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Ones to Watch: Dr Ava Brown, The Mango Girl


Dr Ava Brown

Dr Ava Brown

Dr Ava Brown

What does your company do and what role do you play?

The Mango Girl manufactures and sells handmade natural skincare products that are ingredient and vegan savvy, using my Jamaican grandma’s rustic recipes.

How did the business start and how has it grown?

The business started with me winning ‘Back Her Business’ funding from Ulster Bank a little over a year ago. We have grown exponentially moving from selling just body butters to having a range of products, as well as selling to customers across Europe and other parts of the world.

What is your background?

My background is as colourful and diverse as I am tropical of course, it includes careers including working in telecoms, being a banker, retail manager, sales manager, author, speaker and trainer coach. I have spoken on stages with some of the biggest names there are, and a keynote at Google. I’ve had audiences of up to 15,000 at one go. I have lived and have taken the transferable skills over to The Mango Girl.

What do you do differently from your competition and what are your strengths?

I am very present in my business. We are nimble, and we realise our clients love that, so customer service is a key for us. We also listen to our clients – that way our products are client-led and developed. My strengths are that I am very resilient, and I visualise what I want daily, I have carried over empowerment into the brand, so I send empowering messages to our clients.

Who are your main customers?

Our main customers are women and families who are ingredient savvy and want chemical free products, but also want fewer products in their bathroom cabinets. Our signature body butter line is ‘top-to-toe’, a one stop shop for all occasions.

Do you have a target in mind in terms of where you want the business to grow?

I most certainly would like to attract an angel investor to grow the business to become that household name that one comes to for skincare and hair products that are rustic and clean. We have some amazing products in the lab – one range around menopause, a natural way. If all goes well this should be a game changer.

What challenges have you faced?

If you have seen the reports by the British Business Bank then you will know that funding is the hardest thing for women, then doubly so for BAME women where I fall. I also struggle with networks here in business in my own community.

Who most inspires you?

My inspiration comes from many avenues, it could be the person who never gives up and keeps on going, but to add a famous name as that is what we associate with these types of questions, it would be the likes of Oprah Winfrey, my good friend and Hollywood director Tanya Hamilton, who happens to be Jamaican, and lastly Ursula Burns, former chief executive of Xerox.

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

I see myself as an avid and serial entrepreneur who is heavily in philanthropy. With the business and products empowering other women to be brave, work hard, start and grow their own business.

On a personal note I hope and I would like to become an investor as I want to be part of the solution to the challenges someone like myself has faced in trying to level up.

Ulster Business