entrepreneurs

THE FEMALE FOCUS: EMMA HAMMETT

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Meet the Founder of First Aid For Life

We met Emma through our work with the British Library and we’ve seen her business grow and grow through sheer passion and determination for giving people the confidence and tools to save lives. Here’s her story!

Empowering people with the skills and confidence to administer first aid, saves lives and prevents life altering injuries

Did you have a female role model or someone you admired as a kid? 

My older sister, her daughter and my mother, certainly. All three women epitomise everything I strive for - to work hard, have integrity, look after other people and to have a legacy. My sister was twenty years older than me, had been a very successful nurse and sadly she is no longer with us. She was involved in a car accident which left her brain damaged and my niece (and my sister’s wonderful husband) were her carers for twenty years. My mother had seven of us and worked extremely hard, always put the family first, therefore she wasn’t able to do what she wanted and really achieve her own ambitions sadly until after my father died, when I was 9 and the only one still at home. We had great fun together and our family remains very close. She had always been a grafter, making sure we had everything we needed. She taught me that you get out what you put in. I hope that I am passing this mantra onto my children. 

 

How do you think your early years have influenced what you do today?

I have always worked hard and as an entrepreneur, resilience is so important. It’s come from being a headmaster’s daughter and having a huge, supportive family. As kids we always mucked in, helping my dad out with things like sending out letters to parents. There’s over 150 people in our close family and we all keep in touch and lean on each other. There’s a strong ethos towards education and health in our family’s careers and interests and doing things that help other people. Having that security of a family voice and values influence me hugely.

 

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You trained as a nurse before setting up First Aid For Life. Tell us what made you start the business.

As a nurse, particularly in A&E, you see time and time again situations where first aid has been positive or sometimes it hasn’t happened, because someone has misunderstood something. There was a pivotal moment when I was looking after a little boy and the mother spilled hot coffee over him. She ran outside with the screaming child to get help, when what she should have done is run cool water over the burns - just simple first aid. He suffered severe burns and secondary infections, which could have easily been prevented. Empowering people with the skills and confidence to administer first aid, saves lives and prevents life altering injuries. It was frustrating knowing how many people could have avoided A&E altogether had they known how to help and give appropriate first aid in the emergency.  

Fabrice Muamba came perilously close to death on the football pitch. His life was saved with a defibrillator and treatment that is readily available if people have the skills and confidence to step forward. First aid saves lives and prevents minor injuries becoming major ones. 

We do loads of work in schools to prevent knife crime and we know that the overall impact is positive when first aid is taught in schools. In Scandinavia, it is compulsory learning in schools and their survival rates following cardiac arrest are 3 times better than ours. Take road accidents; the UK is one of the only countries in Europe where first aid isn’t a mandatory part of the driving test. Elsewhere, if you’re hit by a car or knocked off a bike someone will know what to do and they’ll carry a kit in their car. That’s when you start seeing a real impact. We’re still chipping at the edges.

 

You are positive impact personified! What have been some of the most positive results come from the work you do?

We receive loads of lovely messages thanking us for what we do and for the impact our training has; from people saving people, to people saving animals. We are creating peace of mind giving people confidence that they would know how to help themselves or others in a medical emergency. If a child starts choking, they’ll know whether it’s serious and they can act calmly and know the majority of the time they will be able to help. It takes away the panic, that it’s not going to be a disaster. We have so much free information to give people - for schools, new mums, nurses, carers, doctors and beyond. For those who don’t have the money, we can help them with information, which is all on the site. We have three books too (which are Amazon Bestsellers)- Burns, Falls and Emergency Calls; Slips, Trips and Fractured Hips and First Aid for Dogs. We train professionals as well as volunteers of charities, such as the MayTree Trust for suicidal crisis, as well as helping adults and children to learn these skills and working with people with learning disabilities to ensure everyone can gain access to these skills.

 

How do you keep learning more whilst on the job?

Learning is so important in different ways. I am well aware of sounding sense in the saying, “Use it, or you’ll lose it” so I am constantly trying to stimulate my mind. Learning from other businesses is just amazing and I love my peer mentoring, networking and mastermind groups, where we all support each other on our businesses. The British Library Business & IP Centre is also incredibly helpful - it puts on loads of events with a host of business owners to guide us on what works and what hasn’t worked. I really loved working as a mentor with the British Library and getting to know another business in detail, digging deep to help them find new ways forward and maximise their business potential. I am an active member of the Guild of Nurses and the Guild of Health Writers. I do a show with Talk Radio and Eamonn Holmes, which keeps me on my toes. Tomorrow, I am on a mental health first aid course as there’s so much confusion between physical and mental health. We need to understand as a society how we address mental health and the connection with physical. As employers we can do a lot to care for staff wellbeing.

It’s also nice to learn things that aren’t to do with work. Last week I took a day off to visit a National Trust property and my daughter and I have started Spanish lessons too. The beauty of running your own business is that you can adjust your own hours to do the things that matter.

 

One of many free resources from First Aid for Life

One of many free resources from First Aid for Life

What have been the essential factors that have enabled you to get to where you are today that you think you'd struggle without? 

My supportive family, for sure. My husband, children and extended family appear all over my books and blogs and are happy to appear in various states of distress. I stress that no one’s been injured in the making of these images (!). My admin team are utterly fab and their attention to detail is superb, it is vital to recognise that members of the team are often better at elements of my business than me. It is critical to be able to delegate, without this, the business can’t grow. Start delegating and stop doing things that you are not best at, or don’t fuel your passion, as otherwise you will just trade your time for money. The only way to grow exponentially is to get other people on board.

I think as an entrepreneur you need to understand what you are good at and what aren’t your strengths. You also need a huge dollop of resilience, self-motivation and dogged determination. When I set up there were a lot of doubters, which wasn’t helpful. The first person that didn’t choose to book with me, I took personally, which is ridiculous in hind-sight as no-one has a 100% conversion rate. I soon learnt that it’s about getting to a point where you’re working with people you want to work with, who understand your personal and business values and become part of your tribe. 

 

Where do you get your inspiration?

All sorts. A lot of the time it’s other businesses. My family too; my son was responsible for me building the first online first aid course for Zombie Apocalypse! My customers often suggest topics and courses and we are always listening and reacting to their feedback. Overall, I have a real desire to leave a positive legacy and create a positive impact. You only get one chance at this life and I would like to leave it knowing that I have enabled more people to access life saving first aid skills and that the world is consequently a slightly safer place. 

 

What do you think is missing from businesses in building true diversity? 

It’s something businesses should be thinking about but when they’re starting up and ensuring that their language and accessibility enables diversity. However, the reality is that people in small businesses generally recruit based on need and suitability for the position and diversity becomes a secondary factor.

 

What are you working on this year?

I want to do a lot more for schools, we have produced a wealth of invaluable free resources and I am also working on a campaign around preventing non-accidental injury – such as child and elder abuse. We have set up a social cause called http://www.staysafe.support with the support of RoSPA, Age UK, Dame Esther Rantzen, Hugh Pym (the BBC Health Correspondent) and Carolyn Cripps OBE, Fit for Safety; signposting older people and their carers, to resources to help them remain fit and well. There are many issues for older people, from their susceptibility to falls, to fraud and loneliness. I am also ensuring that we’re creating loads more quality content that resonates with the audience and press. 

 

Who's a woman to watch or someone you admire in 2019?

What a difficult question: Emma Watson holds herself with integrity and is a strong ambassador and great role model. Meghan Markle and Michelle Obama are similarly trying to leave a positive legacy and stand up for their beliefs. I also admire the people of my son and daughter’s generation who, as young people, often get a knocking but are still able to be focused, with a sense of integrity and strong work ethic. It’s a tough world out there and I think it could be even harder for the next generation.

  

Name the quote you live by

‘Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today’. There’s often too much overthinking going on and people dilly dally striving for perfection – once it is good, get your message out there. You can perfect it afterwards.



Catch up with Emma’s next move for saving lives on Twitter and Instagram!

BALANCE FOR BETTER: A MOMENT TO TRACK OUR PROGRESS

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On International Women’s Day 2019

It’s come around again and we know it’s not just about the day itself but how it provides a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we need to go in the coming year. The theme this year is focused on #BalanceForBetter and we’re taking this day as a chance to track our progress of positive action towards gender balance.

Last year, we launched a joint manifesto in partnership with our positive impact partners Mac&Moore with the aim to support our clients, partners and network to develop structures and cultures, which inculcate genuine equality and diversity. It focuses on ‘thinking is good, talking is great, doing is best’, centred on the three pillars of:

Doing things properly

Doing things differently

Providing a platform for those on their way up

We wanted something that would ensure we hold ourselves to account and that we were actually doing some of the right things. The time for talking has been long overdue, women have (and continue to be) silenced over so many incredibly important topics, but as three people with a lot of in-built privilege, we are in a powerful position to act on those words, and begin to create small but mighty changes which will hopefully start to create some tangible difference across the equality landscape.

We’ve reviewed the three pillar and tracked what we’ve managed to achieve or what areas we still need to work on and then look forward into 2019 to map out how we’ll connect our actions to this year’s theme of ‘Balance’. Perhaps some of these initiatives will give you inspiration of what you could implement to #BalanceForBetter.


GET OUTSIDE OUR ECHO CHAMBER:

“Thank you for an inspiring start to the morning - you girls are great, fostering positive culture for women in work and life”
— Hannah Arnett, Comms Freelancer
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We joined Mac&Moore’s event series in London where a group of likeminded women from the world of marketing and PR gathered around a breakfast table to discuss ‘Levelling Up’ over tea and toast. We discussed how to tackle Learning and Development when you work for yourself, the differences between in-house and remote services, but a large part of the conversation revolved around the importance of getting together face-to-face to provide a sounding board and friendly ear. We’re venturing out of the London Bubble and off to the next one in Leeds next week and more to come!

“I didn’t realise how much I needed the face-to-face time until I was there”
— Indie Foolheea, Unfold Change

The breakfast really highlighted how powerful and supportive women can be with one another when they’re put in a room together and all barriers are dropped. It was a stimulating session of honest conversation of the highs and the lows of work. And what also came through is the power of the human connection - face to face meet-ups make for better relationships that you can value not just in a business sense but personally.

SUPPORTING FEMALE FOUNDERS & LEADERS:

We’re still seeing female founded or co-founded businesses raise less investment than their male counterparts and the percentage of minorities and women on the boards of the largest public companies is only rising slowly. The system is flawed. We’re working next to a host of female founders and leaders in positions of power in sectors such as Health, Tech and the Creative Industries to support them in setting the right tone as a woman for creating change for themselves and others.

It goes without saying that we go over and above to support our fellow supporters and partners like Jess and Nat at Mac&Moore, Jess Sims and Laura West at The Doers and a host of incredible freelancers we work with on behalf of our clients and initiatives, to share notes on how to do better at work and support eachother on the way up.

REPRESENTING & PROMOTING FEMALE TALENT:

Changing the landscape for women means promoting female talent. We build bespoke teams with best-in-class freelance PRs and marketers to plug into businesses and organisations. Together with a strong network of freelancers and our skills we deliver stellar results for our clients. We have begun a new journey with Athena Stevens, national spokesperson at the Women’s Equality Party to provide advice and guidance on greater gender equality in the media.

Our joint content series, The Female Focus, is our beloved platform to promote women at all stages of their careers to show us their worth and talent and prove that there’s more than one way to get there. Success looks like so many different things!

MENTORSHIP:

We’re really passionate about mentoring and supporting those on their way up. Last year from September to December we took part in mentoring for You Make It, a programme to support underprivileged BAME women to succeed in the world of work. The work that the YMI team do is incredible, and as is often the way with this kind of set-up they are always in need of additional funding or mentors, so if you’ve considered sharing some of your time to help others in the past, check them out!

We also uphold reverse mentoring relationships with two incredible women. Clo mentors and receives advice from Lynne Parker, founder of Funny Women, the UK's leading female comedy community helping women to perform, write and do business with humour, as well as with Judy Claughton, freelance PR star and founder of BalanceTime, the creators of mindfulness meditation workshops, retreat days, one-to-one coaching and tips. We gain so much from mapping out challenges and routes to success and vice versa! It’s such a useful level of support that cannot be underestimated.

We’re looking towards 2019 as the year to embed even more ‘Balance’ in everything we do and support our male clients and partners to take meaningful steps forward too. With the support and energy of friends and colleagues and our excellent Mac&Moore partnership, we will try and balance the scales to deliver greater representation of women into the mix. We look forward to sharing our progress with you this year and if you have any comments or suggestions on how we can do better, shout! We want to hear from you!





POSITIVE IMPACT IN ACTION: SAM CONNIFF ALLENDE

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Sam Conniff Allende, Serial Entrepreneur & Pirate

Multi-award-winning serial entrepreneur, with 10 start-ups to his name, including industry leading Creative Youth Network; Livity, is at it again. Restless for social change, Sam is now the best selling author of Be More Pirate. We find out what it’s all about.

Did you have any role models or someone you admired as a kid?

I once had a lucky experience. My friend’s mum worked in Parliament and I bunked off school so she could take me to see Nelson Mandela speak. His gravitas was not lost on me. I’d seen so many political figures on TV, like Thatcher, but never in the flesh. Mandela pieced together words in a charged room of people hanging on every one of those words. It was then compounded as he left the stage and walked in my direction and I couldn’t have felt smaller. He stopped in front of me and asked why I wasn’t in school. My mutter of reply was that being here today was more important. He chuckled and said, “Hopefully you’ll learn the right lessons, then.” It was an instructive moment. When I was playing characters as a kid, I thought maybe I want to be Nelson Mandela one day.

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We all know you from your heady days of building the incredible Livity agency. An agency and brand with purpose and that seems to give a sh*t about young people. What drove you to set it up in the first place?

Multiple reasons. A deep one I discovered later in life, that my dad had followed a very similar path to me. He died when I was 5 and my family made sure I was sheltered from his death so I didn’t find out much about him. It turns out that he set up a version of Livity in professional services (rather than marketing), which focused on community engagement. I believe my deep subconscious proves why I did it.

And then I have always needed to know what people’s values are. Fairness drives me. I want to know what your values are, what you sit up and fight for. It’s actually quite rare to get people who know what their 3 values are. I grew up in South London living with my mum, grandma and my sister. We were also a surrogate middle class family for disadvantaged people, for years we gave them beds and food. I was very conscIous of the opportunities I had compared to my peers.   

What’s the campaign you remain most proud of at Livity?

I can’t name one as there have been so many. What’s very clear is that Livity is better run now. Alex Goat, who took over from me, is amazing. It’s difficult for me to take sometimes. It makes you reevaluate that you’re not as good as you think you are. What Livity is doing with young people is incredible. Take Livity’s product, Digify, a talent spotting and hot-housing digital skills incubator and supported as part of Sadiq Khan's Digital Talent Programme. When I was around it used to be a diversity programme centred around digital skills. It now flips on an old problem and solution to be a fully grown business. I am very proud of the new look.

What started your obsession with pirates?

Well, tell me one person who hasn’t been touched by pirates in some way. They’re in culture everywhere – from the hardened biker with skull and crossbones to 5 year olds who grew up reading Peter Pan. They are a proxy for rebels and I didn’t know their history beyond Treasure Island and the rather alluring Jack Sparrow.

My favourite work with Livity was always working with young people - they inspire me and I knew that they’d help me in my preparation for transitioning out of the business. (Sam was 24 when he started Livity and nearly 40 when he left). I didn’t want to be that old guy desperately trying to hang out with young people. Taking that age old fact that as an entrepreneur you must do what most scares you, I decided I needed to write a book. I hadn’t gone to university and it was time to write the wrong - excuse the pun. Purpose had to come first though, otherwise the book would end up being like a TED X Talk in Balham. It began as an entrepreneur guide book. I went to hundreds of entrepreneur workshops to test it out and I got a lot of feedback on my overuse of metaphors and that basically it wasn’t very good! My interest in pirates continued to grow with the more I researched them. Their story is not one we know - they were true creators of social revolution and rebellion. The mainstream story wasn’t promoted at the time as they were seen as a threat. I fell in love with pirates. Finally I had found something people don’t know. They had to be exposed.

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You’re calling for a rebellion in the form of ‘professional rule-breaking’. What can progressive businesses that want to protect young people’s futures do to foster this mindset?

Be honest about what change is made in an organisation and question whether you listen to your talent - which you probably don’t. Do you really believe what they say you are? Are you close enough to the culture that you can hear the future of your business being talked about by staff in the pub? Do you know their side hustles, their walks of life? Young talent has more than one thing on the go at any one time and you must assume that they’re hustling when they’re not at your workplace. Businesses need to choose whether they want to be an incubator to serve young people’s futures. Most businesses are of the past and they’re not going to get anywhere without emotional experience. They’re missing a big opportunity with the very people with the tools to change the world and work alongside those who have already been around the block. Naivety meets wisdom...there’s chemistry in that.

You talk about the fact that no one is coming to save us. This is both scary and realistic. But not every young person has it in their armour to be a pirate and re-write the rules. What are the key strengths of pirates to be successful in this fractured society?

Change follows a pattern and if you identify a problem and don’t raise it or complain about it, nothing happens. This seems to be a habit rather than a rule. Rules have always been made in the past when circumstances were different. The biggest mistake to make is to accept things the way they need to be. The weird paradox is that 99 per cent of leaders would like to hear from young people in order to create positive impact. Young people need to stand up to change.

You liken pirates to Suffragettes in their similarities of workers’ rights and ambitions for social revolution. Do you think that women today are pirate enough?

I am inspired by women I see today and I support the debate. I grew up in a strong feminist household in which only one would call themselves a feminist. The Slumflower fills me with excitement and I am rooting for her to create a children’s book for my daughter.  Emma Gannon is another who has been very open with her journey. The thing is; the topic of gender equality is getting divisive – diversity and feminism can create a vacuum. We need a unified sense of action. Strong leadership is as important as strong messages. And to draw on the quote, “well behaved women rarely make history”, we definitely need more female pirates.

You’ve talked about the changes advertisers need to make to stop selling ‘fake’ happiness in a world of adversity. What can they be doing differently?

Doing something else. They need to work with a business model that champions ‘less is more’. Coca Cola being pleased with themselves that they’re using less water in their products when water shortage threatens life is disgusting. And they do not own the word ‘Happiness’. We’re still in the Malboro era of selling us stuff wantonly for money. The saying, ‘Advertising needs to decide if it wants to be a signature on humanity’s suicide note’, springs to mind. Business models are broken and non–circular business risks being a war crime.

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What have been the essential factors that have enabled you to be an entrepreneur that you'd think you'd struggle without?

Optimism. I think I have a buoyancy of optimism. If everyone could switch on optimism all would be fine. With me, even if it slumps low I see it rise gradually again to the surface. I think also the support I get is invaluable. We think about resilience retrospectively but we need to consider it in real time. When we see loved ones break down we look back surprised that everyone is surprised. I keep an active resilience chart with 4 quadrants - Resilience, Life, Personal Development and Leadership. Under each quadrant are key aspects of my life I need to keep in check and I refer to it regularly. It’s now habit to check my levels of resilience in real time and if they’re off balance, it’s time to address them.

Who is the female pirate of 2018 and the future?

Again I’ve been so impressed by Chidera - The Slumflower. She came down to Livity and did a talk - she is a special woman, articulate and channels her anger masterfully. The way she speaks vociferously about complex issues such as trans-identity is incredible.

Name the quote you live by

‘You don’t know what don’t know’. I spent half of my professional career believing I knew everything. I later got over my ego and realised that my knowledge is really small when I put my ambitions into context. As humans we have no comprehension of what we don’t know. And that’s okay.

 

Check out what Sam is up to on his quest to build the #bemorepirate movement by following @samconniff on Instagram and Twitter.

THINKING IS GOOD. TALKING IS GREAT. DOING IS BEST.

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A Manifesto powered by CLO PR and Mac&Moore

CLO PR and Mac&Moore have teamed up to turn words into actions and to alter the landscape for the next generation of women in work. We have created a manifesto and an action plan based on three pillars of doing things properly, doing things differently and creating a platform for people on their way up.

If every journey begins with a single step, this manifesto is ours. We’ve thought about the route, planned the journey, talked about how we’ll get there, so there’s nothing left for us to do except for getting started. We want to create long-lasting, impactful and infrastructural change across both traditional workplace structures and the new but rapidly developing freelance economy.

A united front

Why bother teaming up at all? We’re both established businesses working in the worlds of marketing and PR, why not just get on with it ourselves? CLO PR creates positive impact through targeted and award-winning PR, allowing businesses to be kick-started and reach their target audiences in a long-lasting, memorable way. Mac&Moore currently provide creative and strategic marketing to businesses of all sizes who want to create strong foundations and truly stand out from their competitors. We feel that through the complementary skill sets of the two businesses, alongside a matching mind-set, our efforts will be far more powerful united. We’re hoping it won’t stop there, with several other tactical partnerships in the pipeline.

We must start somewhere

We’ve chosen to create an action plan in distinct, specific areas where we feel like we can make the biggest difference. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something, and that’s where we want to start. By recognising the individual areas in which we can create the biggest ripples of change, we’re striving for those ripples to reach out and connect with others to create waves.

Creating positive action

The core function of both Mac&Moore and CLO PR is to work closely alongside businesses who are looking to build something great. We are never afraid to challenge the status quo, confront the thought process behind certain ‘norms’ and tackle the potential issues blocking brands from achieving explosive growth and success. It, therefore, made absolute sense for the focus of our actions to be in this space. We’re working closely with some incredible businesses looking to create supportive, successful and inclusive cultures that allow all people to thrive and contribute. To do that, we’ve had to recognise and identify the problem areas and work together to resolve them. This can be difficult and uncomfortable at times, but no real change started without a little discomfort. By confronting issues head on and engaging people, rather than isolating them, we can create sustainable impact.

We need to ensure these businesses are built on solid foundations, and here to last, so that this better way of working can benefit future generations, not just our own. As three individuals we are also incredibly experienced in our separate but connected fields, and that’s why we're stepping in as a trusted voice with the right tools to share our knowledge. We aim to build a bridge to allow others to succeed in this present and precarious climate.

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Our manifesto is built on the following three pillars:

DOING THINGS PROPERLY 

- There is so much choice out there now that the working world is changing and evolving. Our extensive experience can help build trust in clients and partners.

- The value of partnerships. We curate strong teams with the right skills to do the job properly.

- We’re always learning. The traditional training/career paths offer learning and development but where do you go to advance your knowledge when you work for yourself? We can help both each other and acting as a trusted source of information for juniors stepping into the field. We’ve been inspired by so many others creating specific, positive change in their own fields already such as The Other Box, 72 and Sunny and many more.

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY

- Always challenging our own bias and echo chambers by listening and opening ourselves up to the experiences of others

- Stepping out of the London bubble, we recognise that successful businesses and people thrive outside it. We want to support those who are looking to take their business to the next level

- Engaging and including men in the conversation, not isolating them. We recognise the reality of the current state of play and by working together to educate, inspire and empower, we can make the best progress towards real, tangible and sustainable change

A PLATFORM FOR PEOPLE ON THEIR WAY UP

- Providing workshops, resources, mentorship and events to those working in the freelance or small business community

- Offering the social stop gap that is currently missing when you work for yourself (watch this space for a very exciting festive event coming soon where we’ll be partnering with the glorious Jess Sims at The Doers to make some serious magic!)

- Championing and hero'ing people who are doing incredible things in their field but who might be on the tipping point of achieving amazing success and need a bit of help to get them there.

We are really excited to get cracking, please get in touch and let us know if you want to be involved or have any thoughts … there’ll be plenty of opportunities to connect and collaborate along the way.

In the meantime, make sure you’re following both @weareclopr and @macandmoore on all the socials to make sure you don’t miss a minute… and while you’re there you should 100% follow @thedoersUK as well!

Love and all the good vibes,

Claudia, Nat & Jess 

POSITIVE IMPACT IN ACTION: MIKE STEVENS

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MIKE STEVENS, CO-FOUNDER OF PEPPERSMITH

We caught up with Mike, who met his co-founder Dan at innocent, before setting up challenger confectionary company Peppersmith. He tells us why they saw an opportunity to bring positive impact to the category with healthy, sustainable products. There's also a job ad within!

Peppersmith has stayed relevant because we make consistently good products and are true to our values. We try and be human in everything we do.
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You guys started out at innocent before setting up Peppersmith. Did Innocent teach you some valuable lessons?

For sure. Our time at innocent definitely gave us an unfair advantage. We were involved for a long time in a company which figured out its own rules as it went along and was true to a core set of values. Being immersed in such a dynamic and ultimately successful business gave us the knowledge, experience and confidence that we could do it all again in another part of store.

What drove you to set up Peppersmith?

Working at innocent Dan and I noticed a profound change in just about all food and drink categories. There was a firm shift towards better made, more natural, more healthy sustainable products with a strong brand to tell the story. This was something we understood well from our time at innocent. There was, however, one exception to this, which was the confectionery category. In this area, things were just not moving with the times. It was the same old high volume, low cost junk, which had been around for years. The insight was that if all other food and drink products were fundamentally changing why should confectionery be any different? We then set out to test our belief that the need for better made products applied to all categories including confectionery. 

What has surprised you most about the process?

Good: The help, time and support other challenger companies and the entrepreneurs give to each other. We seem to share a mission and desire to make better products, give people a better experience and ultimately make things a bit more enjoyable. This spirt means that everyone is always happy to help with each other’s challenges.

Bad: The time it actually takes to make anything meaningful happen.

What has been the thing you've most struggled with that you've had to overcome?

Lack of funds. This definitely makes things harder than working for a bigger organisation. Every step we make seems to be a huge investment and/or a big gamble. This raises the stakes and means that failure hurts a lot more than simply getting a telling off by your boss.

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If you could turn back time, would you do anything differently?

Experience is a good teacher but everything we do is a judgement call based on the information we have at that particular moment in time. Unless its feels like you are making the wrong decision at the time and then you are proved right there should never be any regrets.

Have you needed to raise investment? If so, what piece of advice would you give others looking to do the same?

Yes we have, we needed the cash. My advice is that selling the dream is easier than selling reality. So either raise cash right at the start or when you are sure you are onto a good thing. 

What's the one thing you'd like to change about the food industry?

Retailers having more resources to spend working with challenger brands. In our experience it's not that the retailers don’t want to bring new brands and products into their portfolios, it is just too often a low priority as they don’t have the time or incentive required to do this properly.

We absolutely love the brand here at CLO PR. Why do think it has remained so popular?

I think it's stayed relevant for a number of reasons. Firstly, we make sure we make consistently good products and are true to our values. This means we gain trust. And we try and be human and relatable in everything we do, which I think means that more people are willing to believe in our mission. 

Where do you get your inspiration?

Great people doing great things and being successful. Whether it’s Ben Fogle climbing Everest or Pip & Nut winning another listing, we use this admiration and excitement as fuel for our own fire. 

What's the best thing about working for yourself?

No bureaucracy or politics getting in the way of getting on with the real task at hand.

Who do you admire?

Anyone who is prepared to stick their neck out to do the right thing.

What is Peppersmith up to this year?

We have some exciting new listings coming up, so it's all hands on deck to make sure they are a success. We are also building the team, so anyone out there who likes mints, dislikes the status quo and has an entrepreneurial calling should get in touch.

If you weren't doing what you do now, you'd be....

Something as equally as challenging and possibly as ill advised.

Find out more about what Peppersmith are up to here.

THE FEMALE FOCUS SERIES: WE PARTNER WITH YOU MAKE IT

As part of our joint series with the talented girls at Mac&Moore, The Female Focus, we want to share with you some exciting news. We will be partnering with You Make It, a charity which offers creative programmes for women to equip them with the tools to transform their lives through personal empowerment. The mission of You Make It falls within the Sustainable Developments Goals set out by the UN to end poverty, promote good health and well-being, provide life-long learning opportunities and fight gender inequality.

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Since You Make It launched in 2011, 82% of women supported are in sustained paid employment, working on their own start-ups or have accessed formal education places. It was set up by Asma Shah out of anger at inequality in London. The first years of her life were turbulent, her mother fleeing a violent marriage and taking Ms Shah and her three sisters with her. Despite that, Ms Shah, who has held management positions at Channel 4, the Roundhouse and Creative Skillset, always believed she would go to university and get a good job. Yet, she says, many black and Asian working class women lack self-confidence and a sense of a “right to the city”. She says of You Make It that it’s not just about giving tools for employment but addressing the stuff that really holds women back, like lack of confidence and networks.

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As part of the scheme, CLO PR aims to create positive impact by providing mentorships to two women to help them reach their potential. We’ll be supporting them with training in PR, marketing and social media skills, as well as ideas for how to promote their businesses to wider audiences. We can’t wait to get cracking and meet Honey Malaolu, a local fashion designer based in Hackney and Hera Williams, founder of Aspire Girls Squad, a community interest company offering support to young girls aged 10-16 years old.

Watch this space!