Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
I run my own fashion styling and branding consultancy called STYLISA.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I was a graphic designer before this and yes, this is my first business.
How did you come up with the idea for Stylisa?
I have always had a passion for the fashion industry, so I decided to just go for it.
Did you write a business plan?
I wrote a business plan, and it has been an effective tool. I often refer back to it, and have updated it over the years.
Who did you hire to help you? Bookkeeper, Accountants, Lawyers …? Would you suggest others do the same?
An accountant – and yes I would definitely suggest using an accountant when setting up in business, and a lawyer.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
Yes my business was operated from home. The only challenge to this, was that I had to always find locations for meetings. Other than that, it worked out really well.
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?
No there are no disadvantages – what a man can do, women can do just as well, if not better in some instances. My advice would be to conduct very thorough research and ensure you have a contingency plan.
Green business is all the rage right now. Has it really been practical for you as an entrepreneur to incorporate green business practices?
We try to incorporate green issues into the business. We use less paper (always sending out emails), and we work from home, when it is not necessary for us to be attending photoshoots, meetings, etc…
With the current economy in a slump, what cost saving tips would you have for a new entrepreneur?
Do as much as you can yourself, without letting the business suffer.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
Doing my own PR has been extremely effective. Instead of talking to a third people, journalists and PR companies get to speak to me direct.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
Yes – it is a great deal harder than I thought it would be but totally worthwhile.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Spend time building up your contact base and getting a portfolio together (doing test shoots) before actually setting up the business.
Thank you Lisa for sharing your story with us. Good luck in 2010!