Dominique is the co-founder and Creative Director of UPROSA. Her business ventures started at age 15 when she created an ice cream parlour & café with her mum on the Isle of Wight. She then went on to university and is now studying for a DPhil in Nanoscience at the University of Oxford whilst she pursues UPROSA, a brand that aims to bring real science into the consumer market with a range of fashion & tech accessories created with real scientific imagery. UPROSA's mission is to communicate scientific research with striking, visual products, while supporting scientific researchers by donating 15% of the profits back to the scientist who created the design.
This piece originally appeared on Enterprising Oxford.
What is your background? Why are you doing this?
I am the Creative Director of UPROSA and am currently studying for a DPhil in Nanoscience. I have trouble sticking to one category of work as my background is quite multidisciplinary; I'm interested in science, business, and art. So this is my approach to doing all three!
What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
An entrepreneur to me is someone who is a free-thinker, someone who generates ideas and brings them to life, making their own decisions along the way and following their instinct.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened! I had an opportunity and I took it – I felt like I had lots of ideas to bring to the table. It couldn’t have happened without a great team though: I wouldn’t have been able to build a company on my own.
So what would you say are the top skills that are needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
Creativity – entrepreneurship is all about generating ideas and thinking outside the box. Also good analytical skills – this ranges from decision-making to identifying risks (and taking them anyway).
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
Being my own boss! Jokes aside, being able to work on your own ideas and add your personality.
What individual, company or organisation inspires you most? Why?
Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop has always been one that stuck out for me, I love the idea that you can create a commercially successful business that also tackles a real problem at the same time
If you could have 5 minutes with Anita Roddick, what would you want to ask or discuss?
I would want to know how she established the balance between an ethical business and a profitable one.
What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
For me, the most successful moment wasn't been the first sales or any particularly key milestones. The most satisfying moment so far was seeing the reaction we got from friends that we shared our idea with at the beginning when they saw where our company was now, 9 months down the line. It was great to have really positive feedback from people that had initial doubts or didn’t quite get our idea, but can see it now.
What would you say have been some of your mistakes as an entrepreneur?
Worrying about things being perfect: this caused us to waste a lot of time concentrating on minor details and building the perfect website instead of just getting it out there and making improvements as we go along.
What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxford? And what is bad?
The Oxford Launchpad is the best thing about being an entrepreneur in Oxford. We consider ourselves very lucky to have access to a great working space where you can meet other entrepreneurs and get lots of business advice, and there are always great events and opportunities around.
If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship information or resources in Oxford, where would you send them?
The Oxford Launchpad – where else?!
Any last words of advice?
If you want to come up with a catchy slogan for your business, just do it.