Welcome to this weeks Future Female, Wonder Woman Antonia Sanchez-Toomey, who talks about the importance of the body positive movement and the inspiring film by Taryn Brumfitt. As well as discovering what Future Female means to her and her daughters.
Formerly from a teaching background Antonia set up Tinker Tailor Online to pursue her dream of becoming a business owner. Launched in early 2016 Tinker Tailor Online became a place to showcase her passion for real-life style and everyday luxury. Antonia has grown her blog into a dynamic and increasingly recognisable brand that speaks to real women. Antonia lives in north London with her husband and three daughters.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
AST: I was born and raised in Spain and I am just about to celebrate living in London for 21 years. I live in North London with my husband and three daughters. After working in the travel industry for several years I took redundancy when my second daughter was born. High childcare costs and non flexible working conditions made it impossible for me to continue working. While my daughters were very young I attempted to start my own business on several occasions but failed to see them through because it’s damn hard to have a young family and run your own business! I eventually retrained as an Early Years teacher which did wonders for my confidence and self-esteem. I loved my work as I felt I could really make a difference but ultimately the long hours and pressure of teaching put too much of a strain on me and my family.
Q: Why did you start your blog Tinker Tailor Online?
AST: I started my blog as a platform that I could use to promote a retail business which is in the making as we speak. I was an early adopter of Instagram and had been reading blogs for years. I had always secretly wanted to be a blogger and the more I though about it, the more I thought I could have a go, so I finally did! For the past 18 months I have been working hard to create a brand I can be proud of and nurturing a community around it which I love. Blogging has given me so much, new skills, new friends and heaps of confidence. I hope that the community that supports my blog will one day help to support my bricks and mortar retail business when it opens.
Q: What does Future Female mean to you?
AST: That’s a tough question, the words Future Female make me think of my daughters and I want them to feel they are able to do anything. It means being confident, being brave and being thoughtful and kind. I have been plagued by insecurities all my life which have held me back for a long time. I hope that Future Females feel more empowered and happy in their own skin, loving yourself is hugely important to me and I think women in general have a long way to go in this area.
Q: Creativity is within all of us, how do you define creativity?
AST: Another tough one! I am not creative in the traditional sense, I can’t draw and I can’t play an instrument but as I’ve got older I have learnt to spot and develop my own creative talents I suppose. For me being creative means thinking on your feet, being able to adapt to new situations and problem solve. I’m bilingual and I’m pretty creative in the kitchen (shortlisted for the Great British Bake Off once!) I have developed a knack for Instagram flatlays – who knew that would be a thing?
Q: What do you love about being your own boss and what are the challenges?
AST: I love the flexibility of being my own boss and the freedom to chose the projects I work on. I also love that there are no limitations to what I can achieve beyond the barriers that I create for myself. Being organised and finding the strength to motivate myself on days when I just don’t feel like doing anything is tough. Then there’s the lack of a regular income and doing the accounts, but overall I’m happy and I know this is where I want to be.
Q: Can you tell us about a project that is inspiring you at the moment?
AST: I was recently involved in hosting a screening of the film Embrace by Taryn Brumfitt – it’s a film that explores women’s relationships with their bodies. It’s one of the most moving pieces of film I have seen in my life. I went to see it with my best friend and we both sobbed all the way through. What Taryn and her Body Positive Movement have achieved in astounding and important work. Body image is something most women struggle with but the whole concept is ridiculous and I honestly believe it holds women back. How can you become a pioneering scientist when you spend so much time thinking about the size of your thighs? The Body Image Movement is a huge source of inspiration and also an excellent example of the positive power of social media. Here’s a link to the film and a post I wrote about my body image journey in case you fancy a read.
Q: There is a shift in how and where women work, was it a natural progression for you to go it alone and why?
AST: I wouldn’t say it was a natural progressing more of a leap of faith and a desire to carve our my own path and make my own mark in the world I suppose. I did come up against a lot of barriers at work after I had my first daughter, my job description had changed after my maternity leave. I had effectively been demoted and my manager treated me like a second class citizen, the trips abroad dried up and I had no opportunity to work remotely or to apply for flexible working hours. That experience shattered my confidence so shortly after becoming a mother when you are experiencing so many changes and trying to adapt to a new life, a new body etc. After that I became a teacher and at least I always had the holidays off with my daughters but I craved the freedom to set my own agenda and work in a way that worked for the whole family. Unfortunately there are very few opportunities to do that in traditional employment.
Q: What is inspiring you at the moment, whether it’s creatively, on a personal level, or a friendship?
AST: At the moment I’m just inspired by my dream to own my own business, my husband is an important part of this vision since he is supporting me financially and emotionally to get it off the ground. The master plan is that I will create a successful business that will eventually support us both, a joint project that is creatively stimulating, plays to our strengths and gives us the freedom to set out own agenda. We also want to create a legacy for our daughters which isn’t necessary a business that they can inherit but more or a mindset that spurs them on to have a go, follow their dreams and create their own path. It has taken my husband and I a lifetime to get to this point but we want to instil that confidence and belief in out children from a young age.
Q: If there was one thing you would change about your life as a woman, what would it be?
AST: I wish I didn’t give a damn about how I look and I wish that other people didn’t care or judge either. I also cannot stand the objectification of women and don’t get me started on sexually explicit music videos!
Q: Are there key messages you are passing onto your children, when it comes to gender quality, how important do you think it is to change your story around gender?
AST: I want them to know that they don’t have to conform to gender stereotypes, that they can achieve anything and that their worth is not determined by how beautiful they are. Also to dispel the myth that partners aren’t ‘good’ for helping with household chores or looking after their own children!
Q: What are you reading at the moment?
AST: I am reading a thriller called The Girl Before by JP Delaney
Q How would you describe your style?
AST: My style is hard to describe, I think my style is quite classic with trend lead influences. I love wearing brazers, pretty blouses and shirts, skinny jeans and a dash of leopard print. I have a lot of timeless staples in my wardrobe but I enjoy trying out new trends and making them work for me. I know I’ve got a good outfit on my hands when I feel confident, cool and comfortable. Right now I wearing cropped, raw-hem wide legged jeans from M&S (a bit of a mouth full!) and some cobalt blue and white cropped trousers from Mango and I love them! Super comfortable but I feel on trend too. I am also wearing a pair of espadrille wedges from M&S also and accessorising with straw baskets and my jungle leaf print pouch from Elizabeth Scarlett.
I am extremely grateful to Antonia for joining the conversation and being this weeks inspiring Future Female. Check out her Lifestyle blog Tinker Tailor online Tinker Tailor Online Blog and her Instagram feed for a daily does of style. Tinker Tailor Online