P h e n o m e n a l W o m e n
S A P P H I R E B A T E S
Sapphire Bates, 25, is the founder of the worldwide online platform, The Coven Girl Gang. She is also a public speaker, podcaster and writer. Giving keynotes globally on everything from starting a business to growing a community with impact for brands such as River Island at London Fashion Week and writing articles and columns for magazines like Courier. She has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post and The Evening Standard and was nominated for The Progress 1000 with the ES and Citi Bank in 2018 for her work with The Coven.
Tell us about the Coven Girl Gang
The Coven is a worldwide online membership platform for female founders and freelancers. We provide support and community for women all over.
What inspired you to start Coven Girl
Loneliness! Before The Coven I owned a flower studio called The Flower Arranger, that was my first ever business. I loved running it but it can be so isolating working for yourself, I'd never predicted that. It made me want to create a virtual space where people could come together and chat so that everyone who worked by themselves could have a support network of friends and "colleagues" around them.
There’s a massive wait list of female founders and freelancers waiting to join Covengirlgang, how does that make you feel?
To be honest a whole mixture of feelings... shocked and surprised that so many people like the platform I've created. Excited because I feel like this is a sign that it could really grow from here into something much bigger. Mostly though it makes me feel happy. Happy that I can do something I love and that others love it too.
What advice would you give other women who would love to start their own business?
I always break this down...
Firstly make sure you really want to do this. I'm very transparent about what it's like to run a business, start one, scale one, close one and so on. It's really hard work. I think it's so great that it's so cool to start a business now but social media does make the whole process look like a bit of a walk in the park complete with cute notepads and super Insta worthy meeting locations. In reality, it's a whole lot messier than that and more boring than that. There's so much admin, just a sea of admin. You'll have many boring tasks that won't make you love what you do and it can take a long time to make any money. And it could still fail. Lots of businesses never take off or close within 6 years.
If that made you rethink, even slightly, just for a second then it might not be for you (and that's totally ok). It's a good sign if you read that and thought "I don't care, I'm ready to give this a really good go and see if it works" then you might have what it takes.
If you're ready to do this then just do it. Seems a bit overly simple doesn't it. Make a start. I started my first business in my early twenties with absolutely no knowledge of how to run a business. I knew literally nothing about what I was doing but I just learned as I went.
Business is all about taking risks, almost daily but calculated risks. Do a business plan, see if your idea could actually work financially. Do your market research (as much as you possibly can) to see if people like the idea, if they'd pay money for it. Get some savings together if you can as a backup and then get going. See what happens and improve on the way.
You will never be ready so you just need to start.
Your secret to success please?
My secret to success is there is no secret. You can't cheat your way to success. It comes via hard work (hard work as in working smartly), resilience, and determination. Successful people don't mind failure, they expect it, they learn from it, pick themselves up. It's also a hard question to answer because my success isn't your success. Your success isn't the same as another person reading this right now. Success is very subjective, remember it's ok if your version looks different to everyone else's.
F I R E Q U E S T I O N S
One word to describe yourself
How do you switch off
I read, listen to podcast, watch Netflix or eat good food.
Instagram or Twitter
Instagram, I never have much to say on Twitter.
How can women women empower other women
Support them. See other women as your allies, not your competition. Lift them up. Pass the mic.
The Coven newspaper launches in March. It's set to be the newspaper sharing news from female led businesses around the globe. (https://thecovengirlgang.com)