Hello my name is Vanessa Agyemang I’m a Designer and Model. I recently launched my home decor brand Copper Dust which specialises in limited edition prints and handmade lampshades. Copper Dust is inspired by African heritage, but still remains quintessentially British. All the materials are locally sourced.
What inspired you to start the business?
I’ve always been passionate and creative about art, I have a diploma in Interior Design as well as a BA (HONS) in Interior Architecture. So naturally I thought I was going to fall into the world of Interiors, but funny enough it was an experience that made me start my business. After graduating I interned at a Corporate design firm, where I was later employed. They didn’t treat contractor’s, clients or staff very well. It made me realise areas where I could improve and potentially start up on my own.
I’ve always been passionate and creative about art
What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?
One of the greatest challenges is finding time to be a jack of all trades, especially when initially starting up, the key to success is patience and time management. The flexibility to be free, especially creatively is highly rewarding. The chance to give back, I recently gave a talk during I am Visible Week to inspire young girls to join male dominated industries and it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failure?
Be prepared and organised.
Wake up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour later, structure your day as if you were sitting in an office.
Treat yourself on mini victories, do not be too hard on yourself.
Learn from every failure because it takes you one step closer to your goal.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?
Funding: There are funding opportunities out there but to access them is virtually impossible, which makes everything else a slower process. So I would highly recommend cutting back on a few things and save for life’s unexpected situations.
How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?
I’ve been lucky enough to go through the Prince’s Trust programme, without their workshops and one on one mentoring some areas would be a complete loss to me. Having the support and advice, so you never feel alone.
Networking is an essential part of the world we live in
What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?
Networking is an essential part of the world we live in, it may feel uncomfortable at first so start small and local. Do not expect instant progress, go in with a positive mind and you will be surprised at the connections you make and where it leads you.
What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?
I would recommend a lot of research before starting and test runs, just to minimise errors. In terms of growth it’s an area I’m currently in, the next step would be to seek assistance, where possible, to take the weight off your shoulders, so you can focus on other areas, whilst allowing your brand to remain consistent to its consumers.
What does the future hold for you?
The future is defiantly bright, I intend to expand my range. In the long term I would like to have a design consultancy in Ghana, with an international section online.
To view all things Copper Dust please head over to www.copperdustlondon.com