I could have charged 5 figures for that...
As a small business owner, it's just me.
I can't go to anyone when the sh*t hits the fan (excuse the language) which it has done on many an occasion. A story for another day.
I spend most of my days at the moment, keeping my cool and holding my nerve with things that are going along in the background. (I'm hoping this won't last for too much longer)
BUT, because it's just me, it's imperative that I seek to learn from others and grow myself as an entrepreneur so I can continue to move the business I've lovingly and so passionately built over the last few years.
I've spent a small fortune on education and learning. (post university)
It's true, I could have put down a healthy deposit on a second home with what I've spent on developing myself.
Typing that out makes me feel slightly queasy, but I squash that feeling immediately because when I really think about it, I don't regret one single penny.
It's allowed me to cross paths with some of the most incredibly inspiring people who have taught me so much.
I would never have dreamed I'd be sipping tea, with this woman a few years ago.
I wrote this after we spent the day together last year.
She made me cry - good tears, those gut-wrenching, 'you go girl' kind of tears.
I was asked to write an article for an Entrepreneur magazine, which i'm glad i did as otherwise, I'm not sure i would have documented it!
Apologies for the lack of images in this blog post - I'm still getting to grips with the blog functionality!
‘Being you is pretty wonderful.’
Wow, where do I even begin to summarise today’s events?
Mary was a dream.
I’ll be totally honest, I didn’t know too much about Mary before we spent the day together today.
She was open, frank, true and honest. Very refreshing from someone so successful and inspiring.
She’s won me over as a Portas gal.
She had described in-depth about her early childhood and her close relationship with her mother and siblings. After utter heartbreak when her mother passed away she couldn’t see the woods for the trees and turned down some huge opportunities and dreams as the offer of a highly acclaimed RADA place ‘fell on her broken heart’ Her reason being, she wanted to ‘hang’ with her younger brother Lawrence and wanted to take care of him.
This showed an incredibly soft side to Mary and from here, I fell in love with her.
Mary organically worked her way up through the ranks of retail going from Harrods to Topshop to Harvey Nicolls, building relationships and friendships as she went that would carve out her hugely successful future.
Charisma is something that was so very present.
She showed an enormous amount of passion for women’s equality, women’s rights and the power of the woman. Something that I really engaged with.
Generous with her knowledge and advice she answered all of my curious questions. She jokingly added, ‘That’s gold that is, I’d normally charge 5 figures for that’
*heads off to implement immediately!*
Champagne whilst shopping? Who's with me?
I loved the way she spoke about retail needing to move with the times and create something that the internet cannot and that is ‘Experience’. She used Selfridges as an example with their Champagne bar and well-being centre.
Shops need to change into something where people want to go. This is where they can have the edge over online shopping. I’m really excited to see what impact she has in retail in the coming years!
I think we would all welcome a more compelling, shopping experience.
Mary reminded me of the thing we are so afraid of (ironically) which is fear.
As she reflected on the below poem that her teacher read to her, she encourages us to go to the edge and to feel fear.
This is where the magic happens.
“Come to the edge," he said.
"We can't, we're afraid!" they responded.
"Come to the edge," he said.
"We can't, We will fall!" they responded.
"Come to the edge," he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”
She lit up my world today.
She had the power to make that flame inside me burn brighter.
The only thing I wished is that we could have popped open a bottle of bubbly at the bar afterwards. I have no doubt she would show me a very enjoyable night!
I clicked record on my phone to get a short clip of her chatting at the end of our conversation and boy I couldn’t have pressed it a more appropriate time.
She said, in a reflective mothering voice, ‘As I say to my daughter...
It’s gonna be alright. The world is a good place, just be you. Being you is pretty wonderful.’
Something I’ll never forget.
Always a Portas Gal, Holly x