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Sophie Hughes, Glowb

Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Sophie Hughes, Glowb

British plus-size model, body positivity advocate and beauty brand Founder Sophie Hughes. After donating part of her liver to her nephew, Sophie was left with a seven-inch scar down her midriff, she wears her scar with pride and is keen to show others that everybody and every body is beautiful.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

Glowb is a collection of British made and vegan skincare products that transform your skin and remind you of your self-worth. Our mission is to redefine beauty and help people love themselves exactly as they are. We are building a brand that breaks the mould and encourages people to step into their own self-love journey.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

I’ve been modelling since I was 15 and had been living in Australia for 5 years when I got a phone call to say that our worst fears as a family had come true and that my baby nephew was severely ill. After he spent months on the liver transplant list I agreed to donate part of my liver and flew 10,000 miles from Australia back to Manchester.

We both made a full recovery and post-procedure my weight changed and I was left with a seven-inch scar down my midriff. I was riddled with insecurities after the operation, refusing to let anyone see it. This was the beginning of my body positivity advocacy and I now wear my scar with pride.

How did you achieve awareness?

I’ve always been vocal about the importance of body inclusivity in fashion and beauty and use my own platforms to spread the message of loving the skin you’re in. I had a dream to build a brand, and product range, that helps people feel beautiful exactly as they are.

Hashtags and social media movements help people stay connected in the movement but I believe it is time to consistently keep challenging, and redefining beauty standards, and glowb is here to lead the way.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

We’re self-funded and I’m really proud of this, I worked hard to save enough to launch but was not 100% happy with the packaging.

I had the end goal in sight and worked harder to get enough sales to finally move the packaging into 100% recyclable glass bottles. I remember listening to a podcast that said “if you launch with your dream product, dream branding etc you’ve launched too late”. You have to jump and keep jumping until you land somewhere you can be proud of.

What are the key successes?

Grit and determination – passion and unwavering persistence, I saw a gap in the market, a way to drive body positivity forward, and I wasn’t willing to give up.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

First talks of launching glowb came in early 2020 when the pandemic hit I, like everyone else, had no idea what was going to lie ahead.

We launched in September 2020, and honestly, launching a business in the middle of a pandemic was not for the faint-hearted, global supply chain issues almost crippled us.

With little to no experience starting a business, no outside investment and a global pandemic it was a huge risk launching glowb – there was just so much uncertainty

I was also living in Sydney for the first year of running the business, so 2 am ZOOM meetings followed by 5 am alarms were a reality for me. My phone was on loud all night in case of an emergency and in those early months, the burnout was real.

What are your plans now/for the future?

I feel having a body care routine is just as important as having a skincare routine, so we’re looking at launching a body moisturiser and scrub duo with a fun new scent all packaged in the aluminium tubes similar to our “Not Another Pink Mask”.

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

You are enough. Remind yourself every day because sometimes others and even yourself will fill you with self-doubt and will try to keep you small. You have to be bold and know your worth and your own capabilities, you are enough and you can do this.

Speak your truth even if your voice shakes. Never stay quiet on the things that matter to you or your business, of course, listen and collaborate with others but your business is your baby. If you don’t agree with something or would like to understand certain elements better then speak out.

Ride the wave. There’s nothing that can truly prepare you for owning your own business, it brings with it the highest of highs and crushing lows. Just remember the lows is where you learn all your greatest lessons. Be prepared to hold on tight and don’t be scared to rock the boat.

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

Nobody is coming to save you. I say this to myself multiple times a day, if you want to be wildly successful it’s on you, no one is going to do it for you, the people around you will support you, love you and pick you up off the floor but it’s on you. Get to work.

Follow your gut. Thanks to trusting my gut in my professional life it leads me to where I need to be and launching my brand. I’ve used my gut when making a six-figure business decision which means I can make decisions quite quickly and be cut-throat but as an entrepreneur, you have to be. I encourage everyone to lean in and trust their gut when making decisions. It has not failed us so far and within the first 12 months of launch, we turned over £2.6 million.

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?

Of course, I have to mention my sister and my mum. My sister is the most resilient person I’ve ever met, she has an unwavering ability to “get it done” and it inspires me daily.

My mum has a heart of gold, she has made so many sacrifices for me over the years and honestly, you’ll never meet anyone who is a bigger “Fan Girl”.

Oprah Winfrey, I listen to every word this woman says. She has so much wisdom to share and the most beautiful, wholesome outlook on life. Brene Brown, I learnt everything I know about leadership and resilience from her and when it comes to managing a team if this woman says “JUMP” I say “How High?”.

Sarah Nicole Landry, she’s a content creator, motivational speaker and body positive advocate, she inspires me every day to keep it real and to practise self-love.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

“If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked I am not interested in your feedback”. Brene Brown.

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?

GLOWB IG: https://www.instagram.com/glowb.shop/

GLOWB WEBSITE: https://glowb.shop/

SOPHIE HUGHES IG: https://www.instagram.com/sophwithlove/