Tucked away in the gorgeous surroundings of Tigerlily in the centre of Edinburgh on a cool autumn evening, there is a hive of activity, energy, and palpable enthusiasm.
AllBright, the leading global careers network for women, has come to Edinburgh as part of their ‘AllBright Meets UK Tour’ with co-founder Anna Jones, exuding warmth and confidence, welcoming the CEOs of tomorrow in a celebration of women in business.
The Atlantic Dispatch was there to capture the event and we caught up with Anna as she exclusively revealed what is next for AllBright, why supporting independent brands is so important and what superpower female entrepreneurs hold.
The Best Advice for Female-Led Independent Businesses
Anna is an incredible source of wisdom and insight for female entrepreneurs of any age. Her C-level and board level experience and knowledge shines through. When quizzed on what advice she would provide female-led businesses, one piece shines through: “Networking is vital. I think it is also very important that they network with other female led businesses as well. Network with one another and use the fact that 80%, of consumer purchasing is done by women. As things start to open, it is important to use those moments to come together in person, because if you can tell your story to somebody face to face, it is incredibly impactful.”
The Superpower of Female Entrepreneurs
The ability to tell the story of your business and use social media effectively can help any young entrepreneur starting out on their journey, and Anna points out why this is so important.
“What I have found in my experience is that, generally speaking, female entrepreneurs are really good at telling the story of their business. And that’s a bit of a superpower. I think people connect with entrepreneurs that have a passion behind their business. Again, generally speaking, all the founders that I meet and female founders that we support have a passion for what they’re doing and they’ve got a great way of telling their story.
If you think about it, from a marketing point of view, we all rely so much on social media channels. For businesses these are essentially content channels. So, if you’re good at telling your story, use those channels and they can help you cut through the noise and get you to where you want to be.”
The Importance of Independence
“It’s so important to help and support independent brands. I’ve been in Edinburgh for the last few days and one of the things that I love about the city is all the independent stores. I always choose to go to them. So, every meal I’ve had has been at an independent bar or restaurant, and every store I’ve been in has been independent.”
Anna believes that this support of independent business and entrepreneurs is vital for the future of the UK. “Ultimately what we need as a country is for entrepreneurs to reinvent and innovate, do things their own way. And that is how we’re going to continue to be an important economic powerhouse. If all we have is everyone doing the ‘same old, same old’, I don’t think we’re going to be an interesting place for tourists to visit.”
Anna’s passion for the subject is clear: “If we want the UK to continue to be an important hub for international tourism and local tourism, then the excitement of discovering new brands can do this.
I think that sort of independent, innovative, founder-led business is the thing that is going to keep us excited. That’s not to say they should be small in terms of vision. I think having an amazing experiential shop front, telling a story and using the power of digital to reach people across the globe is the most exciting element behind the rise of independent brands.”
Advice for Her Younger Self
Anna’s advice for her younger self is not dissimilar to the advice she would give to other female entrepreneurs. “I think the advice I’d give to myself is that you need to network early. And I think you need to think about your networks as well. So often, we forget that women are brilliant with their families, their friends, their colleagues; but they’re not necessarily thinking about branching out beyond that. One of the reasons we started AllBright was because we could see a large amount of business being done on the golf course or in bars, and what I noticed as I rose up the ranks was that my bosses in media knew their counterparts in many other industries. And I didn’t, and I hadn’t even really thought about building those networks.
Ultimately, we tend to get our opportunities through the people we know through our networks. If your networks are limited, so are your opportunities for growth, to move industry or really supercharge your career. So, I would just say start early.”
AllBright on the Road
‘AllBright Meets’ has been incredibly successful thus far. The UK tour has taken in 6 cities with 10 events and has seen over 500 women attending, selling out venues in Birmingham, Manchester and London.
The ability to meet and greet from women all over the world thanks to technology has opened so many new and exciting avenues for AllBright; however, for Anna, nothing can truly replicate the feeling of a live event and it’s something she and her team has missed greatly.
“There is nothing like the excitement of seeing people in person. I have hundreds of people on these digital events, and it’s great because it’s a way of doing it in a convenient way for so many and you can reach a completely new audience. However, there is nothing like having people in the room and the energy that we get from it, and that everyone in the room gets from one another. It is just irreplaceable.”
What the Future Holds
AllBright has already achieved so much in the years since its inception. With digital resources and training for women, physical members’ clubs in London and LA and now the AllBright Meets tour across the country, we wanted to find out what was next for the brand.
“I think the future for AllBright is to do more events and more AllBright pop-ups and continuing to take AllBright on the road. Looking for more physical spaces, and then to really, truly globalise and further the digital platform. We really want to continue to grow that sisterhood and get it to the next level.”