International Women's Day

7 mars 2024


70% of all ideas created within our platform are by Women and so to celebrate our incredible female community of entrepreneurs we invited five female founders from multiple industries to join us in discussion about the intricacies, joys and challenges of running a business over a cup of tea at the iconic Regency Cafe.

We welcomed Isabella Weatherby founder of cult-fashion label Peachy Den (Maya Jama is one of their biggest advocates), Romy St Clair, founder of SAGE Flowers, beloved by Rhianna and every fashion house under the sun from Gucci to Loewe, Rosanna and Diana, the cousin-duo behind coffee company Piqant, the ‘new Amazon’ for small independent coffee roasters, and Margaret Sam, menswear fashion designer and founder of SUM London.


Here’s the key takeaways from our three sessions.

Making Ideas Happen, Space and Creativity

Not knowing the rules - that’s freeing
“you create your own way, and you pave your own path, it brings an approach that maybe holds other people back that are already in the industry and already know too much about it.” Isabella Weatherby, Peachy Den

Use physical space as a marketing tool and surprise consumers - even with a rave
“Stores are a marketing tool as much as they are a sales tool…I don't think we actually made any money, but the profile raising gained us so many jobs and event work and better margin work…I don't think SAGE would have been half as successful had we not had a shop…

Physically meeting people, representing the brand, explaining what we're about, why we're different, doing weird things. We did a record store day party in our shop just because it was the end of lockdown and we love music so much.” Romy St Clair, SAGE Flowers

Space is a way to explain your vision - first hand
“It was really important to have the time and the space to directly talk to the customers and the community, to explain our brand, and be the face of the brand. Explain ourselves to the community about our brand, and our values. And they also can see our personal touch…our style.” Diana, Piqant Coffee

Use naivety and turn into a force for good
“I think not knowing what you're doing, that cowboy era, is like your superpower at the beginning. Because you just, like, you're willing to try anything. Power and naivety. You don't know what the right way is to do it, so you just do it a way, which sometimes turns out to be a good way.” Romy St Clair, SAGE Flowers


Company culture is key - and trust your hiring instincts
“It takes real time - and you have to kiss quite a few frogs - before you get to the people that are amazing.” Romy St Clair, SAGE Flowers

“Culture is as important as expertise.” Isabella Weatherby, Peachy Den

“We treat them as a part of our family. It fosters a very healthy work environment.” Diana, Piqant Coffee

Advice and key learnings

People will always doubt you - but you are your own limit
“I would tell my younger self to believe more in her capabilities. We founded the business straight after university for me. It was an unorthodox start, a career start. Don't let anybody's opinion limit you. Because I'm not going to lie, it raised a lot of eyebrows when I said, okay, I'm going to fund this business right after university, people did not think I could do it. But here I am.” Diana, Piqant Coffee

Wear failure with pride and move on
“I've completely messed up. All the time. Every week. I really believe in it. I think you have to wear your failures, own them and champion them…It builds resilience in you. I think it's really naive to think that good businesses don’t have failures. Every single one does. What makes you a great business is that you've pivoted from [your mistake] quickly, taking what you can from the experience and say okay, that didn't work - time for something new. I think it's really important that you become this really adaptable, strong person, if you can keep in the mentality that it shouldn't affect your confidence, that it is all part of the growing experience.”
Romy St Clair, SAGE Flowers

Control your energy around your team
“Your feeling really affects the rest of the team. So I've just learned to hide my annoyance or anger. You have to hide it as much as you can because you can just really feel it. Your team looks to you. And if you're not in control then that's going to gravitate throughout the whole team. So that's probably the number one thing I've learned is just stay calm.” Isabella Weatherby, Peachy Den

Be transparent
“Transparency is very important. You have to tell your team when there is failure - but also know how to compliment them. Like you did an amazing job. Yeah. Keep doing it for me. Make your team feel like they are here more than just to do a job - they are here to be part of the family.”
Rosanna, Piqant Coffee


Your gut is right. End of. Trust it
“As you grow, more and more voices join the conversation, and you can sometimes lack that confidence. So you look to the people who have the expertise. And there's definitely been a few situations where deep down I've known what the right thing to do is- and it’s not what they are saying. Yet I'm like, no, just trust them because they know. And that's definitely got me in a few situations…” Isabella Weatherby, Peachy Den

Sustainability and the state of play in 2024

Accept slow growth
“Acknowledging that to have a sustainable long term business meant that I had to accept that sometimes being slow is necessary. There's a trade off between speed and being slow. Accept that sustainability is something we need to think about and be conscious of. It's why I opted to go against the mainstream in that we're doing things and items batch produced and made to order and not wasting anything.

I think it's part of my culture as well, just to not waste. So I think that aligns with being sustainable, really.” Margaret Sam, SUM London

Brexit is fucking things up - for everyone
“It has been our number one issue just in terms of the speed of shipment that it takes to get to Europe. Now you can't get next day delivery - It's three to four days. And of course, that's an added cost. So we're not actually focusing on Europe as a market anymore because it doesn't make sense for us, which is such a shame” Isabella Weatherby, Peachy Den

“I have experienced that too. For example, my scarves,I thought they were from an English company, but actually they are made in Portugal. So, I had to pay the extra charges for that and they didn't tell me, they weren't transparent on their part, so that just meant extra costs and then lower margins for me - it's quite tough for a small business.” Margaret Sam, SUM London

“For us, it's the green beans, the raw materials - they are all more expensive now, and this also affects the prices. You can see this clearly, if you go to a coffee shop the prices are now even higher.” Rosanna, Piqant Coffee


Brexit has increased shipping delays adding pressure
“We now have Brexit extra checks on the floor for flowers coming into the UK. And there are plant doctors that have to sign off certain types of flowers, and check for bugs and look at soil conditions. So that's delayed how quickly we can get things, which makes the production design cycle much more difficult. It used to be very rapid and you were able to say to your suppliers, I want this tomorrow, now, you're having to work further ahead. And a lot of our fashion clients do not work ahead like that…So that has been a real challenge for me with Brexit.” Romy St Clair, SAGE Flowers

Talk to your customer - it will save costs
“Listening to your audience and genuinely taking the time to engage, means you're able to serve and give them what they want, you will ultimately be more more successful, because as much as you're a creative and you want to show people what you have to offer, sometimes the market dictates what is wanted, so I think engaging with your customer and community will help resolve issues - such as waste - you can produce what is needed.” Margaret Sam, SUM London

What does an idea mean to you?

“For me, I think it's that giddy feeling in the morning that makes you excited to go to work. And that hunger to be the one to do it first. And I believe if I don't do it, someone else will. And I'm going to go for it right now.” Romy St Clair, SAGE Flowers

“For me, an idea is a combination of passion and deep thinking. There's no wrong decisions.” Diana, Piqant Coffee

“An idea is a dream - and making that happen” Rosanna, Piqant Coffee

“When I think of an idea, I think of creativity, and something individual that is also resonating with other people.” Margaret Sam, SUM London

“You think of something, and then you want to make it happen, you share, you collaborate, you create magic.” Isabella Weatherby, Peachy Den