Interview With StylzMag Founder
It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week and a great opportunity to celebrate and interview StylzMag founder Candy Ellie Graham. Read on to find out more about the journey so far and what we can expect from StylzMag in the future!
Hopefully, most readers know, but for those who don't, can you please explain in your own words what StylzMag is?
The core SylzMag offering is the directory of culturally diverse tailoring, hair and beauty service providers but it has become so much more. People can now book appointments and buy diverse hair and beauty products too. The platform also includes interactive galleries for style inspiration, a job board, and more.
There is still a lot of work to be done but being fully self-funded, I'm really proud of what has been accomplished so far and I am starting to enjoy the journey.
You said ‘starting to enjoy’, does that mean you weren't enjoying the entrepreneurial journey before?
Yes and no. I loved seeing the vision come to life but it was really hard and it still is in many ways. I wore so many hats before I expanded my team, and I was a new mum with a separate full-time job too at one point. Plus I had no funding. There were some days that I wanted to give up. Thankfully I have a supportive network who encouraged me and helped me see how far I had come.
What was the inspiration behind StylzMag?
StylzMag started as Fashionista Sistah (FS) Mag way back in 2008. Pre Instagram, there was a lack of cultural diversity online when it came to fashion, hair and beauty inspiration. FS Mag was an online gallery full of diverse style inspiration. The directory was in progress when I had to end the project for personal reasons. During the decade or so away I became a chartered professional marketer and gained invaluable skills and experience that have been integral to the development of StylzMag.
Since going live, I have been able to expand on the original vision and give digital visibility to numerous service providers hidden in local communities and it feels so rewarding.
What has been the most challenging part of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Wow, there is so much to say lol. The most challenging part was the development of the web platform. I have no web-based technical skills so all I know is self-taught. I mapped user dashboards, and drafted user interaction design boards and undertook most of the quality assurance testing myself due to budget restraints. I had really bad tendon pain from typing and using the mouse for up to ten hours a day. In addition to this, I was doing the blog and social media myself. It was a lot of work.
Wow, that sounds intense. What has been the highlight of your journey so far and the most rewarding?
The highlight for me was my first team meeting in our office. I was sitting in an office that I envisioned, briefing my own team. I still need more team members and growth funding but I am very happy with where we are right now and hopeful for the future.
As 2021 draws to an end, are you able to share some of what is on the horizon for 2022?
Yes, there is so much instore including Cultural Style Week, a collaborative project led by StylzMag. Cultural Style Week is an opportunity to showcase and celebrate cultural heritage through fashion, hair and beauty.
The launch coincides with the United Nations World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, and kicks off with a fashion show and launch party in London. StylzMag is all about celebrating cultural heritage through fashion, hair and beauty and showcasing all of the community-based service providers who can help people do just that!
Cultural Style Week sounds amazing, how can people get involved?
For now, people can head to the website and sign up to the mailing list for more information.