Baby Leila & Tommy’s Splashathon

Next week my little baby daughter Leila will be taking part in a “Splashathon” swimming challenge organised by her swim school Water Babies Leila splashathonand TV’s Peppa Pig.  The Splashathon aims to raise money for the renowned charity Tommy’s which funds vital medical research into pregnancy, birth issues, premature births, miscarriages and still births and helps to provide life-saving information and treatment to parents.  

Tommy’s are hoping that the Splashathon will raise £1million in funds so that they can open a brand new research centre in 2016.  Tommy’s already have three centres located in London, Manchester and Edinburgh that are dedicated to helping mothers and fathers who have experienced difficult pregnancies or miscarriages, but the demand for their incredible services is great and they are hoping that they will be able to raise enough cash to get their fourth centre off the ground.
At 13 months old, this will be little Leila’s first philanthropic venture, but I’m sure it won’t be her last, you all know the saying – ‘start them young’ well that’s what I’m aiming at!! Though I know she won’t fully understand what it is she is doing by completing the under-5’s swimming challenge for a few years yet, I want her to grow up taking part in activities like this, to grow up with a sense of achievement for getting involved in projects of this nature and trying her best to help others and make the world a better place.  I’m looking forward to taking lots of pictures of the event and showing them to her when she is old enough to understand!

We would be so grateful if you sponsored Leila, you can sponsor any amount from as little as £1.00, payments are secured using Paypal or Virgin’s payment page – we appreciate all your support and thank you for your donations.

Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid on Tommy’s behalf where the donor is eligible for this.

My page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NadirIsmail

Thanks for visiting Leila’s fundraising page!

Navigating The Holiday Season

As July rolls in and the school holidays approaching fast, we all know that this time of year heralds the start of holiday season. All through my

Facebook newsfeeds I am starting to see the holiday-posts appear, people posting pictures of their beach breaks or countdowns to when they get to leave it all behind and jet off to exotic locations. One thing about being in charge of your own company is that you can’t get away as easily as other people and as someone who loves to travel and experience different cultures and climes, it can be kinda difficult. When you are the founder of a company that represents your dreams and visions, you can’t just drop it like a hot potato to jet off and drink cocktails on the beach!
Please don’t think I’m whinging, I’m really not, I love that I’ve managed to start my own company and am doing everything I can to make a real and lasting difference with BODO! That’s not to say that skipping holidays as well as missing other events and the like simply because I am too busy isn’t hard at times.

Wish you were here?

Wish you were here?

I’m still not sure if my family and I will be able to get a summer break this year, obviously I would love to, but with BODO’s online launch imminently approaching, that just might not be possible.
One thing I will say though is how important it is to try and take breaks in order to let yourself recharge and luckily London is a beautiful city and there is so much to do and a lot of fun to be had even if you can’t manage to get out of the country. This is a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way, from working too many hours and suffering the physical and mental consequences. Unfortunately it’s a bit of an occupational hazard when you run a startup and have workaholic tendencies, but it really is true what they say, you are much more productive when you allow your body and mind to recuperate! If you don’t allow time for your batteries to recharge, you end up running on empty and trust me, that will never get you very far!! Now I just have to keep reminding myself to take my own advice!
So friends and readers, those of you who are able to go away, I wish you a beautiful and serene summer holidays and for those of you who are in the same boat as me, I hope you manage to get some quality time to spend with those you hold dearest.

Yet Another Innocent Victim…

Those of you who know me and/or regularly read this blog will know how I feel about gun crime, it is something that saddens me to my very soul

The area where the shooting took place

The area where the shooting took place

and I am proud that guns are not legal in the UK like they are in America. That being said, I, like many others, know that the UK cannot be complacent in the battle against gun crime. I was deeply saddened by the shocking and horrible events that took place in Lordship Lane, North London, where an innocent bystander lost his life and a woman, (also said to be an innocent passerby) is still in critical condition in hospital after a drive by shooting last Friday. Murder squad detectives have said that the gunshots came from a semi-automatic weapon and were more than likely due to the escalating turf war between rival gangs in the area. Both the people who were shot, the 42-year-old man who lost his life and the 51-year-old woman who is fighting for hers in hospital were not believed to have been the intended targets of the drive-by, just innocent bystanders who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In a tragic twist of fate, the victim, Mr Erdogan Guzel a prominent member of the Turkish community in the area, reportedly told friends that he was worried about the escalating violence and feared that innocent people could fall victim to the spiralling gun violence, just a few days before he became that victim.
Hearing of such terrible events would sadden me, no matter where they took place, but hearing about it happening so close to home is truly frightening. Though I don’t live that close to where the shooting took place, it is an area that I have often frequented, my wife and I often visit the restaurants in the nearby Haringey and it is a place where I have many friends and family. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that it could have just as easily been a friend of mine or a loved one who fell victim to this heinous crime. My thoughts go out to the friends and family of the deceased and our prayers are with the woman who is currently fighting for her life in hospital. One can only hope that the perpetrators of this crime are swiftly caught and the devastation that it has caused to a close-knit community will act as a deterrent to anyone considering involvement in a gang.

The Tough Ones

One of the hardest things about running your own company is when that time comes around that you have to make the tough decisions. I’m Tough Decisions2talking about that kind of choice where both options have equal amounts of pros and cons and it is almost impossible to decide which way to go. In an ideal world, things would always go to plan and the path we should take would be clearly signposted and easy to navigate. Unfortunately however, as I’m sure you all know well enough, we don’t live in an ideal world and the choices we have to make aren’t always that simple!
Sometimes, no matter how well prepared you are for all eventualities, life decides to throw you a curveball and there isn’t a darn thing you can do about it but try your best to pull a swerve so you don’t get hit in the face! I guess making choices like these is part and parcel of running a business, but knowing that certainly doesn’t make it any easier!
Since BODO began, I’ve had to make more than my fair share of tough calls, you just have to make Tough Decisions1sure you do your research, evaluate your options meticulously and then ride out the storm.
Just recently I’ve had to make one of those calls, it was taking the decision to delay the launch of our online sales from April when it was supposed to happen, until later on in the summer.
We’d done so much preparation and it seemed as though everything was falling into place, but due to some unforeseen circumstances that I won’t elaborate on here, I was given little choice but to delay things.
It wasn’t a choice that was easy to make and one that I thought long and hard about. There was much deliberating over numerous cups of coffee, more meetings than I care to elaborate on and a lot of paperwork to get through, but in the end, as certain aspects integral to the successful launch of online sales were not fully ready, I had to hit the pause button. In my eyes, it was better to hold off until we’d worked out those glitches than risk launching and watching things crash around me!
Despite being thoroughly disappointed that we had to delay the launch, I am retaining my usual optimism, things are coming together nicely and I am hopeful that there will be a big launch in the very near future!

Meeting Lance Clark Of The World Renowned Clark’s Clan

The other day I was fortunate enough to meet Lance Clark, of Clark Shoes! Anyone who knows anything about footwear has heard of Clarks and

Lance Clark in Africa with the Soul of Africa project

Lance Clark in Africa with the Soul of Africa project

growing up in the 70s, all we wore as kids were Clarks shoes, they were renowned for being good quality, affordable and comfortable and we all loved them! I also have distinct memories of Clarks shoe stores being the best place to get your feet measured, because they always got it right!!
This massive global footwear giant was started by two brothers Cyrus and James Clark in Somerset in 1825 and the company still has its headquarters there today! These days, Clarks has more than 1,000 branded stores and franchises all over the world and generates huge annual profits year upon year.
The Clarks business has always remained in the family, with Lance Clark a member of the 6th generation of Clarks shoe family.
I visited this incredible entrepreneur at his Somerset home, where we discussed a number of things, such as my vision for BODO and Clarks’ Soul of Africa project and many other philanthropic ventures.
For those of you who don’t know, the Soul of Africa project comes from a philosophy that Clarks refer to as ‘Aid through trade’. Through the project, shoe-making skills are taught to workers across several African countries which in turn leads to sustainable employment opportunities. When Soul of Africa footwear is purchased, it helps to generate funds for the Soul of Africa Trust which assists orphans and vulnerable children, many of which have been affected by AIDS. The Trust’s goal is to help provide these children with a better life, providing educational support and a nurturing environment. When Soul of Africa shoes are purchased in a UK store, Clarks themselves make an additional donation to the Trust.
During our meeting, early discussions took place about a possible joint venture between Clarks and BODO. It is very early days yet, but it is a prospect that myself and the BODO team are obviously very excited about.
Clarks are an incredible organisation, one that I have always admired and aspired to emulate, and I would love to establish a firm connection between Clarks and BODO. Working with a company with a reputation and principles like Clarks would go a long way towards helping BODO to achieve its goals to really make a positive impact in this world. I will of course keep you posted with any further developments, so watch this space!