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Hip Hop Brunch LDN founder speaks to The Voice

GIRL BOSS: Hip Hop LDN Co-Founder Carmella Stanbury

Q: How did the concept behind Hip Hop LDN come about?

Carmella Stanbury: After the success of Hip Hop Brunch, ‘Hip Hop LDN’ was born, a lifestyle company that further allowed us to propel our ideas and our love of all things Hip Hop.

Underneath the Hip Hop LDN umbrella sits Hip Hop Brunch, Hip Hop Zoo club night, Hip Hop Sauce (Hot sauce) Eat This ( TV Show ) ICONS (our art project aimed at making art more affordable for generation X ) HHL clothing and Garage Brunch.

Q: Hip Hop Brunch LDN has become a massive success, but I've always wondered: Why brunch?

CS: Brunch was the vehicle that we felt enabled us to catapult Hip Hop back into the London scene. We had no other option; we love Hip Hop, we love food, we knew so many people who felt the same way as we did, and venues wouldn't allow Hip Hop in the evening! Hip Hop was completely shut out of many West End clubs.

Q: I read that you launched Hip Hop LDN out of frustration of the lack of clubs playing hip-hop music in London. Do you feel that has now significantly changed? and if so, how has this affected your business?

CS: It has most definitely changed - Our DJs are now playing Hip Hop in all the top West end venues through the weeks and weekends. It hasn't affected our business at all, we are always growing to fill the demand. And to be honest I say the more Hip Hop around the better. It feels a lot more like the 90s when Hip Hop culture was in the forefront, being talked about and being accepted. We couldn't be happier about this, and pleased to have been a part of that change.

Tell us more about your working relationship with your business partner Ollie Twist - who does what?

CS: Ollie and I have worked together for 6 years now. We first worked as songwriters and producers in the UK and LA, and the idea of the brunch came about from our trips to LA. There was so much Hip Hop playing, we needed it here in London. Ollie is Creative Director and basically a mad genius. He comes up with about 25 ideas a minute and when he is inspired he can be found working alone in a room drawing his ideas and making accompanying music. I am more operations. I finesse his ideas so they can become a reality and then grow them into brands with our team.

What are some of the highlights and challenges of working on Hip Hop LDN?

CS: Some of the highlights are watching our ideas grow into exciting brands, adding a small part to the history of the culture we love and respect. Winning awards and the support from some of Hip Hop and entertainment's icons is a major highlight for us also.

One of our challenges is that we are a startup and we have had no investment, so it has been challenging to expand by ourselves, but it does mean we can feel prouder of ourselves for what we have achieved.

Where do you see the brand in five years?

CS: In five years, I see Hip Hop LDN as a leading premium brand internationally. We have so much in the pipeline and we cant wait for you to see it all. From our Hip Hop Sauce to the TV show ‘Eat This’ launching this year and we're also expanding our events to the US!

What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?

CS: Keep other amazing and talented females around you, hire women, grow with women, mentor women - we must be the change we want to see. My team is predominately women and the men in my team are all feminists. Women are extremely important to all parts of our business, from the legal to ops to business development and creative.

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