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Bold Visions, Brilliant Journeys: Sharing the Stories of Female Founders

Sharing female founders’ stories is vital to help other founders in their journey as well as, inspiring other women to start their own businesses.

We recently held a panel with three amazing founders called ‘Female Founder Stories,’ where we heard women share their experiences of building businesses, brand development, international trade, and more.

(if you’re not already a member, join Female Founders Rise for free here).

The Art of Success

Rose Ovensehi, product founder Flora & Curl talked about rebranding and global expansion. Flora & Curl is stocked in over 80 countries which requires a combination of strategic planning, partnerships, and a deep understanding of the global market.

Key insights:

  • Understand the regulatory landscape of each country: product regulations, safety standards, and labelling requirements.
  • Invest time and resources in researching where and how to establish strong distribution channels that streamline logistics, increase accessibility for market penetration, and leverage the local expertise of partners.
  • Use global e-commerce platforms as a scalable way to connect with consumers worldwide alongside a multilingual website to enhance customer experience for international buyers – cultural adaptation.
  • Global strategic marketing and brand positioning – Leveraging geographical data for strategic global expansion through optimised partnerships, streamlined logistics, customer-centric growth, and localised advertising, enhancing market presence and effectiveness.
  • Continuous Optimisation and Adaptability – Secure improved fulfillment rates through strategic negotiations – there’s always a cost-benefit for innovative ideas – ultimately refining and strengthening your brand.

Navigating Entrepreneurship, Recession, and Customer Satisfaction

Joanne Saady, founder of Ecotecture Ecological Design and a green building pioneer for 25 years, has faced three recessions and expanded her business during a time when sustainability went unnoticed.
Jo’s key advice for founders :

  • Find what you love doing, as passion can sustain you through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship
  • Her advice during challenging economic periods was simple yet powerful: keep pushing forward.
  • To navigate a recession, prioritise existing customers and view each satisfied customer as a source of multiple recommendations.
  • Borrowing, using an overdraft facility, transforms cash flow and boosts business against competitors. Jo stressed that calculated risks, like strategic investments, distinguish a business.

How to succeed after failure: Funding options and work-life balance.

Charlie Rosier, tech founder of Babbu – an online learning platform for parents and carers for children under 5.

Charlie has an extensive network of mentors and advisors who have supported her, she shared four key tips for aspiring founders seeking out valuable connections:

  • Identify what skills and expertise you need for your business; bring credibility (in the form of outside advisors) to the business to attract investment.
  • Limited experience in your niche is not an issue! Actively seek out individuals who would contribute valuable insights and mentorship.
  • Establish a work structure that is flexible with time and actively contributes to business growth.
  • Don’t do it alone – Charlie highlighted the significance of reaching out to others when facing challenges and getting great advice from her network. One of the reasons we launched Female Founders Rise is to enable founders to connect and support each other.

Work-life balance

Addressing work-life balance, some suggestions include:

  • Identify and get rid of any negativity
  • Make sure to celebrate small victories.
  • The importance of getting testimonials and taking ‘screenshots’ of positive feedback.
  • Colour-code your schedule to prioritise being present in the moment, not just at work!
  • Learn to say no; find a balance between work responsibilities and dedicating time to hobbies.

Q & A with founders

Overseas fulfilment and manufacturing partners
Rose highlights the critical aspects of overseas fulfilment, emphasising comparison, efficient negotiation, and personal commitment with warehouse partners. In finding the right manufacturing partner, Rose shares her journey, starting with Google searches, rejection, and stressing the importance of relationship-building and reliability testing.

Advisor Relationships and Equity Concerns
Jo advised that you make potential advisors clear on the expectations you have and emphasised the value of face-to-face availability with your investors and advisors. Jo also noted the importance of contracts and making sure you include exit clauses.

Investors and ‘The Right’ Investor Dilemma
Charlie touched on the challenge of identifying the right investor/ co-founder, saying that while money is crucial, it’s not the only factor to consider. She recommended thoroughly researching potential investors, and shared a great resource > a list of 50 questions for co-founders from startup accelerator company Y Combinator.

This was part of a series of online sessions where we partnered with Lloyds Bank Business and Commercial to provide insight and support to female founders.