Our Little Coco Chanel, Tricia Hamilton. After a very difficult year 2015 with unexpected life changing events, Tricia found herself at the beginning of this year in Moscow, overlooking Red Square. This was a brand new start in every possible way after an unexpected divorce.
Where does your story begin?
My daughter wanted a fascinator for a wedding but she couldn’t find one to go with her grey wool, dress, plum patent shoes and handbag. She wanted to combine the colours in a fascinator. We searched high and low and couldn’t find the right colours, so when we went for lunch she announced that I was going to make her one!
This made me realise that there was a gap in the market with the fascinators your could buy and the fascinators wanted. That’s how my bespoke business began. I have always been creative and had a passion for making something from concept to reality. Coming from a career in primary school teaching, with no previous business experience, I jumped in with both feet. My first steps were to work with some prominent hat designers who were running courses in London to learn the skills I needed.
How do you juggle great personal struggle and business?
I have used the business as a vehicle to shut out the difficulties in my personal life. The business has kept me grounded during times of difficulty. What also happened was that I was able to use both positive and negative energy in my designs. The last collection, the Merino Wool Collection, was very significant in that respect as I went from a business with pieces in one boutique to head wear in four boutiques. Everything sold out before Christmas.“Use the energy and emotion in a positive, creative way in your business. It can be an opportunity if you can hold the energy together and focus on a business goal.” Tweet This!
So how did the struggle make that possible?
I thought that positive energy would be creative, I hadn’t appreciated that negative energy, when I allowed it to be used, was even more powerful. One of the boutiques was the Penny Brohn who sold to many chemo patients.
How did you practically use the negative energy in your work?
A fellow artist encouraged me to channel my emotions through a journal and a portfolio using textures, images and shapes to express my feelings. The journal reflected on my past, right back to childhood. Everything builds on past experiences from your childhood to the present day, these are very much part of your identity.
One morning I woke up with a lot of hats to make but the journal got in the way. I simply had to write in the journal. So that morning I was compelled to write in my journal about my childhood experiences. The emotion inside had a route out through the written word while the portfolio was an opportunity to use the reflective negative energy. This was very powerful. So business has very much been a major part of my healing process.
What would your top tip be to business women going through a personal life changing crisis?
To use the energy and emotion in a positive, creative way in your business. It can be an opportunity if you can hold the energy together and focus on a business goal.
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