Together We Can: International Women’s Day with Accessorize

Here at Accessorize, we honour strong women all day, every day. As a brand by women, for women, we’re proud to celebrate the move toward a more equal world – which just so happens to be the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day

[ All images in this post were found on Pinterest and are not owned by Accessorize! ]

So, as we champion change toward a more gender-equal world, what does International Women’s Day mean to our team?

Kathleen Mitchell
Accessorize Brand Director

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to recognise the trailblazers that came before us and identify the remaining inequalities that persist. Thankfully the role of women in work and in the world has evolved tremendously since I left university, but we still have work to do!

My entire career has been spent at companies that are for and by women and working with mostly female teams and customers has been my absolute privilege. 

Julia Beal-Preston
Accessorize Marketing Director

It’s about recognising inequality and restoring the balance of power in every aspect of women’s lives.

At work, it’s being heard and respected the same way as men. As a mum, it’s raising a daughter and a son who both feel they can achieve the same goals, both respect everyone the same way and both feel worthy.

Every day it’s empowering females and males around me to ensure equality this the norm rather than a ‘thing’.

International Women’s Day is also a day to re-brand feminism, moving away from the stereotypical idea of women’s rights. It’s all of our responsibility to teach society equality and kindness.

It’s about equal respect regardless of gender. 

Daniel Shocklidge
Learning & Development Manager

International Women’s Day is about recognition, celebration, and empowerment; it’s a chance to recognise all women, give a spotlight to those who might not always get it when they deserve one, and lending my own voice to theirs.

Harriet Poppleton
International Director

It’s a day to reflect on achievements and progress that’s been made in creating equal opportunities around the world.  We have a long way to go but the wave of change has most certainly started and there is an opportunity to ride it, so don’t waste it!  

It’s also a chance to give thanks for not only all the women around the world but more importantly those that make up your world!  

 

Shop our outfit-making accessories for women-on-the-go >>

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We’ve had a makeover, fancy a sneak peek?

Our Accessorize stores in Fulham and Southampton have had a makeover and (if we don’t say so ourselves) they’re looking pretty fancy!

What’s New?

Think of our new stores like a ‘modern bazaar’ – an inspiring place to explore, full of things we know you’ll love. 

It’s a new look and feel designed by our savvy-shopper team who have created a space to make your shopping experience with us even better.

It’s a more modern and fresh look and feel, think: brass, marble and stone. In other words #InteriorGoals. 

Sip & Style

To keep the excitement high now that our Grand Opening Weekends are over, we’ll be running Sip & Style evenings in both Fulham and Southampton, weekly from Thurs 20th Feb. Pop in store 4-7pm on your way home from work for prosecco (do you see a theme emerging here?) and product-focused styling sessions! 

Store locator: https://uk.accessorize.com/view/content/store-finder

Store Stylists

Not only are the new stores a dream to visit, but you can also get quality advice from our store staff who are qualified Stylists, trained by the London College of Style. 

Our unique training programme means our team know the coolest products and the trends you have to shop now; say hello to Spring/Summer micro bags and stacked jewellery! They can also make sure you pick the right colours for your skin tone, the perfect gift for your Mum (Mother’s Day is 22nd March, everyone!) or the ideal slides to stack in long locks.

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Discover the new season essentials you’ll also find in store.

 

Making a Difference With The Monsoon Accessorize Trust This World Education Day

Since 1994, the Monsoon Accessorize Trust has been supporting projects that impact the most disadvantaged and vulnerable women and children around the world.

This World Education Day we’re shining the spotlight on our charity projects that are improving the lives of children and their families in slums near Delhi, who have no choice but to live and work on rubbish dumps.

The ‘rag-picking’ children support themselves and their families by rummaging through rubbish on the dumps in order to salvage scraps of cloth, paper and glass that can then be sold.  Many of them have younger siblings to look after, even though they are only children themselves.

THE TRUST

In association with Christian Aid and Phia Foundation, the Trust works to support these children through education, health and hygiene programmes. Through the charities, parents are encouraged to allow their children to visit bridge schools, where they are taught basic life skills and hygiene. The aim is to prepare these children for a more traditional education. This bespoke education scheme allows children and their families a better, brighter future. 

SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

Last year, Phia Foundation and Monsoon Accessorize Trust organised an educational visit to Ambedkar National Memorial. This trip taught children about the Indian constitutional value and the importance for every citizen of India, giving them a sense of belonging and an understanding of in Indian history. 

MEGHA AND PREETI’S STORIES

These sisters were both out of school and living in tough conditions. Once their parents agreed to send them to Phia’s education centre, the girls regained their confidence and self-belief and received a basic level of education and life skills. 

Due to the continuous education programme, they are now both doing well in the formal educational system. 

SONAM’S STORY

The youngest of six, Sonam is known as an introverted, sincere child. Three of her siblings were married at a young age due to dowry customs, while herself and the rest of her siblings work within the rag-picking colony in Bhowapur. 

Sonam regularly attended remedial classes at Jungu Education centre, run by Phia Foundation. Here she not only received basic support on health and education but also guidance on the school syllabus and other curricular activities. Due to her persistence and passion for learning, she was then admitted into the formal school system where she scored 91% in her annual exams. 

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Read more about the Trust’s work.

Make a wish this Christmas with the Young Women’s Trust

The season of giving is upon us, whether that’s spending time with friends, gifting presents under the tree or sharing you grandma’s secret mulled wine recipe. Christmas is also time to gift a wish to those who need it, whether it’s a little extra love, a boost of courage or good fortune. 

To make this a possibility, we’ve partnered with The Young Women’s Trust, a charity dedicated to supporting young women, to create a beautiful collection of Christmas decorations, which have a wish for love, courage, fortune and more beautifully embroidered on them. As see in Stylist and The Independent.

These creations lift the spirits of your loved ones (and look fabulous on the tree) and also donate to the Young Women’s Trust to support young women into work.

Research by the trust shows that almost half a million young women are unemployed and more are stuck in low paid, insecure work. This is why The Young Women’s Trust is working with women aged 18-30 to find work that is right for them. 

“We’re the only charity that is set up expressly for young women, to shout about their brilliant promise and create a world free of discrimination for them…Our mission is to shine a light on that wonderful pool of talent and possibility, support those women to develop their skills and strong mental health, and raise their voices so that their contributions are valued.” – The Young Women’s Trust CEO, Sophie Walker.

Working closely with young women, the trust offers coaching workshops that build skills and encourage strong mental health as well as CV feedback and interview techniques. 

The Young Women’s Trust also works to achieve economic justice for young women through activist training and campaigning. They cover everything from ending job segmentation, stereotyping and sexual harassment to flexible working and pay discrimination.

How you can help The Young Women’s Trust

Giving the gift of a wish this Christmas not only shares a little special something with your loved ones, but it also opens more possibilities for the women supported by The Young Women’s Trust.

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Shop the Decorations

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Meet CoppaFeel! founder, Kris Hallenga

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month (1st – 31st October) we’re proudly supporting breast cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel! by donating £20,000 of the profits from our exclusive feel-good boutique collection of products. We caught up with the charity’s fearless and fabulous founder, Kris Hallenga…

A: Hi Kris, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Please introduce yourself!

I’m Kris, the founder of CoppaFeel!. When I’m not talking about boobs I’m probably banging on about my cat, Lady Marmalade. I’m 33 (turning 34 in November!), I have an identical twin sister called Maren and I live in beautiful Cornwall.

A: What is the best thing about being the founder of CoppaFeel!?

I think being the founder of anything is pretty damn cool. I never saw myself as someone driven or motivated enough to start something brand new before I was diagnosed so I actually really surprised myself. Obviously, the proudest thing is seeing the impact we’re having and the response we get from all our campaigning and hard work. It makes it all so ruddy worth it.

A: It shows incredible strength that your reaction to the diagnosis was to start a charity to help others, where did you find that strength, energy and passion?

I have no idea. But I actually think we all possess a little bit of that killer badass inside us, and we just don’t know it’s there until we really need it. I find the energy because I know what we do matters and I’m passionate because I see the impact. Nothing worth doing is easy and straight forward. Having said that, I have my moments of weakness and low-energy, but I think that’s allowed!

A: What is the most important message you communicate to your audience?

CHECK YOUR BOOBS. It’s as simple as that. Currently, we’re running a campaign called “Grab Life By The Boobs”. The premise is that we want everyone to have a future free from breast cancer. Every ounce of life is precious so it’s worth grabbing on to and celebrating, much like your body.

A: In what way do you spread your very important messages?

We visit schools, recruit ambassadors at universities, we take our boob mobile Belinda to festivals, we have a free text message reminder and hand out copious amounts of shower stickers, which are a useful prompt to check in the shower. Each year we also put on our annual event called Festifeel at the House of Vans in London. This is a big ol’ celebration of everything we do and helps us to get the word out even further (plus it raises money, which is of course also beneficial!)

A: It’s CoppaFeel!’s 10 year anniversary this year, what’s your proudest moment/fondest memory of the past decade?

Gosh, there are so many things I’m proud of! I love that we’ve created a charity that gives people the opportunity to be good humans. Our team are good humans and everyone who volunteers for us LOVE what they do and it’s so nice to see. Of course, the proudest thing of all is hearing from people we’ve reached telling us their cancer has been diagnosed early because they were checking themselves and they knew the symptoms to look for. We can’t say for sure that we’ve saved lives because cancer has a sneaky habit of sometimes returning in the future, but we know for certain that we’ve given people the best chance of surviving because, statistically speaking, if a cancer is found at the earliest stage the survival rate is vastly higher. We believe everyone deserves that chance.

A: You already do so many amazing things, what’s next for Coppafeel!

Wider reach, to more people, more communities, more “pockets” of people who are currently not being educated. We want to reach BME groups, people who don’t go to uni, young mums and basically everyone that needs to hear our message. Having said that, we also want to ensure what we already do is done even better, even bigger and more efficiently. There’s no need for big changes because we’re already doing big things, we just have to do them better.

A: What’s your favourite ‘everyday’ motivational mantra / affirmation?

“Breathe”. Reminding myself to take a good deep breath is the most grounding thing I can do each day and it really helps me focus!

A: Aside from boob-checking, what other self-care rituals do you have?

I bloody love having a bath. It’s the ultimate “me” moment when I take a long soak in epsom salts. I also like to stretch out my body and practice yoga and reformer pilates.

A: How important is it for CoppaFeel! to partner with brands? (… Like us!)

Hugely! We need as many different audiences to listen to our message and the vehicle for doing that is brand partnerships. It would take us way longer to reach such a huge group of people without you guys! Of course, we also very much need the funds to keep doing our work. For me, partnerships have to feel authentic and truly meaningful. When a brand puts their name to a charity we make sure the people signing the contract actually check their boobs – what’s the point in telling your audience to do something that you haven’t committed to yourself?

A: Which is your favourite piece from the Accessorize x CoppaFeel! collection?

I love the scarf. I’m really into fun forms of headgear and I think it’s so cute to tie it up on your head – or alternatively round your neck!

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Shop the Feel-Good Boutique >

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Meet CoppaFeel! Ambassadors Charlie and Jess

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month (1st – 31st October) we’re proudly supporting breast cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel! by donating £20,000 of the profits from our exclusive feel-good boutique collection of products. We caught up with the charities amazing ambassadors Charlie Launder and Jess Megan for a quick chat about life, self-love and the importance of getting hands on…

A: Hi ladies, please introduce yourselves!

C:  My name is Charlie, I’m 30 and I live in London. I have been married for almost exactly a year to my university sweetheart George. I am a personal trainer, specialising in pre and post-natal women. I started a business called Bumps & Burpees and I absolutely love helping women feel strong and amazing.

J: My name is Jessica and I’m a body image activist, curve model and very proud CoppaFeel! Ambassador. My job is focused on encouraging women to get to know their bodies on an intimate basis, as well as normalising them externally. Hey, hello, hi!

A: Why did you first get involved with CoppaFeel?

C: When I was 25 I found a lump in my breast, after watching Kris Hallenga’s documentary Dying to Live (she’s the charity’s founder) so I have a lot to thank CoppaFeel! for. I had that removed and luckily no further treatment was needed, but a year and a half later I found another lump in the same place and they discovered a few tumours that all needed urgent surgery. I have been supporting CoppaFeel! ever since and don’t stop talking about what they does to anyone who will listen.

J: Because my message is based around getting women to get to know themselves, both physically and mentally. When we recognise patterns and habits, we can identify bodily malfunctions. These can include mental health blips, missing periods and spotting the signs of cancer. CoppaFeel! was the perfect charity for me, so when I was asked to be an ambassador, I was totally thrilled.

A: Why is CoppaFeel!’s message of early diagnosis so important?

C: If we all learn what to look out for and to get into the habit of checking our boobs when we are young then we are all in a far better position to spot anything ‘odd’! By taking ownership of our bodies and knowing what feels right, we can confidently ask for the help we need if and when we need it.

J: If symptoms are detected early, it can increase the chance of successful treatment. Many frightened women have approached me in relation to their own breast cancer diagnoses or symptoms they are experiencing. They’re worried about the results, the future, and their families. I tell them that while it will be hard and sometimes scary, they can still stand even with shaking legs, and they CAN move forward. Fear is okay, its normal.

A: What advice would you give to someone who feels awkward talking about/checking their boobs?

C: Firstly, you don’t need to talk about checking your boobs if it makes you feel awkward… But you do need to do it! Do it in the comfort of your own house and don’t make it into a ‘big thing’. Have a quick check lying in bed, or standing in the shower – it takes no time at all but that could be saving you a lot of time and stress later on.

 J: We are all different. My breasts are saggy, with white stretch marks and large nipples, and they’ve been that way since I was sixteen. There, I said it! Breasts are a very normal and natural part of being human. We are all dangling, soft machines – there’s a lot of stuff happening in our big bodies all the time and occasionally malfunctions might happen. The only way you can know if something goes wrong is if you get to know your body intimately. Create a bond with your boobs!

A: What are your top tips to remind yourself to regularly check your boobs?

J: I have one tip and it’s the best tip ever (ever, ever, ever): Sign up to CoppaFeel!’s monthly text reminders HERE. They’re super fun, totally non-invasive messages that give you a little nudge every month.

A: What’s your favourite mantra or affirmation?

C: There can be no flowers without rain. When you have a bad day or receive some bad news it can feel all-consuming and like you’ll never get through it, but you will and when you do the good days will feel SO good.

A: Aside from boob-checking, what other self-care rituals do you have? 

J: I eat what I want. If I want a salad’s bowl worth of pasta, I eat a salad’s bowl worth of pasta. If I want to sleep, I sleep long and hard. Self-care isn’t so much about face masks and baths (although if that’s what you like, go for it!) it’s more about listening to your body and knowing what it wants. My biggest self-care treatment is spending time with my dog. He’s a chunky, short-haired rescue and it’s so soothing to be with him after a busy day walking around London.

A: How important is it for CoppaFeel! to partner with brands (… like us!)

 J: Breast cancer is an issue that affects so many and it’s such a worthy cause that needs as much awareness as possible. Influential brands such as Accessorize are vital not only for raising funds, but also to break down barriers of fear between ‘real life’ and the clinical aspects of cancer. Many women I speak to are frightened of hospitals, medical terminology and doctors. Familiarity brings comfort and big brands and corporations can provide this by bringing attention to important issues.

A: Finally, which are your favourite pieces from the Accessorize x CoppaFeel! collection?

C: With my job, I go to and fro from the gym a lot, and I love the printed drawstring pouch for keeping my gym trainers in. It works within my larger carry-all and I can’t get over the print – so cute!

J: The boob necklace! I have a million boob-shaped, boob-printed, boob-centric pieces in my house. I’m missing a boob shaped necklace in my life. A tiny set of golden boobs to perch on top of my boobs. Bliss.

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Shop the Feel-Good Boutique >

Design Stories: The Accessorize x CoppaFeel! Feel-Good Boutique

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month (1st – 31st October) we’re proudly supporting breast cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel! by donating £20,000 of the profits from our exclusive feel-good boutique collection of products. Venture into the Accessorize design studio to discover more about the vision behind the range and the techniques used to create that eye-catching print…

The inspiration

“As a business that is predominately made up of women, providing accessories for women, it was a no-brainer to support such an amazing charity,” says Mary-Jane Ralston, Buying Manager at Accessorize.

“CoppaFeel! are so imaginative and light-hearted in the way that they aim to break the taboo surrounding talking about and checking your boobs (and pecs!) so an element of fun was very important to capture within our exclusive product range.”

“As a brand we design for girls and women of all ages, so it feels really important to support a charity that focuses on increasing awareness on something that touches almost all of our lives either personally, or through a friend or loved one. I now have a much greater understanding and how to check myself, and I think that our print symbolises that empowerment with a tongue-in-cheek edge.” – Georgie Chappel, Designer at Accessorize.

The design process

The print was developed in-house using a loose, illustrative style. “Abstract prints are big for AW19 anyway, and so this felt like a natural mix of artistic style, trend-influence and meaningful motifs,” explains Georgie.

Pink represents friendship, affection, harmony, emotional strength and inner peace, but it is the softer side of dominant, powerful red, so in the right shade it can still pack a punch. As well as being one of CoppaFeel!’s official colours (and pretty close to our very own brand coral!) the words ‘strength’ and ‘peace’ feel really relevant to this collection and the cause.

The collection

Once our in-house design team were happy with the scribbly ‘boob’ print, we printed it onto some of our best-selling pieces. The boutique collection includes three must-have bag shapes (a tote, wash bag and drawstring pouch), two delicate gold necklaces, a silk scarf, printed tee and cute motif keyring.

“I’m obsessed with the ‘pearly pair’ boobs necklace! Coincidentally there is a big trend in jewellery right now to feature faces and body parts, so this is the perfect piece to buy now and tick off a key trend whilst also supporting this fabulous charity.” – Mary-Jane Ralston, Buying Manager.

“2019 has been the year of the hair accessory, so our silk scarf looks likely to be a bestseller. The best thing is the versatility within this one single product – wrap it around your pony tail or weave into a messy bun. I also love the cute tee – it’s perfect with jeans for everyday.” – Georgina Chappell, Designer.

Education & empowerment

CoppaFeel! are the first breast cancer charity in the UK to solely create awareness amongst young people, with the aim of instilling the knowledge and tools they need to get to know their bodies. We admire the way they discuss and deliver a serious message in a light-hearted way, empowering us all to start healthy habits for life.

CoppaFeel!’s dream is that one day we can live in a world where ALL breast cancers are diagnosed at the earliest stage possible, at which treatments are more effective and survival rates are higher.

“Since working with CoppaFeel! I certainly feel more knowledgeable about checking my boobs and keep telling my friends to start doing so regularly. It’s really simple; cancer has no prejudices, it’s not embarrassed or self-conscious so why should you be?” – Mary-Jane Ralston, Buying Manager.

Getting to know your boobs could save your life – so sign up for a boob check reminder here and get hands on now!

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SHOP THE COLLECTION >

Accessorize x CoppaFeel! – The Feel-Good Boutique

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month (1st – 31st October) we’re proudly supporting breast cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel! by donating £20,000 of the profits from our exclusive feel-good boutique collection of products.

Keep scrolling to discover more about CoppaFeel! and their incredible work in breast cancer education and discover our exclusive collection including three bags, two necklaces, a silk scarf and keyring

The Charity


CoppaFeel! are the first breast cancer charity in the UK to solely create awareness amongst young people, with the aim of instilling the knowledge and tools they need to get to know their bodies. We admire the way they discuss and deliver a serious message in a light-hearted way, empowering everyone to start healthier habits for life. Speaking of which, learn how to check yourself here.

CoppaFeel!’s mission is to ensure all breast cancers are diagnosed early by empowering women and men to check their boobs/pecs regularly (and from a young age). They also educate on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and empower people to seek advice from a doctor if symptoms persist, get worse, or cause worry.

Getting to know your boobs could save your life – so sign up for a boob check reminder here and get hands on!

The Boutique Collection

 

Taking our inspiration from CoppaFeel!’s mission and vision, approaching this collaborative collection with a light-hearted energy was key, so if you’re thinking that scribbly print looks a bit cheeky… You’re right! Our incredibly talented in-house design team illustrated lots and lots of boobs to make up this eye-catching pattern, with heart motifs running throughout. We printed it onto our zip-top wash bag, canvas tote, drawstring pouch and silk scarf.

STYLE TIP: Why not mix it up? You can wear our silk scarf in your hair, fasten it around your favourite handbag, wind in through your belt loops or tie it around your neck.

For those who favour more delicate details, we created two gold necklaces – the playful ‘pearly pair’ pendant and a pink-coloured heart. Mix these in with your other favourite necklaces for a trend-led layered look. Alternatively, fix our heart-motif key ring to your purse, keys or handbag.

 

Do good and feel good! Remember, £20,000 of the profits from this collection will go to CoppaFeel! to support their continued mission: That we can one day live in a world where ALL breast cancers are diagnosed at the earliest stage possible, at which treatments are more effective and survival rates are higher.

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SHOP THE COPPAFEEL! FEEL-GOOD BOUTIQUE >

The Monsoon Accessorize Trust: Magic Bus

Magic Bus works with children and young people living in poverty across 22 states of India to ensure they complete secondary education, and develop the skills required to transition successfully into the world of work. They’re one of the key charities that the Monsoon Accessorize Trust have partnered with as we strive for a bigger, better future for some of the most deprived children in Asia.

The Project

For the last 20 years, the Magic Bus has been helping thousands of children and young people in India’s poorest communities break out of poverty with an award-winning activity-based curriculum, otherwise known as their ‘Childhood to Livelihood’ programme.

In July 2017, the Monsoon Accessorize Trust began a three-year partnership with the Magic Bus. Our funding aims to reach 2,000 children in the Khoda, Trilokpuri and Ashok Nagar communities in East Delhi, providing them with the space, opportunity and equipment to play, learn and be actively supported to attend school. The children are exposed to a curriculum specifically designed to develop personal and social skills (such as team work, leadership and confidence) and prepare young people from marginalised communities for employment.

 

Khushi’s Story

Twelve-year-old Khushi and her younger sister Palak have been living with their grandparents in Trilokpuri, Delhi, following the death of their mother. Their grandmother, who works as a housemaid, was unable to pay the tuition fees required to send them to school, meaning neither child had any access to education. When the Magic Bus arrived in the local community, the girls’ grandmother decided to send them there for remedial classes. “We are very happy to send our girls to the Magic Bus,” she told us. “Khushi never spoke at home but she does now and regularly studies too. School fees in our area are very high and we cannot afford it with the kind of jobs that we have. The free classes at the Magic Bus help so many children and give them better futures. I will always be thankful to them.”

Khushi’s education started from scratch at the Magic Bus where she was taught basic literacy and numeracy. At first, she was shy and didn’t ask any questions but slowly started to gain more confidence. Six months later, she’s ready to enrol in mainstream schooling.

 

 

Read More

The Monsoon Accessorize Trust: Phia Foundation

The Monsoon Accessorize Trust: Christian Aid

The Monsoon Accessorize Trust: Smile Foundation

 

International Women’s Day: Meet the Inspiring Women at Accessorize

This year, International Women’s Day’s #BalanceforBetter campaign is calling for a more gender-equal world, especially within the workplace. To celebrate and support their message, we’re introducing you to some of the inspiring women at Accessorize – read on to see what makes them tick and how they’ve shaped their careers, plus find out more about the women who empower them to be the best version of themselves.

Colette Wells, IT Project Manager

 

What empowers you as a woman?

I am very competitive. It must be in my genes as my whole family loves a good challenge. I feel empowered using my own competitiveness with myself to always be a little bit better than I am the day before, whether that’s personally or professionally. I’m big on self-reflection, some say I’m too hard on myself but I do practice self-care. Those combined make me who I am. I learnt a long time ago to own my mistakes and learn from them and be proud of my achievements and celebrate them. My anxiety comes in sometimes which knocks confidence, naturally.  Each time this happens, I try not to worry too much about others judging me. It doesn’t matter if they are because that’s their issue, not mine. I’m trying to keep it simple and be a little better each day. Finding what drives you to be you is key.

 

Do you have any tips for women wanting to enter this field of work?

Traditionally, IT is a male-dominated environment therefore preparation is key. Ask for the agenda first to understand the topics. If you don’t know an area being covered, look it up. In a meeting, always ask questions if you don’t understand something. If someone listens and give you an honest answer, they’re going to be a valuable colleague. If they talk over you, others in the room will notice. People, both male and female, often assume that women can’t be interested in tech or be ‘techy’. They view technology as working in a dark room with computers and games which it really isn’t! Understanding technology empowers us to understand our environment and progress forward. In every meeting where I don’t know something, I’ll ask the questions and learn from them so that in the next meeting or on the next project, I’ll be that bit more prepared.

 

What’s your greatest achievement?

When I was 16, I was training to be a professional dancer. I then went on to perform in musicals and teach ballet. Due to the demands dancing puts on your body and a few surgeries, I had to retire early and change my entire career. At 26, I was retraining to become a project manager in IT. I’m thankful that from the years of discipline and dedication that dancing teaches you, completely changing my career wasn’t as scary. I knew I could start at the bottom as work up again. Five years on, I’m an accredited project manager working in an industry I love, doing something I’m good at. My advice to anyone thinking of making a career change? Yes, it’s scary but embrace it because it’s possible – you just have to want it.

 

Rebecca Thompson, Assistant Buyer

 

Which women have inspired you most in your life and why?

As cliché as it may sound, someone who has always inspired me, even from a young age, is my mum. Her unconditional selflessness, patience and kindness to everyone around her is amazing and inspirational. If everyone could be even half as lovely as her, the world would be a far more positive place.

I also find women in the public eye using their platform to spread positive messages extremely empowering. Jameela Jamil is a great example of this. Her ongoing @i_weigh campaign promotes body confidence and challenges us to see beyond how we look, how much we weigh and to stop judging ourselves and each other on these trivial attributes. She also speaks out about the harmful effects of Photoshopping and airbrushing, and urges the media to stop promoting unrealistic body standards. She talks openly and honestly about her own painful experiences and is brave enough to challenge what we, as a society, have come to accept as the “norm”.

 

Why do you think it’s important that businesses strive for gender equality?

Gender inequality is dated and backwards. Why wouldn’t your business want the most qualified and personable employee they can find? Whether that is a woman or a man, it should make no difference and they should be paid based on their skill set, not what gender they identify with. Everyone on this planet is equal and everyone deserves the same opportunities.

 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Comparing yourself to others is not only unproductive but also completely inaccurate. You can never be sure what someone else’s situation is, what they are going through and what they’re intentions are. Also friendships are everything – nurture them and never take them for granted.

 

Omotola Olaoke, E-Commerce Developer

 

Which women have inspired you most in your life and why?

Nearly every woman I know. As corny as it sounds, a lot of the women around me have inspired me in many ways and for different reasons. My close friends who are like my sisters have been a wonderful inspiration and still are. My biological sisters too, even though they are younger than me. But I have to say that my mum has inspired me the most. Her hardworking and ‘there’s-always-a-way’ attitude gives me every reason to try my best to achieve whatever I want in life.

 

Why do you think it’s important that businesses strive for gender equality?

It’s important, not just for the success of the business, but for working women to know that they belong. Where there’s a lack of equality in the workplace, women aren’t attracted to apply for certain roles meaning that companies are missing out on what the female voice brings, and problems can’t be approached from a wider set of perspectives without them. When women are represented fairly and equally, they perform better, which overall improves their role and quality of work.

 

Kitty Lawrence, Stylist

 

What do you like about working in a female-dominated company?

It’s empowering and inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented women of all ages striving to do their best! It’s also very relatable, working with creatives that share the same interests as you. And it’s a lot of fun!

 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Never get a fringe!

What motivated you to pursue this career path?

Project Runway – is that lame?! But also my mum. I’ve loved fashion since I can remember and my mother has incredible style that always seizes to amaze me (she’s forever telling me not to wear so much black!). I was given a small sewing machine (it could literally fold up into itself and be carried by one hand) when I was younger and I taught myself to sew and then went to design school in New Zealand and loved it! There is so much incredible talent and passion in the fashion industry and I wanted to be a part of it.

 

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Empowering Women: Lydia French from The Brighter Times

For the final chapter of our Empowering Women series, we’re meeting Lydia French, founder of The Brighter Times, a platform that spreads peace, love and positivity.  Here, she talks to us about all things female friendship, self-care strategies and her top feel-good picks from the new-season collection at Accessorize. It’s time to make room for happy…

 

 

Tell us more about The Brighter Times…

The Brighter Times is a platform for all things positive, kind and inspiring. Life always presents its challenges and hardships, so I wanted to create a space where people (including myself!) can go for a motivational quote, a titbit of wisdom, a laugh, some escapism even just for a few minutes. From the very beginning, I had a clear vision about it being full of inspiring stories and tales of human kindness.

It’s been a long and, at times, frustrating journey but through sheer persistence, the website is finally live, greetings cards have been created and people are sharing their good stories. Moral of the story: keep going!

The message that I want to spread with The Brighter Times is simple: we are all in this crazy world together and we need to be kind to ourselves and others.

 

 

What does Galentine’s Day mean to you?

I LOVE IT! I’ve been sending my besties Galentine’s Day cards for years – it’s a moment to pause and say thank you. I will always cherish my girlfriends because of their constant support, loyalty, generosity, and how much they still surprise me with their unconditional love. Galentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to celebrate and let them know how much they’re appreciated.

 

Tell us the best piece of advice that a friend has ever given you.

‘To be completely and unapologetically you’. It’s totally okay to not vibe with everyone – you just need a few good’uns to appreciate everything together. You may not be everyone’s cup of tea but you’re definitely someone’s tequila!

 

What are your top tips for staying positive?

Make sure you have enough giggle time with your friends – the side-splitting, jaw-ache kind! If anyone is going to pull you out of a funk it’s them. Music is a big one too – for an instant pick-me-up, whack on your favourite track and let it take you to your happy place. Having a scroll through positive, uplifting, motivational Instagram accounts can also be very helpful but honestly, do whatever works for you. My advice would be to keep checking in with yourself and ask ‘what can I do to make me happy today?’. The smallest thing can make the biggest difference.

 

 

What is your best self-care strategy?

I’m a big one for feeding’ the soul… literally. Happy tummy, happy mind. I love feeling healthy… with the odd jam-filled donut thrown in for good measure of course! Taking time for myself is really important, whether it’s having a bath, watching my favourite Netflix series or sitting on my bed staring at the ceiling, the occasional bit of quiet time makes all the difference. A big thing I’m working on this year is only saying ‘yes’ to things I really want to do, prioritising myself and being okay with that. It’s made SUCH a difference already. It means the decisions I do make, I throw myself into whole-heartedly. It makes me, and others around me a lot happier. Try it!

 

Tell us about the pieces you’ve chosen…

I was immediately drawn to the pieces because of their colour and fun. They’re brilliantly feel good, not only uplifting an outfit but your mood too. Statement pieces can also boost your confidence and set you up for the day – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being full of fierce.

 

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5 Things to Do on August Bank Holiday Weekend

Long weekends are what we live for – and we plan to make the last one of the year the best one yet. From colourful carnivals to comedy and music festivals, here are five things to do on August bank holiday weekend 2018. It’s time to see summer out with a bang.

 

1. Notting Hill Carnival

@nhcarnivalldn  |  @limopic  |  @hypemari

Hailed as the biggest street party in Europe, the Notting Hill Carnival is back for its 52nd year on August bank holiday weekend. A celebration and showcase of London’s Caribbean communities, their culture and traditions, the two-day event features a parade with costume-clad dancers, steel bands, live music, including reggae, calypso and rumba, and delicious street food.

 

What to Wear

 

 

2. Reading and Leeds Festivals

@annabelconstance  |  @alice_dolman

Another year of music and mayhem awaits at the Reading and Leed Festivals, with this year’s line-up including headliners Fall Out Boy, Kendrick Lamar, Kings of Leon, N.E.R.D, Travis Scott and Panic! At The Disco. Whether camping out for the whole weekend or heading over for the day, there’s no better way to spend the bank holiday than with live music, mates and – with any luck – a bit of August sun.

 

What to Wear

 

Shop Festival >

 

3. Manchester Pride

@mattyberliner  |  @annakg  |  @francescabarry

One of the city’s most highly-anticipated events, Manchester Pride makes its colourful comeback with four days of celebrations and events to empower and support the LGBT+ community. The weekend includes the parade through the city centre, and live musical performances in the Gay Village, with the likes of Jake Shears, Sigala, Rita Ora, Todrick Hall and Alexandra Burke taking to the stage.

 

What to Wear

 

Shop Rainbow Brights >

 

4. Edinburgh Fringe Festival

@annie.lav  |  @edfringe  |  @lisaalex_

Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world, bringing together thousands of performers on hundreds of stages every August. Featuring comedy, theatre, dance, circus, cabaret, musicals, spoken word, exhibitions and lots more, the three week-long event comes to a close this weekend, making it a must-see for culture vultures.

What to Wear

 

5. Beach Break

@katebennet0  |  @travelrocx

Whether you’re jetting off abroad or planning a trip to the UK’s shores (Brighton, Newquay, Bounemouth – we’re looking at you), a beach break is one of the best ways to spend the last long weekend of the summer. Better get booking that last-minute trip…

What to Wear

 

Shop Beach >

 

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