Her Journey Revealed with Kesha Williams, Founder of ColorBlend Makeup
At what stage of your life did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve always wanted to start my own business and it took for me to be made redundant with a 10 week old baby to take the plunge. I was 25 years old with a newborn, looking for employment while on maternity leave. It was then that I decided it would be now or never.
How did you develop your business idea, and what inspired you to proceed with your business idea?
Before taking the actual plunge, I decided to go to university to study Business to better my prospects. It was during year two of my degree – and feeling guilty that I had to leave my young son at nursery for so many hours – that I decided to go for it. Alongside all of my assignments and exams, I researched how to get my business started, finding suppliers, reading up on EU regulations and testing the market. I started with nearly all of the people at my university, family and friends and even commuters on the underground, on my way home!
What steps do you take to market your business and to make people aware of your brand?
Initially, I marketed the brand at university. It was tricky as I only had one product at the time – but the feedback was positive. That then lead to building our social media platforms and a website – which are our current main sources of marketing. Outside of that, we attend as many live events and pop ups as possible. If we can’t exhibit at an event, I still like to go, in order to speak and market to the attendees. Otherwise, wherever and whenever possible – in the supermarket queue or at the hairdressers!
What is your personal secret to developing healthy business habits that support you to stay on track?
I keep large monthly planners on my wall for each quarter. This way, I can plan ahead without missing important tasks or dates. It also helps me to track my progress every 3 months. Every Sunday, my tasks and phone calls for the week ahead are also planned out.
What is the biggest obstacle you have faced on your journey so far and what steps did you take to overcome it?
ColorBlend was launched two years ago in 2016, but I had the first batch of products in 2014. During this time I was informally testing the market, but to be honest, I was completely paralysed with fear about selling properly and what people would think – fear stopped me from moving forward for months. I ended up finding a mentor – who asked me what would be the worst that would happen. When I re-evaluated my fear, I realised how silly it was… and that pushed me to proceed.
Where do you see your business in the next five to ten years from now?
A lot of our customers ask what stores can they go to to try our products. So in the next five years – hopefully much sooner, we will be partnered with a few physical retail outlets and provide another option for consumers wanting products that meet their needs. I have a lot of plans for ColorBlend Makeup which extend further than selling product, but that will be revealed in due time.
What’s the best business advice you have received and how did it positively impact you and your business?
The best advice I’ve got – and sometimes keep forgetting – is to follow my gut. When I have a feeling about something to with a project or collaboration, sometimes I mull it over, dissect it, mull it over again and always end up coming back to my initial decision or thinking. Ultimately, unless you have a business partner, the business decisions you make are down to you and only you alone. So always follow your gut.
One of the most exciting thing I have done in my business was….
Launching ColorBlend was one of the most exciting times, because that meant I was over my fear and finally the product was out there. I think it’s always exciting to meet our customers in person and love pop up events. Most recent, we won ‘Best Cosmetic Brand’ from the Black Beauty and Fashion Awards, which was a very exciting time for us. I’m very pleased that my hard work has created awareness and gained recognition in the industry.
When I feel discouraged I tend to….
Question my abilities and decisions. Which leads me back to following my gut. I talk to a handful of people, who are familiar with business and bounce ideas around with them, which usually results with me taking a step forward even if its a small one.
If I could start all over again I would….
Make the choice to not procrastinate!! Knowing how fear affected me, I’d move forward more confidently knowing that I gave my best. If it doesn’t work out, there’s still lessons to be learned. I’d also not let individuals external to my business influence my decisions.
My favourite business app/tool is….
CONNECT WITH Kesha Williams
Kesha Williams is the creator of indie makeup brand ColorBlend Makeup – a diverse cosmetics company enabling women of colour to express their uniqueness and individuality through the use of its high definition cosmetics.