Stephanie Dickson is a marketer, event organiser and avid connector of conscious individuals and brands. She is the founder of The Wedge Asia, a leading platform that connects conscious brands with conscious people through a series of events. They are building a community for people who want to live more consciously by providing bite-sized information through their three slices of inspiration, knowledge and action.
This Saturday, be sure to catch Singapore’s 1st ever conscious festival called Green Is The New Black (GITNB) which Stephanie also co-created. GITNB provides six unique platforms to showcase Singapore’s most innovative trailblazers and local brands across F&B, lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and entertainment sectors.
Since our launch in June 2015 we’ve had over 1000 people attend our events and have reached over 1.3 million people in Singapore and the region.
LadyBoss spoke to Stephanie about her entrepreneurship journey and how GITNB came about.
Q: Tell us about your business, The Wedge Asia. How long you’ve been doing it, and who your customers are?
A: Most people aspire to make a difference but are overwhelmed with opportunities and information. There is so much to learn, so much to do, but where to start? We make it easy, simple and accessible, by organising events, bringing together experts to share bite-sized wedges of wisdom and a whole community of people who want to improve themselves and do good. Think of it as a monthly dose of inspiration, knowledge and action.
We are The Wedge, Singapore’s leading Conscious Community and Green Is The New Black, Asia’s first Conscious Festival. Our mission is to help people to live more consciously and thrive in their most magnificent lives.
Since our launch in June 2015 we’ve had over 1000 people attend our events and have reached over 1.3 million people in Singapore and the region. Our events feature highly accomplished entrepreneurs and experts who have made meaningful change in their industries, won awards and are best selling authors.
Q: What were you doing before entrepreneurship?
A: Before diving into the entreprenurial rollercoaster, I used to plan luxury event and fashion weeks around the region, in Singapore, Bangkok and Vietnam. As someone who has always loved bringing people together and had a passion for fashion, this was a dream job for me, and boy did we have some incredible experiences!
It really was a little bit like ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, where I got to meet some of the most influencial people in fashion from around the region and Europe while being thrown into the deep end and learning very quickly how to swim. One time I went to Paris for a day to meet a designer and return a few stunning couture gowns. It was gruelling, but I can’t imagine a better education and am very grateful for the experience.
Green Is The New Black is our answer – a conscious festival for truth seekers wanting to improve the way they live, work and consume while doing more good in the world.
Q: What’s the idea behind Green Is The New Black?
A: When I quit my previous job, I was on a bit of autopilot and didn’t realise how my choices mattered and how much I could control my path. When I looked at my life, I realised that I was wasting time on things that weren’t important to me, that I was mindlessly buying and there were things in my wardrobe I hadn’t even worn, and that I had a very negative internal chatter. When researching I was shocked at the impact that we as individuals have and was inspired to do something about it.
I started seeking out how people could to be happier and improve their lives. When looking around I found there were others who were seeking too. So, Green Is The New Black is our answer – a conscious festival for truth seekers wanting to improve the way they live, work and consume while doing more good in the world.
It’s a one day festival where we’re bringing together thought leaders and change makers from around the Asia and beyond to transform the way we think through a series of game changing talks. We have also curated over 70 local companies in the marketplace who are going about their business in a more mindful way. And are spotlighting the best of Singapore’s healthy eateries along side live music from local artists. Guests can also go green by getting hands on with one of the workshops.
The idea is to give people a 360 degree look at conscious living, so that no matter where they are on their journey, they can come, meet some cool people doing amazing things, and get the inspriation and the knowledge to take positive action.
Q: Who is your target audience?
A: Our target audience is millennials, both expatriate and Singaporean, predominately female but male as well. People who are curious about making a difference and living better, are searching for something more. They pursue wellness on a daily basis, are curious to find out the story behind a brand and meet people who are leading the way. No matter where people are on their exploration, they can join us and take it to the next level or have a refresher.
Q: In terms of sales and marketing, how do you reach your customers, and what works?
A: In the beginning Facebook was a wonderful tool for us to reach our community, one our events reached 150,000 people! However, now it is very saturated, with so many notifications and event invites daily, and with Facebook’s constantly changing the goal posts it can be difficult to keep up. Now we always run targeted ads to reach our followers each month for our next event and send out newsletters which works for us.
Word of mouth is one of the best form of marketing for us. So we work on building relationships with our loyalists and they become advocates for our events which is invaluable. The other is partnerships through our network – collaboration is the future of business. There are so many incredible people creating complimentary products and services to ours, so we work together – there is power and strength in numbers. If we can share, to help someone else out, or introduce our community to something that we truly believe in, why wouldn’t we?
Consistency is a big focus. Consistently turning up each week, whether through a newsletter, event, videos etc, because consistently not only reminds your customers that you exist on a regular basis, it also builds trust, and trust is the basis of all relationships.
Ultimately I would like Green Is The New Black to become the go to place and event for all things conscious with a global community of people who support each other and pioneering conscious living.
Q: How many people are you expecting at the event?
In 2015, our inaugural Green Is The New Black, we had over 600 people join us. This year we are estimating over 1500, but of course you can never really predict the numbers for an event that is free and open to the public.
The TALKS are ticketed and the capacity of the room is 160. We have 3 Tracks exploring a 360 degree look at conscious living from Being, Doing and Having with over 20 thought leaders from around the world.
Q: Where do you see the future of GITNB? Ultimately what is your vision for GITNB?
The great thing about being a young business with lots of flexibility is the ability to grow and adapt. I definitely see us pivoting slightly in the next 6 months to provide more value in between the events and developing a deeper eco-system for Green Is The New Black.
When I look to the future, I want to have two pillar events which bring together people region wide and have other Wedge chapters in different cities to spread and support the conscious movement across Asia. Ultimately I would like Green Is The New Black to become the go to place and event for all things conscious with a global community of people who support each other and pioneering conscious living.
Q: Tell us about your Number 1 business challenge?
Our biggest challenge is having a big vision and a tiny team. There is so much we want to do but we have to be realistic about our time, skillset and actually being kind to ourselves on what is possible in what time. Its important for us to be realistic about what can be done in a certain period of time and being okay with things not going exactly to plan.
Time is always the enemy for young businesses so its about changing the mindset on this, and putting into place productivity hacks and also lessening the pressure so that moral is still kept high.
I truly believe that if each of us were a little more conscious in just a few aspects of our lives we’d be happier, healthier and lessen our burden on the planet.
Q: As an entrepreneur, what motivates you personally?
Great question. Each month at our events, there is always at least one person who comes up to me to thank me for putting the event together – something shifted for them or they felt like a speaker was speaking right too them or they made an invaluable connection or got clarity or motivation on something they were searching for. That makes me feel like I have done my job and that all the sweat (and sometimes tears!) has been worth while. I truly love bringing people together and providing a platform for people to share their stories, to learn, to be inspired and to then take action to live more consciously.
I truly believe that if each of us were a little more conscius in just a few aspects of our lives we’d be happier, healthier and lessen our burden on the planet. Figuring out how I can bring more value and create better events and experiences to promote conscious living really motivates me.
Q: What would be your advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs?
I will quote the words of someone who has been a huge inspriationg to me, Marie Forleo. When I first heard this it was a game changer for me ‘Clarity comes form engagement not thought’ – if you are aspiring to be an entreprenur, just start taking action. You will not get clarity from thinking and planning the whole time, you need to take baby steps towards what you think it is you want to do, and pretty soon you will build momentum, pivot and be on track to what you really want to do.
The other piece of advice is be sure that you are ready to sacrifice, as building a business is a lot of work and commitment. You are stepping onto a rollercoaster, there will be incredible highs and most likely incredible lows, but if you keep taking action, putting one step in front of the other, nothing can stop you – well except maybe you. So always believe in yourself.