Could you imagine what it would be like traveling to far off places with friends in tow, meeting remarkable people, while making real change in the world? Philippa of the What Took You So Long Foundation can. YFE found out about Phillipa via our profile on Sarah Jahangir who recently launched a camel milk product called WonderMilk (read more about her story here). Sarah mentioned the Foundation when asked who she would list as mentors stating “I’ve met wonderful camel milk entrepreneurs, enthusiasts and camel doctors because of the filmmaker group and every day am introducing to someone new.” Read on to find out more about this group of filmmakers, their mission, and one of the young women behind the cause…
What is your business all about?
What Took You So Long makes films about unsung heroes and untold stories. We aim to be creative, innovative, educational and inspiring through our films. But we don’t stop there: we’re in the process of creating an online platform that brings people together to learn about guerilla film making and then go out and do it! We’re calling this platform Fish Tank.
What does your background look like?
I took my first class honours in English Literature to Hong Kong and worked as a writer and editor for 18 months in fields of travel, human rights, and academic publishing. There I met Sebastian and Alicia and we embarked on a journey together that has pivoted, and pivoted again to become What Took You So Long in its current incarnation.
Why did you start your business, launch your first product, or build that community in the first place? What was your motivation?
Creativity. A need to do something creative that combined travel and intensive teamwork with my peers in a non-hierarchical structure. The hope was that this whole experience would inspire others to rethink the way they work and the possibilities of working in a creative industry. Hence the creation of Fish Tank, which puts people of all backgrounds and capabilities together to travel and create films with purpose.
What are your favorite things about being young, female and entrepreneurial?
That there are so many other women out there doing it too. They are my constant inspiration and honestly get me out of every rut I feel I’m falling in to.
Do you have mentors or people you admire that you think of when making business decisions?
I read revolution.is, I read fear.less and I meet Sandboxers (www.sandbox-network.com) from all over the world. My peers are my mentors and it’s a community that is open to my thoughts, suggestions and me! There’s no better mentor than one who could be you, not in 10, 20 or 30 years, but right now.
What have been the advantages of being young and female while building your business?
There are huge advantages to being young and female as a journalist or film maker. The most important for me is communication: you can talk to women, children and even men in cultures that usually segregate women (foreign women are considered honorary men). Even better – as a woman I’m not expected to drink the most in Uzbekistan or eat a sheep’s eyeball in South Africa!
What are the disadvantages you’ve faced, if any?
Occasionally you might come across people who underestimate you based on outward appearances. This, you can turn to be another advantage when you shock them out of their first impressions and win them over. But it remains a sad fact that there are still groups of people who don’t grasp the potential of Generation Y’s enthusiasm for breaking molds and doing good.
What is your advice for a young, female entrepreneur just starting out or in the research stage?
Whatever business you engage in, make sure you assess the wider of your actions and your business’s actions on the planet and global community. Imagine what would happen if your organisation was as big as it could be. Thinking big while working small allows you to make sure what you’re doing is truly helpful and not harmful.
What is your drink of choice?
camel milk – healthiest of all milks
What can we find you doing when you are not working on and in your business?
Reading. I love to read. I’m a writer and editor by trade and by heart. And to digest all that I read and inspire myself for writing I like to run (preferably barefoot) in beautiful places.