Catch her if you can

Sharmadean Reid has journeyed from beauty and fashion entrepreneur to a role which seeks to encourage women in business and elsewhere in society. Her speech at the #ThoseWhoDare seminar series next week will be one to catch

Catch her if you can

Sharmadean Reid has journeyed from beauty and fashion entrepreneur to a role which seeks to encourage women in business and elsewhere in society. Her speech at the #ThoseWhoDare seminar series next week will be one to catch…

Having started in the beauty business, with Beautystack and WAH Nails, entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid has powered her way towards becoming something much more. 

There’s words like ’empowerment’ and ‘inspire’ being used in her rhetoric and some even describe her as a ‘disruptor’, surely the ultimate accolade for anyone that holds store in the power of such buzzwords.

Her mission (there’s another one) has become about much more than just business success, something which she will be explaining and expanding upon at Vodafone’s series of online business seminars #ThoseWhoDare, which starts from 17th May and features 30 different entrepreneurs offering wisdom and experience gained on their journey thus far. 

I’ll be talking about motivating the team, empowering women and how we can build mission-driven sustainable businesses, says Reid. 

Her involvement in the programme is part of her ongoing mission to help women in business and create new female leaders. 

It’s important for me to be involved because we need more women to see more female business leaders to inspire them. You can’t be what you can’t see.

As for being labelled a disruptor, she would probably be more comfortable with ‘change-maker’ because it’s not all about reinventing the wheel. Maybe more about women getting their hands on it. 

I’m not sure if I would class myself as a disruptor, I like to apply very old business models to new markets and especially to under-served markets. The best technology and business innovations shouldn’t be inaccessible to groups and communities that actually need them the most.

Her initial success with WAH Nails, however, was certainly an attempt to bring something new and different to the beauty space in the form of a different stylistic presentation and the kind of connectivity which is so important to women.

WAH was about more than just product transactions, it was about a new authentic way of critiquing product based on the thoughts and opinions of its customers. 

It has changed a lot within the beauty service landscape and actually the millennial female retail landscape as a whole, she says. For one, we had a very experiential space the space wasn’t just built around selling it was built around connections and communication. We made it look and feel more like an art gallery or a nightclub rather a traditional salon and we really had an interior that reflected the customer and reflected our vision of connecting like-minded women. 

After the pandemic more people will be hesitant to go in store unless absolutely necessary or unless they want a unique experience. I think retailers and businesses should be thinking about he added value they can give to the customer instead of expecting them to just waltz in and shop. They can do that online. So how do you serve the customer and make them feel part of your brand? Build a community out of them essentially.

Which leads us nicely to, designed as a platform to deliver women’s views on the issues that matter and affect them the most, but may not be being addressed elsewhere. 

It features a wide variety of content from business leadership advice, to fashion, TV, music and all things in between.

The motivation behind The Stack was to bring womens issues to the forefront of news and media in a way that wasn’t just about social impact but actually made people understand that half of the population has a wide variety of issues that weren’t being addressed in the mainstream, she explains. 

I also wanted to see if we could build a new model out of connecting readers to readers rather then have a one way flow of information which was just publisher to reader.  It’s a community of mission-driven women, news and events to engage members and we turn those memebers into a community network by connecting them to each other. After a few short months weve got over 500 members; we’ve created 166 events and puublished over 100 articles. Growing at 30 per cent week on week and it’s truly exciting. News readership doubled in the first four weeks.

Ask Ms Reid what’s next and you might be surprised to learn that she is casting an eye in the direction of financial services, with a notion to create a more female-oriented proposition in a market which she argues is too focused on male customers. 

New markets for the brand is a very interesting question and something I think about every day. I really believe banking as a service is something that’s going to be interesting for women going foward. 

Fintech has largely ignored women and gone after the 30-something city-based male when actually women need far more institutional support from their banking, insurance and mortgage services. While a grand ambition would be to think what services can we provide that would truly meet our ambition of empowering women, my eye is laser focused on getting to the next milestone of membership numbers and continuing to provide strong content which keeps our audience engaged.

Partnering with other companies and organisations is also something Reid wants to get involved with to help spread her message of empowerment and support for women. 

Next for me personally is to take the business out to market and see what partnerships and synergies we have. We’re really interested in woeking with orgs that are interested in supporting mission driven purposefu, passionate women who want to make a change in their city and in their society to act with autonomy and be economcially empowered.

it really is a case of ‘tomorrow the world’ it seems and for that reason, she may well be one of the stand-out speakers in the #ThoseWhoDare series. 

Sharmadean will be sharing her best advice on managing a successful business at Vodafone’s #ThoseWhoDare virtual conference on the 17th May. As part of its ambition to support SMEs (small and medium enterprises), the week-long event will feature keynotes from over 30 dynamic and game-changing entrepreneurs. Register your attendance here.

Ronnie Dungan
Ronnie Dungan

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