As a company founded by 3 powerful, brave, intelligent and creative women who are leading a team of strong women across the business, and a couple of equally strong men, we are always proud to celebrate International Women’s Day. This year we are putting a spotlight on our community of women who are all trailblazers in their own field and making an impact on the world with the aim to inspire other women who may be following on the same career path as they share some words of advice.
“When I was 14, my family and I moved from Germany to Venezuela. Seeing poverty first hand and how it disproportionately affects women, ignited my passion. I ended up doing a MA in Women’s Studies and have worked for women’s organisations for the past 25 years and for Women for Women International for the past 11 years. Throughout my career I have had several amazing women who became my champions. They supported and nurtured my personal growth. In return I am also hugely committed to helping other women where I can. One of the best ways of finding the work that allows you to follow your passion is being really clear about what impact you want to have and then think about what skills you might need. Then you can assess job opportunities accordingly – you might not immediately get your dream job, but if it helps you gain skills then go for it but never give up on your dream.”
“So I went to the Courtauld institute, which is in the arches of Somerset house. At the time the BFC shows pace was at Somerset house courtyard. So I was photographed by Tommy Ton, Vanessa Jackman, Phil Oh etc outside uni while they were there waiting to see fashion week guests. It was really Vanessa Jackman I think that captured me and my style, she’s such a kind person, she really encouraged me, and helped me to see my uniqueness. I never thought I would end up a blogger but I started to see it as a creative opportunity to showcase myself and as time went on I made better and better lemonade from the strange lemons I have stumbled across. In the early days I would do interviews with anyone that asked, tiny blogs, or huge sites. I gave everyone my time and I think that really helped me. Every audience is important not just the big names. I think the most important thing is to try and be kind and keep a hold of what makes you unique.”
“I started writing for women’s magazines in the early eighties when the world of wellness was in its infancy. I was fascinated by the best ways to live well, in every sense – from physical and mental wellbeing, fitness, food, sustainability and a healthy planet. I was fortunate to be mentored by editors who encouraged an enquiring mind and a passion for communication, moving on to write books and host TV shows. Thirty years on, I now have my own magazine, podcast and YouTube channel, and still love communication in all its forms. My advice is to find your passion and take time to research it well – then use the media to amplify.”
“Be confident in your own ability and care less about what other people think. You always have something to bring to the table and those around you will recognise your skills and talent by what you do and what you say, not how you look or what gender you are. Believing in yourself is half the battle.”
“In 2001 I first landed a job after university working on the trading floor of a bank in the city. In 2004, I realised that I wanted to work in the creative industry and resigned. Without any real experience other than drive and ideas, I set up Bionda Castana in 2007 with my business partner Jennifer. We learnt the art of shoe-making from our factory (that we still work with today) and with hard work/making some good friends in the industry who supported and encouraged, we paved the way for ourselves and our brand slowly. (We also had other jobs for the first 5 years of the business to be able to sustain our families and live in London.) We obtained a mentor in 2015, Michael Ward, who was then the MD of Harrods. We had investors in the business by that point so his knowledge of the bigger picture was crucial and it was very important to gain perspective from someone not so emotionally invested.”