Strong Yet Feminine Profiles are a series of interviews, showcasing ambitious women who are striving to follow their passion. Many are working full time and pursuing their dream on the side, some have already taken the leap, and share their experiences (the good and the bad!).
Any career decision is difficult, but making a leap into a different field, in order to pursue a true passion, has to be one of the most inspiring stories. I know, for me, hearing stories like these were crucial to bolstering my confidence when considering my own change in direction.
Sally Lane Jewellery is designed for exactly such Strong Yet Feminine women…the fierceness of the edgy triangle jewellery is the perfect accessory to these confident, go get ‘em ladies...all power to you!
Fleur Christacos, Owner of Fleur of England, shares how she followed her passion from a young age to create the business she has today, how she cut up her mum's clothes to create her first designs for Cindy (does Cindy actually help create Entrepreneurs?!) and how finances are the most important first step.
It looks like you went straight from Uni to starting Fleur of England – what gave you the drive to start your own business at such a young age?
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to run my own business. I come from a family of entrepreneurs so that’s what we do! Designing lingerie has always been a passion of mine so creating my own business was always my end goal.
When did you first have the idea for a lingerie business and where did that come from?
At age 9 I told my parents I wanted to be a corset designer, I used to cut up my mum’s clothes to make Cindy dresses. Even back then I would always choose the light weight fabrics. Obviously, she didn’t like me doing this so we started visiting local jumble sales together so I could choose items and fabrics myself.
My nick name was Flirty Fleur so lingerie was an obvious choice!
What were your first steps, 16 years ago?
The first step was finance, and then once that had been sorted out the next step was working out how to manufacture my designs. I studied fashion marketing at university so the marketing and design is natural for me.
Female empowerment is key to your brand, tell us about your experience in business as a woman...who have been your female role models?
The lingerie industry is a wonderful industry, it is very intimate and friendly, but as with any business, you’ve still got to be tough to survive. You need to be able to communicate effectively with strength passion and compassion. I surround myself with good people who are highly skilled. My female role models would be Stella McCartney and Helen Mirren.
Both strongly feminine.
Did you ever feel like giving up and if so what spurred you on?
Yes, a few times, especially when I had the babies and I was so sleep deprived. I went back to work when my first son was 3 weeks old, very tough. My mother helped me so much; she is a strong woman who always taught me to be independent but caring. I have an amazing husband who is the best chef in the world. Having a great support network behind me really spurred me on to continue growing my business.
What has been the biggest surprise over the years?
I should trust myself over anything, my instinct is strong.
What has been your favourite moment in business?
My favourite moment to date has to be when I introduced my mother to Princess Ann when I won ‘New UK Exporter of the Year’.
What is the piece of advice you would give to anyone starting their own business?
Sort your finances out and invest in good people.
Can you nominate another inspirational woman in your network who should have their own Strong Yet Feminine profile?
Yes, Lucy Ann, she is my number 2, and my technical and production executive - I couldn’t do it without her. She is a mum too and is such an incredible person.
TO WIN A THE BOUDOIR SET OF FLEUR OF ENGLAND LINGERIE, A SALLY LANE JEWELLERY BEAUTY WITHIN PENDANT, AND A COPY OF "HOW TO RAISE A FEMINIST: BRINGING UP CONFIDENT KIDS WHO COULD CHANGE THE WORLD" BY ALLISON VALE AND VICTORIA RALFS, CLICK HERE