We love interviewing women who we see as our inspiration: women who venture out of their comfort zones and push themselves to do things that might not be easy or simple. We spoke to four inspirational women: Samanah Duran, Margi Ross, Gabi Cox and Kylie Griffiths, who told us all about starting their own businesses, the challenges they experience as females and how it feels to be their own boss.
It goes without saying that an entrepreneurial lady is an inspiration to us. Samanah Duran is the owner of Critics Clothing, a fresh streetwear brand that focuses on self-expression. The brand was founded by Samanah in 2012 and has grown at a rapid pace since then – she has even been nominated for the Forbes 30 under 30 list!
As well as Critics Clothing, Samanah launched her #BEYOUROWN campaign: bringing achieving and inspirational women together in the entrepreneurial world to discuss crucial millennial topics within music, art, business, fashion and sport.
Samanah really truly believes in the power of expressing and grasping your own individuality – a mindset that has helped her be the successful woman that she is today.
“I have the pleasure of interviewing and connecting with a variety of female entrepreneurs that are super talented, smart, savvy and outstandingly creative in every which way – that is something admirable and inspirational.”
Taylor Magazine: Tell us about your business. Why did you decide to start it up?
Samanah Duran: Critics Clothing is a luxury streetwear label a little under 5 years old founded by myself back in 2012. There was no initial thought process of me just waking up one day to start a career as a fashion designer. It happened really off the cuff whilst en route back from a work trip in West Coast USA. However, I always loved the concept of building a brand based on my own personal ethos that people can really connect and resonate with. Critics Clothing accurately conveys a powerful message to take pride in your identity, demonstrated through an intricate blend of simplistic and traditional but assertive styles.
Taylor Magazine: When did you first realise that you were becoming successful and how did you feel?
Samanah Duran: How do we really define success? On my own terms I feel I am en-route to succeeding, still a long way to go thats for sure.
Taylor Magazine: Why do you think it is important for women to be entrepreneurial in this day and age?
Samanah Duran: It’s fair to say the Golden Age for female entrepreneurs has well and truly finally begun, there has never been a more exciting time for women to start a business. There has never been a better time to go out there and seize every opportunity because I genuinely think so much more support is offered more so now, than ever. Statistically, the rate of female entrepreneurs setting up new business ventures has been on the incline year by year which is brilliant. With that being said, we are still in need of more female examples who are successful entrepreneurs to spur other women on and encourage them to pursue their dreams.
Taylor Magazine: What or who is your inspiration for what you do?
Samanah Duran: Since launching #BEYOUROWN, which is a digital media & news company dedicated to inspiring young women in business, I have the pleasure of interviewing and connecting with a variety of female entrepreneurs that are super talented, smart, savvy and outstandingly creative in every which way – that is something admirable and inspirational.
Taylor Magazine: What is your life motto?
Samanah Duran: “Be authentic to yourself, you owe it to yourself to be unapologetically you.” I project this into my own personal stratosphere everyday.
The Conscious Feminine
The importance of appreciating and valuing women is undoubtedly important to us at Taylor Magazine, but should be to all women of this world. Margi Ross has spent her life promoting her concept, ‘The Conscious Feminine’, and continuously pushes for the equalisation of women amongst men.
Anyone that advocates the importance of women will always be an inspiration, and we are so thankful to Margi for dedicating her time to such an important and crucial period of time for women today.
“Feminine Consciousness shines a light into the darkest places, where no light has been shone before, so these places can be healed.”
Margi Ross: It’s my life’s work to help differentiate the Feminine, to give the Feminine a conceptual framework and words, so it can come into everyday life. I’ve been doing this for about 30 years – I wrote the Toolkit so that women could have a small book which brought together the main ideas.
Taylor Magazine: Why do you think feminism is so important at this time?
Margi Ross: My work is not about feminism, it’s what comes after and alongside. The basic equality of women and men still has to be acknowledged and fought for in so many parts of the world. Feminism gets women out into the world but it is a world in which the Feminine is unsupported and not seen or known as an equal reality to the Masculine reality which prevails.
Taylor Magazine: What do you hope to teach people through your book?
Margi Ross: To give them a vision and the tools and support to bring the Feminine into every aspect of life.
Taylor Magazine: What do you think is the biggest challenge women face?
Margi: It depends which country they live in. In so many parts of the world it’s staying alive and the basic right to be treated with dignity and respect — to not be treated as a possession of men. This is the basic Feminist struggle. In Britain we are totally dominated by a Masculine way of thinking and being: the universities are bastions of Masculine ideas; qualifications are based on Masculine ways of seeing life. For example, Doctors do not have to prove that they are good at relating and treating people kindly. They do not have to show they are good at seeing the needs of their patients, beyond the physical symptoms. Women have given over their reality to men and the oppression is so complete, people do not realise it’s happened! This is not the fault of men — Feminine Consciousness is a new development in the history of the world. It’s about Feminine Spiritual Law: the law of relationship and that it is never ok to treat another living creature badly, for any reason. That spirituality is immanent as well as transcendent.
Taylor Magazine: Who is your biggest inspiration?
Margi Ross: Maria Callas, because of the depth and beauty of her voice. She managed to sing for the soul. My mother, for her quiet gentleness, integrity and love. Puccini, for his ability to compose music which speaks to everyone. Overall, all of the people who I see working to make life better, which a lot of the time are in such difficult situations. Kind people are also my inspiration — I remember seeing a man in Syria who was looking after stray cats in the middle of hell. The spiritual Feminine is a kind, ordinary and human and all life totally depends on this next stage of the Feminine. The Conscious Feminine will make the world a kinder and safer place for every living creature.
Read more about Margi’s work by following her on Twitter.
Turning a passion into a business is a dream for a lot of people, and it was for Gabi Cox too. While at University, she decided to start her own business, Chroma Stationery. Her brand allows customers to completely personalise their own stationery — something that was a gap in the market before Gabi had her lightbulb moment.
When Gabi told us a bit more about Chroma, we were completely in awe that she managed to launch her own business during such a crucial time at University. It makes her story so much more inspiring, as she has most certainly achieved so much from this fabulous idea.
“Building something on your own and from scratch is just great. I sometimes look back and can’t believe how much it’s grown.”
Taylor Magazine: What made you want to start up Chroma Stationery?
Gabi Cox: It began whilst I was in my third year at University, as my final major project. I have always been obsessed with stationery, paper and colour. I initially sold things to friends and family but the interest grew and upon graduating and not being able to find a job that I loved, I decided to really push forward with it. I completed a Kickstarter campaign and raised enough money for some machinery and my first 1,000 notebooks. The brand has grown from there.
Taylor Magazine: Tell us in a bit more detail about your business and the strategies behind it?
Gabi Cox: Chroma Stationery provides personalised stationery (mainly notebooks, pens and diaries) to both individuals via the website and in bulk to brands and companies. There are 20 unique colours to choose from — this was important to me as a lot of corporate notebooks are the same dull colours, with only various notebook ranges and inside page options. The customer can customise the product however they wish, whether that is adding a favourite quote, line image, logo or name. This allows every customer to build their perfect notebook at a very affordable price (£8.50 – £15.00).
Taylor Magazine: How do you find being a woman in the business industry?
Gabi Cox: I really enjoy it. I think the support you get from fellow women in business is fantastic. I have had some unfortunate comments made over the past three years, I think partly to do with being female, but mainly due to being young and looking even younger. I think people are often surprised that I’ve been able to make Chroma a success. I’m very passionate about promoting women in business and inspiring young girls to feel that they can do it too, if they want to. Supporting fellow girl bosses is vital — there’s enough space for everyone!
Taylor Magazine: What are the biggest challenges you face?
Gabi Cox: My main challenge is working solo. Making lots of decisions on my own and often working alone means the pressure can build up. Although I do have lots of family, friends and support, I do sometimes miss working in an office with other people.
Taylor Magazine: What do you love most about having your own business?
Gabi Cox: Building something on your own from scratch is just great. I sometimes look back and can’t believe how much it’s grown. I also love managing my own time and schedule — I’m hugely organised and work best in the evenings so being able to dictate this is vital and makes me much more productive. Chroma specifically is lovely — many of the products I sell are gifts or are sentimental and put a smile on peoples faces. When I’m having a bad day, that’s what I try to remember.
Being the Founder of DIY creative agency and London Girls Surf Club is a career title that a lot of people only dream of. Meet the lady that has this career title – Kylie Griffiths. You may be wondering how someone can have such an amazing job description, but Kylie actually fell into these jobs by accident.
Kylie absolutely loves the laid-back surf and skate lifestyle, working alongside brands such as Vans and Volcom. She is a collaborator – in the style world and music world, styling big names such as Ciara and Tinashe and forms one half of the DJ duo Mali & Kylie, playing massive festivals such as Reading & Leeds and Lovebox.
This is a lady that does a bit of everything and does it well. To put it simply, we think she rocks.
“Everyday is different which is something I like about it – you never know what each day will hold.”
Taylor Magazine: Tell us a little bit more about what you do as a stylist, DJ and brand consultant.
Kylie Griffiths: Everyday is different which is something I like about it – you never know what each day will hold. With styling you can be working on anything from a look book to a branded editorial to going on the road with a band. I tend to be busiest DJing in summer as we get a lot of festival bookings, which is great as I’m a huge fan of live music. Day to day, I spend most time working as a creative director and brand consultant as I recently started my own creative agency DIY – this ranges from being on location shooting, to coming up with marketing strategies for brands to working on creative concepts.
Taylor Magazine: How did you get into what you do and what do you love most about it?
Kylie Griffiths: In all honesty, completely by accident. I left college with no idea what direction I wanted to go in. A few friends of mine ran club nights so the DJing naturally happened. From there I met a stylist (at the time I had no idea this was even a viable job) and she asked me to intern. It was a lot of happy accidents and then a lot of hard work once I realised I wanted to make a career out of it.
Taylor Magazine: What are the biggest challenges you face?
Kylie Griffiths: As a freelancer it’s really hard to know where your next job is coming from so I would have to say the lack of security is the biggest challenge I face. I love what I do and being able to balance travelling/surfing with work, but you have to get your head around the fact that you’re not working a 9-5 and that the stability is not always going to be there.
Taylor Magazine: Why did you want to to enter the skate, surf and lifestyle industry? What drew you towards this?
Kylie Griffiths: It was a natural transition for me as my fiancé, Carl, is a skateboarder so I’ve always been around this world. I tried surfing a few years ago and absolutely fell in love with it so from there I decided that I wanted to be able to balance my passion with work and set up a creative agency specialising in surf, skate and lifestyle brands.
Taylor Magazine: Which brand have you been most proud to work alongside?
Kylie Griffiths: I would have to say Vans and Volcom – I’ve always idolised these brands growing up so being able to work with them has been a dream come true!