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Strong Yet Feminine Profile: Becky Uden of Uden Pilates

Posted by Sally Lane on

Becky Uden, Founder of Uden Pilates, shares her story of how an accident, potentially detrimental to following her dreams was turned into the driving force for doing something she loved full time, and helping others.
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Strong Yet Feminine Profile: Rosalind Chik of Smokin' Lotus

Posted by Sally Lane on

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!

Rosalind Chik, Founder of Smokin’ Lotus shares her experience of following her dreams to launch her Delicious and Original Street Food business.

Rosalind Chik

 

Q: Tell us a bit about your career path before Smokin’ Lotus

My career path was incredibly varied before I started Smokin’ Lotus. Nothing I did before this ever seemed right. I always felt like I was having to pretend to be something I wasn’t. I taught English in China, sold advertising for the Commonwealth, worked in environmentally sustainable tourism at Tourism Concern and The International Tourism Partnership, and finally I was a Technology Consultant at Accenture.    

Q: Was there a eureka moment when you knew you had to go for it?

During my time as a Technology Consultant I became more and more unhappy. I hated my work, I hated the travel and spent every second I could thinking about what to cook next and dreaming of going of going back to school to study cooking. I started toying with the idea of starting a street food stall and running supper clubs to see if my cooking would pass the test with paying customers. But the real eureka moment came when I was planning my wedding. I was getting catering quotes and all of the ones I really wanted were coming in at 10 to 12k and it was just a bit out of our price range. One day I went to visit my friend Annette and she sat me down and said “do the catering yourself, you are more than capable and it will be better than anything you can buy”. We then convinced my husband to let me spend 8k on equipment, I created the first Smokin’ Lotus menu and it was launched at the wedding. The rest is history.

Q: Had you always had a passion for food or is it something you cultivated over time?

I have always loved food. When I was a child my favourite moments were watching my mum cook dinner and BBQing with my dad. Even though it is something I have always loved, that love has gotten much stronger over time. It was only in the last 3 years that I started to realise that food was in the core of my being and the thing I wanted to dedicate my life to.

Q: What has been the most challenging element of this journey?

This is a great question! This journey has been more challenging than I could have ever imagined! It has taken all of my strength, resolve and will power to stay focused and to keep going at times. The first year that was the toughest. It was so lonely, cold and more physically demanding than I could ever imagine. I often wanted to pack it all in but this little voice inside of me kept saying “but what else would you do” and that kept me going. I ran around frantically doing prep, admin, trying to get good market spots, going to shops and carrying 50kilos of groceries home in my backpacking backpack (pre getting my driving licence), setting up and taking down my whole gazebo set up and running markets by myself, the whole time making no money getting myself in debt to continue.

Q: What has surprised you the most about your new career?

My new Kerb side family. For me getting signed as one of the Kerb traders has totally changed my business and things have really gone up from there. I no longer feel lonely as every day I go to the market the people who should be my competitors are actually my new-found family. We all muck in together and do anything we can to make sure each other are ok. When I forget something like gas they have my back and vice versa. It gives me hope and shows how well the world could work if we all just helped each other out!  

Q: Were your friends and family supportive of your choice?

Incredibly!!!  Without them I never would have had the guts to follow my heart and my dreams. I also would have been homeless and starving during that first year!

Q: What is it that motivates you when you feel like giving up?

My friends, family and that little voice that says “but what else would you do”

Q: What advice would you give to anyone else thinking of taking the plunge to go it alone?

Do it! It is the most rewarding thing you can ever do. However, be ready to truly push the boundaries of what you think is possible. Aim big and never give up on yourself. 

Q: What experience from your earlier career has been the most useful for Smokin’ Lotus?

Strangely enough it was the job I hated most that prepared me for running a business. As a Technology Consultant I learnt how to be organised, how to present information and deal with a huge range of different people for different backgrounds.    

Q: What has been the most rewarding moment to date?

Three spring to mind: getting signed as a Kerb trader; being listed as one of Timeout’s top 50 street food traders in London, and getting invited to cook in the Angela Hartnett tent as part of London Food Month.

 

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Strong Yet Feminine Profile: Jasmine of AFIA AND JAY

Posted by Sally Lane on

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!

Jasmine, Founder and Editor of AFIA AND JAY shares her experience of writing an award-winning lifestyle blog for the Millennial woman, while training to be a solicitor (serious kudos!)

 

Gold Earrings Afia and Jay Don't Mess

                                                                    

Q: What inspired you to start your own website/how have your passions been cultivated over your life? 

A: I've always been both a voracious reader and a generally creative person. From as early as I can remember I was always midway through a book, and during my teens when I wasn't reading in my spare time I would run around my school grounds dreaming up imaginary fashion and beauty campaign concepts or sit in my dorm poring over the pages of British VOGUE and Harper's Bazaar. With the rise of the Internet and its influence on the ways in which we consume information, I began to read more and more online websites and blogs, particularly ones on fashion. I figured I could create my own space where I could write and create my own content, and so after a few years of stopping and starting blogging, AFIA AND JAY was born!

 

Q: Was there a Eureka moment when you just knew what you had to do? 

A: Not exactly, it was a few different events that lead me to where I am now. When I graduated from university I decided I wanted to work in fashion journalism so I reached out to a few companies and people in the industry, and eventually secured a few small internship roles in magazines' fashion cupboards. After a while I felt like I wasn't progressing in the way I wanted to, so I did a total 180 and pursued a career in the law instead (which I'm still doing now). When I got my current job I just knew that I would always love fashion and writing, and that I could to both of those things without necessarily having to work directly in the fashion industry and whilst still being committed to my legal career. And it was around that time that I launched the blog.

 

Q: What has been the most challenging element of this journey? 

A: The daily balancing act! During the day I work as a trainee solicitor, which is wonderfully challenging, and whenever I have free time I try to work on AFIA AND JAY. There were a few occasions when I really struggled to maintain the site consistently and so wouldn't post anything for weeks or months, but I've become a lot better at creating content in bulk during my free moments and automating a lot of processes.

I'd also say that writing a blog and being the face of it puts you in the firing line to criticism and judgment from others.  As a result I've developed a thick skin from overcoming situations when my content hasn't been received well by others. But it's all been a learning process and I'm continuing to learn as I go along.

 

Q: What has surprised you the most about your new career? 

A: The friends I've made and the small successes along the way. Blogging can be a bit of a lonely business because on most occasions I'm tapping away at my computer at home and thinking of ideas on my own. I've only recently begun to work with photographers on a freelance basis to produce the blog's imagery and try to network more with like-minded individuals, but it's always a surprise to find out that people are actually reading your content, let alone enjoying it. 

 

Q: Were your friends and family supportive of your choice?

A: To an extent, yes. I'm not sure that my parents totally understand what blogging is and what it involves, but they're definitely supportive nonetheless (my mum often scolds me for not blogging often enough!)

 

Q: What is it that motivates you when you feel like giving up?

A: The fact that whether my blog is successful or not, it's something that I truly love to do and will always love! It's no secret that it's pretty difficult to create a scaleable, sustainable business out of a blog - and a fashion blog at that - but writing, styling and (hopefully) creating value for my readers in the process is ultimately a lot of fun! 

      

Q: What advice would you give to anyone else thinking of taking the plunge to go it alone?

A: I'd say (bearing in mind that this is all advice that I'm still working on myself!) do your research on similar businesses out there, but really try to find your niche and run with it. That last part is hard, and something I'm still working on at AFIA AND JAY.

 

Q: What has been the most rewarding moment to date? 

A: I was super lucky to have been named New Blogger of the Year and won a separate Special Recognition Award back in late 2015 with online publishing platform The Bloggers' Lounge. Knowing that people recognized and liked what I  definitely made this process feel a lot less solitary.

 

To read more from Jasmine, check out her fab blog: www.afiaandjay.com/ or follow her on Instagram or Twitter: afiaandjay

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Not Pursuing my Dream would be the Failure

Posted by Sally Lane on

It’s finally happened…I have taken the leap of faith and left my full-time job to focus 100% on my beloved jewellery. It is without a doubt one of the scariest decisions I have made, after having worked in the Digital and Adtech world for over 13 years with no break. Now, I have a beautiful calm studio space in the comfort of my own home, and I couldn’t be happier.

For some time, people have advised that I need to focus on Sally Lane Jewellery 100% in order to really make a success of it but there is no doubt that turning your back on a successful career, and the standard of living that it affords, is incredibly daunting.  When you are consumed in a world of commuting and work stress, it is easy to splash the cash without a second thought: ‘I deserve it because I work so hard’, I’d say to myself as I spent £60 on dinner for the second time that week. If I wanted something, I bought it; ‘Why do I work so hard if it isn’t to spend money?’, another common phrase I would reassure myself by. I realised that after so long being with money, I felt I couldn’t leave my job until the jewellery business was earning as much (which was likely to be never, when I was only working on it evenings and weekends) and so I had my Catch-22.

It took a complete burnout, and the thought of being stuck in New York for two years, without friends and family, in a role I was no longer enjoying, to make me take a step back and reassess what really brings me happiness. Yes, I enjoyed progressing in my career, and I wanted to ‘have it all’ and live in New York enjoying ‘that dream life’, but the reality was unfolding, and it was to be two years of further stress, taking me away from my true creative passion. ENOUGH. I quit and reversed all the planning that had been going into transporting my and my boyfriend’s life across the Atlantic (which is pretty awkward, let me tell you). Fortunately, my employer was very understanding and wished me well on my new venture…and so my new life started to form ahead of me.

They say: ‘fortune favours the brave’, and so far I couldn’t agree more. Opening myself up to my new life and discussing it with whoever I can has revealed a heart-warming number of people ready to help, advise and put me in touch with relevant people. New opportunities are forming and it is incredibly exciting.

What I do know is that, for me, it had to come to that breaking point. I was not ready before, and it is only with the new, fierce desire to have a different type of lifestyle, with creativity and not money at the heart of it, that I had the courage to overcome the anxiety that follows such a life-changing decision. Without realising it, my work had become a defining part of my confidence, and as such it was vital for me to break that down and understand how to rebuild that in my new working life. What was amazing to me, was that all of it was transferable, and best of all, it is now in addition to my main passion…jewellery. I have a stripped back life, with a considerably lower budget, but I get to spend my days dreaming up the next gorgeous jewellery pieces to adorn all the StrongYetFeminine ladies out there.  

Watch out for some new killer designs, and a lot more communication from me. I will be sharing stories from many women following their passion, corporate or independent, to inspire us all. I am so elated to be fully dedicated to the StrongYetFeminine ethos that I whole heartedly believe in.

It is so easy to fear failure and let that stop you giving 100%. Time to reframe what failure is; not pursuing my dream would be the saddest failure of all. Δ

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Christmas Gift Shopping at Peckham Crafty Fox Market

Posted by Sally Lane on

We are very excited to be at the Crafty Fox Christmas fair this Sunday at Peckham Bussey Building. There will be many stools of unique handmade designers, ready to solve all your Christmas shopping needs. We would love to see you - and you can see our jewellery in full splendour. See more details here: http://www.craftyfoxmarket.co.uk/marketdates/2016/12/10/christmas-market-peckham-10-11-december

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