Celebrating women of colour making waves in the British Beauty Industry is the essence of what my new networking organsation, Keziah Connections is all about!
One fabulous female entrepreneur who will be attending the Nurture and Network event next week is Lukwesa Burak.
Lukwesa is the epitome of the multi-tasking, high performing, results orientated Black woman and she is certainly an inspiration to me!
If you do not know her name…you may well recognise her face. She is the anchor for Sky Word News…
… as well as being the founder of the online beauty retail store Gidore – the home of quality products for kinky, curly, mutli-textured hair!
I had the opportunity to find out more about Lukwesa and the Gidore business.
BPL: Why did you start Gidore?
LB: Gidore came about following a personal struggle: I was frustrated by products which were marketed as being suitable for my curly hair but which failed to live up to those claims. I also struggled to find a good, single source of advice on how to care for my hair.
Then my daughter came along and she a whole other hair type going on, and I had to learn how look after her hair – and I still am!
Out of these problems came the concept of an online retail store which only supplied products which had been effectively tried and tested by people with the diverse range of curly hair. The store would be combined with a simple yet comprehensive source of information on how to care for curly hair along with an online community sharing stories and advice. I wanted to ensure that the products were given the platform they deserved and the customers community sharing stories and advice. I wanted to ensure that the products were given the platform they deserved and the customers the info they required. So each of the product pages has background on what the product does, how best to use it, the ingredients, the hair type it’s suitable for, and where available a video from the manufacturer.
Education is a huge part of what Gidore is all about. We run workshops, seminars and training courses.
BPL: What challenges have you had to overcome to move your business forward?
LB: Oh my goodness, what a difficult question: So many issues and aspects you would normally take for granted. Creating the website itself was a HUGE challenge. I’m lucky in that the web team I’m working with, understood immediately that I didn’t want a run of the mill ‘Catalogue’ style site. It had to have that extra something! That took time and of course money. Learning about the world of social media is something I’m still trying to get my head around. Maybe I’m too old – lol!
Understanding your own brand and developing it is an enormous challenge and at times it’s easy to stray from your initial .
Focusing is a discipline we’ve had to learn and master and isn’t easy to do trust me, especially when you have so many people out there in the market determined to undercut you and everything else that goes on in the business world. Dealing with large or foreign companies has also been ‘interesting’ shall we say. There is a certain business etiquette we’ve had to learn and continue to do so.
BPL: What are the 3 things you would like every woman who desires to start a business to know?
LB: 1. Believe in yourself but be prepared to sacrifice – time will be very short for home, friends, children and luxuries such as a night out, a take-away or that impulse purchase in your favourite shoe shop all go out of the window when developing your own business.
2. Research the brand, person, company or industry you plan to deal with. Network…Know the faces and understand their way of doing business, but there is no need to do business as a Man, you’re more than well equipped just as you are!
3. Be prepared to walk away or follow another route – Be flexible!
Gidore is home to leading brands – many of which have created and owned by women of colour – such as Mixed Chicks, Beautiful Textures (which I blogged about here!) and Shea Moisutre.
WIN…WIN…WIN!! Gidore is giving you a chance to win a Shea Moisture Curl and Shine Kit! All you have to do is like the Gidore Facbook Fan page, and comment on this link!
If you would like to meet Lukwesa and other enterprising women of colour in the British Beauty Industry, book you ticket for the exciting Nurture and Network event today!
See you there!