and I met randomly through Twitter approximately 13 years ago. We were both running businesses that somehow interlinked and she put a call out for something that I answered. When we met, we literally talked for hours and hours and felt like we had known each other all our lives...we have since supported each other through so many changes in our lives and are always a sounding board for each other when we have crazy ideas!!
Hayley created a safe networking group for women called the Southwood Social Hub, which is the most supportive group of people I have ever come across. Hayley works hard to support and empower women to become the best they can be and holds many meet ups (well, as soon as she can!), mentoring sessions and inspiring workshops.
Hayley also owns Southwood Living, an online store featuring collections that are aimed to create calmness and wholeness in our crazy lives and encourage balanced living.
I am so happy that Hayley agreed to answer my questions and you are going to meet this inspiring lady and one of my closest friends.
Love you H - Sarah xx
You are a the biggest cheerleader for women in business that I have ever met - you are completely self driven and have achieved so much. What is your biggest achievement and what keeps driving you forward?
My biggest achievement to date is creating a life I could of ever dreamed of as a kid. I craved a safe family unit so badly growing up. Most days I have to pinch myself that this isn’t a dream and that is where it all stems from I guess.
My work life is all about holding space for ALL women to believe in themselves. As corny as it sounds, we only get one life and it breaks my heart when I see women living a mediocre life.
When women elevate each other wonderful things happen!
You married young and had children early - how did this affect people’s opinions of you as a business woman
I think people had pretty low expectations of me but little did they know! I’m laughing as I type these words.
Thankfully the world is changing and we are understanding more and more that business women don’t have to be aggressive all the time. We can do business with kindness
You inspire so many women through your members hub but who inspires you?
The humans that inspire me are the ones that are brave enough to be truly seen. I love raw, authentic people. Listening to stories lights my soul.
How has lockdown affected your outlook - we are all having to ‘pivot’ and change at the moment - do you think we will emerge stronger?
I feel desperately sorry for all the businesses that have been adversely affected by the whole situation. I don’t know anyone that isn’t struggling in some way right now but I do believe there are lessons in everything. Entrepreneurs are always adjusting their sails and as you know, pivot is my favourite word!
You are currently creating a new arm to your business…tell us more
I’m always working on something new! Lockdown just magnified the importance of human connection to myself. I love nothing more than holding a safe space for my mavens (the name that Hayley gives her hub members...it means expert in their field, bright spark').
With that in mind I decided to create a beautiful new space. A creative, inspiring space where we can host our workshops, events and gatherings again. I am hoping to rent out the space to other creative souls who appreciate our style.
Do you miss hugs and personal interaction? Where will be the first place that you book a trip to once we have the freedom to move around?
I’m such a tactile person, I love nothing more than a hug. The first thing on my agenda is to gather as many mavens together!
Which song invokes the most memories for you - the one that makes you stop in your tracks?
Oh I’m useless when it comes to remembering titles of bands and songs. My boys laugh at me all the time. I have a playlist on my Spotify called ‘Gravelly women’ at the moment. My favourite type... a woman singing from the heart.
What was the last thing you spent over £50 on? Spill…
Hahaha an eco toilet for our new space. Since lockdown I haven’t been buying many clothes. It’s made me take a good look at myself and the way I used to spend money.
Fashion wise - Who’s look/style do you really admire?
Oh my goodness! I love Anna Cascarina who embraces older women in their 40’s that still love fashion! I also love Kate from Wearsmymoney.
Let’s talk makeup - what are your go-to products that you carry everywhere with you?
I can’t leave the house without a red lipstick, mascara and a good foundation!
What is the latest item you purchased for your makeup bag?
I buy the same foundation religiously- Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lift and Firm
Is there one product you have used since your teens that you just can’t let go?
I have worn a red lipstick every single day since I was about 14. To me it has always been my secret sign of power.
When I felt loss of control, my red lipstick reminds me I have the power and nobody can take it away from me.
What is your favourite lipstick? Brand and shade?
Ooooh I own hundreds of red lipsticks. I love a Chanel!
Finally, as we are now in lockdown again - although it does feel slightly different from the first time, is there one piece of advice you could give our readers that helps you when you are stressed and anxious?
I think my only advice is that it’s ok to feel all of those things. Take some comfort in knowing you are not alone. And breathe it out!
Hayley has kindly offered to donate a gorgeous Escape Bag for a joint giveaway in the run up to Christmas, so keep watching our instagram for details.