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Female leaders share the best advice they’ve ever received


Some of the incredible, passionate and talented women in the UK fashion and textile industry discuss the most valuable guidance that has shaped their careers


Keely Deininger, creator, designer and MD at Angel’s Face


Keely Deininger Angel's Face Angel's Face

“My former boss gave me this advice 20 years ago. Trust your instinct, if it feels wrong it probably is.  Spend time on the things that matter, don’t get distracted by the day to day, you have to keep focused on the big picture.  If you are not good at something get the best person you can find in to do if for you. You have to have a passion for what you do and you have to dream big.”

Nina Falk, co-founder of Kalopsia Collective


Nina Falk Kalopsia Director Kalopsia

“Women have always been the backbone of textiles and fashion and it’s time to see them at the forefront of our industry leading the way to an equal future.”

Diana Kakkar, founder of MAES London


MAES London Tottenham Hale

“You are the only one responsible for your own career growth. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!”

Justine Tabak, founder of Justine Tabak

Justine Tabak in the Greenwich Dress Justine Tabak

“When I set up my business I was fearful that it wouldn’t be noticed and was worried about pleasing everyone in the market place. But a journalist friend told me, ‘keep focused, be true to yourself, and you will find other like-minded followers who love the same as what you do’. It was the best advice. I know my clothes don’t suit all tastes but the customers who bought from me at the beginning still support me now through our shared love of dresses and sustainable values. I followed my own instincts; passionate about manufacturing here, creating a strong community around me and creating what I love. So far so good, and on this International Women’s Day, it seems fitting to celebrate a new generation of  female designers who work on their own terms to forge their own inspiring fashion brands.”

Kavita Basi, founder of Jardin Living

Kavita Basi Jardin Living

“Being a British Asian woman is important for me to celebrate on International Women’s day. I’m proud of my British Brands – Ration.L and Reflexone that are helping our environment, but to also show what you can achieve after some great challenges of health. I always believe that if you have a great concept and it is going to bring something good back into our diverse world then don’t give up! Happy International Women’s Day.”

Charlotte Cameron, founder of Berjoan

Charlotte Cameron Berjoan berjoan

“The best advice that I have been given in my career…It is absolutely OK not to have all the answers, and accept that you never will, so don’t be too proud to ask for help and guidance. Speak up but don’t be afraid of silence. And don’t try and chase two rabbits at once, as you will catch neither!”


Rachel Kenyon, owner and founder at Buttress & Snatch


Rachel Kenyon Buttress & Snatch Buttress & Snatch

“One of my favourite bits of advice is that if you are going to produce work in Britain make sure you make it interesting and make it beautifully. Our new Cut the Cotton collection features cotton fabrics made entirely in the UK as well as the elastic and the trim. The lingerie we make is tailor made to order, this means that we can offer a size range in this bra from a 32A to a 42G and be completely body positive and inclusive. It takes more time than the ways of shopping we’ve become accustomed to but it makes zero waste and a lot more sense.”

Margaret A Macleod, Sales Director, Harris Tweed Hebrides

Margaret A Macleod Harris Tweed Hebrides Harris Tweed Hebrides

“Having worked with James Sugden I very quickly understood how James truly believed in Scottish textiles and the importance of knowing every detail about your product. James was a great advocate for traditional textile skills, and each winter he took pride in wearing his Harris Tweed coat, always telling me about its origins from the island of Lewis & Harris where I grew up. James’s comments on his favourite winter coat were so poignant, his words and pride for our island industry have stayed with me for many years as a reminder how important it is to preserve craftsmanship and traditional skills.”

Leonie von Schweinitz, founder of Annafie

Leonie von Schweinitz Annafie Annafie

“Embrace change. It’s OK to change your path. When I started my career, I could never have imagined not being a lawyer, let alone running a childrenswear business. The same with life before kids – my four taught me very quickly that you have to embrace the drastic change that they bring with them in order to enjoy the journey.

The past year has brought about previously unimaginable change, people and businesses have had to remain agile and adapt to survive. Mothers especially have become home-bosses, teachers and chefs in a very short space of time, all on top of being a mum. Running Annafie in an unpredictable world with new priorities on top of a lot of homeschool is something I’m very proud of.”

Jessica Giannotti, director of Crùbag

Jessica Gianotti Crubag

“The best advice given by my dad: If you believe in your vision or idea, persevere and commit to it, especially when it gets hard, lonely and uncomfortable as this is where growth happens. Inject everything you do with love and good intentions, and never forget your Why and Values as they will drive you forward when everything else fails.”

Araminta Campbell, founder of Araminta Campbell 

Araminta Campbell Araminta Campbell

“You only ever fail if you don’t learn. When you start and you your own business there is a stigma and concern about ‘failing’, I was advised if something doesn’t work, or you don’t achieve what you want from it, it isn’t a failure unless you didn’t take anything away and learn from it. Remember, you will always ‘fail’ at some aspect, at some point, but you wouldn’t be where you are without the experience.”

Frankie Davies, founder of Charl Knitwear

Frankie Davies Founder; Charl Knitwear

“Say yes and then work out how afterwards. This is because when you make the decision to create your own business you are taking a leap of faith; in yourself and in others, that they will join you on your journey. You don’t know where it will take you but by now you’ve already taken the first steps and there’s no going back, you’ve already committed!”

Rosemary Eribé, CEO of ERIBÉ Knitwear

Rosemary Eribe

“Early on while I was setting up ERIBÉ Knitwear, an experienced business man gave me advice I have used so often to resolve major issues: ‘Always look for the opportunity in the problem you are faced with.’ This little gem of advice has opened many doors for me!”

Jenny Holloway, CEO of Fashion Enter

Jenny Holloway Fashion Enter Fashion Enter

“It’s easy to play safe and do the same old thing but what’s the point of that! I firmly believe that we should leave that world in a better place than when we joined it so take the risk, do the best you can and don’t fear failure.”

Jane Lewis, founder of Goat


Jane Lewis Goat Fashion Goat Fashion

“The attitude with which you approach inevitable obstacles is key. Be analytical and flexible. It is important to know when to listen to your heart or your head and not let emotion blindside you when making tough decisions. You need to be brave and resilient but above all trust in yourself. Running a company is a marathon, not a sprint, so allow yourself room to grow at a pace you can handle. Sometimes turnover is a vanity. Remember that. Lastly, know your limitations. It takes strength to ask for help and seek good advice. It’s a learning curve.”


Tuhla Choudhury, Creative Director and Head of fashion operations & Production at Sew It In London

Tuhla Choudhury Sew It In London

“Be resilient and don’t give up even when it seems hopeless at times and things are moving slowly, use this opportunity  as a positive to develop other areas of your business, as these small developments could potentially have a huge impact on your growth.”


Jo Gordon, founder of Jo Gordon

Jo Gordon; Knitwear Designer;

“Running a business is like a river full of floating logs, think very carefully about which log you jump on and where that log will take you. Always think ahead.”

Sital Punja, founder of Threads London

Sital Punja Threads Threads London

“I was once told by an 80-year-old cloth cutter that ‘brands are represented by the garments you make. Make them well, the brand will flourish and so will you’.”

Joanne Yeadon, owner of Joanne Yeadon Textile Design Studio

Joanne Yeadon Joanne Yeadon

“Be enthusiastic and always ask for feedback as it helps you improve and progress.”

Emma Hay, Learning & Development Manager at Johnstons of Elgin

Emma Hay Johnstons of Elgin Johnstons of Elgin

“Moving from Primary Teaching via Financial Services, to become Learning & Development Manager at Johnstons of Elgin in January 2020, is never what I would have imagined…. It’s much more varied and enjoyable than I could have made happen by myself. By staying curious and committed to being of service to others, I have learnt that keeping my mind and heart open and courageous are as important in business as it is outside of work. On International Women’s Day 2021, I extend a grateful nod to those who took the time and care to believe in me, and who encouraged me to do so, too.”


Jane Shepherd, founder of Pigeon Organics

Pigeon Organics

“Don’t employ people who are like you, employ people who complement you. That was the best advice. My two colleagues, Diana, Kate and I cover an incredibly diverse range of skills, of which I’m very proud. The other good advice was don’t forget to include your own salary in the budget – something small start-ups often forget, and which I ignored for quite a long time!”

Fiona McIntosh, founder of Tessuti Scotland

Fiona Mcintosh Tessuti Scotland Tessuti Scotland

“The best advice I have been given is to believe in yourself and follow your gut feeling. If you want something enough it will happen. Do not be intimidated by what seems like impossible tasks as there is always a solution and not to be too hard on yourself when trying to resolve them.”

Kirstie Duke, Co-founder of Toastie Kids

UKFT Rise Ambassador - Kirstie & Lucinda Toastie

“Always have your customer in your mind when designing and creating a product; consider how and when they will wear or use it, how much they would be happy to pay for it, how it will make them feel when they purchase it. Plus product is KEY. Product design, development and innovation should be the area you invest the most in.”


There are some amazing female-led businesses in our sector and we can’t begin to list them all here. Here are a selection that specialise in manufacturing and training, which are doing some incredible work right now.

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