I’m so thrilled that today I can share another ‘hope‘ interview featuring another of my very talented friends – Claudia.
I always noticed Claudia at school, she was carefree and genuine. Much like with Emily, I didn’t get to know Claudia really well until college where we bonded over a mutual love for Linkin Park and skater boys.
Suffice to say, she’s come a long way since then, but her free spirit remains. In fact, she’s channeled that sense of freedom and created a brand with it – Island Feather. Starting off as a hair feather stall popping up at festivals here and there, Island Feather has transformed into a stunning activewear brand with passion and purpose at its core.
Anyway, let’s get Claudia to tell us more…
Hey Clauds! Can you give us a brief description of your work history?
My full time job was working as a children’s services manager for Action for Children. This role was managing eight managers with eight staff teams working across 13 children’s centres. Children’s centres were early intervention for vulnerable children and families and the work we provided was to support them with issues such as parenting, domestic abuse, health and wellbeing.
Can you explain how the original concept for Island Feather came together?
You can read more about the beginnings of Island Feather over on our blog, but really Island Feather has evolved over time. I never saw it as a business, just a hobby. Over the last 6 months I realised that it could be a business and be a career that combines all my passions.
look book images by Ryan Winterbotham
Can you tell us how the vision for Island Feather has changed since you started out?
The vision for Island Feather was always the lifestyle. It was a brand that captured all the things I love, finding your freedom, being happy and caring for one another. These fundamentals still remain. The products have evolved as my skills have evolved. I have learnt along the way; three years ago I never could have designed and understood the manufacturing side of fitness clothing.
What is the company’s mission statement?
“Find your freedom and look after one another.”
What are your hopes for 2017?
My hope for 2017 is to grow Island Feather’s sports and fitness wear collection, inspire more people to find their freedom and live a happy, healthy life.
Pictures from the Island Feather launch party, taken by Fi Muray.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about starting a business?
My advice for anyone starting a business is to know the reason why before doing it. Your why will be what drives you, it’ll stress you out… but it will be the thing that sticks with you for the long run. I didn’t go into the business thinking it would work overnight, it has evolved and become a part of me.
If you have a job, maybe don’t give it up straight away – wait until the business evolves and see how it goes. You do need something to keep yourself propped up for the initial stages. I don’t do it for the money, or to ‘own my own business’, I do it because it is everything I believe in and something that makes me happy.
I would also recommend signing up with a government funded organisation for support with mentoring. Really have a clear plan and have a system to review how you’re doing. This helps keep your focus, allow for change and opportunity to reflect on what you can achieve. I would also say that you are going to make poor choices and mistakes, but the most important thing is making a decision and going with it. The rest will come later.
I have learnt so much along the way, but have never had any regrets for the choices I made. When taking the plunge to take working for Island Feather seriously, it was when I asked myself “at the age of 80, would I regret not trying this and giving it a go?”. My answer was yes I would, therefore that was the simple answer!
Do what makes you happy – find your freedom.
Thank you Clauds! I bought myself one of Island Feather’s beautiful sports bras and I can testify that the quality is incredible, and I loooove the design, especially the back.
As well as the gorgeous designs, I love Island Feather for their philosophy, which is to encourage women to find their freedom, whatever that means to them. So proud of Claudia and I can’t wait to see her business thrive – follow Island Feather’s journey on Instagram.