International Trade Week Meets Global Entrepreneurship Week
International trade week began on the 31st October to 4th November and I was delighted to be a part of the trade mission to Dubai with the amazing delegation made up of formidable entrepreneurs and export champions who have inspired me. I have learnt so much from them and the experience. They were all so happy to share their journey of exporting around the world.
We had fantastic support from the Department for International Trade. For any budding entrepreneur I cannot stress enough, get in touch with the DIT and try and get an International Trade Advisor. They are like part of your business with a wealth of experience in International Trade and the intricacies of how to export your products and services to the world. Their mantra is Made in the UK sold to the World.
Today , the 14th November and until 20th November is Global Entrepreneurship Week. Right here, I journal my entrepreneurial journey with the DIT.
Day 2 of the trade mission at Beautyworld commenced on the the 31st October 2022, the open day. It has taken me two weeks to fully digest the experience and be able to write about it now. Our agenda for the day was fully packed and it was all work and no play however, I can’t deny that it was a most enjoyable and educational experience!
“Beautyworld Middle East is the largest international trade fair for beauty, hair, fragrances and wellbeing in the Middle East. As one of the most influential and visited beauty trade shows in the world, the show offers trade visitors the convenience of meeting the exhibitors face-to-face over three days, for serious business” (Department for International Trade - DIT)
Our day kicked off with a quick tour of the Great Britain UK Government beauty stand. I was immensely proud to see my brand video on a loop showcasing my products and brand ethics – sustainability and inclusivity always at the heart of our message.
Thereafter, we had the pleasure of visiting the Chalhoub Group in the Design District. Chalhoub Group has a workforce of 12,000 people, in 8 Countries, as well as operating 700 retail stores.
We learnt about the values of the Chalhoub Group.. “We are driven by our purpose that defines us and gives us a reason for being – Inspire – Exhilarate – Delight…and guided by our Values that bring us together - Respect – Excellence – Entrepreneurial Spirit.” Their website states “We are a family of fearless dreamers, chasing stars, inspired by the past and celebrating the future, daring and forever growing” a statement which I just love and can connect with on my own entrepreneurial journey.
Being at the Chalhoub Group and Greenhouse office was a great experience, surrounded by green, warmth and positive words on the walls such as – “Challenge the Status Quo” and “The Whole is Greater than the Sum of it’s parts”.
We were dealt a great deal of information and statistics about the plethora of opportunities in the GCC region for beauty brands in the UAE, Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.
It is expected that the Chalhoub Group will double their skin in the skin care game by increasing penetration from 13% to date to 26% by 2030, which presents a huge opportunity for a sustainable brand like Honey Corn to enter into the market – the time is now!
It was really inspiring to hear from the female founders on the Greenhouse Accelerator programme. Hearing their struggles and successes – was pure motivation to keep going!
I would like to thank the Department for International Trade for organizing this trade mission and securing the exclusive opportunity for the UK trade delegation to hear from the beauty experts at the Chalhoub Group especially Alice Fourquet and the Chalhoub Group team.
Next on our agenda was to hear from the ultimate powerhouse and huge inspiration Jo Malone CBE, she shared her story with us from humble beginnings from a council estate in Bexley Heath, as a young child not knowing whether there would be enough food in the fridge to eat. Starting work at an early age to provide for her parents and siblings to working on market stalls with her artist Father. The sacrifices she made from sleeping on just a foam mattress with her husband Gary (everyone needs a Gary), to eventually selling Jo Malone London to Estée Lauder. Beating a terminal cancer diagnosis to live, her life, her way. Jo Malone’s CBE story and adventure continues and the entrepreneurial bug is one she couldn’t shake off and she began another venture called Jo Loves which is going from strength to strength. What an amazing journey! It was enthralling to hear.
A big thank you to Rosa Estevez Deputy Director of Retail and Digital Commerce at the Department for International Trade she exuded passion and enthusiasm for UK SME beauty businesses. She gave a GREAT speech in which she said about the Chalhoub Group and the delegation…”You care about the environment, we deeply care about the environment, you have a vision about what is best for consumers but also for the climate and for the planet, you are one brand, we are one family…she later went on to say “we actually brought you some of the best talent that we have”. So empassioned and so true!
A GREAT big thank you also, to Juliet Gilbert, Soraya Wells, Jeffrey Williams, Judith McElhinney, Neil Wyn Jones MBE, Jaz Rana, Holly Allen, Shadi Abdollahi, Cleo Eastbrook, Adil Khan, Safwan Syed and Susanne Nohel for the dedication, kindness and support on the trade mission which was really well organised. What I hope to take away from this experience is securing a distributor so that Honey Corn can be on the shelves of premium retail stores in the UAE and in the GCC region. I am already very much looking forward to the next trade mission!