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SPOTLIGHT: MDMflow Founder Florence Adepoju

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

After graduating from London College of Fashion with a degree in Cosmetic Science, Florence launched make up brand MDMflow, which has taken the beauty industry by storm. Starting off with handmade lipsticks, MDMflow became known for it's signature gold packaging and bold colour offerings which encapsulates the essence of 90's to early 2000's hip-hop. After only 3 years on the scene, MDMflow is now stocked in Harvey Nichols, Colette Paris and even on Nasty Gal to name a few. Featured on the likes of Vogue and Cosmopolitan, there's no doubt that Florence is one to watch.

We caught up with the beauty boss to discuss what inspires her, how she started her business and more...

Lipstick in 'Bossy' 
How did you start MDMflow?
I knew that I wanted to run a beauty business a while before I started MDMflow, so one of the first things I did was read up on successful brands in my industry and study their growth patterns. Once I started creating lipsticks as part of my final year project and was sure it was what I wanted, I registered as a business and applied for a loan from my university. I developed lipsticks as part of my dissertation and got amazing reactions from my peer group. I sourced the packaging, set up social media pages and launched that summer.

Liquid Matte Lipsticks
What does 24 hours look like for you?
I wake up at 6.30am most days, check my emails and Slack which is an awesome app I use to communicate with my team. I generally start working from bed on busy days or if it's not so busy I go downstairs and make breakfast. By 9.30am, I hop on the train and head down to my office in a shared working space in Hackney. Now that I'm not formulating everyday and more focused on growing the business it's mostly desk based stuff and meetings. However every day is different. I like working into the evening and leave the office between 7pm - 9pm.

We’re aware your products are handmade using formulas you’ve created yourself, how much of your time is spent creating product, developing and testing?
I spend a lot less time in the lab now as I am working on the more structural elements of my business. When I am in the lab I try to block out a day or 2 just focused on formulating. I also regularly set up meetings with suppliers to look at new ingredient technology even when I am not in the lab.


Lipstick in 'Mas Marina'
What challenges have you faced along the way, and how have you overcome them?
There are so many challenges that spring up in running a new business, but allocation of resources is probably the biggest. Everything is stretched all the time, specifically time and money. The best way to overcome this is taking time out to think and plan. Pressure can really cloud your judgment sometimes.

Who and what inspires you?
I'm inspired by women who live out their dreams despite all odds. I am also inspired by people who are sacrificial in looking out for others and the planet we live on. Ai-jen Poo the director of the National Dosmetic Workers Alliance is a massive inspiration to me at the moment.

What is your most proud moment to date?
I'm extremely proud of launching my range in Australia with a massive retailer out there. It was super cool to meet the staff out there and visit stores. A massive reminder of how far my business has come.
Liquid Matte Lipsticks
What would you say to a young woman trying to start up her own company? And what are the three attributes would you say she needs to be successful?
Build yourself up, self confidence counts for a lot. I don't think I could narrow down necessary traits to only 3 things, it takes a lot out of you and there isn't really a way to fully prepare. Be resourceful and don't give up.

What do you wish you knew before you started the entrepreneurial journey?
I wish I knew all the support that is out there for small business owners, I did so much in the beginning feeling completely on my own, its taken me a while to join and create support networks.
Lipstick in 'Vamp'
Where do you see MDMflow 10 years from now?
I see MDMflow as a community of women who are bold and audacious in how they represent themselves. My product line would be a lot more extensive and we'd be a leading brand in the industry promoting confidence, self expression and diversity.

What advice would you give to The Beauty Run readers who are interested in starting their own beauty/cosmetics line? 
Don't get overwhelmed by your dreams, keep working on it and refining it.

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