At StartUp Terminal, we believe our diversity is our strength. As International Woman’s Day grows near, we celebrate the achievements of women around the world.
To kick off our celebration, we’ve asked London-based Diana Greenhalgh, Co-founder of My Bespoke Room, few questions on her experience achieving success in the field of entrepreneurship, and what advice she has for women entering the workforce today.
ST: Please tell us briefly about you.
Diana: Back in 2014 I co-founded My Bespoke Room with my colleague and long-term friend Laura Simpson. We started the business, after careers with brands including L’Oreal, Apple and Liz Earle, when we were both frustrated with the process of renovating and furnishing our homes. We identified a gap in the market to launch an easy-to-use online interior design service, at the fraction of the cost of traditional services.
The business has gone from strength to strength this year – reporting 104% annual revenue growth and ranking as the number one Interior Designer on Houzz UK.
ST: Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?
Diana: It has to be Whitney Wolfe Heard, CEO and founder of Bumble. I love that Bumble is also run by a majority-female executive team and the moment it IPO’d was iconic. Especially given everything she has been through; she has demonstrated incredible resilience and determination.
Other women who inspire me are much closer to home. Our tech platform, DesignPalPro, helps independent interior Designers work more efficiently – so we get to work with ambitious designers who are setting up, running and growing their businesses day-in, day-out. It allows them to have a meaningful business career together with a work life balance.
ST: How are you celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day?
Diana: In previous years we’ve taken the opportunity to network with other female founders, and in 2019 we even got an invite to 10 Downing Street!
This year will be a little different. It has been a tough year for many women (including myself and Laura) who have had to take on additional caring responsibilities and have had to fight even harder to secure funding. I really want to encourage our team, and all the designers we work with, to take a moment to reflect on what they have achieved over the past 12 months. We have all achieved so much, against the odds, and it shows what a strong community can bring when we all work together.
ST: What is the most important message you want to send out to all the women around the world on this occasion?
Diana: This year’s International Women’s Day is of particular importance, with research showing the pandemic could wipe out 25 years of increasing gender equality. We need to be louder than ever before to ensure employers prioritise flexible working and report their gender pay gaps.
ST: What according to you is ‘women empowerment’?
Diana: Women empowerment is everyone having access to the same knowledge and tools to help enable them to be successful. That’s why we’re so passionate about sharing our technology with up-and-coming designers and business owners.
ST: What would you say are the main challenges facing women at present globally?
Diana: Just 12% of start-up funding goes to female-led firms. Women still have to battle to raise capital, and this has been made even more challenging over the past year. In March last year, one of our funding rounds fell through at the 11th hour due to Covid taking us all by surprise. We picked ourselves back up and have been fortunate enough to bounce back quickly and achieve strong growth with people spending more time at home.
Now, we are even more determined to support designers setting up and growing a meaningful business and career. It has been a tough year for the industry, and we want to make it as easy as possible for people working in this industry to succeed.
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