Interview with Dinah Knox-Hooke

What’s your name and where do you come from? My name is Dinah Knox-Hooke, Founder of Mothers of Men. Born and raised in East London.

How did you spot a space in the market for your product or service? I identified a need for a service such as Mothers of Men whilst analysing my own struggles as a single mother raising a son. My son and I were going through some testing times in our relationship about 5 years ago and at that time I reached out to a few organisations searching for a mentor for him. I felt strongly that he needed a male role model. Someone that could commit to spending a few hours with him. I was asked questions such as ‘’ is your son registered with social services’’ or ‘’ does he have behaviour problems’’ With my answer being no, I was advised that they took on Mentees by way of referral from social services etc. This shocked me and was slightly discouraging to know that here I was, a mother trying to seek help for my child before the absence of his father became a bigger problem. My thought process led me to question myself, why wait for the problem to get out of hand? There and then I decided that if I was not able to find an establishment to support us, I would create it and tailor it to the needs of not only myself and my son but to other mothers and their sons. At first, the idea was aimed solely at mentoring boys but the vision has since developed. Mothers of Men is more than just mentoring young boys, it’s about creating and strengthening the bond between mother and son with the objective to develop and raise amazing strong men after all this is the next generation.

How long did you think about your business before bringing it to life? Well, the vision came to me a few years ago, however; the procrastination was real. I was dealing with my own issues of insecurities, rejection and a huge lack of confidence. I told myself how am I supposed to do this? How can I create something so much bigger than me? I was looking at the finishing line instead of the first step in front of me.  The distance seemed so out of my reach and it frightened me, so I only shared the idea with family and close friends in fear of it being rejected by others. I did not feel smart enough. I never left school with good grades, I never attended college or university and never considered myself business savvy and so I ran from the idea, but it chased me. I kept getting that niggling feeling and was never satisfied in my employment. Eventually, I had to put my trust and faith in God and allow myself to step out of my comfort zone. I started to work on myself spiritually first and then started a personal development course at You make It. Once I began to intentionally work on Dinah and becoming a better mother was I able to start this journey.

How did you raise the funds to start your business? At this present time, any funds that have been put towards the business have been my own. But I believe in the vision wholeheartedly and consider this to be an investment not only for me and my son but the future of the next generation. As we grow in the business we will look at approaching funders and investors. If they don’t come banging down our door first!

How do you stay informed – networking, newspapers, social media? Social media plays a huge role in me staying informed, I follow a lot of women empowerment and single mother groups. I also put out a market research survey that allowed me to connect with my intended audience. I try to network as much as I can but being a parent does not always permit me to do so.

Tell us about one of your business low-points and what you learnt from it? A low point was the fear of it all but I’ve learnt to feel the fear and do it anyway. When it pays off I give thanks to God and celebrate and if it doesn’t, I still remain thankful for the lessons learnt and I regroup and look for what I could have done differently.

Name five qualities people need to be successful in a job like yours?
Trust – You have got to be able to trust the process. It’s been a long road even getting to where I am now but without trusting the process of becoming I would still be at square one.

Faith – ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ Hebrews 11:1

Motivation – Some days I could do with just staying in bed but the business will not grow itself. So being able to keep motivated is important.

Resilience – Not everyone will share your passion or see your vision as you do, but that’s why it’s yours, you can’t allow negative feedback to throw you off track. Some knocked doors won’t be opened, continue to knock as the right ones will.

Delegating – You cannot be good at everything well at least I am not lol. I have some good people around me that are happy to help especially in areas that are their strong point. I’ve learnt quickly it’s better to share the load.

Do you have a business mentor? No, but I have some amazing people around me that all bring something different to the table in terms of advice and support.

What’s been your favourite piece of press coverage so far? I guess the opportunity to write this blog for Wern PR, I am quite a reserved person in new surroundings so this is another positive step out of my comfort zone.

Name one of your favourite start-ups? Gym Bites, I happen to know the founder so watching her growth over the years whilst creating such an amazing alternative to healthy snacks is great. She is doing wonderful things in the food industry.

Quickfire round

Apple or Android? OMG I almost crossed over but I am definitely an Android girl I just recently upgraded to a Samsung S8
Mac or PC? Hmm, I think I’d like to try a Mac, they look cool. Surely, I am missing out now
Apples for hand or melons for feet? Apples
Name two chocolate bars you would put together to make a super bar KitTwirl (Peanut butter edition) I love peanut butter KitKat and recently got hooked on Twirls

Mothers of Men supports, encourages and empowers women from all races and backgrounds to overcome the challenges they may face as single parents raising boys. Mothers of Men is a platform to connect young boys with mentors who can help positively shape their bright futures and wants to eradicate the brokenness that can occur when there is no father figure present in a child’s life and build positive solid men.

Twitter: @mothersofmen_uk
Instagram: @mothersofmen
LinkedIn: Dinah Knox-Hooke