Simply Noir – Interview with Grace Trowbridge
Simply Noir - Grace Trowbridge
"I have always believed that black owned businesses were under represented in the mainstream. With the arrival of lockdown and the BLM movement I realised it was time for me to work on a platform to support and promote black -owned businesses so that my kids and future generations could see themselves represented in the mainstream"
Grace Trowbridge established her business to solve a problem she saw and didn't want her children to experience. In this interview, she talks to us about running her micro business and navigating the small matter of a raging global pandemic.
In a nutshell, what do you do?
Simply Noir is a new online marketplace supporting black-owned independent businesses in the UK. Our mission is to boost the profile of black businesses and make shopping with them more accessible and convenient.
Each of our sellers has been carefully selected for quality and to ensure they share our brand values. The site aims to support both the expansion of the UK black economy and the black community.
I run the business alone.
What makes you different from competitors?
We have created not just a marketplace, but a community for our vendors. Our vendors are given a social media platform to enable them to be more visible, and to promote their business/products. We are also launching a quarterly ‘business workshop’ for our vendors, which will include various professional speakers. All of which is designed to help our vendors grow their business.
What inspired you to start Simply Noir?
I have always believed that black owned businesses were under represented in the mainstream.
With the arrival of lockdown and the BLM movement I realised it was time for me to work on a platform to support and promote black -owned businesses so that my kids and future generations could see themselves represented in the mainstream
2020: What a year! How has Covid impacted your business?
We launched in August, so we were already prepared for how the pandemic was panning out. We are pleased with how business is growing so far.
What do you love most about running your business?
Being able to offer a platform for our vendors and watching their businesses grow
And what are the toughest challenges?
Being a brand new cold start business, brand awareness in the mainstream was/is a challenge. Attracting new vendors was also a challenge, although I am pleased that we have consistently grown this over the past 3 months. We now have 45 vendors live on our site offering 405 products.
What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just do it.
Thanks so much for chatting to us, Grace!
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