Claire Harper

Be Courageous

23rd Mar 2016 • CLAIRE HARPER

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One of our brand values is to 'Be Courageous'. New ideas are opportunities to be better, so we should embrace them. Be open to change, listen to our customers and each other and take action.

This value certainly represents how we got started and is now just as important as we are currently making some changes to our business, IndiaCoco. I set up IndiaCoco from the dining room 3 years ago and I am very proud of the brand growth and working with such a brilliant and talented team. We have won many awards and really grown the retail side of our business. Our move to Trinity Walk Shopping Centre in Wakefield last year was a very positive move for the brand. However, on a personal level we are planning to relocate as a family from Yorkshire closer to London this summer. After a long process with strong competition, our daughters have been offered places at a fantastic school with an outstanding reputation and will join from September 2016 so the family relocation is now all systems go. My husband has been working away in London for several years now and we need to be back together as a family. I am also currently thinking about the future and location of the business as practically it will be hard manage the retail side of the business when we move. I am also doing more corporate speaking events with Speaking Office in London and consultancy work and really enjoying getting involved in some new retail projects.

We will be sadly exiting our Trinity Walk, Wakefield store at the end of March. We will continue to make changes and review our retail strategy  once we have relocated.

I’m sure you can appreciate running any business you have to be courageous and make difficult decisions along the way. You have to be brave and have the confidence to explore new territory. We have certainly used Yorkshire as a great pilot for our business and excited to be moving South in the next few months. 

We would like to thank all of our lovely customers for your support and will keep you updated on the next chapter.

We would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter.

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Blackstone Women's Networking Event at Burberry

16th Mar 2016 • CLAIRE HARPER

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Blackstone is one of the world’s leading investment firms who seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for investors, companies, and the communities in which they work. They are a firm of more than 2,000 employees in 17 offices worldwide. Their portfolio companies employ more than 520,000 people across the globe.

I was delighted to be invited by Blackstone to be a guest speaker at their women's network hosted at Burberry on the 15th March 2016. The theme of the event was to celebrate brand heritage. I was asked to share my own story working across many different brands and to engage and inspire the audience. My own journey and experiences reinforced the key guardian principles shared by Blackstone of accountability, teamwork, excellence, integrity and being entrepreneurial. 

Speaking at a venue such as Burberry was incredibly inspirational. Burberry is a distinctive global luxury brand. The Company designs, makes, sources and sells products under the Burberry brand. The business is led by the brand, with decisions taken in its best long-term interests. Burberry is committed to the creation of authentic and distinctive products and continuous innovation in design and UK manufacturing. Burberry aims to be sector-leading in understanding, engaging and serving its customers, both online and offline. More productive and efficient ways of working are a priority across the organisation, together with ensuring a culture of responsibility.

Following my speech we all got an opportunity to really get up, close and personal with the products. Burberry kindly hosted a styling session with the iconic trench coat and we all got an opportunity to preview the new season ranges especially the brand new 100 lace trench coats in partnership with Vogue to celebrate a century of style.

A fantastic evening of fashion, inspiration and such a great opportunity to work with two leading brands who really champion the importance of brand heritage. 

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International Women's Day 2016 - The Wakefield Girls' High School Leading Ladies Panel Event

The theme for International Women's Day 2016 #IWD2016 is all about pledging for parity.

Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement.

And we have much to celebrate today. But progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places.

The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn't close entirely until 2133.

Everyone - men and women - can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly - whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.

Today I was personally invited to join an inspirational panel of very successful Yorkshire women at Wakefield Girls' High School. The girls from year 7 to 11 had been personally selected by the Head to attend this positive event celebrating International Women's Day. 

We all spoke passionately with the girls to encourage, support and offer our experience and advice. The girls were super bright and confident and asked brilliant questions and the women on the panel were engaging and extremely motivational. These girls are the future generation of talent and no barriers should be in their way to achieve their career goals. 

In summary, a very positive day with great energy and enthusiasm. I'm confident with mentoring, encouragement and support these girls can achieve gender-balanced leadership, respect and accelerate gender parity.

Many thanks to Claire Young and Head of Wakefield Girls' High School, Nina Gunson for organising this event and to all of the inspirational women on the panel, Caroline Atkinson, Linsey Birkett, Gail Glover, Stephanie Hirst, Helen Knowles, Gill Laidler, Helen Massey, Joanne Roney, Charlotte Sweeney and Katie Town.

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