One of my favourite events last year was 'Fabulous Women' at the Gherkin. I was host and MC to an invite only evening for 35 of the City's top women that Searcys asked me to organise. I had decided to add Libby Hart to the guest list as, while not a City woman herself, she dresses so many of them through her Libby London label it made sense she should be there - and of course everybody loved her. Searcys then invited Libby to hold a Pop Up Boutique for their Members the next month which was great fun too. I loved seeing everyone heading along the glass walkway to the Ladies (lovely big mirrors inside) with armfuls of dresses to try on and then coming back wearing their choices to show Libby. Combined with all the champagne and a front row of Members agreeing everyone looked gorgeous, it really felt as if the Gherkin was suddenly part of London Fashion Week. Her clothes are quite lovely - do take a look libbylondon.com
Wow! What an event! It was simply wonderful. Everybody played their part beautifully - after Sarah Mackay (Compass) and Xiang Fan (Focused Women's Network) welcomed everyone the King's Chicks started us off with an acapella rendition of Happy, a perfect choice for the evening. I explained we were aiming to make networking fun and easy and set everyone off on their first conversations. Jo Shaw then presented the amazing work being done by Rosa with help from the audience and I interviewed our first entrepreneurs - Sublime Rhyme's Helen Beecher-Brown answering brilliantly in rhyme while Natalie from The Makeup Debate explaining how she understands what executive women need (having been one) and Naoko Vallebona talked about balancing being an entrepreneur with family life.
After more action from the King’s Chicks, Comfort Ndive told us about the work of The Sickle Cell Charity and I talked to jeweller and community engagement advocate Sarah Jane Niadjei about why she gives the majority of her profits away and we all went into raptures over Libby London’s beautiful dresses while Libby told us how she tries to do something that scares her every day. Compass leaders Martha Eigelaar and Suzy Ellis had organized beautiful handmade chocolates for everybody for the next networking activity and then I spoke to Aysha Mustafa whose Fashion Compassion business is helping women across Asia sell their products worldwide.
After more networking and an another opportunity for everyone to explore the stalls the focus was back to the main stage where Lina Johansson showed us a film of Mimbre’s wonderful work followed by a moving performance from three Mimbre acrobats. Our final entrepreneurs were the delightful Gloria Momodu who explained how she makes the designs on her precious metal Soronko Jewellery and the multi prize winning accountant Amina Begum who told us how she was overcoming hurdles and enjoying being her own boss.
The prize draw finished the evening, all the entrepreneurs had generously donated prizes, all of which were coveted by those of us who didn't win them. All in all it was a brilliant evening, enjoyed by RBS staff and clients.
On the way home my son, who had come to represent me at my book stall, told me he had enjoyed everything but his two highlights were the woman who won a dress by Libby London in the prize draw and just couldn’t stop smiling and when a woman bought a copy of my book ‘The Mummy Glue’, read it in front of him then burst into tears and promptly bought four more copies for her friends. Although I had told him the book (which is based on a story I used to tell him when he was little and didn’t want me to go to work) often makes people cry he had never seen it happen before.
International Women's Day well celebrated.