This week, as part of my Wonderful Women series I interview Belinda Hall, the founder of the Home of Artisans, an online community marketplace that supports and promotes artisans from around the world, and sells their beautiful hand crafted pieces.
Describe a typical day for you?
A typical day for me right now is working in a creative advertising agency by day, and my start-up by night and weekends.
I am at the point in my business where we are launching the brand and website to the UK market, building up our community of makers and setting up pop-up retail events, with our first one coming to Chelsea, London in November: Home of Artisans at Handmade in Chelsea.
However, I also like to keep connected to day-to-day career. I somehow am able to manage both at the moment, because I take short-term contracts as a Business Director in advertising which gives me the connection and income I need, but also the flexibility where I can take the time I need in between contracts to focus on Home of Artisans.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
I had a previous business where I re-designed the granny shopping trolley and made a stylish version and associated accessories, and I think the achievement for me in this was not only did I visualise and create my own brand and physical products, but I overcame the challenge of doing all of this whilst working full-time, having my bags made in the Far East and starting a business in a country that is not native to me!
I arrived into London from Sydney in 2004, and by 2006 my bags were being sold in Harvey Nichols and Fenwick Bond Street and I had my own small e-commerce boutique where I was selling my bags. I no longer have this business and ceased trading for a number of reasons.
The other achievement I would say has been seeing another opportunity at a time that was, for me, personally challenging… and putting my energies into developing that next opportunity.
What came out of that process was my current online marketplace where we support and promote specialists of craft that make beautiful pieces. This business makes me extremely and inspired on a daily basis.
What’s in your handbag/satchel etc?
I could not live without my Smythson Soho Diary, my Lucas Paw Paw ointment or my iPhone that enables me to do a lot for my business and life whilst I am on the move.
What are your ambitions in life?
It sounds really cliche but happiness, contentment and finding my own home ‘within’ is an ultimate ambition.
Living a life that is designed and created from what truly matters to me, so that I am always within my own power, my own awareness and my own control; nothing would make me more unhappy than to be led by external forces: corporations, family, friendship influences and feel trapped.
I think we all have the ability to give light, give love, and lift people up through the right energy – that for me is my daily ambition.
What advice would you give your pre-baby self that you now know having had a child?
There will always be advice. My advice and the advice of others are all different points of view. Listen to yourself and trust your own inner voice.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Hopefully on a beach eating the most delicious fresh seafood, feeling the sun on my skin and taking in the sound of the sea… I need a holiday!!!!
What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur?
Don’t learn by studying others… learn by really experiencing everything, feel it and find your own style and taste buds!
Finally, happiness is…
Returning to my family home in Sydney, to sit in the front garden with them all, enjoy a glass of wine and a chat and laugh in the sun.