Starting my own business in a male-led industry, two months before a global pandemic

In January 2020 we started a company… pretty epic timing.

Despite the looming global pandemic and the instant stoppage to 75% of our client’s output, we had a successful year, have grown our team and are on the verge of 2 new hires.

Our agency supplies music for TV, Advertising, Film & Video Games, specialising in bespoke composition. If you aren’t involved in this space you won’t have much of a grasp of how male dominated it is. There are plenty of women in roles similar to mine, but they are all employing men as composers. I would say the current composer space is about 85-90% male… crazy right!?

At Sister Music we have made waves to change this, to nurture female identifying musical talent and give them a seat at the table. We pitch them for jobs, throw all the demo’s we can at them to help them gain experience and have released 3 (and counting!!) albums showcasing their unbelievable talent.

I believe all of this has been possible because of the string of events that brought the company together.

It was a hard graft for me to get into the music industry. There was a time in my twenties where I would go to college or an internship during the day, then go to my TV job at 8pm and work through until 3 or 4 the next morning. I made tea, filed spreadsheets, put CD sleeves into the cases for hours all with about 3 hours sleep.

I really did give it everything I had to get my foot in the door and managed to land my dream job at a major record label – which really didn’t last that long and wasn’t a good fit for me.

Instead, I found a home at a small boutique agency that became family, protected me when I screwed up, allowed me to carve my own path and work flexibly when I became a mummy and ultimately gave me the tools I needed to get to where I currently am.

My business partner and I were thrown together by someone who had a birds eye view of our skillset and saw the potential of us working together. This person was someone that offered me a job within 15 minutes of meeting me 7 years ago and has become my mentor. I owe this person a lot and really have tried to shape my attitude towards people in business based on the treatment I received from him.

Having support from such an advisor has enabled us to start a company with knowledge, support and guidance, which has probably saved us a minimum of a few years of setbacks and really hard lessons. Although I’m sure there are still plenty around the river bend for us.

The world has turned on its axis, it feels, since the start of 2020 and it hasn’t been easy for anyone, except for maybe Bezos. But one thing I am sure of - Women and underrepresented talent are rising and will rise to the top. It’s apparent how amazingly productive, organised and compassionate we can be. And compassion builds trusted and dedicated teams, people who want to help each other, grow together and share the pie! We still have a long fight for equality and to shake up the current business structure that has been built on our behalf but with each other and male allies, industry can only benefit.

Hannah Charman

Co-Founder and Music Supervisor at Sister Music

Linked in Profile

Sister Music Website

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