Establishing a business always starts with a small idea: an adamant decision or a decision taken due to the circumstances. And the latter happened with this inspiring woman leader, Leanne Holder, the owner of BecauseRacecarBox and Vitamin Coffee.
The following conversation with Leanne highlights the circumstances that pushed her to pursue entrepreneurship, taking on the male-dominant industry, and the secret to retaining customers.
Here are the excerpts of the interview:
Please share your journey on becoming a young and proficient leader
It all started when I was made redundant from my job as a strength and conditioning coach. I was suddenly unemployed overnight at the same time as my partner! We needed income quickly and despite having two degrees (BA hons Dance and MSc Strength and Conditioning) there was just no luck when applying!
This is how the first business was formed – in a bid to make some cash and quick! BecauseRacecarBox was built from zero and when we eventually found full time jobs, it was running on the weekends and evenings and in any spare time possible until it grew to the point that I could quit my job and run it full time!
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to entice the target audience?
Diversifying to suit the customers’ needs is most important. Your products are not always going to suit everyone, and it makes total sense to offer something for all budgets and for all types of customers. We have lots of different options on the websites for both businesses.
For example, BecauseRacecarBox offers a subscription service, but you can also buy a one-off box or alternatively individual products from the website to suit all needs and budgets. I have just launched in the last few months the first ever Pink Detailing Collection to target females within the automotive detailing industry and to shift away from the more masculine labels and scents that currently take up the market. Vitamin Coffee also diversifies by having different blends and roasts of both coffee bean and vitamins to suit the individuals tastes and their lifestyles as well!
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle the competition in the market?
This is always tricky as you never know what any competition will do next. Luckily as both businesses are in niche areas there is very limited competition and often this is not direct but only similar which helps. I have always felt that competition is totally healthy, and it does not phase me, it is just making sure that we are always one step ahead as a business.
Keeping things fresh and interesting for the customer so that customer retention is high is probably the best game plan ever; simply never give them a reason to leave. Listening to the customer is also imperative to tackling competition as you need to be wary that competition will be waiting to pounce upon your mistakes!
What are the vital traits that every businesswoman should possess?
I believe that mental strength and an underlying confidence are very important. We are often patronised, looked down upon or not taken seriously and so being confident in your ability whilst also being able to shrug off any negativity is vital! It can be so easy to fold and to feel like you are less worthy of your position than your male business partner simply based on the way others treat you in comparison but with a strong determination to prove people wrong and a thick skin, you will start to totally ignore the comments and equally have a fantastic, well-rehearsed response for them!
What roadblocks or challenges did you face in a corporate setting? And how did you overcome them? Being taken seriously as a woman in comparison to my male business partner has been really difficult, especially when trying to establish the business within the automotive industry as the ‘go-to’ brand.
There have been times when a supplier has come over to chat business; seen me, walked past me, and shaken the hand of my colleague, not even considering that the business could have a female owner in a male-dominated industry. Even customers often start an email with ‘sir, Mr, lad, fella, gents, guys, chaps etc’ perhaps assuming that the company is run by men. This can be extremely frustrating, especially in person!
To overcome this, I have put people in their place by politely introducing myself as an owner of the business but at the same time I have also learnt to not get upset by this. I have tried my hardest through social media to make a stand for females in business and to ensure that people are educated that just because something is in a ‘male dominated’ space it does not mean it is not created by and run by a female!
Have you in any ways contributed towards the cause of women empowerment?
I would like to think so! I actively try to encourage other females to not be frightened to work in a heavily male environment and to push themselves into industries they are interested in regardless of how they may be perceived.
With the launch of the first ever pink detailing collection I hope to have empowered women to feel confident while cleaning their car and to find the process fun and enjoyable without any judgement. I want to motivate, encourage, and inspire other women in business and to ensure that they have the confidence to carry out their days knowing that they are worthy of their position!
How do you cope up with capricious technological trends to boost your personal growth?
I try to keep up with current trends especially with social media and always try to establish myself on each platform as much as possible. I think finding a platform that suits you as your main way of communicating is smart and I have chosen Instagram as my go-to platform; however with new apps being created all the time I am finding myself sharing posts on multiple platforms at a time.
Getting a scheduling app that posts to multiple platforms has really helped save me time; and equally looking for the ‘new thing’ in tech trends has been important. Ultimately, the key is to be one of the first on the app creating content to establish an audience early on! I am very keen on personal branding and know that it is imperative to keep up with all social media and any online platform possible in order to grow this!
What are your future endeavours/objectives and where do you see yourself in the near future?
Scaling the business is the immediate objective at the moment. Hiring staff, creating larger moves within the industries that we sit and increasing our turnover and profit month on month. In the future I want Vitamin Coffee to be a household name and to have been the catalyst that gets people consuming vitamins daily without fail.
I want all detailing enthusiasts to know about BecauseRacecarBox and that we are the brand to trust and to purchase from. I would also personally love to be able to help other women coming into the business world in mentoring and education based on my experience of doing this myself.