47 Year Old Sadia Sisay is a Sierra Leonean born British woman who launched the award-winning lingerie brand beingU, the only skin tone lingerie brand with the widest range of sizes (28 to 44 back and up to an H cup) and a strapless and backless solution bra.
What were the biggest challenges for you in turning your idea into a business?
The first challenge is getting family and friends to believe you are have not gone crazy! Seriously though, the reaction of your close ones could be the thing that makes some people give up before starting. As long your belief strong, they can be won over. For me, I was going into an area I had no idea about – lingerie. So it took some time to even understand the industry before even starting to go from concept to reality.
Access to funding is incredibly hard, particularly as a small, black female owned business. For a long time, I was told that there is not a need for this product. I think as an African woman I keep getting asked why lingerie. I sometimes feel it is not seen as a ‘serious’ venture. In short, it is your belief that is constantly challenged and that is the only thing that keeps you going, so hard to deal with sometimes.
Would you say your success story is an example of why it is important for women of color to be leaders in business?
I have never underestimated the importance of certain groups seeing themselves represented in the mainstream, in every walk of life. We hear many words of encouragement about being anything you want but if there is lack of representation, it is hard to believe. As a black woman, I knew it would be hard to set up a business but did not realise how hard it would be and continues to be. I know most people struggle with start-ups but black women do have unique challenges and it can be quite easy to just give up. We also have less exposure of our businesses in the mainstream, so hard for other women considering similar paths to see it is being done. So I hope that my story will encourage others to see that gender, colour or age should not hinder, at least trying to branch out on their own.
To celebrate your shade and size check out http://beingu.me/shop/