(1) What made you want to start a streetwear brand of your own? From a young age, I always had this strong sense of independence. I wasn’t a troublesome kid, it’s just that I wasn’t particularly serious about anything unless it involved me being in charge and earning my own money. As time went on, after starting many side hustles like most entrepreneurs do, I figured I wanted to build an empire. An empire of what I wasn’t even sure of myself. I just liked the idea of creating something people could connect with. Building a streetwear brand, Critics Clothing, is how it happened. (2) How did you get the right team in place to help achieve your goals? For any CEO, hiring a new employee for a new venture is a huge step, going from covering all job descriptions to finally being able to offload the responsibilities to someone else. Having the right team around you is a fundamental key in building a strong infrastructure from the very beginning. There were lots of trial and errors, but y 90 per cent of my team have stuck with me since the very beginning. When it comes to hiring a team, all I can say is that it is a two-way street and it has to be mutually beneficial. (3) What inspires you as an entrepreneur, and how does that come across with your company? As an entrepreneur, what inspires me the most, or should I say more so, is other people. I work alongside an incredible amount of talented, smart and creative people that I am forever grateful for. I have had the pleasure of meeting individuals from all over the globe doing amazing things, and just listening to them inspires me. Especially if they have had to overcome some challenging moments in their career trajectory. Not only that, but I launched BEYOUROWN back in 2016, which is a digital media and news company dedicated to inspiring young women in business. By overseeing projects and campaigns, I have the pleasure of interviewing and connecting with a variety of female entrepreneurs that are super talented, smart, savvy and outstandingly creative in every way – personally that is something admirable and inspirational that I believe is transparent in everything I do. (4) What have the significant growth milestones been in the last few years? No one said this is an easy, smooth road that is going to transition into an overnight success. It just doesn’t work like that. I have had to overcome a lot of personal struggles whilst building a company. I started my streetwear brand at 22, I recently turned 27. In little over four years I have a private equity firm partnership and had to figure out the business model along the way in a very unorthodox notion. I am not the most patient person, but I have tenacity, resilience and perseverance. In the past two years, it hasn’t all gone to plan but I have learnt to over come the barriers faced, so I would say personal growth is where it is at. (5) What is the most challenging part about being a designer? Art and fashion have that ability to communicate and translate a message to your audience, it’s not necessarily only about the financial gain. That’s where it can get a bit mixed up. I started my streetwear brand as a passion which I was fortunate to make money from. However, there have been times that I have put out items in a collection that didn’t do particularly well in terms of profit, but it stood for what my brand message was/is as a designer. (6) How do you ensure you stay one step ahead of the industry? I guess social media can play a massive part in that. In terms of fashion, I hit the shopping malls and independent boutiques to see what was going on in the fashion stratosphere. (7) Let’s talk BEYOUROWN, how did it come about? Initially it was a play on words back in 2014, an ideology that came off the back of Critics Clothing. Then I launched it as an actual media company in 2016, designed for women in business doing great things. (8) What’s the biggest message you want the platform to send? BEYOUROWN has been on a mission to lead women with a vision. It helps empower and support young women that are passionate about changing lives. Worldwide leading ladies use the BEYOUROWN platform to tell their stories, offer advice and share their knowledge, covering topics such as business, music and media, science, tech and art, and sports. (9) Your company has grown quite a bit. What would you attribute it to? I’d like to think the growth and evolution of BEYOUROWN has been down to trying to continuously deliver a fresh perspective from a wide community of the most affluential, influential and entrepreneurial game-changing women of today. As you know, fantastic women all over the globe are starting ventures and it has never been a better time! BEYOUROWN offers a perfect platform for all women to showcase what they do and become part of a growing community of amazingly talented women. I knew how hard it was to connect the dots and have a support network around me when I first started my streetwear brand, which is why I personally want to make it easily accessible and feasible to all women. (10) What have you learned from the growth experience? What I have learnt, is to literally never give up. I have been incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful community of women that I have built within the BEYOUROWN brand, but there are always going to be trials and tribulations I have to face along the way. I am still figuring out exactly what works and what doesn’t. (11) Juggling both the brand and #BEYOUROWN, how do you stay motivated and focused? There isn’t time really not to be. I am constantly trying to build and grow. That being said, sometimes I really cannot force myself to do specific tasks, so I’ll leave it until later in the day when I am fully in the zone. (12) What kind of mindset do you think people need to create and grow a company? Resilience, perseverance and tenacity. I can never say it enough. If you want something bad enough, you will make it work.
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