A panel that packs a punch

Extract from Cranfield University:

On Thursday 24 February we were thrilled to host a trio of Cranfield alumni, who were back on campus to share the stories of their entrepreneurial journeys with a live and virtual audience. This was the last in our spring series of speaker events, and our guest panel made it a fitting finale.

“In class at Cranfield, I turned to the person next to me, and said, ‘Why don’t they make products for us?” Jessica Parrish

Opening the evening’s line-up was Jessica Parrish [Exec MBA 2016]. Sixty-five percent of the UK population has curly or textured hair, and their needs are woefully underserved. Jessica is determined to change all that. In 2020 she launched Shedid & Parrish, a range of salon hair products that are 100% natural, vegan, and sustainably packaged. Moreover, Shedid & Parrish products are cruelty and scent free. Jessica’s belief in her idea was so powerful that she abandoned a highly successful career in the hospitality industry to devote herself full-time to her start-up. Prior to launching, she invested huge amounts of time in researching and understanding a busy and complex market where big players like L’Oréal dominate. Initially, she had thought about setting up her own hair salon but came to see that the real opportunity was in formulating her own range of branded products, exclusively for salons. She laid the groundwork carefully, building strategic partnerships in the industry. In 2020 she established her credibility and brand awareness by winning a string of high-profile awards. The year after, in February 2021 she launched, and this year is the one in which she will really start to sell. Already the results have outstripped her expectations. Her advice to other budding entrepreneurs?

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