The Cultural Exposé
The Cultural Exposé is a creative listings site designed to uncover things to see and do in London and beyond.
Based in Kensington, London the company was founded by Matilda Egere-Cooper in April 2010. The Cultural Exposé features event, restaurant and exhibition recommendations designed to help users discover new cultural experiences in the capital.
In addition to hosting the listing site and The Culture Club events division, The Cultural Exposé produces and syndicates online content for Perriér.
Why did you decide to start your company?
I was keen to develop my own platform after working as a freelancer for some years. I felt I had the necessary skills to start an internet-based business.
How was your company name conceived?
I was brainstorming ideas for my new blog at the time and The Cultural Exposé seemed to sum up what I wanted to achieve – revealing and discovering new cultural experiences in the capital.
What was your career path prior to starting your first business?
I’ve been a music journalist for 10 years and have contributed to the likes of i-D, Dazed & Confused, The Independent and the BBC amongst others.
I had a great time doing it all in my 20s, with a chance to travel around the world and interview some of my favourite artists such as Stevie Wonder, Al Green and Alicia Keys, and winning an industry award for my writing in 2007. But, it got to a stage where I realised there was so much more that I could do than just journalism!
Did you always know that you would start your own business?
Well, as a freelancer you’re basically the business yourself so I kinda fell into this way of working – so it wasn’t a master plan.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on bringing more people into the business as well as marketing strategies for developing the website’s profile.
Can you describe your typical working day?
I wish I had one of those! But it’s usually a mix of planning and researching for the website, and the events arm, The Culture Club, actioning e-mails, managing my intern and strategising, strategising, strategising! No two days are the same.
What steps did you take to launch your business?
I planned the concept for the website about two months in advance of launching it, and I didn’t need much money to make it happen.
Then when I decided to develop The Culture Club in September 2010, I had a launch party for that in April 2011 after months of amending my business plan, test-trading and researching the market.
What have been the highlights of running your own business?
Getting positive feedback from the website’s visitors, and those who’ve attended Culture Club events – it makes me feel the late nights and early mornings haven’t been in vain!
What is the hardest part of running your own business?
Working by myself, most days. No one can know or love my business as much as me at this stage, so that can be challenging. But I have some brilliant friends who have been so supportive from day one and they’ve helped out when they can.
Are there any business resources you’ve found to be indispensable?
It’s not exclusive to business, but I really don’t know what I’d do without my MacBookPro – it’s made running The Cultural Exposé so much easier. I’ve used PCs for years and they simply don’t compare!
Also, Google Docs has been great for the operations side of things.
What has been your proudest business moment so far?
Working with Perriér since May 2011. On the creative services side of my business, we produce and syndicate content for one of their online projects. I never imagined such a massive brand would approach me within a year of launching the site. It’s humbling.
What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
God; I’d like to think I’m working towards fulfilling his purpose for my life. My mom too; her work ethic is definitely in my blood. She made a lot of sacrifices for me and my brother as my father passed away when I was two years old. I know I’ll be able to pay her back and bless her one day – she deserves it.
I’m also motivated by challenging the status quo in terms of what young, black women can achieve in this world. I was born and raised in the US, so even though I’m based in the UK, I still live by the “we’re number one” ethos and have never felt anything’s impossible for me to achieve.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a new media business?
Do something that people will find useful to inspire them to return to your site. While business is about money, it’s also about being help to serve needs. So it’s important that you know what that is, rather than feeding people something they don’t really want, as the aim of this game is to be sustainable – not just a one-hitter.
Fast forward five years, where do you think your business will be in 2017?
Oh wow! That’ll be very exciting times as things have progressed nicely in just 18 months of launching. It’s pretty overwhelming to think about, but I know by 2017 The Cultural Exposé will have grown and expanded as a brand and developed in a number of different areas and God-willing, be a pretty well known name.
Matilda, is there anything else you’d like to share?
To expand on the advice I’d give for people that want to start business, I’d also add that it’s a great idea to get a mentor and have accountability friends, who are also in business and understand the highs and lows.
I have a lovely mentor named Tim, who may not be in my industry, but he knows business and he’s such an encouraging and inspiring person. I also have a few friends who are in business and every now and again we share our experiences and really support one another with advice.
Business is not easy at all – probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my entire life – but with the right people around you it can make the process so much sweeter.
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Matilda Egere-Cooper was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club.
Do you have a question for Matilda? If so, please feel free to post a comment below: