Channelling Doubt into Creativity
On 24th November we were delighted to welcome fashion designer and entrepreneur Anya Hindmarch CBE to address our virtual audience in an engaging talk, Channelling Doubt into Creativity.
Founder and director of the prestigious Anya Hindmarch brand – most famous for its beautifully crafted handbags – Anya this year published her first book, If In Doubt, Wash Your Hair: A Manual for Life. It shares lessons learned from a life spent raising five children and running a highly successful, constantly evolving company. Anya told us the impetus for the book came largely from turning fifty and reflecting on what ‘I wish I had known when I was younger about being a woman, being a woman in business, being a mother.’ In a wide-ranging discussion, Anya and Venetia Hoare touched on everything from personal tips on stress management and work-life balance to the transformative effect of the pandemic on future goals and the crucial role of emotion in business.
‘Any business is built on relationships and emotion… empathy, excitement, upset’, said Anya. Working women today, she went on, are part of a ‘transition generation’, where tradition is dissolving and boardrooms ‘geared to men’ are starting, sometimes painfully, to open up. Yet traditional power imbalances and gendered expectations have not all been redressed; today’s women must learn to cope with competing demands: ‘You do need to look after yourself, because if you fall apart, then it doesn’t really work for the family – or for the business.’
Following the talk, in a Q&A session, moderated by Amy Rodwell, guests asked Anya to expand on pioneering sustainability initiatives such as her new Universal Bag which will launch in January 2022. Made of 100% recycled plastic and designed to be locally recyclable after a 10-year lifespan, the bag is the much-anticipated successor to Anya’s game-changing I’m NOT a plastic bag tote and was developed in collaboration with Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. ‘That’s the new way of working,’ she concluded, ‘Collaboration will be one of the big issues on solving a lot of the challenges society faces. It’s quite alien to us, in a way, but it’s absolutely imperative.’