FROM THE DESK OF OUR FOUNDER
Women have always been made for more and I believe that to be the reason we face a lot of challenges that seem insurmountable but we are strong, resilient, hardworking, and can do whatever we set our minds to.
One woman in history who has inspired me is Madam C.J Walker born Sarah Breedlove. She was an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. She shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the first female self-made millionaire in America at a time when being black posed a lot of challenges. She was an orphan, a child of slaves, worked as a domestic servant, and had little to no opportunity, only three months of formal education.
One could easily say the odds were not in her favour, but she would not be defined by her challenges. She rather used them as fuel for her passion to become much more and further empower other women of colour. How did she achieve her millionaire status you may ask? She achieved this through dedication, hard work, and consistency in the face of rejection with a product as simple as HAIR CREAM.
Today, several women have taken the bulls by the horns and decided not to be defined by their present situation but are truly authentic to who there are because they know they are capable of achieving and becoming much more than just a WOMAN. From the likes of Michelle Obama to my business coach, Mary Fashanu; I am daily inspired.
Hello ladies, my name is Adebukola Salau also known as Arewah. I am a mother to two beautiful girls but beyond that, I am a professional makeup artist, a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about the empowerment of women of colour. I am the founder of Makeemstare_bshow and Make Em’ Stare Business Community. These platforms were birthed out of a strong desire to see women especially those in the black community across the UK succeed and thrive in business. Empowerment and support are the core values of these platforms.
I have always been actively involved in the business since my days as an undergraduate. I utilized every opportunity to engage in the sales of merchandise I knew had a quick turnover. I also equipped myself with the necessary tools and education to become a professional makeup artist. Like every woman here, life has dealt me my fair share of challenges and along with that, the need to take time out to raise a family seemed to have halted my dreams and goals. However, through the support of some women I admire, I quickly realized that raising a family or whatever situation I found myself in at the moment shouldn’t prevent me from becoming all that I knew I could be and much more.
So in 2017, six years after the birth of my first daughter, I started MakeemStare first as a WhatsApp group to share my beauty and fashion expertise with women. While running the group and interacting with the women on board, I observed that a lot of them were entrepreneurs who had a lack of exposure to their business needed to succeed and thrive. They were on the verge of throwing in the towel on their businesses and this motivated me to create an avenue to foster and promote business connections.
In 2018, we hosted our maiden Makeemstare business show exhibition. The event had over 25 registered exhibitors and 22 confirmed exhibitors present on site. For a first event, it was a success. However, like Oliver Twist, I wasn’t satisfied. I knew something was still amiss. As women, we tend to put ourselves on the back burner and every other thing and everyone always comes first. From our spouse, kids, careers, businesses, and families to daily activities.
Our schedules are always chaotic and by the end of the year, we are drained and burned out. In a bid to make sure women had time for themselves outside the lines of work and business, I created MES Christmas Ball as a strategic event held at the end of the year when most women feel overwhelmed to take time off and recover from the stress of the year. It is an annual intimate event to foster conversations, and meaningful connections beyond business while learning and networking in a glamorous, relaxed, and enchanting fine-dining setting.
The following year, we went bigger and hosted the second edition of the MES Business show at Hatfield House, an iconic venue where the Queen was raised as a toddler. Over 35 exhibitors were present. Like every other business in the UK, MES was also affected by the pandemic but that didn’t stop us either. In 2020, we launched the MES Business Directory and held the first largest virtual exhibition in the UK with 22 exhibitors and over 150 attendees. The Christmas Ball however could not be held due to the Covid restrictions. Post-Covid in 2021, we held our first physical exhibition as a family-themed Business exhibition to give exhibitors and their families a breather from being cooped up indoors for a long time.
A journey with a clear vision that started as a WhatsApp group in 2017 has grown with the help of God, focus, determination, hard work, resilience, and a committed community. However, my dream is to have a global presence where women begin to think beyond wealth acquisition to creation, sustainability, investment, economic development, self-improvement, and legacy. Like the Jews, our communities will be behind to keep our money within. To achieve this, I am thrilled to introduce you to the new brand, ‘HER CONNECT HUB’.
HER CONNECT HUB is a global brand for women of colour in business and career, it is a platform where women support each other and develop skills for thriving in business, career, and daily living. These we intend to achieve through webinars, networking events, investment, career masterclass, and partnership. We currently have a partnership with women in the UK, America, and Nigeria at the top of their game in real estate, law, and investment.
At the core of HER CONNECT HUB is the belief in delayed gratification and investment into a lasting economical and financial legacy. We believe global partnership and investment are the future of women’s empowerment. As women of colour, we need to rise above immediate pleasure and overindulgence in material desires to think of investment, real estate, and business/career advancement.
Under the new platform, we would continue to run our business exhibitions and other programs which include:
- Her Connect Exchange Brunch
- Her Connect Experience
- Her Connect Exhibition
- Her Connect E-commerce
HER CONNECT HUB is my passion, a drive to empower women of colour and see their businesses thrive. Join me and let’s all rise together!