Insatiable self belief. And handbags.

The other day I was pottering around the house listening to Desert Island discs on Radio 4 (I am in my thirties ok? Don’t judge…). The guest on this particular day was Anya Hyndmarch MBE, accessory designer and handbag queen, who was telling the story of how her career began.

Hyndmarch’s story really inspired me. At the tender age of 18, she spotted some rather lovely leather drawstring bags in Italy whilst spending time abroad. Realising they would sell really well at home, she negotiated with factories in Italy to produce some samples, with payment due when she sold the stock. She returned to England, made an appointment with Harpers and Queen who featured the bags, and duly sold out of all stock to make a healthy profit.

Jump forward to the present day, and Hynmarch is a globally renowned fashion icon with a chain of eponymous stores and a list of emminant clients for whom she consults.

A few things struck me about this story. Firstly, seeing a chance and just going for it is the spirit of an entrepreneur; having the confidence to negotiate and make something possible  is an exciting and inspiring tale. The confidence of an 18 year old who believes anything can happen enabled Hyndmarch to defy the odds and persuade the factories to allow her credit terms. That confidence and belief is the essence of magic that makes stuff HAPPEN.

I thought back to my earlier years, and how throughout my career – even as a student – I had total self belief that anything was possible. I had illustrations published at the age of 21, knocked down the doors of magazines to get my portfolio dropped off in the lunchbreak of my day job, and never once though of negative possibilities. By the time I left university I had already freelanced for some major companies,and had a contact book full of art directors who were commissioning me. I  had a job to go to working for a wonderful global hairdressing brand, and also have freelance work on the side to keep me in wine and shoes. I never had an interview that I didn’t get, and I never thought I would fail, so I didn’t.

Somewhere along the line, we lose that confidence. Maybe a job interview rejection, or time away from work due to ill health or family erodes that self esteem. Maybe just by getting that bit older and ostensibly wiser we lose that cavalier have a go attitude. Somehow we stop knocking down the doors of possibility and lock them up to hide away in safety.

Well, thanks to Hyndmarch I remember that feeling of magical belief.

Do you remember that “anything is possible” feeling? Have you lost the drive to take on the world in fear of rejection?

Let’s make like the handbag lady and take on 2013.




Jo Gifford

My work is about helping people work in smarter, creative ways + getting their message out to the world via killer content—blogs, copy, images + social. I am a designer, writer, blogger, mentor, author, creativity addict + prolific geek. You could call it a portfolio career of multi-potential multi-passions. I call it being me.
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  • Bangs and a Bun

    I love this. And totally agree – I was the same when I was younger. Full of that ‘get out there and go for it!’ attitude. As much as I like to think some of that spunk is still there, I think it’s safe to say, for whatever reason, it’s been eroded slightly. I’ve become more aware of that the past few months and have been figuring out ways to get it back. Thanks for posting this – a great reminder to not give up.

  • Sally Todd PR

    Super post Jo. It is that very same ‘anything is possible’ and ‘just do it’ attitude that has hot me where I am today. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means at the top of my game and there will always be room for improvement, but I just made a decision one day to work in PR an snow I am. In 12 months I have trained and passed with distinction in professional PR qualifications, completed a 6 week PR internship at too London jeans boutique, Donna Ida, serviced over 15 new clients, written my own webiste, gained a respectable following on Twitter and met some amazing bloggers who I still keep in touch with today and some who I have teamed uo with for work. I have just moved into new offices and plan to further my qulaifications and perhaps form a small agency. Anything is possible, it’s true, but it is always wise to remember that anything can happen when you least expect it. Sally

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