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Bright Side Stories - Cath Kidston
International Womens Day 8th March - Cath Kidston
The Women That Made Us: International Women's Day

At Cath, inspiring women are our driving force. After all, we’re a brand that was founded by a woman, is led by a woman and was built by a community made predominantly of women. Every day, we are inspired by their drive and vision, their empathy and resilience. So, for International Women’s Day, we’re placing a spotlight on the Women That Made Us – sharing inspiring stories of the women from the Cath Kidston community that have moved us, grown us … women that have made us.

In honor of all those stories, we’ll be donating £1 for every item sold at cathkidston.com on the 8th March to The Prince’s Trust ’Women Supporting Women’ initiative.

Meet Belocine
Cath Kidston and princes trust
Cath Kidston and Princes Trust

 

Belocine was nominated by The Prince’s Trust, whose journey to success highlights so wonderfully exactly why we’re proud to partner with the Women Supporting Women initiative.

A French expat, she moved to Scotland to Scotland for a corporate job and was later inspired to start her own business, which would grow to become Nephtali Couture. Confused by the potential red tape between her and her dream, she got in touch with The Prince’s Trust for support. Upskilling Belocine, answering her questions have supporting her with a start-up loan set her on her journey as a sole trader. We sat down with her to learn more about her journey.

 

Tell us about how you got to where you are now?

Sewing has always been a hobby that I learned by watching Youtube tutorials, I never imagined creating a business out of it. While living in Ayr, I realised that people were wearing a lot of dark colours and complimenting me on my colourful handmade clothes. So, I had the idea of starting a business to share my culture and love for African textiles. I created my website myself, and the first year I only had 15 views. But today I have around 100 views per month! That taught me that patience is key.

My first sale in February 2018 was a big deal. That meant that people were interested in my products and willing to pay for them. Then I made many markets in Glasgow where I could see customers face to face, and in 2019 I won the " Most promising newcomer" award from the Prince's Trust. That year I also did a Fashion Show in Edinburgh where Scottish models were catwalking in my clothes. In 2020, I started retailing my products in a store based in Glasgow and I am now a Young Ambassador at the Prince's Trust. All these achievements taught me that I could be a brave person, who takes risks and is not afraid to try new things. It also showed me that hard work always pays off.

 

Why do you do what you do?

To share my culture and my love of African fabric with People of Scotland and anyone who might be interested.

But also customer's satisfaction is so important to me. When I receive a review from a client who bought something that I made with my own hands, and they tell me that they love it or, that it brightened their day, I am delighted. I pour my heart into each item I make, because I want my customers to receive a well-made product that makes them happy.

 

Who are the women that made you?

My mother. She is an intelligent, strong and beautiful woman. She is actually the reason why I started Nephtali Couture. I was hesitant to start, because I am a self-taught designer, and I thought that I wasn't professional enough to sell anything. She told me that I was ready and that I should believe in myself and give it a try. I did a good thing listening to her, look at me now, giving interviews and all…

I am also inspired by Michelle Obama. She is the most educated First Lady of the USA, she is smart, classy, driven and well spoken. I want to be as eloquent as she is.

 

Meet Emily Coxhead
Cath Kidston and Emily Coxhead Happy Newspaper
Cath Kidston and Emily Coxhead Happy Newspaper

 

Believing that the world is full of wonderful people doing wonderful things, Emily Coxhead is a designer, illustrator and creator of The Happy News, a newspaper celebrating only good news.

A graduate of Manchester School of Art, the simple aim of this 27-year-old entrepreneur is to make the world a happier place – which she has, many times over for team Cath, which is why we nominated her.

First published in December 2015, The Happy News began as a small idea when Emily realised the effect that the news was having on her especially whilst she was going through a difficult time herself. That little idea has only grown since then, into a bright spot on the nation’s feed through the trials and challenges of lockdown. We caught up with her on how to celebrate kindness, courage and selflessness in a time where happy news has never been more important.

 

Your work with The Happy News is so important, for people of all ages. We hear you’re now working with schools, too?

We launched The Happy News for Schools initiative in September 2020 with the main aim of providing schools in the UK with free happy newspapers. More than ever, we believe that children should be learning about the good stuff going on in the world.

We are incredibly excited and grateful to announce that the Bupa Foundation are helping us on our mission to send The Happy News to schools and have provided us with funding to send The Happy News to over 6,000 schools throughout this year! That’s on top of the schools we are already sending to, thanks to you, our amazing subscribers. For every two newspapers we send to you we will be sending one to a school in the UK for free.

We are so happy that so many schools and children will benefit from a little bit of positivity in the form of The Happy News this year.

 

Not only have your positive quotes brought us joy during the last year, but so has the beautiful way they’re illustrated. How do you think illustration/art/creativity helped yourself and others?

Hugely! I’ve always found writing and drawing to be my kind of therapy, ever since I was little. I find it really helps for me to write down my thoughts or feelings when I’m having a tough day, which in turn have had a real positive effect on lots more people who see my words and illustrations, which is magic.

 

A lot of the quotes/messages you share are about finding the joy in everyday and being accepting of the current situation (it’s okay to be struggling, we all are) how can we all start sharing this messaging more?

I think when we are struggling ourselves it can be hard to be positive and on some days, that’s really okay. I’m absolutely not positive all of the time but I find that when we search for the good stuff it has a ripple effect far greater than we realise. From complimenting somebody on something they’re wearing to saying hello to somebody walking their dog (that might be a northern thing!) it makes you feel a little better and makes them feel good. And they might just pass some of that positivity on to somebody else. It really doesn’t need to take a lot but the tiny moments of joy, especially right now, can be really important in a person’s day.

 

Meet Ali
Cath Kidston International Womens Day
Cath Kidston International Womens Day

 

A community keyworker, volunteer and juggling mother of two, Ali was nominated by our Senior Graphic Designer, Amy, for being her day to day inspiration in challenging times.

“I’ve been friends with Ali for over 10 years, we met when she was my manager at a pub! I’ve nominated Ali because I’m always inspired by how well she juggles everything and how she’s turned difficult situations into positives. After spending so much time at the hospital with her youngest boy, she’s now retraining to be a paediatric nurse. She also, in her limited spare time looking after her two children, volunteers at Young Lives Foundation.”

We spoke to Amy about why and how her friend is the person to inspire her most of all.

 

Tell us more about the volunteering Ali does and how does this support the community?

She volunteers for a charity called The Young Lives Foundation as a mentor for a vulnerable young person. It’s for children aged 6-18 who may have challenging home lives, issues at school, at risk of offending or are a target for grooming (these are just a few examples). She meets with the young person once a week to give them some positive time away from home and just go and have fun. Playing football, going for a walk etc. It gives the young person a stable adult in their life that is dedicated purely to them and gives them the opportunity to talk about any worries they may have. She also helps them make contact with social groups and to challenge them to meet goals with a plan worked on together. They catch up during the week too for a chat.

 

What has Ali’s friendship meant to you over the last year?

As her family have to shield, I haven’t been able to see Ali or her family as much as normal. I’m desperate to give her little ones, Beau and Casper a massive hug. But it’s been nice to have someone at the end of the phone to send memes too and moan about lockdown too.

 

Meet Anna
Cath Kidston International Womens Day
Cath Kidston International Womens Day

 

Anna, a doctor, is continuing her medical training on the front line of the NHS to support her community during the pandemic. Nominated by her proud sister, Lucy – our social media co-ordinator – we asked why her big sister is one of the women that made her.

“I would love for Anna to realise just how amazing she is and how much I appreciate everything she does to help others in normal times, but most especially in these unprecedented times. While I’ve always been incredibly proud of her (she saves lives on a daily basis) I am now more so than ever. She puts herself at risk everyday and does so with a smile on her face (well under the face mask).”

 

How has Anna inspired you?

Her ability to always put her patients above anything else is incredible, she even hiked through the snow for 45 minutes to make sure she could visit a patient at home. Beyond work she always makes time for her family and friends! She’s the best shoulder to cry on and the best person to celebrate with! Don’t tell my younger self, but she is the best sister ever.

 

Meet Rachael & Jackie
Cath Kidston International Womens Day
Cath Kidston International Womens Day

 

One of the best things about Cath is the community of people that make it so special. Our customers. And the genuine friendships that grow from their love of our brand. Rachael and Jackie have been part of our community for a long, long time and had the joy of meeting each other along the way.

We asked both of them why the other meant so much to them.

On a spring day in 2017, Rachel was searching through Facebook and came across a Cath Kidston dress I fell in love with for sale. Jackie was the seller. The rest as they say, is history.

“Never did I think in a million-year buying a dress from Facebook I would gain a lifelong friend in Jackie I couldn’t pick just a few words to describe her, there are so many. Kind, caring, thoughtful, loving, supportive, generous, true friend.”

 

What makes Jackie so special to you?

She always sends a message though times of sadness, which never fails to bring a smile to my face to hear from Jackie. The kind words she would say to me and the support she has given me, I can never thank her enough for being such a kind-hearted, lovely friend. She’s very family orientated, just like me, and think this is why our friendship has grown. We have never had the opportunity to meet in person, with everything that has been happening in the world but one day we will. And I know it will be magical and cement our friendship even more.

Jackie is so kind hearted, she surprises me with many gifts that I will cherish for the rest of my life. We have had and still do have many things happening in our lives and have always been there for each other thought all the good and bad times.

 

And Jackie, what does Rachael mean to you?

Everybody who knows Rachael only ever has positive things to say about her, she is very popular on the Cath Kidston Facebook groups, and I think people feel the same way as me regarding her beautiful smile and her positivity.

This past year Rachael and I have kept touch not just on Facebook but over the telephone. If she doesn’t hear from me in a couple of days, she always checks that I’m ok and considering she has two little ones and a job she always finds time, it’s so kind and it means so much One thing she did a couple of months ago I will never forget, she had bought a Cath Kidston cushion and I happened to say how much I loved it. A couple of days later the Postman comes with a big box and in it was the cushion plus a Willow Tree figurine called Surrounded by Love. I couldn’t believe anyone could do something so wonderful, I was overwhelmed by her kindness but that’s Rachael all over, a kind, caring, generous and beautiful young lady inside and out.

Everyone should have a Rachael in their lives. The world would be a happier place. I’m just glad I have.

 

Meet Jenny
Cath Kidston International Womens Day
Cath Kidston International Womens Day

 

You might recognise Jenny. (And that smile). A familiar face from our Spring Campaign Shoot, between shots on set, her warm charisma and quiet strength revealed some incredible stories. Now a model and a mum and a business owner, Jenny has also been an Olympian. (Yes, a real-life Olympian). We got back in touch to learn more about her incredible story.

“I was never the most talented youngster, but I was a hard worker and I had dreams. I remember watching a young girl who I competed against at a School Championships making the Olympic Games team for GB in Los Angeles 1984 for the 4 x 100m relay. She was 19 years old. I thought ‘wow, what an amazing experience, I wonder if I could accomplish the same thing’.

This to others was a tall order but I was willing to work hard to prove my point. So, for four years I put my head down and ploughed through the negativity and slight injuries and made the 1988 Olympic team in Seoul for the 4x400m relay. Yes, me Jennifer!! I did it, I knew it. It was a daunting experience, yet totally thrilling watching athletes like Ben Johnson and Flo Jo make their mark in history. We made it to the finals and came 5th. It made me wonder what I would give to stand on a rostrum and receive a medal.

So again, the dreamer took over and I went down the same route changing coaches and began my quest to make another Olympics at 27 years old. Barcelona Olympics in 1992 was epic, I shared a room with Sally Gunnell who won a Gold medal in the 400mh. I had done a personal best for the 200m and we stood a very good chance of getting a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay we were on a natural high.

I remember getting the baton in 5th place and running my heart out to give Sally the 3rd spot we needed. And yes, Jennifer did it again … I received that moment on the rostrum with my bronze medal. The dreamer, the hard worker, the person who trusted herself shone through. That is when I realised my strength of character.”

 

How did you find juggling your career, sport, and motherhood?

Motherhood has been one of life’s real challenges. Luckily, I had my sporting career before I had children so the amount that I had to juggle was less than others. When the girls were young, I can honestly say I was on auto pilot, separating from their father was tough and having sole responsibility most of the time for their care was also challenging. But I did what I have always done - quieten all the noises around me and set a time frame of 5 years to allow my world to settle and take each year as it came. A bit like getting ready for an Olympic games, it was the same mind set.

 

Have a story to share yourself? Tell us about the women that made you. Use the hashtag #TheWomenThatMadeUs on social to share your story.