Interview with our Founder by She Works

Our Founder, Rhianna is a twenty-four-year-old Small Business Owner and Trade Show Content Producer from London. Rhianna was asked by Sophie Swift, Founder of She Works if she'd like to be interviewed as part of their 'Leading Ladies' series. The interview is below and you can check out She Works here!

How did you get into your field? What inspired you?

‘The inspiration for the business came in 2018. I was going away to Antigua for Christmas, and this was my first Christmas away from the UK. I was so excited and wanted to get some new bikinis so I could show off! However I was soon knocked off of my high horse when I saw how few swimwear options there were at the time. Everything was really dated and loud and when I saw something I thought was alright it was rarely in stock in my size. I thought to myself "Where can I find a plain but stylish bikini that won't break the bank?" and from then I slowly began adding all of my ideas together onto a note on my phone. I actually have a note dedicated to all of my random business ideas, but this was the one I thought had the most potential, and the one I was most passionate about. Last year I started a new role working as a Content Producer - creating conference agendas for retail trade shows - so over the last year and a half, I've gathered a much bigger understanding of how the industry works. This was really handy and also gave me the confidence to go for it.’

What did you study at university and did this help you get into your field?

‘I studied French, Spanish and Politics at Uni. Whilst this has nothing at all really to do with running a business, my language skills have come in handy when communicating with people from around the world. I am currently working with a Spanish Influencer and have even been practicing a little Mandarin!’

Do you recommend any particular studies, courses or degrees for your field?

‘I wouldn't say you need a degree to start a business, but if you know it is something you'd like to do, then it might be worth looking into Business related courses. There are also quite a few unis that offer joint or combined honours if you wanted to add another subject, for example, Business and Languages.’

What does an average day look like in your role?

‘If I'm being honest my days are a little higgledy-piggledy! As the business has only recently launched and it's only me currently, everything is quite erratic but I am getting used to it. Typically though, I will start the day by having a look at the website and Instagram page to make sure things are as they should be and also to respond to any queries. I am constantly working with suppliers to replenish stock, and also on new designs, so I'll also spend a part of the day chatting with them. Social Media is a huge part of running an e-commerce site, so I try and spend some time putting together posts and connecting with followers. There are some great apps out there that have saved my life because I am not the most Insta-savvy! I spend some time on admin tasks like finances, and at the end of the day I pack up any orders for that day ready to post the next morning!’

What is the best part of your role?

‘I love the freedom of deciding which products are sold, the names they are called, the way the brand is presented... It's great as there are certain things I value and am able to express them. I'd also say being able to be creative as well as analytical is something that really suits me, and where I've lacked in expertise I've been able to call in some very talented friends. That has been another really great thing; working with friends on different projects. I have to thank my photographer friend for her creative eye as well as all my amazingly brave friends who modelled too!’

What is the worst part of your role?

‘Although there is a sense of fulfilment that comes with owning your own business, it can be quite stressful running things alone. I have to remind myself to take one day at a time and be patient with progress. I'm also quite a spontaneous buyer which isn't the best when it comes to keeping track of finances and budgeting! Luckily my boyfriend is an accountant so I'm hoping he'll be able to keep me on track...’

How important is work/life balance to you and how much spare time do you have?

‘I've never really struggled to have a work/life balance because I love to relax too much! Having said that I have definitely had times where I've been so fixated on a task that I'm up all night. I've realised that wearing yourself out only makes you more stressed, and it's best to really separate your work and chill spaces. For most of us, our jobs are not life or death, and so we can afford to be a little kinder to ourselves when something hasn't gone as expected. Things are a little weird at the moment as I am on furlough from my Content Producer role so have a lot more spare time than I usually would but I plan to still make sure I have time for myself once I am back at work full time.’

Do you have any hobbies?

‘Well, I usually take up a new hobby every month and it lasts about 3 days, the most recent being macrame. However, one hobby that has stuck is netball. I play in a local recreational league so it isn't too competitive and is a really fun end to a Monday! Who would have thought Mondays were something to look forward to?!’

Do you have any advice for people looking also looking to start a business in the same field?

‘The internet is such an amazing tool for learning about niche things and connecting with people! I'd suggest watching webinars on retail skills, there are so many free ones online and you can find them for pretty much any skill you need help with. I'd also suggest having a look at other companies in the field you want to get into. See how long they have been running, the types of posts they put out on social media and their reach, because this will help you understand your target market. The other key thing I would recommend is to be authentic. People love brands that sell more than just a product, so make sure there is a story around what you sell and a person people can connect to.’

Have you ever experienced any uncertainties about your career? What did you do to overcome them?

‘I am still uncertain! I've never really been sure what I wanted to do but there were aspects of working for myself that I knew I valued and I always wanted to own a business. I think that it's okay not to be sure, even if you are on somewhat of a career path because the skills you learn in one profession can often be applied to another. If you are not sure what you want to do, but want to start working, I'd say to go for something which involves an activity you know you like doing even if there are some aspects you aren't sure about.’

Who is your biggest female inspiration and why?

‘Patricia Bright. She is just so successful and seems like a really well-rounded person! Growing up, she was one of the few Black British females I knew about on Youtube and it has been amazing seeing how much she has grown. She has managed to pave her own way through the beauty industry and is someone I would consider a thought-leader in the space. Beyond that, she runs multiple businesses, has a few investment properties, and she has a whole channel where she shares advice on absolutely everything!’