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Featured: Becoming an entrepreneur: 2 Entrepreneurs, 1 Aim

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It has become a priority for me to connect with diverse trailblazers in the creative industry making a difference and also kindly sharing their captivating stories that can encourage myself and others to keep pursuing our dreams and aspirations. I interview two entrepreneurs from different backgrounds however with the same common interest and that is to succeed. It made sense to share the story of Shannon Fitzsimmons founder of UK Curly Girl and Nicholas Amfo founder of lifestyle brand Nicholas Kingsley. Both hailed as trailblazers in their respective fields, Shannon the author of ‘Get my curls back’ and Nicholas recently featured in Forbes Magazine. The savvy entrepreneurs have each created a significant brand and has been recognized in the UK and internationally. Let’s take a look at how the pair started and what has motivated them to keep going.

Shannon, Founder of UK Curly Girl

 

  1. Could you tell me a bit about your brand and why you decided to start ‘UK Curly girl’?

My brand is all about embracing and learning to care for your natural hair via video, pictures, books and a small business. I decided to start my ‘UK Curly Girl’ blog back in 2014 as I had just begun my own natural hair journey and found it difficult to find girls in the UK sharing advice and products. My entrepreneur spark went off and I then created my own blog, Instagram page and YouTube channel sharing my experiences and advice.

  1. What is your career background?

I studied Media production BTEC at the BRIT School and then went on to gain a degree in Film and TV at the University of Hertfordshire. After graduating I found it extremely hard to find a paid full-time role within the TV production industry but managed to gain internships at MTV and other large companies. Eventually, I needed a paid role so ended up working night shifts at Tesco whilst growing my blog and business ‘O So Curly’ which was very small at the time, selling hair accessories catered for curls.

In 2016 I went full time as an office co-ordinator whilst running and making a small income as a blogger and business owner.  During my year of working full time, I was sending out orders from my business and writing my book ‘Get My Curls Back!’ released in 2017. After the book release, I went to work part-time and now run my hair accessories business ‘O So Curly’ and UK Curly Girl whilst putting on brunch events for curly girls to come together ‘Get My Curls Back Brunch!’.

  1. Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I have always wanted financial freedom as it is something I had never seen in my family. I believe I have always had the entrepreneur spark even going back to Primary school when I used to print out song lyrics for my friends at school and charge them around 20p for it!

 

  1. You recently celebrated your 5-year anniversary of ‘UK Curly girl’. Congratulations! What have you found challenging during your journey and what has motivated you to keep going?

Thank you! There have been many challenges along the way! When you don’t have a manager, it can sometimes be hard to keep yourself motivated or even gauge how well you are doing. I think my supporters keep me going, whenever I feel like I am working so hard and not getting closer to my goal I receive a message from a supporter of mine telling me how much my book or my posts mean to them and how much I have inspired their natural hair journey. They keep me motivated, along with the desire to serve others and be a go-to in the industry.

  1. You are also the author of ‘Get my curls back’ can you tell us a bit about your book?

Yes! So, my book was released in 2017 and is available as a paperback and kindle version on Amazon. The book is really about my natural hair journey and what I recommend for those who are starting out on their journey. I take it step by step and cover all aspects from products, routine, hairstyles and confidence.

  1. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years, I see my business ‘O So Curly’ available in retail stores and my UK Curly Girl brand being the go-to place for those who need help with their hair. I want to be able to host events all over the world and work whilst having the freedom to travel and help others.

  1. How would you define success?

Success is when you are free to live the life you want without any restrictions. I see success as being a positive influence to others and gaining financial freedom and happiness along the way.

  1. What advice would you give to other women who strive to be entrepreneurs?

I would say go for it! We only have one life on this earth, do not let fear or competition hold you back.

You can find Shannon on Instagram: @Ukcurly girl

Nicholas, Founder of Nicholas Kingsley

 

  1. Could you tell me a bit about your brand and why you decided to start ‘Nicholas Kingsley’?

Nicholas Kingsley is a lifestyle luxury brand selling clothing and aromatherapy luxury room diffusers and an accessories range is also in the process of being added to the brand.

The inspiration behind the name Nicholas Kingsley stems from my father Kingsley which means Kingship, this is our intention through the brand by using the name to tell a story through each product. In regards to the diffusers our purpose is to promote the importance of therapeutic benefits.

  1. What is your career background?

My career background is very unorthodox, I would describe myself as an entrepreneurial lifestyle specialist. I develop products and services taken from life experiences and I work on various projects involving lifestyle as a whole. Furthermore, I am very much involved in the educational industry, including mentoring and highlighting emotional intelligence as well as personal development building for students.

  1. Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Yes, definitely I have always had the urge to become an entrepreneur, which I genuinely believe that I adopted this from my father, due to his open-mindedness. Also, growth and development inspired me to be a more modern and refined version of my father’s entrepreneurial nature. My personal motivation comes from an urge of taking things that are not present and bringing it into existence through innovation, whilst making a positive impact in the process.

  1. What have you found challenging during your journey and what has motivated you to keep going?

One of the biggest challenges is having a vision that people cannot see and trying to explain this in the best possible way, yet still being restricted by people’s lack of belief and foresight in you. However, I have been able to overcome this by remembering that God gave me my purpose before people gave me their opinions, whatever I’m destined to do and be will be accomplished despite any opinions along the way.

  1. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

The brand in the next five years- I plan to see the brands such as Nicholas Kingsley & ODF Clothing (my other brand) expand globally, whilst collaborating with like-minded individuals in the process, and brands carrying the same mission statement and ethos as us. Moreover, our aim is to continue to grow and be organic and most importantly building in the community, by providing opportunities to grow the economy with the help of people, to make a serious impact. Most importantly it is essential to attain a global and durable mindset, by passing on information to the next generation of creatives.

  1. How would you define success?

Success to me is being free in yourself, getting rid of fear. Achievements such as trophies, awards etc. are great, and also seen as successful, but success can be defined as being fearless.

  1. What advice would you give to other individuals who strive to be entrepreneurs?

Everyone’s story is very unique, if you stumble make it part of your dance, failure is success if you learn from it, live and learn in the moment, someone can write your story, but you have to illustrate it, do not be scared to work with and learn from others and make a positive impact in every situation. It’s different for everyone but your purpose will define it for you.

  1. Who are you inspired by?

I have been inspired by a lot of people, my father first Kingsley Amfo-Gyamera and and my Uncle Kwame Banwell and my mentors, Alison Johnson and Tunki Akintokun as well as Sean Diddy Combs, Richard Branson. I am also very inspired by arts, culture and lifestyle and designers such as Ozwald Boateng, Tom Ford and Virgil Abloh and generally people who take their excellence to another level, those who do not allow others to define it for them, it can stem from anyone.

Written by: Lawrencia Amfo-Asiedu

 

https://crownoflaurelsdot.wordpress.com/

Lamfoasiedu@gmail.com

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