What began as a student side hustle has become a fully-fledged business with an online community of more than 30,000 people. There are now seven people in their team, plus contractors.
All products are created by Afrocenchix, tested externally and then made in-house. This meant that Afrocenchix could keep operations going when the first lockdown was announced.
“Rachael and I are very resourceful - we’re good at making lemonade from lemons. You have to be very adaptable when you run a small business,” says Joycelyn. “It’s really important to understand what your customers want and go and meet them there, rather than continuing to do things in a traditional way when the market is changing.”
The co-founders decided to apply for a Bounce Back Loan with Starling to meet growing customer demand and make sure they had adequate cash flow to pay their team. “I thought applying for the loan would be long and tedious, but it wasn’t. The checks were easy and then the money came in about two or three days later.”
Matt Lloyd: Greycat Associates
As a Paralympic athlete, both in ice hockey and sitting volleyball, Matt Lloyd has huge amounts of drive and ambition, not only for his own consultancy Greycat Associates, but for all the businesses he advises. Matt, 48, started the consultancy with his wife Ruth, 40, in 2017 after they decided to close the skating rinks they had created, designed for roller skates which replicated ice skates but worked on multiple surfaces, not just ice.
“At the end of 2016, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which was a bit of a blow, as I already had spina bifida. It wasn’t practical for us to run the rinks anymore. We decided to focus on what we were really good at - supporting and nurturing new and existing businesses,” he says. “Ruth has a background in law and criminal justice, I have a background in systems thinking and journalism..”
It was partly through journalism that Matt first became involved with ice hockey. “As an 18-year-old, I had a load of friends who played ice hockey and roller hockey - I reported on matches for local newspapers,” he says. “I came across the Paralympic version of ice hockey, which I never knew existed, in my early 30s and thought I would be too old. But within 18 months, I was representing Great Britain at the 2006 Winter Olympics.”