Today’s business market is more global than ever, with women making international boss moves from coast to coast. In a special series on women entrepreneurs of the diaspora, BlackEnterprise.com will bring you highlights on power females who have taken their passions and made them profitable — from North America to Europe to Africa and everywhere in between.
London-based strategist Samantha Clarke has an eye for what can make or break a brand.
The brains behind personal styling company Zukuri UnLtd and trend forecasters Zukuri Consulting, Clarke took the leap into entrepreneurship after a successful career in advertising and marketing. Zukuri UnLtd caters to individuals seeking to evolve their personal brand while Zukuri Consulting works with companies seeking innovation and alternative channels to market. Recent clients include Philips, Selfridges, Clarks shoes, Absolut Vodka, Tesco, DKNY and Calvin Klein.
BlackEnterprise.com connected with the British businesswoman to discuss sources of inspiration, recent client campaigns and her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
BlackEnterprise.com: What was the inspiration for your brand?
Clarke: I love all things African and Asian; The depth of meaning in words, the vibrancy, the people and the cultures inspires me. I’ve been blessed to travel with my work all over the world. I’ve been to Japan twice and I picked up on a phrase they use called ‘’monozukuri.” Mono focuses on products and Zukuri emphasizes the process of creation. The Japanese deeply value the processes of creation and development of products and people. Their attention to detail and craft is something I love. It’s an ethos I wanted to instil in my work so I use Zukuri as the prefix for my businesses.
How are you keeping the momentum going for your company as far as clients, and continuing success?
I’ve just finished some work for a few fashion brands in East London and a research project for Danone and Coop with Zukuri Consulting. Plus, I’m in full swing at Zukuri UnLtd, working with existing private clients and finding businesses to connect with to mutually grow together.
No two days are the same; I know that sounds corny but it’s true. I can be researching the latest technologies in Korea to de-cluttering a new client’s wardrobe. I set my own timetable and can work when I am productive, which is often well into the small hours of the night.
What do you love most about the career you chose?
Travelling around the world, which I aim to do more of! Also I’ve worked with some amazing people who have inspired me. I also love the fact that I am developing my own life and success. It’s daunting at times, as it all rests on your shoulders, but we are our own architects. What we put in, we get back.
What advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps?
Be clear on what you are passionate about. You have to develop your people skills and be calm under pressure. It’s also interesting to identify how you can deal with conflict or differing opinions. Not everything you suggest, highlight or advise on will be received with the same amount of enthusiasm that you have. Don’t be knocked by this.
You have to develop the patience to understand your customer and their requirements, know how to sell in your ideas without being pushy and still being able to instigate change. They will love you for opening their eyes to something new.
Octavia Goredema is founder of relocation resource Crash Course City and the Twenty Ten Club, an award-winning networking organization and online resource designed to connect, inspire and support black female entrepreneurs. Goredema is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an international network of accomplished individuals in the arts, manufactures and commerce patroned by the Queen Elizabeth II.