Tuesday the 26th of March saw an inspiring panel of varied and accomplished entrepreneurs whose businesses have been built to cater to BAME communities that had previously been overlooked.
The panel shared their thoughts on a wide array of challenges that face any small business, from tips on identifying their audience and managing pressure to understanding what motivates an individual. There was consensus among the group that new businesses evolve in all sorts of ways.
Today WM Roots hosted a panel event celebrating three entrepreneurs who have established businesses to address specific gaps in the market where diversity was lacking.
Louise Twycross-Lewis, founder of WM Roots
Ruby Aslam, Co-Founder of Till We Cover, the modest fashion brand, highlighted the need for agility as she had discovered a much wider audience responded to her products than the women of Faith she initially targeted
“…Thinking on your feet is vital in lots of ways though. My first influencer work got tumbleweed as response, but I found ‘Physical presence is a good endorsement for your brand, it builds trust.’
Florence Adepoju, Founder of MDM Flow make-up brand, spoke about her experiences studying a degree in Cosmetic Science, which while giving her technical knowledge exposed her to the beauty industry and the glaring need for make up to suit all skin tones. This insight inspired her to start her own business to redress this imbalance.
‘I wanted something that represented me and a brand I could resonate with’
Sherry Collins, Founding Editor at The Pitch magazine, emphasised the need for authenticity in building a brand in today’s wold. By being true to themselves, marketing and product innovation ideas are a natural extension of their identity; though finding time to think about that is one of the greatest challenges all the panellists face.
‘I am a big part of the brand so I pursue campaigns with a broad social purpose. If people believe in what I’m doing, they’ll believe in the product more”
They panel agreed that as BAME businesses their aspirations go beyond profit: they want to be part of a change towards a better world.
“Acting as a role model is important to my family and community is important to me” said Till We Cover’s Ms Aslam
The group offered advice on identifying and building an audience, overcoming the toughest challenges and tackling the fear of not doing everything. They also acknowledged that success means different things to different people and the important thing is to understand what it is for you.
Questions from the audience, made up of Wavemaker UK employees, wrapped up the session and the panellists agreed that when their product moved on from their initial niche it was vital to continue talking to their original customers and partners. The key takeaway of the event was that businesses and their leaders have a role in promoting acceptance and social cohesion
Louise Twycross-Lewis, founder of WM Roots said, “They did not stand back and accept the status quo – they went out of their way to ‘find their niche’ and I’m incredibly excited to have heard Ruby, Florence and Sherry share their experiences and tips for success through honest and lively discussion.”