#WCW – Colleen DeCourcy

I have actually had the pleasure to work with W&K before. They are a huge creative advertising company who produce award winning work on a regular basis. I have worked with them during my time at Lurpak and mostly found that they produced really high quality stuff – the first time round. Colleen DeCourcey is the Global Co-Executive Creative Director (& Partner) at W&K. I read … Continue reading #WCW – Colleen DeCourcy

#WCW – Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Amoruso is the founder of NastyGal, one of the biggest online fashion retailers – and named as one of “the fastest growing companies” by Inc. Magazine in 2012. She had a bit of a bad ass youth, spending time hitchhiking near West Coast, dumpster diving and stealing (since she had basically no money, she took stealing ~very seriously~ and stole almost everything from bras to oil pastels.) … Continue reading #WCW – Sophia Amoruso

#WCW – Jessica Mah

Jessica Mah was coding by 8 years old, made her first tech business at 12, left high school at 15 (to go to college) and launched inDinero at 19. She has been featured on both Inc and Forbes’ 30 under 30 lists. inDinero is a company that helps small businesses with their taxes and account. It sounds boring but hey, what business do you run? … Continue reading #WCW – Jessica Mah

#WCW – Sierra Quitiquit

Professional Skier, professional model. 24 year old Sierra Quitiquit is a dream. I don’t want to write too much because she has a movie about her life out right now and I think that puts things better than I could. Here’s an interview with her. Also this slideshow. Finally, her Instagram – to make you feel shit about your own life.   Also, watch her … Continue reading #WCW – Sierra Quitiquit

#WCW -Sophie Trelles Tvede

Sophie and I are the same age. The difference is she has been running her own company for the past 4 years. I have ‘executive’ on my CV and she has CEO.

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This year she was named on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for retail. She currently employs around 100 people and her products are sold in about 60 countries. What were you doing at the age of 22?

Her company is invisibobble, and if you’re a girl you’ve seen them around. They sell in Urban Outfitters, Sephora and you can get a cheap knock off in Primark.

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Her idea came when going on a ‘bad taste’ party at University, and using a phone cord to tie her hair (sounds like she would fit in at Leeds). Pitching the idea to her boyfriend, they decided to make a go of it, and with the help of his brother started putting plans into action.

I am unclear whether she stayed on at University as she built her business, but either way it’s impressive.

The biggest question I always have when I read stories like Sophie’s, is how do they get it off the ground? How do you know who to speak to? It seems you just muddle through (check out her TedTalk at the bottom for details!)…

“To get the idea for Invisibobble was on his way easily enough…The hard part is to transform an idea into a business. This requires finding the right people who can help to produce the product; people who, for example understand materials and the effects, in this case the hair….And where do you find a package that can be produced by the millions without error? What company identity we should have? How we protected technology and trademarks? How do you tackle distributors will have exclusive rights? In the end, success comes only if you solve all of these challenges really well and very carefully. My business partner Felix and I have dedicated every day to Invisibobble since we started. Also weekends and so called holidays” – Sophie Tvede

I have a huge amount of admiration for young entreprenuers like Sophie. It’s brave to go out and try your hand at something like this, and for it to turn into a company as big and promising as Invisibobble is an awesome result. I have no doubt that Invisibobble is going to grow and expand in 2016, and we’ll be seeing much more of Sophie as she expands her business into other beauty areas.

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Watch her TedTalk on starting her business!

Continue reading “#WCW -Sophie Trelles Tvede”

#WCW – Tory Burch

Tory Burch is a name you probably know, but know very little about the woman behind the empire. Burch is a self-made billionaire. Okay okay, she does come from a wealthy family and her Dad did date Grace Kelly, but give a girl a break. She majoring in art history at the University of Pennsylvania, and moved quickly into the fashion sphere in New York … Continue reading #WCW – Tory Burch

#WCW – Andrea Ahrendts

Andrea Ahrendts has been mentioned on my blog before: here, where I discussed her pioneering Burberry’s use of technology during her time there as CEO. She has since moved on from Burberry and is now the SVP for Retail and Stores for Apple. That’s a big job (there are 459 stores in 15 countries), but one I have no doubt she can handle.

She has been ranked 25th in Forbes’s most powerful women list, 9th most powerful woman in the UK, and 29th in Fortune’s most powerful woman in business. #goals. See at the bottom for a huge list of others. fort_20120611e_c1_689278_c111

She is the only female executive at Apple, and was reported to have earned the most out of anyone in 2014 (around $70m if you were wondering).

“With a total compensation estimated at about $82.6 million, Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts was the highest-paid female executive in the U.S. last year,Bloomberg reported last week” – Business Insider

She started her career in New York in the fashion industry: most notably at Donna Karen and Bendel’s.

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She joined Burberry in 2006, and over a number of years as CEO  she not only halted the brand’s decline, but raised the company’s worth from $2bn to around $7bn. She was reportedly the highest paid CEO in the UK, making around $26m.

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She was snapped up by Apple in 2014. Tim Cook said that “the moment I met her, that was it. And then it was all recruiting.” In true modest female fashion, she is said to have downplayed her achievements: “She says she told Cook, “ ‘Don’t believe everything you read. I’m not a techie.’ And he looks at me, and he goes, ‘I think we have enough techies here.’ And I said, ‘But you don’t understand. I’m not even really a great retailer. I hired great retailers.’ And he said, ‘Well, last time I looked we were one of the highest-productivity-per-square-foot stores of any company on the planet. So I think we have a lot of those too.” – Business insider.

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Despite these humble statements, Cook is overjoyed with her work at Apple. “I knew she was going to be off the charts, but she’s even more off the charts than I thought. She came in so fast. There was no [learning] curve.”

Apparently she drinks copious amounts of diet coke. Same babes.

Oh and she’s also been made a Dame. Looking at others in comparison to Ahrendts is like ‘do you even business?’.

Continue reading “#WCW – Andrea Ahrendts”

#WCW – Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba is undoubtedly best known for her acting. However, this has nothing to do with why she is my #wcw this week. The Honest Company was the brainchild of Alba when she was a new mother, looking for non-chemical options for her child.

She founded the company in 2011, having taken 3 years to find her business partners. They were: Sean Kane, Christopher Gavigan and Brian Lee.

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Despite being told to start small, Alba launched 17 products under the Honest brand in the first year. By 2013, sales stood at around $50 million, and by 2014 this grew to $170 million. Not bad for a 3 year old company, in an extremely competitive consumer goods market. The Honest Company has also never used traditional media in advertising (billboards, print adverts, television).

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By the end of 2014, the company had grown to 275 employees and 90 products on offer in large distributors such as Target, Wholefoods, Costco and Nordstrom.

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In August 2015, the company was valued at $1.7 billion.

Alba has come out saying that it took her a long time to convince people that her idea would work. She is my #wcw because she stuck true to her vision for the brand and didn’t compromise. She really grafted to get the business off the ground, and had a lot less help than people would assume. Alba claims she got a lot of condescension and ‘why don’t you go back to Hollywood?’. She’s also candid about the mistakes and teething problems she’s had on the way.

“You should never be the smartest person in the room – worry if you are” – Jessica Alba, on her best advice for starting a business

She works full time in the office (check out the video below if you want to see it) and is extremely hands on with the business. She really connected with the insight and her consumers and that’s what’s made it a winning idea.

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The company touts its Honestly Free Guarantee: it does not use “health-compromising chemicals or compounds”

Like any company, it is not without its controversy. The Honest Company has been accused of ‘scare-mongering’ parents by blasting its competitors for use of ‘unsafe’ chemicals. In 2015, there was also issues surrounding its sunscreen products after consumers complained of getting sunburnt whilst using it.

Click on the link below for a great keynote interview with Jessica.

http://www.forbes.com/video/4292986931001/

Continue reading “#WCW – Jessica Alba”

#WCW – Badwood aka Natalie Wood.

Natalie Wood is a BOSS – and she knows it. She’s a self-declared wild child, make up artist, tattoo artist (sharpie and stick and poke) and independent woman. I started following her on Instagram a couple of years ago because she’s a great artist. She was always posting paintings, drawings, screen prints and sharpie tats and I am always looking for creative inspiration. Her artwork … Continue reading #WCW – Badwood aka Natalie Wood.