We start to realise there is nothing wrong with self doubt, fear, feeling not good enough - they are all completely normal and we can relax and see they aren't who we are and don't mean anything - and carry on.
Louisa Michel - Founder and owner of Brighton Lace
Q: Why did you decide to follow this path/business?
A: I didn’t plan on going in this direction, I was just doing it for fun really, experimenting, and it turned out people liked what I was up to.
Q: Has it always been a passion?
A: Colour has always been a big passion. I heard a talk recently where the speaker said if you think back to what you were doing when you were very young - the kinds of activities you naturally loved to do - this speaks volumes about what your adult passions are. I realised this is very true for me; I was always ordering things into colour groups - pencils, toys, books...it was just a fascination I had! Today one of my biggest passions is dyeing our laces and thinking about the colourways in our collections.
Q: When did you decide to follow your passion?
A: I didn’t really make the decision to go for it, in a way it made itself. I thought I was going to end up using my journalism qualification for my work, but my pieces kept selling (I was doing this on the side of my training) and I started to realise I could make this work as a ‘proper’ business.
Q: Were you encouraged at school? Were your talents recognised?
A: Yes, the focus of my school was very creative, I was lucky in that way. Also my parents helped a lot just in role-modelling that this is a viable career path.
Q: What were the most difficult things to overcome when you decided to try and make money by following your dream rather than getting a job.
A: It’s taken me a few years to realise that running a business or being an entrepreneur is just like any other career path, it requires a skill set that needs to be learned and honed over time. The business emerged through passion but I had very little concrete business knowledge and this is something I’m definitely still learning today. Thankfully I have some amazing resources and people in my life who help me learn and grow.
Q: Did you think you would never make it happen? Did you feel you weren’t good enough to make it happen?
A: Oh yes, I doubt that ‘imposter’ feeling ever goes away, but I ask myself how many nice reviews will it take for me to realise we do actually make something beautiful that people love?!
Q: If so how did you move through those thoughts? For many these thoughts can seem so real and limiting.
A: I relax with those thoughts, I don’t let them get in the way of doing what I love. I also think about all the other people who run small businesses and I realise we all have the same worries and doubts and still we continue on making beautiful things that people cherish.
Q: What do you love most about what you do?
A: Working with dye, shopping for fabric, going to markets and meeting wonderful customers. I also love the network of makers around me, some of my dearest friends also run small design businesses and I’m so grateful to know them and work alongside them.
Q: I am sure many people must benefit from your music/service - does this give you even more satisfaction?
A: Yes absolutely. Even now I do a little happy dance when a customer messages us to say thank you, or a lovely review comes in! I also love that it creates work for other talented women in the Brighton community. That is something I feel very proud of - being able to employ the skills of other talented women in the city.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
A: Running a Brighton Lace studio that customers can visit, with a few more team members, making lovely lingerie of course, but also producing a small fashion collection, and perhaps a swimwear line too…so many ideas!
Contact Lou here