International Women's Day 2019
Women...diverse as we come.
Dragons of Walton Street has been a growing business since 1979 and it's one of Rosie Fisher's greatest accomplishments and legacy. Thinking back to the first ever Dragons hand crafted and hand painted piece, the vintage Rush Seated Chair to its modern design, it now sits alongside a vast range of furniture collections, accessories and interior design projects. Not to mention the Dragons team of today, the jobs we have because of it, the lives that have been sentimentally impacted; children, parents, godparents and grandparents - all with Fisher's idea of hand painted children's furniture.
A 30 year old Fisher said 'If I don't start my business now I never will'. On this very special occasion, International Women's Day, we honour the creative mind of Rosie Fisher and celebrate the women in today's House of Dragons. What do they have to say...
Let us take a moment to introduce our newly appointed Managing Director, Anaïs Lallich. Gorgeously French, she isn't afraid of telling you how it is and a kind soul; it's hard to believe she has only been with us for a couple of months. She fits in so well she's part of the furniture! Here I am sitting with Anaïs and a lady you may already be familiar with; Lucinda Croft, Creative Director and daughter of our founder, Rosie Fisher.
I took a closer look at their day-to-day lives and what it means to be a good leader.
LC : To manage a team and lead well, I think it's essential to have listening skills. It's also important to be decisive so that your team know where you're headed; a clear vision that sets you all on the same path.
AL : I would add, head, heart and guts. Good leaders should have the intellectual calibre and the courage to have tough conversations as they need to question the status quo. Most importantly, no sustainable business can be done without heart.
BK : You're both wonderful mothers and maintain high-powered careers. How do you balance that with you-time?
LC : Me-time is the first thing to get squashed. Having a dog has helped and taking her out for walks has been a peaceful time for me to think and process.
AL : It's all about energy. I receive a positive energy from my children and work also makes me happy. I find that I don't need a lot of me-time because I love time with my family and friends. During the working week five-minute moments of peace here and there is all I need.
BK : If you could learn to do something new, what would it be?
LC : To have my super cool Michelle Pfeiffer moment, I would learn a song, sing it amazingly and leave the audience with goosebumps.
AL : I am sensitive to creative work, to see our artists in the studio draw and paint astonishes me and I would love to express through pen and paper. Charlie Mackesy really springs to mind - to make art look effortless and then to tie in words is astounding.
BK : First jobs hold such meaning, what did you spend your first earnings on?
LC : I bought pale pink leather boots. I did an acting commercial when I was 16 and I had seen them in the window of a Brighton shop a month before. I was so surprised that without a long discussion my parents said I could buy them.
BK : Wow, it's incredibly humbling and respectful that you connected your earnings with your parents.
AL : At 17, I wanted to experience a proper job and I was fascinated with bread and pastry making. I went to a bakery I loved and asked the owner to spend a week with them during my holidays. I started every day at 2am. Making dough was a brilliant experience and I also enjoyed dealing with sleepy clients coming to get their breakfasts. The owner hadn't planned on paying me but after she saw how committed I was, she paid me £50 which meant so much to me at the time. With this I bought a summer outfit on which I got so many comments!
BH : The main change I would like for young girls in the next generation is to take less notice of their outward appearance and concentrate on their inner selves and minds, but also to have the confidence to express themselves.
BP : If I were to live a day in the life of any woman, it would be Queen Elizabeth I, I'd love to know what it was like to have more power than any other woman of that time, how much pressure she was really under to marry and how her country reacted to being ruled solely by a woman.
Ladies of Interior Design
MM : International Women's Day to me is an acknowledgement. When I was little, on this day, men and boys would bring flowers for women whether they were a part of your family, in the workplace or at school for the teachers. It's such a nice gesture and for a woman to know she is appreciated and valued. I love that there is a day for women from all walks of life who are celebrated, and we should embrace our own worth and femininity.
PP : There are certain taboos related to the theme of women that I wish were broken for example, moving away from the stereotypes of what toys, girls play with and even boys for that matter. I would want my children to follow their likes and dislikes without worrying what, would be classed as "gender acceptable".
BM : Some great advice I received very early on in my career was to learn a little bit about each department. I believe that if you are able to do an aspect of everyone else's job, in a small business, it's invaluable and at times it's essential. So that's the mantra I have always gone by. With the training that comes from motherhood you are basically prepared for anything the workplace can throw at you!
BK : Women can impact the future so long as the parents create a positive upbringing for them; educating their girls as equally as their boys. When they grow to become women they will make informed decisions for their own career, health, relationships and environment. We're powerful forces when we want to be and it all starts with believing our worth to impact our own futures and in turn the futures of others. I hope we can seize opportunities in the industries we venture into. If for whatever reason they aren't there, us uniting on days like International Women's Day can break down those walls. Research, willpower, becoming more aware of what's available to us and seeking opportunities is how we impact the future.
From all the women and men at Dragons of Walton Street, Happy International Women's Day!