In this ‘With Tracy’ interview I got to chat with with young entrepreneur Ponmile Dada on the highs and lows of setting up a business, how mentoring has helped her and what the future holds.
Ponmile owns luxury cushion brand Plush Base which she launched in 2017. Talented and passionate she recognised she needed mentoring and business advice to make her business a reality and reached out to the Prince’s Trust for support. I was lucky enough to become her mentor and like so many people I meet Ponmile just needed help in unlocking her ideas and building them into something that she can call her own. Here is her story so far:-
What inspired you to start your own business?
The spontaneity of running a business is the number one thing that attracted me. No day or even week is ever the same in business. I had always wanted to break out of the normal patterns in life such as the standard ‘9-5’ and to begin something stimulating that I could call my own. I have met with many business owners who have their own inspirational story, which encouraged me to finally take a leap of faith and begin my own journey.
What prompted you to go to the Prince’s Trust?
I attended a Careers Event and was beckoned over by some cheerful people at the Prince’s Trust stand. They were friendly and enthusiastic about young entrepreneurs who have a passion for starting their own business and they spoke to me about their Enterprise programme. Everything sounded amazing and starting a business was something I was keen on doing, so I signed up! During the programme I met with many Prince’s Trust colleagues and volunteers who were passionate and supportive towards us entrepreneurs. Experiencing such positive attitudes from everyone at the Prince’s Trust certainly encouraged me to seek mentoring and further support from them.
How is the mentoring going? How are you finding it helpful?
Being mentored by you has been more than amazing, straight from the start! Initially I was nervous to have my first meeting as I did not know what to expect, but you were full of so much energy and ideas that there was no room for nerves. Having someone who can listen as well as communicate effectively and encourage me on my venture is the best thing for helping me achieve my business goals.
So how are things going with Plush Base?
Plush Base has been an amazing experience so far! A lot of hard work has gone into what I have accomplished at this point, as you would expect with any business. But all of this hard work has allowed me to achieve several important goals within a small timeframe.
I have learnt so much in regard to the world of business and have been exposed to a great amount that I was not aware of prior to starting on this venture 6 months ago. Plush Base has been an exciting opportunity and I look forward to what the future holds.
What is your vision for the future of your business?
Plush Base currently offers luxury cushions for those keen on home comforts. The vision for the future is to expand on this range and to offer more home accessories such as luxury throws and hand-made candles. I would also like to explore more sales channels as Plush Base is currently trading solely on an online platform.
What have been your main challenges so far and how have you overcome them?
I would say the main challenges I have faced so far have been planning a marketing strategy that works for the business. Marketing is an ongoing element, whether it’s email, seasonal or content marketing. As audiences, times and products change, the nature of marketing also has to change in order to attract the right audience, which in turn means a continuous modification of marketing strategies. I have overcome this by planning exactly what strategies to implement on a month by month basis. Organisation and creativity are important attributes to have when it comes to this area.
How are you feeling about 2018?
I am excited to make 2018 a great year for Plush Base and I aim to focus on building a good customer base and to develop the branding. I feel as though there is so much more to explore and accomplish this year but I am much more confident about my future aspects.
Is there any advice you would offer anyone setting up a business?
I would advise anyone looking to start a business to go in with an open mind and be ready to step out of your comfort zone – for all the right reasons. Remain as motivated as you were the day you decided to begin your business venture and always remember why you initially started, as this can be your motivation during the stressful times. It definitely helps for your business idea to be something you are truly passionate about. I am in love with home décor and could shop for and style a million homes without breaking a sweat! If you have a passion for it, you’re more likely to be more creative and achieve much more than you could imagine. And last but not the least – enjoy every part of being your own boss!
If you would like to find out more about mentoring or would like to share your story please contact me – Tracy for a chat.