14th Jan 2016 • CLAIRE HARPER
Northern Power Women is a campaign to improve gender diversity from the North of England. It will increase opportunities for women to drive economic growth and drive positive change, working alongside businesses, universities and government. By enabling development of a strong regional pipeline of real talent, driving gender pay equality and providing women with the knowledge and skills they need to drive their careers forward against the backdrop of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.
I feel very passionate about this area and I was delighted to be nominated recently for 'Small Business' award. The winners of the 2016 Northern Power Women Awards will be announced at a gala awards dinner on the 3 March, 2016 where it will be fantastic to see a celebration of positive role models across the whole of the north. To support my nomination I had to submit additional information in terms of gender balance in the workplace and the recruitment, development and retention of female employees.
It really made me think - I took the plunge to leave my former role as Marketing Director of Mamas & Papas to set up my own children’s clothing brand, IndiaCoco when I couldn’t find the type of clothes I wanted for my daughters Coco and India so I ventured into retail, initially via online from the dining room and then via pop-ups, eventually establishing my own stores in community-based locations. I also required more flexibility as a professional, working mother with a young family. The key in delivering our customer proposition is down to the strength and talent of my brilliant female team past and present. My team are all professional, working women with children who want to work in an exciting and positive environment. My team all require flexibility and family must come first so we work together as a close team and ensure this is a business that supports female talent and gender balance in the workplace.
My background is in marketing and creating talented teams is an area I am extremely passionate about. That’s only one element of running a business but it’s a very important element. Women make brilliant entrepreneurs. I think from my own experience, being a working mum, the business is inspired by my two daughters – I’m used to juggling lots of things. I’m used to being very busy. I have to be very focused and disciplined with my time.
You have to share your brand vision and values with the team members. You’ve then got to empower and encourage them to do a fantastic job – and they will if they’re motivated, if they’re feeling empowered, if they feel recognised and valued. You’ve got to let people get on with what they’re great at. You’ve got to let go, you’ve got to delegate.
A lot of new ideas that have been brought into the business haven’t been from me, they’ve been from team members. You are only as good as your team so I have to trust them so that I can focus more strategically on growing the business and taking it to the next level.
To be nominated for such a prestigious award is a huge achievement but the biggest achievement to date is working with great female talent and offering each other flexibility and support in a positive environment.
This award nomination is dedicated to our customers and my team for making it happen!
© 2022 Claire Harper