Who are you?
I am Pam Sharpe, a Leicester based entrepreneur and co-founder of Brooks & Sharpe with over 5 years of e-commerce/brand development experience.
What made you want to start your business?
I have been working for myself for over 10 years now. I come from a Sales & Marketing background — I wanted to go back to work in this field after giving birth to my son, who’s now 10, but found the work environment was not very flexible towards working mums. The working hours, pay and cost of child care did not make any sense at all. So I decided to go into self- employment and work around my son’s needs.
What do you love about it?
I have always loved fashion. In fact, when I left school, I was set on doing a fashion course at University but it turned out I was terrible at drawing! My expertise lays more in being a ‘creative muse’ — putting fashion together, spotting trends, spotting hot talent, marketing and selling. It is hard to pick the one thing I love about what I do as I love everything about fashion. Having said that, I do love discovering new brands and the extremely talented people behind these brands.
What is the hardest thing about owning your business/working in your industry?
It can get very lonely especially running a small business. Your skin gets thicker with experience but the rejections, nos, setbacks, frustrations and loneliness that comes with building a business can still get to you. I think it is very important to find a good work-life balance so you don’t burn out.
What’s the one thing you wish you knew before starting?
How to have good work and life balance, and if you can, find a good support system. It’s very important to find this balance and I did not fully appreciate this before — there was always a deadline to meet, a workload that was waiting to be done. At the end of the day, none of this work will get done if you stretch yourself too thin and have a poor support system. I wish I had known this before starting and set out healthy work and life boundaries.
What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
Have more self-belief! You are capable of more than you could imagine and mostly, go out and live your life and discover yourself.