Updated: Oct 12
Hello my lovelies, I hope you are all doing incredibly well and taking life one-day-at-a-time.
Well what a week I have had. I could never have planned for it in a million years and, I am so glad that it wasn't an event that I had to schedule into my calendar, owing to the speed at which these things happen.
I received a call from a researcher at Sky News on Wednesday evening. I was just about to walk out of the office at the end of a long, to start serving dinner. And, as any one of you with a husband will know. Men need to be fed at set times - it just keeps life nice and simple doesn't it just!
So I answer the phone and we have a lovely conversation about having me on their planned programme to support the Black Pound Day Movement on Saturday 3rd October 2020.
Now, as anyone who knows me will tell you. My goal, is to support every small business owner who, just like me, has to work twice as hard just to get their voice heard. Whilst I am immensely hopeful of the changes within the industry since Juneteenth 2020, I am even more excited by the additional opportunities provided to highlight and promote Black Owned Bridal Shops both within my own communities and especially beyond. My heart will always be with every small business owner - particularly those in the wedding industry who have suffered tremendously this year.
None-the-less, I did the interview. I was a nervous wreck for the 24 hours leading up to the arrival of the crew and the set up of my studio so that sufficient social distancing was maintained. Having never done an interview for a national broadcasting station before, I decided not to try to rehearse lines. That would be just too much pressure. so, I decided to speak from the heart about the things that I know and believe in my heart. In essence, to keep it simple and use the interview to inspire others to follow their dreams and goals in spite of any set back.
If I can do this. You can too.
Q.1 How hard has it been for you as a Black Woman to succeed?
As a woman of color, my journey to HERE has not been an easy one. In fact, for anyone who starts a business irrespective of color, it is a journey that is fraught with so many challenges. I have had my share of disappointments and times when I think I have failed and have wasted my life pursuing a dream. Had it not been for the loyalty and support from my clients and the joy of being allowed to share in their most precious dream, I would have quit many moons ago.
Q.2 How important is Black Pound Day for Black Business Owners?
Black pound day is an opportunity for black businesses to raise awareness and to be seen across the community. One of the biggest hurdles many businesses face is the lack of finance for sustained promotional campaigns. Over and above any amount of marketing is the positioning of the business so that it can be found. Having this new (socially driven and motivated platform) is certainly a great way forward for business of every size to be found.
My work has been ignored for years to the point where I truly felt that perhaps I was not as good as I would like to think. But the change in attitudes that took place this year, has renewed my confidence in myself and my business.
"It's a platform for me to showcase my work, something that I can stand on quite proudly and not be seen as an underdog," said London-based wedding dress designer Cynthia Grafton-Holt.
"The entry point into our industry is the easy part. But being taken seriously as a strong business that's going places, that's the problem. It puts our businesses right out there. It's about recognition, opportunity and having our voices heard."
Q.3 What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Follow your heart. Don't give up when it gets tough. I may have had to wait 38 years for my opportunities, but that doesn't mean that you will too.
As a business woman, I personally welcome the change that consumers now have multiple choices and can be more intentional about their purchases, with revenue going straight to the heart of the community. However, this is not just about money. It is also about awareness. The fact that Black brides can now search specifically for a black wedding dress designer in London, California, Sweden or elsewhere, is a game changer. No longer do they have to squeeze their bodies into clothing that is not designed for black women, or make do with 'flesh colored' illusion textiles designed for white skin tones. With the discovery of a black owned wedding business that is understanding to their needs, they too can have the dress of their dreams without compromise.
The bottom line is, only a small amount of my intended blurb made it into the final cut. But that doesn't matter right now. What does matter, is the fact that I used my opportunity to show up and be counted.
Marketing Strategist and Professional Writing Consultant: @thecopywordshop by Belinda Alvarado