Wednesday, 14 January 2015

NEW! Reward for Social Entrepreneurs

1. Are you aged 18-30 or work with people in this age group or support people into training, employment or education?

2. Would you like a programme that gives you access to successful entrepreneurs?

3. Would you like a business coach who will give you one-to-one support on your business performance?

4. Would you like access to large networking events relevant to your area of interest?

5. Would you like to attend a series of workshop tailored to key business issues i.e. financial forecasting, cash flow or even pricing?

6. Are you based in London or Yorkshire?

If you answer YES to the above questions then EY Foundation Accelerate programme is for YOU. Accelerate offers unrivalled opportunity to access some of the best business expertise to help you grow your social enterprise. The programme is tailored for up to 18 months of support that include access to: Business Coach, Investment Panels, Workshops and Networking events. 

Click HERE for more information about the programme and how to apply 

Should you have any questions, please contact Accelerate Team: 
T> +44 (0) 20 7951 3133


UnLtd (2014) Accelerate- our programme for social entrepreneurs [online] [Accessed: 13th January 2015].

Image: Eighteen Forever

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Student Enterprise Conference

The National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs presents The Student Enterprise Conference. In its second year and already the biggest student enterprise conference in Europe. The conference brings together students and graduates from Colleges and Universities across the UK for a weekend of inspiration, networking and practical workshops. This is useful if you are establishing a business or just want to meet like-minded people who will inject flame of entrepreneurism to your already enterprising mind-set.

This event will take place at Liverpool John Moores University on January 31st- February 1st 2015. For more information or to get a ticket, please follow this link>

Image: NACUE 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Are You A Pessimist or An Optimist

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty”- Winston Churchill

It’s no secret that the twenty-first century has brought with it difficult social issues. You only need to walk down the streets of your city to see the proof. But, as the great Winston Churchill said- “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty”. When the economy gets tough, some people are more conscious about how they spend money i.e. to book a holiday or not to book a holiday on that credit card you still haven’t paid off. Others choose to do something about it, like start a business to tackle those social and economic issues. The rise of social enterprises since the UK recession of 2008 has significantly increased and so is the contribution to the economy. Between 2008 and 2010, there was an estimated 55,000 social enterprises in the UK with a contribution of £8.7bn every year to the economy- that’s 1% of annual GDP (Startups, 2013). However, latest government estimate shows that there are 70,000 social enterprises, employing a million people in the UK (Social Enterprise UK, 2013). Equally important, they contribute £24bn to the economy and have recently gained support of the Treasury through tax incentive for investments (Social Enterprise UK, 2013). An example of a social enterprise is Jamie Oliver (high profile UK Chef) training restaurants for young people in the UK. Findings from Social Enterprise UK recent research revealed that 32% of social enterprises increased their turnover in 2012. Majority of them work locally and around 38% are established in most deprived areas (Social Enterprise UK, 2013).
Founder and Creative Director of Eighteen Forever
Optimists are people who see opportunities in any difficult situation. This does not mean they are born equipped to address those difficulties. Let’s take starting a business for instance, you need the right tools to start a business but most importantly, you need to ‘believe’ in what you want to do. Starting a social enterprise is no comic experience even though it’s a not-for profit business. Not-for profit (NPO) organisations are those who reinvest surpluses in the business instead of distributing to shareholders. Reinvesting surpluses back into business could help with expansion i.e. capacity building, product/ service innovation, branding to list but a few. There are five key tools you need to start a business- market research, market testing (pilot study), finance, branding and business strategy.

Market research is a common terminology used by marketeers and business people. It’s a serious term that is mostly casually used. Market research is finding out what’s currently available in your market of interest. For example, if you want to start a fashion business, you need to understand the current trends, issues, opportunities, manufacturers, sourcing and logistics relevant to the fashion industry. It’s not about what you ‘think’ the industry needs, it’s about ‘what’ the industry ‘needs’. Following your successful market research, you should conduct a pilot study. This is an opportunity to bring your potential clients together in a focus group format to get a construct view of their needs and interest. Be careful of exposing your project to potential dreamers. Someone might just copy your idea! Ask them about their shopping habits, what attracts them to a fashion brand, what they would wear and so on. This will give you a good idea of what you should offer and how. Following this, you need to search for funding available to help with your business. There are lots of independent organisations and banks offering financial support. For fashion, visit UKFT, UK Business Grants, Small Business Sector and British Fashion Council website for more information about grants and support.  Make sure you have a project plan outlining your business expenditures, products idea, draft of your pilot study and other useful information that will show your business is worth the investment. Now you have your finance sorted, its time for you to create an identity for your emerging business. Basically what you want your brand to look like, how you want people to perceive your brand. This includes business name, logo design, colour, labels and so on (these should also be in your project plan but a structured branding approach will be required). It is important to get this right because without it, you have no brand. Business strategy is intertwined with your branding strategy. You need to consider your target market i.e luxury or ready-to-wear. Don’t forget to add this question in your pilot study.   

To conclude, we can all identify with pessimist and optimist but we all like to say we are optimist. Been optimistic alone is not enough to be successful. Doing something about an opportunity will make a difference. So start with your market research and work towards executing your data.

Author: Eighteen Forever
Got a question? Email- or leave a comment below.

Social Enterprise UK (2013) “The people’s business: state of social enterprise survey 2013”. [Online] [Accessed: 5th January 2015].

Startups (2013) “Social enterprise statistics”. [Online] [Accessed: 5th January 2015].

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Thank you for making 2014 a great experience. It was an amazing year. Love the ups and few down moments. What would life be like without tests and lessons to be learned. What was important is Your support. Thank you so much once again.

Wish you and yours a fashionable and prosperous 2015 and beyond.

Peace & Love, EF xoxox

Designs by Eighteen Forever

Image: Eighteen Forever 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Celebrity Fashion Check: Don’t Get Arrested

We make good choices and bad choices, and sometimes suffer the consequence as a result.  That includes the world of fashion!  You can pick the right outfit and look amazing or you can make a bad choice in wearing the wrong colour, length or size. You can only be one thing when this happen, a fashion disaster! 
Most women love fashion and shopping, including me!  I love coordinating outfits and choosing matching accessories and shoes. Let’s not forget ladies, hairstyle is also a part of style and this should be considered when styling. It doesn’t get much better than that. I have always been a “girlie girl”, not a tomboy. I blame my mother.  When I was younger, my mother will dress me in cute outfits.  I had no choice in what I wanted to wear as the kids of today do. My mother made me wear dresses to school every day or wear dress pants, or back in my day, they were called dress slacks.  I was only allowed to wear jeans on gym days.  My mother was still making me wear dresses on the first day of school when I was in the 6th grade. At the time, I hated wearing dresses but the damage had already been done by the time I reached high school I was hooked on fashion, making sure everything matched or I had the most unique outfit.  I wanted my outfits to be different from anyone else’s.  I am still like that today!  I am a fashion junkie and shopaholic!  And don’t get me started on shoes!   
People judge you by your appearance. We all do it….we sit with friends looking through magazines, online journals and even TV as we praise or critique celebrities on their fashion choices. True fashions divas do that. We just can’t help it!  But it’s a useful exercise to help fashion losers back on track. Why else would we do it?  Even the wealthiest of the stars who can afford to buy from the top designers, make terrible fashion choices. When that happens, they definitely need to be arrested by Fashion Police. I am here to help make that call.  Officer Cynthia is here to police celebrity fashion so sit back and enjoy the ride in the fashion patrol car! 
Let me start by saying Happy Holidays and Jingle Bells.  Speaking of Jingle, let’s start cruisin’ the fashion streets at the 2014 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball on December 12, 2014.
Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift was definitely rockin’ that plaid!  Now if you were raised in the 1960’s or 1970’s and your mother always made you wear plaid, like mine did, you may be allergic to this outfit but Taylor looks cute!
Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea, cute boots!  That’s all I can say!  O.K., let me go a step further the belt was cool!  That is all!  She needs a fashion ticket for that fish net of a mess! 
Charli XCX
We drive by singer-songwriter, Charli XCX on the red carpet!  Is this a Fredrick’s of Hollywood outfit?  I’m not going to lie, I would wear this, but in the boudoir!  I’m not sure if the public should have seen her puffs!  I give Charli a Fashion Warning!  You may proceed with caution.
Pharell Williams
Pharell- What can I say?  He beats to his own drum and I respect that. Just not with this outfit!  I know men think it is okay to wear pink, but someone has lied to you. It’s not okay. Sorry Pharell, you are under fashion arrest for this mess!  I’m not even going to discuss those ripped jeans, hope you just ripped up some old jeans and didn’t spend money on those!  But I do like your hat though!
Nick Jonas
Nick Jonas, what a cutie pie!  He looks adorable!  Simple colours and a classic look!  Love the blazer and over the white shirt, casually dropped on his denim. Finally someone with some fashion sense! 
Hope you enjoyed the short patrol drive by the Jingle Ball! Let me know your thoughts via the comment box. Thank you....

Author: Cynthia Rogers
Image credit: Getty Images for iHeartRadioMedia

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Submit a Guest Post

Eighteen Forever (EF) welcomes posts from experienced writers of Beauty, Business and Fashion. This is a great opportunity to gain new followers, and for EF readers to learn from you. Ideally, your post must not have been previously published. There is a guideline with more detail about the process. 

If you're interested, please email for a Guest Blogger Guideline.

Image: not #eighteenforever

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

British Fashion Awards 2014

The British Fashion Awards 2014 took place yesterday at the London Coliseum. The event saw top fashion names in attendance including CFA Fashion Icon 2014 Rihanna Fendi. The best dressed was Emma Watson. She has managed to successfully reinvent herself over the past year. She was due to receive an award at the event, this outfit just confirms why she deserves to be recognised for her new found style identity. Well done Ems
Emma Watson in a white jumpsuit with an oversized black jac


Joan Small, Rihanna, Naomi Campbell and guest

Anna Wintour OBE
Here are your winners at BFA 2014
Model of the Year- Cara Delevingne
Brand of the Year - Victoria Beckham
British Style Award- Emma Watson
International Designer - Nicolas Ghesquière
Womenswear Designer of the Year- Erdem
Menswear Designer of the Year- J.W. Anderson
Emerging Womenswear Designer- Marques'Almeida
Emerging Menswear Designer- Craig Green
Emerging Accessory Designer- Prism
Red Carpet Designer- Alexander McQueen
New Establishment- Simone Rocha
Establishment- Preen
Accessory Designer of the Year- Anya Hindmarch
Special Recognition- Chris Moore
Special Recognition Award- Anna Wintour OBE
Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator- Edward Enninful

BFA After-party

Rihanna doing one of many things she does best- party!

Joan, Kendall, Cara and Jourdan

Anna and the girls.....

Somebody needs a cab.....
Image credit: Dave Benett & Daily Mail