me was hearing the stories about how my dad used to gift my mom a piece of jewellery for the birth of each child – we are 5! And how jewellery was always something special, full of meanings inside my Lebanese part of the family.

Project M: What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Adriana Chede: I think that changing country – I’m originally from Brazil – and building the brand from the scratch in a place where nobody knows you can be quite challenging. The first 6 months here in London were really about hard work and resilience, but finally things started to kick off. Also, being the designer, producer, seller, marketing, buyer and administrator all in one can be stressful as well. But at some point you just get used to it and learn how to prioritize the most urgent tasks.

Project M: What advice would you share with those thinking about creating a business?
Adriana Chede: Follow your instincts! We have to make several decisions, sometimes, a lot in the same day and it’s really hard to analyse if it’s the best decision to make. But if we learn to listen to our guts and we are organized enough to know which decision can lead us to the direction we want the business to go, then at least we have some pressure-off and can hope for the best!

www.adrianachede.com

Entrepreneurial Lessons: Staša Randall, Founder of STAŠA

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Many fashion students dream of having their own label one day but having the opportunity to setting it up right after fashion school is not very common. That’s exactly what happened to the Croatian designer Staša Randall (pronounced Stasha).Her graduate collection was among the top three at Dreft Fashion Week, in 2014, and one year later she was listed as one of the top 30 Young Balkan Designers. Based in London since 2015, she sells at multi-brand stores and e-tailers around the globe and has just been back from Bipa Fashion Week in Zagreb, where she was invited to show the Spring/Summer 2019 collection. In this interview, she talks about the challenge of doing everything alone, the most valuable advice received and the plans to scale up the business.   

Project M: What motivated you to launch the brand?
Staša Randall: the label was launched in June 2013, back then I was still a student and was always dreaming to have my own brand. During that time, I was working on the first collection called “Triangle” and got great feedback and enquires about it. I decide to launch my own brand so people could buy and wear it to show their unique style.

Project M: What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Staša Randall: Mainly running the business alone. It would be easier to have a co-worker, but I like a challenge and the control of my business. Because I am creative/visual person, it was very hard to understand and organize the logistics and marketing. But I have an amazing friend that helps me with fashion marketing. Plus, I have other very talented friends that are always here to help with different things I need to build up the brand.

Project M: What advice would you share with those thinking about creating a business?
Staša Randall: The most memorable advice I’ve been given was from my mum’s close friend, she taught me a lot about sewing and all the good and bad things that come with owning a fashion brand. She was once a fashion designer for a very famous Croatian clothing factory and she knows so much, so her advice helped me a lot: firstly, that I need to fall to get up again, that I need to learn from my own mistakes, that sometimes I can’t make everything happen by myself and if I work hard and aim high everything is possible.

My own advice to young designers starting their brands would be give 100% on everything because the same will come back to you. Also, be patient, it takes time to build a strong brand!

www.stasadesign.com

Brand Storytelling and Archetypes

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Branding

Storytelling is the simple act of telling a story. Something that we do since the dawn of times, when tribes gathered around a fireplace to hear and pass them on. Neuroscience explains it as a way for the brain to recognize familiar patterns and create narrative structures that become easy to understand and process. A beginning (when everything seems apparently fine) a middle (something happens and actions are taken) and an end (the problem is fixed and lessons are learned).

So, what storytelling has to do with branding? Well, first of all, it’s an invitation for your consumer to gather around the “fireplace” with your brand. In other words, to engage. Secondly, if you want to surround it with meaning and motivation, you’ll need to communicate the why, the how and the what in a way that is compelling and entertaining. What’s better than telling a story?

But to give it a proper structure and address the right emotions you will need to follow a pattern. Enters the application of archetypes. Why use them? Because they make your narrative more consistent. Keep in mind that we have been hearing the same stories over and over again! Just look at Hollywood: how many times did we watch a movie about the Hero’s journey? Or the Cinderella “rags to riches” transformation?

To be more specific, if for example you have a Hero brand, the narrative will go around how to overcome challenges and difficult situations, how to be brave and persist. If it is a Lover brand, the key is to address the longing for intimacy and connection. Maybe, it’s the Jester and the message evolves around living in the moment and having fun. On the other hand, the Sage is all about knowledge and the search for truth, so you’ll need to create stories that show your expertise.

The secret is not letting a story turn into a cliché, something predictable, boring that doesn’t add. But if you know what you stand for and understand the cultural moment, you can build up to create relevant, well-structured and strong narratives that consumers will recognize and engage to because they want to be part and live this story with the brand.

Remember: your storytelling strategy must be authentic, relatable, consistent and clear. Don’t try to be all things to all people, find your tribe, find your voice and stick to it!

More resources:

Finding your Brand Motivation

How to Use Archetypes – Part 1

How to Use Archetypes – Part 2