Sandrine Galbert, Alumna, Business studies
Founder of online marketplace MACOB with products from Africa and the Caribbean, Sandrine credits her degree at LSBU with helping her find her direction
I wanted to be my own boss and entrepreneur.
- Sandrine Galbert
"It’s in my spirit to be entrepreneurial which is strange as I don’t come from a particularly entrepreneurial family. My parents, coming from an older generation, were all about security, living a comfortable life and having a 9-to-5. They didn’t take many risks. They bought their homes and now they have eight grandchildren so they’re very happy.
"I originally studied fashion in Paris and gained an art and design qualification. After that, I had a great career in the fashion industry and even worked for the high fashion brand Paco Rabanne. When I had my daughter, that’s when it all changed. She was the turning point. My fashion career was no longer important to me, and that industry isn’t particularly accommodating to working mums so it spurred me on to be my own boss.
"The idea for my current business grew gradually. When I was 5 years old, my parents took me to the Exotic Centre in France, a shopping centre that sold Afro-Caribbean products. It was like heaven to me, It’s a memory that still motivates me today as I remember thinking ‘I want to be part of this’.
Ideas beginning to form
"After moving to England, I’d go to three or four big Afro-Caribbean events, festivals, fashion shows, exhibitions and market places every year, and each time I’d notice that people would flock to the market stalls selling soaps and creams made from Caribbean plants and accessories from Africa. I got to know the women who ran some of the stalls, saw that demand was increasing and an idea began to form. I spent all of 2016 developing the website, testing products and preparing to launch my business.
"Launching MACOB is inspired by my own skin care struggle as I suffered from extreme eczema when I was younger. I got bullied a lot at school because of the state of my skin, which really affected my confidence. Even when I got older I was insecure about my skin. I felt like people would stare and judge me. I knew I was destined to be successful but not having confidence is the one thing that had held me back. Now, since I’ve developed my own skincare products that have removed my eczema,
I can never doubt myself or my confidence again.
- Sandrine Galbert
"I once saw someone who used to bully me at school on the tube. He called my name and said, “Sandrine, you’re so beautiful now”. I replied “yes I am” and walked away. That was a great moment.
"While I studied I did lots of different jobs on the side. I designed e-commerce fashion websites, but once I understood how e-commerce sites worked I knew I could build my own site to support my business. Everything I learned in my course at LSBU was brand new to me. When I began, I didn’t know how to run a business. I was able to apply the skills I learned in accounting, marketing, strategy, networking and more to make my business a success, I can now identify new markets, identify new business opportunities and develop marketing strategies - it’s something I really enjoy.
"My one piece of advice to anyone is to listen to yourself. Listen to your gut because other people will distract you.
"I’ve sacrificed so much to get where I am now, but it’s almost irrelevant to dwell on it as I am extremely happy and proud of what I’ve achieved.
"I stay motivated by always keeping my end goal in mind. As long as I keep working towards that I know I’ll be ok. However, my single biggest influence is my daughter. She’s also my example - she herself is a motivated person."
She’s definitely my child!
- Sandrine Galbert