Charlene-Chizell Ankumah, Currently a Student at the University of Buckingham. But what she does when she is not in university, is what is bringing all the Headlines. A former employee of Stansted Airport, Financial LTD, Charlene is now the founder of an online jewellery Boutique, Matris Estus. Ok enough of the Sweet talks;
Char, how you doing? Thanks for been with us on YHP
Thanks, for asking me to come down for YHP
Can you give us some briefly background information about yourself?
I’m only 21, my mum is from Ghana, i was raised by a single parent, and I’ve always lived in Essex, “that’s it really”, i go to uni, i work very hard, “that’s like the personal sell yourself kind of thing”, you know, that’s it!
The name of your business, how did that come about?
Matris Estus is basically Latin, because I’ve been raised in a catholic church and the catholic language is Latin so i wanted to have something because I’m a really spiritual person so i wanted something that was related to my religious spirituality and at the same time sort of represented my business, So Matris Estus basically means “mother’s core” and obviously you know real metal, solid jewels and things like that comes from the earth so i kind of took that idea and my love of the Latin language and came up with Matris Estus and that’s incorporated with the logo because the logo is actually of a elephant and they say the elephant is kind of like a maternal animal so that why i decided to have something that was associated with an elephant, not like a big diamond or something like that, so it’s all to do with my love for Latin, you know what my brand represents and what it will always represent.
So what role do you actually perform in the business?
I’m actually a relaxed laid back, calm person, you know I’m just cool about things, i don’t like to be referred to as the creative director or CEO or things like that, i just prefer the go-to girl.
Ok, I guess i will start calling the go-to girl now (Laughter)
So how did you raise funds to start your business?
I built my own pilot website from scratch, at the time, i did not have the money to get a professional website done, as i knew i wanted to build an online jewellery boutique, i built the website to basically get the word out there, how people felt about it and the response i got was really really overwhelming, it was from the sales i got from that i was able to fund the brand new website/online jewellery boutique that we have at the moment.
You dint mention how you got the money to buy the first supply/products?
That actually came from savings that i had.
You went on work experience for a year, how did that influence/inspire you to start your own business?
I hated waking up early in the morning, being swashed on the jubilee line, Victoria line, i hated the responsibility because i was almost 19 and was no longer seen as the little kid or a student but an employee.
My placement was a huge learning opportunity for me, with what i learnt there, and i was like you know the guy/woman that sits in the big office, i actually want to be that person.
It was through my year of working that i realised that i wanted to work for myself, i thank God that i made the decision to go on placement.
Would you advice students to take a year out for work/placement?
I definitely would recommend it, you not only learn more about your field but a lot more about life and how things work, especially discipline and how businesses make their money .
Coming back to M.E, which is what I’m going to call it? Who are your target markets?
My target market is anybody that loves jewellery, i think jewellery is universal, can be worn by men, women, children, it can be accessorised in so many different ways, you see dogs wearing like dog collars blinged out, we carter for everybody that likes unique, affordable one-off piece jewellery.
So what makes it unique because it sounds so general, what makes me as a customer feel special or exclusive buying from Matris Estus?
It is always, always to supply the best quality, unique one – off pieces at affordable prices to our customer, so as our customer not only do you get jewellery for a great price but we also make sure it is of the highest quality.
What ways are you looking to market your products?
Basically reaching out to Sugar magazine and looking to reach other male magazines as well because we do sell men jewellery pieces on the boutique website and by wearing my jewelleries, Word of mouth as friends and family are always wearing the jewelleries.
How have you managed to balance your time with university work and business?
I don’t know, i really do not know, But i sometimes find it hard because i have so much love and passion for my business and sometimes get tempted using university time for business but really it is hard, i don’t even have the right term to use, lets me put it this way, it is hard to work hard.
On that Note, what do you think it takes to become a successful entrepreneur?
I know this is such a boring, repeated, cliché answer, everyone says it, but as someone up and coming i understand where people say it, you need to be dedicated, determined and work hard, i know that’s such a boring answer and i wish i had something hot and fresh to say but that’s the ingredients, you want to make that recipe, that’s the ingredients.
Apart from your company, Is there any other company out there that you admire the most?
That’s a really good question, I would say probably the Rocawear Brand, I like that brand, i really admire them, i think it was established in 1999 and for it to be where it is now, that’s really really cool, I’m not going to go into details of what they’ve done, a company like that is what i like, obviously i prayed for success and i don’t want overnight success.
Do you have any books or audios you read that you would like to suggest to our readers?
The most inspiring is the Bible, it really his, everything you want to know, and everything you need to know is in there. If you’re a Muslim, take the Quran, those spiritual books really help.
What’s the best advice that you’ve been given so far?
The best was to be patient because I’m such an eager person, I’m always like click click bang bang, everything to be done quick quick.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
In the next 5-10 years, i would have graduated, i would be a chartered marketer, bought myself a house, MATRIS ESTUS will be a recognised jewellery store, and I would have a food chain, those five things I’m cool with them.
Do you have any tips for upcoming entrepreneurs as yourself?
To definitely have some form of spirituality in yourself because it goes a long way and don’t let little things get to you to fall back, i know its easier said than done but if you have something in your head, tell someone, someone you trust of course to help you tweak it and make it better.
I hope to see a lot more female entrepreneurs because its so typical to see a lot of guys doing their thing, so would love to see a lot of ladies coming out with their stuff.
Finally before we finish what should we be expecting from you and M.E in the nearest future?
You should be expecting a watch; we’re going to be branching out into watches, water resistant watches, right now we specialise in rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
SO yeah, brand exposure and recognition internationally and expansion
Thank you char for your time.
Thanks for having me