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International Women’s Day – Advice to my younger self

As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, some of the awesome women we work with give us the advice they would share with their younger self. Read, share, feel inspired, enjoy!

Joanne Hawker – Designer & Maker

Hello! I’m Joanne, a designer and maker from Somerset! I’ve got a thing for bright colours (especially yellow), stripes and dungarees! I create a range of special occasion greeting cards, prints and enamel pins! I’m also the annoying person responsible for clogging up your feeds every March with my Instagram hashtag challenge #MarchMeetTheMaker.


Advice to my younger self


Don’t spend too long dwelling on the art teacher who told you not to take art because he didn’t understand your obsession with dragons. You’ll go on to prove him wrong, you’ll get your A in art and go onto to have a creative career doing something that you love.

Don’t spend too long being mad at your dad for not allowing you to leave school and go on to study ‘horse and stable management’ despite not having a horse or any experience, you’ll one day be thankful that he said no. Besides, you couldn’t get there if you wanted to!

Grab every opportunity that comes your way, keep drawing, draw more, get paint everywhere and have fun trying new creative ideas at college. Go to uni even though the idea of it is terrifying because not only will you find what you really love doing and come out with a first class honours degree but you’ll also meet your future husband.

Rosie Lyness – Founder of Second Store


I’m Rosie, the Founder and Director of an online sneaker store for women Second-Store.com.Second Store takes its name from Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal Feminist text, The Second Sex, and aims to subvert the bias towards men in the sneaker industry. I aim to curate an enviable edit of sneakers that make women feel stylish, confident and most importantly Second to None!


Advice to my younger self


Believe in yourself! Believe in all your ideas, schemes and plans. Believe that the path you want to take in life is open to you. Believe in your ability to make things happen. Believe that you deserve it. Believe that hard work does pay off. Believe that you can learn, adapt and grow. Believe that when you fall down, you’ll get right back up again. Believe that you are the right person for the job. You’ve got this, girl. Keep going.

Carrie Ann – Founder of Mère Soeur

I’m Carrie Anne, founder of family lifestyle brand Mère Soeur. I built my brand, that was inspired by sisterhood amongst mothers and taking pride in your new role as a parent, after the birth of my son.

I quickly realised that, as a young single parent, I needed to work on my own terms and in a way that would be flexible. Two years later, by the age of 26, and after countless nights spent hunched over my laptop with a baby in one arm and my work in the other, sourcing garments and re-designing the re-designing, I’d built a six-figure business (with the help of Awesome Merch!). I now host a podcast for single parents alongside designing and making last-minute rush-orders with AM because I’m awful at organisation!


Advice to my younger self


My advice to my younger self would be to trust your gut, your instincts never steer you far off track. I’d also add that confidence and kindness are key. Bring a little bit of both into everything you do and you’ll be authentic as well as able to stand your ground!

Lucy Evers – Lead vocalist of Orchards

I’m Lucy Evers, lead vocalist of Orchards. We’re an Alt-Pop band from Brighton. I’ve been performing on stage, in Musicals, Dance Recitals, Orchestras and Bands for as long as I can remember.


Advice to my younger self


My Mum says this phrase all the time to me and I repeat it to myself in times of stress. I have no idea what it actually means but it gives me such comfort. “It will all come out in the wash”.

In my mind this means, persevere. You know you’re worth and that your passion and determination will take you far but just believe in that. Oh, and when those girls in school laugh at you for ‘dressing weird’ or ‘not being normal’ take that as a badge of honour and parade that around the corridors. Don’t let your creativity ever be squashed by people who are content with being ordinary. But, when they tell you to not pluck your eyebrows like that, believe them because come 2012 bushy eyebrows will be a thing and it’s going to take you 5 years to grow them back out again.  

Bobbi Rae – Designer & Illustrator

I’m a Yorkshire-based designer, illustrator and maker. I’m a one-woman-show using hand-drawn and digital techniques to bring JOY to all ages. From kids books to prints, patches, stickers and zines – all exclusively for adult audiences.

You’ll usually find me drawing away in my studio, painting murals, or at one of the many independent art markets in and around Leeds. I also work with a number of local and national clients and have recently presented my work at some really exciting exhibitions around the UK – including Lazy Oaf’s ‘Take a Break’, Camden Town Brewery’s ‘Hello Hells’ and ‘The Future of Creativity’ by Napapijri X Intern Magazine. 


Advice to my younger self


Stop spending money on shit you don’t need. Buy things which will help you develop as an artist. Invest in yourself. Save up and quit that job you hate.

Value yourself, your time, and your work. Others will follow.

Get involved in exhibitions and art markets as soon as possible. These things have been hugely beneficial to my development as an artist, and I kick myself daily for not getting on the bandwagon sooner.

Work hard, trust your instincts and act with confidence. Just go and get ’em, girl.

Jane Crowther – G . F Smith Paper Consultant/Team Leader

I’ a 45-year-old single parent of a daughter and a dog. I’ve worked for the last 20 years at G . F Smith calling in the wonderful NW creative community and now supporting the rest of the country sales team.

I have a couple of side projects. Breakfast Club Manchester is a free event on the last Wednesday of every month hosting positive creative and community-based talks. Open Spaces is a self-funded non-profit incentive to breathe life back into my home town now the high street is leaving. We’re bringing creative workspaces, reviving shutters and empty shops and bringing exciting events to Stockport.


Advice to my younger self


Be yourself don’t change for anyone.


Treat people as you would expect to be treated.


Make mistakes and learn from them don’t let them define you.


Love hurts.

Searlait McCrea – Jewellery Designer

Hello! I’m Séarlait the simplicity-seeking lass behind Today. Today is where I combine my love of simplicity and loathing of excess to create timeless, sustainable jewellery I hope brings joy today, tomorrow and forever.

I’m a passionate believer in the positive power of making. I’ve started hosting fun, friendly and informal workshops to demystify silversmithing and share my firm belief that anyone and everyone can make something that will make them burst with pride.


Advice to my younger self


This is real tough. I’ve written and re-written but you know what I think my younger self doesn’t need my advice. She got me to where I am now because she knew herself, so if anything I should be giving her thanks, not advice. Thanks younger self for being hell-bent on doing things your way. For always keeping your dreams in sight and for keeping going when shit got tough. When I lose sight of my goals I remember how much shit you waded through for me to get here and I’m going to spend the rest of my life proving my thanks to your strength by perusing my passions daily. Thanks pal x

Jodie Hill – Managing Director at Thrive Law

I trained as a barrister and cross-qualified as a solicitor, before becoming the founder and Managing Director of Thrive Law, whose HQ is in Leeds City Centre. I specialised in employment law throughout my career, so have a keen understanding of this complex and ever-changing area and all HR related issues that come with it.

I have a huge passion for helping encourage understanding around mental health and have a strong desire to help end stigma surrounding mental health to create a happier, healthier workforce. At the same time as launching Thrive, I started a national campaign to change the law to make mental health first aiders mandatory in the workplace.  


Advice to my younger self


I would say to my younger self just do it.  Don’t worry what people think and don’t listen to peoples negative comments.  It’s all in your mind and what you believe.

I suffer from anxiety and PTSD. If two year ago you said to me I would have my own law firm at 29 years of age and be nationally recognised for the work I am doing, I wouldn’t have believed you.  It just shows that despite adversity we can do anything we put our minds to.

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