The Young Foundation works with housing associations to help develop their in-house resources to support young entrepreneurs. Here Reanaldo Belle, an entrepreneur supported as part of our partnership with A2Dominion describes his journey from fashion enthusiast to running his own clothing line – and calls for more to get involved.
I founded Original Since Manufactured (OSM) in the summer of 2007 as I wanted to design clothing which represented my own thoughts and ideas, rather than those of the fashion industry. Although OSM garments were initially created for me, I regularly received interest from others, and in 2009 I commercialised the brand. We started just selling t-shirts and sweatshirts, but expanded quickly to sell accessories like watches, sunglasses and even USBs. We now sell these and an ever growing range of t-shirts, sweatshirts, tracksuits, snapbacks, wooly hats, jackets & body warmers …
I hope I demonstrate that entrepreneurs can come from all walks of life. Back in 2007 I was designing just for me, five years later I’m the CEO and Head of Sales of my own business responsible for the overall management of a company. Importantly I am part of a team with Andre Christie and Olu Adebiyi. Andre is head designer, he controls the marketing and advertising, and he knows how to create a major buzz for the company using social media. Olu brings structure to the organisation and its finances thanks to his work in the finance sector.
For us to get to this point has been great in so many ways. It’s made me a better person mentally and has shown me what I want to do with my life. A lot of people look up to me and the rest of the business – giving us the incentive to do more and be the best we can. To some that might feel like pressure. To me, it feels like an achievement.
Working with the Young Foundation and A2Dominion helped us to further think about the wider impact of our success. We might not be a social enterprise, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a clear social impact at the heart of our business. A2Dominion invited us to run branding workshops for local young people – inspiring them and raising our profile. An exercise so successful that we have now dedicated one of our team to leading on more of this work.
Young Foundation and A2Dominion have also helped with funding, supporting the business by connecting us with contacts who could bring great opportunities for the company to grow. But most importantly, they believed in us, not just as young people, but as professional business people.
Most recently we have agreed to work with the Young Foundation to launch our business in well known London high-street locations via a pop-up shop scheme. This gives us a real chance to create jobs for the community.
I hope we’ve demonstrated that we an inspire, we can sell and that we can be successful – hopefully at this point you’re wondering what’s next? As young entrepreneurs we need people to believe in us, just like A2Dominion and the Young Foundation did. The next stages of our journey will see us need funding and investment of course, but also mentors and advisors. If you want to be part of our journey, connect with us online @OSM_World
This blog entry was part of our second Ventures Network Newletter.