The First Lady Meets…Jennifer Williams-Baffoe of Willbaforce and Creative Cornucopia

Jennifer Williams-Baffoe CEO of Willbaforce and Creative Cornucopia

Photography:  Agenda

Jennifer has done a lot in her career, so we need to contextualise it first…In summary what is your creative background and how did this lead you into creative business consultancy?

Although I trained as a designer, with a view to establishing my own business and brand, the decision to support businesses and their employees, was a result of my own journey into this industry. Initially working within a factory in Islington at the age of 15, followed by studying at The London College of Fashion & Central Saint Martins.  After working in retail for a short time, I got my first chance with the organisation, The Apparel & Textile Challenge (now known as The Industry Forum) and worked with The British Fashion Council (Sister company to A&TC).  Some of my proudest moments was when my work at the British Fashion Council was acknowledged by Drapers Record.  Being referred to as a person ‘Running the Industry’s Dating Agency’.  When I produced The Designer Manufacturing Handbook, a best practice guide to working with manufacturers and a directory of UK clothing manufacturers. I realised that I had acquired some business acumen whilst working in the creative industry for over 16 years which would enable me offer guidance and assist people to set up their own ventures.

Photography: Rob Sheppard

What are Willbaforce and Creative Cornucopia and what services do you offer?

I am currently CEO of Willbaforce Ltd, a business development consultancy for the Fashion and Creative Industries. The company was established in 2004 to support businesses and employees within the sector who were struggling to survive and compete against ever increasing cheaper imports.

Creative Cornucopia is a sales arm for Willbaforce in the sense that we offer sales and showcasing opportunities to creatives via Pop up Shops, Showcasing and/or sales events.

What is the one thing you recommend before starting a business (apart from seeing you!)?

Research, research and more research and then planning.  I know its now a coined phrase but it is true “Fail to plan and you plan to fail” and of course my top tip ……Enjoy Yourself!!!

What are your plans for Willbaforce and Creative Cornucopia over the next year?

We are working on the development of some international business projects with AFFORD, The London College of Fashion and other organisations (publications) I’m not allowed to talk about just yet but it’s all very exciting. I will also continue to lecture at The London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins as well as working with some youth groups – so keeping busy! Sign up to the website for updates – www.willbaforce.com.

I will be delivering online business courses for creatives via Creative Cornucopia and University of the Arts London and developing additional sales opportunities on a monthly basis via our “Ladies Night” network.  Ladies Night is a networking event in conjunction with the swanky Park Plaza Hotel Westminster.  I will keep busy and have fun at the same time. I will also be furthering the work that I do in Africa on a business development project with The AFFORD charity.  This is under wraps at the moment but I will let you know in due course, it’s all very exciting. 2012 and beyond here we come!

 Where can we find you?

Website: www.willbaforce.com and www.creativecornucopia.co.uk

Twitter: willbaforceltd and cre8cornucopia

Blog: http://www.willbaforce.com/willbablog/

 I have first hand knowledge of Jennifer’s work as she is my business advisor through the AFFORD “Remade” project.  Jennifer totally gets the creative minds behind creative businesses and is able to refine and contain the creative process enabling you to marry up the often over flowing creativity with sound business sense.  If you have a creative business you just have to attend Jennifer’s workshop at The First Lady Fayre, you just have to! 

By Tamu Thomas