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Lilian JS Lee

Fourth World Art
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

A former architect, Lilian launched Fourth World Art in 2010 which seeks to allow Haitian artisans to sell their creations in Scotland, with the profits going back into the community to help nourish and develop it following the earthquake in 2010.

60-Second Interview

Who was your biggest hero when you were younger?
For the longest time it was Sir Norman Foster, I not only admired his architectural style but his astute sense of business. He had the right blend of artistic creativity with a talent for marketing and creating a successful design business. (One of the inspirations of why I wanted to become an architect.)
What initially attracted you to enterprise?
I wanted to create a sustainable business that challenged the charity aid model; to create a social business to harness the economic potential of a for-profit business, but reinvesting profits for doing social good.
Can you tell us about the first £10 you ever made?
When I was 6, I negotiated with my parents that if I washed their car, I’ll do it for a tenner. They agreed.
What has been your biggest challenge so far with your business?
The logistics side of the business, the exportation of artwork from Haiti to Scotland.
Who is it that keeps you going through any tough times?
My mum, she has always been my best friend, advisor and the voice of reason.
What is it that gets you out of your bed in the morning?
My passion for the cause I’m trying to advocate with Fourth World Art.
How do you define success?
Doing what you feel passionate about and are content within yourself, as an individual.
Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time?
Expanding beyond Haiti and reaching out into other communities facing crisis, where art can be used as a means to take one out of the poverty cycle.
If you could give your “teenage self” one piece of advice, what would it be?
Enjoy and live in the moment you are currently in. You always have time to grow up and there is no point in worrying about the future. Things never turn out how you expect, so just live in the moment and enjoy it.
If you could have any 1 person on your business contact list who would that person be and why?
Blake Mycoskie , the founder of TOMS shoes and the author of Start Something That Matters. He saw a need and offered a solution, as a result, has built a very successful sustainable social business.