International Women’s Day is an opportunity to focus on empowerment, gender equality and innovation for and by women. But just as puppies aren’t only for Christmas, we think inspiration and empowerment should be parts of our daily lives. As a brand founded by women, we’re only too aware of the importance inspiration plays in empowering aspiration and achievement, so we thought we’d ask our founders Rachel Parsonage and Lorna Mitchell about the women who inspire them, contribute to their journeys, and help them be their best selves.
Rachel: “My mum worked with terminally ill children for a large part of her career. She also set up charities within the bereavement sector to support vulnerable children who have lost close relatives and siblings. As a teen, our family would be involved in events and trips, taking the kids away to camping weekends etc. It was a very powerful yet humbling experience. It takes a very courageous person to be in this career. My teenage lens couldn’t understand how my Mum could deal with it day in day out - the sadness, sorrow, grief and death. She taught me about the fun and the laughter, but more so focusing on the quality of life and giving respite to parents who are even more consumed every day.”
Lorna: “With my fast-paced London life, my mum, Joan Mitchell, is my grounder. She brings me balance, and reminds me every day of the importance of love, family, values and taking time to breathe. Breathing in for the body, for renewed energy and for the mind. She inspires me through the beauty of my heritage in the country, of nature, and the outdoors. She inspires me through her endless capacity to give, to love and to nurture. She reminds me of the beauty of the food we eat and inspires me to cook for nutrition and for my body, but also to take the time to enjoy the simple gifts of life. She taught me how to create a heart to the home and how to lovingly invite others to share that. She has shown me what motherhood really means and taught me to recognise the challenges that each day brings, so often unappreciated. She has instilled in me the values of kindness, trust and gratitude that today form part of my core.
Rachel: Annie Lennox
“I love Annie Lennox’s music and her vibe. Eurythmics was often on in our house when I was younger, so it may be something from those days, conversations with my parents about her and her talent, that brings inspiration. Annie is just different, she’s an inspirational speaker and a woman that actions her words. Then there’s all of her visible and active role in the humanitarian side with her work in AIDS, LGBT rights and UNESCO. She uses her creativity, talents and fame to benefit so many others.”
Lorna: “My best friends, Faye Mcleod and Fiona Leahy ooze creative energy in their own fields. They inspire me every day with how they see the world through visual eyes, how they style, re-engineer items or objects and how they find their inspiration to continually innovate. They cleverly collaborate with their clients using their own ideas, style and vision to create show-stopping retail windows, fashion shows and stores, or stunning event tables, venues or parties. They lead their teams and studios through an immensely powerful combination of a strong and single-minded vision alongside savvy business knowledge and natural leadership skills. Literally, the world through their eyes is a beautiful place full of colour, interesting aesthetics and incredibly talented people. I'm not only fascinated by their creative interpretation and wisdom, but also by their ability to continually evolve their businesses. They’re smart, talented, authentic and true leaders in their field.”
Lorna: “Founder of The Class and the master of self-connection, Taryn Toomey has taught me how to connect the mind, heart and body in such a powerful way it feels to me like pure emotional wizardry. That connection drives healing powers like I’ve never known – truly inspirational. Taryn’s Class inspires an acceptance in the mind and release in the body that leaves you feeling lighter, brighter, stronger, more powerful, positive and eternally grateful for all that we have and all that we can change in our lives. True wellness driven by a healthier mind, a healing heart and a fitter body!”
Rachel: Amelia Earhart
“From my teens, I was always fascinated with flying. I can’t pinpoint where it came from. My family certainly were not well travelled: all of our holidays as kids were UK destinations. Amelia Earhart came to my attention at school in history or general study. Here was this woman who flew across the Atlantic in what would be classed today as a tin can. I still find it amazing how she, in 1932, managed 14 hours solo with hardly any of the instruments we think of as basics today. In my 20’s, inspired by Amelia I had a few flying lessons in a small two-seater Cessna. It’s my dream to get my personal pilots license…still a work in progress! Amelia inspires as a risk taker and early adrenaline junkie.”
Lorna: “My friend once gifted me an appointment to see Esther Perel, following a very raw relationship break up and wow, what an hour that was. Esther is an author and the master of connection to others. Since I was lucky enough to have a personal appointment with Esther, I have regularly attended events where she speaks and avidly listened to her relationship and sex advice on Ted Talks. Her simple yet humorous approach to navigating the complex world of relationships is not only fascinating but also super relevant, logical and easy to implement. The way she breaks down our emotions to make you see how much they actually influence our behaviour, so often destructively, is a total inspiration. My motto now, in any difficult relationship situation or conversation, has become: What would Esther do?”