08 Mar Celebrating International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD) is an annual event that highlights the achievement of women across the world, empowering people to share their stories and encourage gender equality. To mark this year’s event we caught up with our founder, Samantha F. Crockett, on what it’s like to be at the helm of an all-female business.
Harris Jackson was founded in 2012 with a clear vision: to create emotive spaces and memorable experiences for the worldly-wise and inquisitive. Created around a kitchen table in the heart of the New Forest the business quickly evolved when Samantha travelled across the globe, taking inspiration from her time in Asia and London’s West End to shape what Harris Jackson is known for today.
Now the brand has come full circle. The team is based on the south coast of the UK and collaborates with a diverse range of clients including luxury boutique hotels, property developers and high-end residential. While the business has rapidly evolved, the vision has always remained the same says Samantha: “We believe interior design is about so much more than how a space can look; it’s about how a space can make you feel. Regardless of the project we’re working on, we always stay true to our philosophy of a world of design at your fingertips and we’re focused on creating truly unforgettable experiences for all of our clients.”
Harris Jackson is currently an all-female team and while Samantha says she draws inspiration from the women around her, she believes being a business founder shouldn’t be defined by gender: “I think starting and running a business brings its own challenges, whatever gender you are. I look to other women in what I do because my area of expertise tends to be predominantly female. I really admire Karen Howes from Taylor Howes Design. I met her through the industry when I was starting out back in 1997 and have seen her and her company succeed and expand in so many ways. I admire not only her design expertise but her business sense in creating an internationally renowned brand. But there are a number of male figureheads that I admire too like Sir Richard Rogers.”
During her career Samantha has faced a variety of obstacles and says being a female entrepreneur with a young family was one of the biggest challenges: “Running a business takes time, commitment and endless energy which is in short supply with a young family. I started the company when my youngest was six-months old and my oldest was just over two; as a sole parent you need a certain resilience and tenacity to keep going. You also have to set very strong boundaries around working and family time. I always make sure that when the children come home from school they are my main focus and I make sure that all business issues are left until the following day.”
5 years after Harris Jackson was established, Samantha is focused on the future and says what drives her is empowering the next generation of female entrepreneurs: “I think women need to support women coming up through the ranks and not be biased. We all have to start somewhere and I feel very strongly in giving something back to those young people coming up through the industry, passing on information and knowledge that I have accumulated over the years to help them succeed.”
And her advice to those looking to start a business? “Be unique. Just keep going and don’t give up. There will be ups and downs but the strong will survive.”