I had been keeping quiet about it, but now I can spill the beans!
On Monday, I was invited to Parliament to showcase the Jennifer Hamley brand to at Portcullis House, Westminster. There was a little mix up and we ended up having an impromptu ‘tour’ through the magnificent Palace of Westminster, past the house of Lords – the security staff there are the cheeriest people you could ever meet.
The evening was an invite only guest list of MPs and female entrepreneurs; It was such an honour to be selected to tell my story of entrepreneurship and of the support I have had from other women in business. I even got a little area all to myself to showcase my handbag collection. I wish I had taken more photos, but there was just so much going on that I didn’t get the chance!
The speakers and the women I met that evening reminded me of how important it is to surround yourself with a network of people that inspire you. Women are particularly good at this and share their contacts freely if they know that the connection will help. I talk from experience; every time I have taken a leap of faith with my business, the entrepreneurial sisterhood has been there to catch me.
It’s a sad fact that women are less likely to start a business, and most often due to fear. This could be a fear of failure, of rejection, of being seen as a-fraud-who-has-no-idea-what-she’s-doing, or maybe even a fear of success. Running a start-up is scary (and I am always living in fear that someone will discover that I have no idea what I’m doing), but the rewards for facing these fear are infinite. If I could inspire just one woman to take the leap and start her own business, or to carry on when things are getting tough, I would be over the moon with happiness.
P.S. On the night we were informed by Craig Tracey MP (Chair of the Women and Enterprise Parliamentary group) that ‘By increasing female participation in entrepreneurship to the same level of men we could add £60bn to the economy’. What shall we do about making it happen ladies?