We are delighted to bring you this week’s wonder woman Sulkydoll aka Donna McCulloch, freelance stylist, brand ambassador and fashion editor. The force that is Donna has a fierce work ethic. Discover why she feels Future Females should resist competing with each other and embrace enriching friendships.
FF: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
SD: Despite a massive love of fashion, I’m a late starter, my background is retail and therapy! I worked in Liberty in my 20s but then qualified as a Speech & Language Therapist in my late 20s, after a couple of life defining moments in my late 30’s, I took the route I should have done a decade earlier and went back to school to retrain as a Stylist.
FF: Why did you start your personal styling business?
SD: I loved editorial styling on my course and I continue to do these, albeit less frequently than I had envisaged, but because of my age and circumstances (I had a 2 year old at the time) personal styling offered me more flexibility and so I moved into that area. I have found that a therapy background has been a help rather than a hindrance in this field as a personal styling assignment can feel like a therapeutic experience and there are often lots of happy tears and soul searching during the process.
FF: What does Future Female mean to you?
SD: It means a world where women are valued, and end to domestic violence, genital mutilation, forced marriages, sexual violence and trafficking of girls and women, where they are paid what they deserve, where casual sexism and misogyny are a thing of the past. I’d also like to see less pitting of women against each other. I find it almost comprehensible that most trolls of other women are other women! There’s lots of women I dislike, Katie Hopkins and her ilk can frankly do one, but I would never troll them on line and wish them or their families ill. I think girls should be encouraged to not compete against each other. My best friends are women and my platonic female friendships have given me some of the most rewarding and enriching experiences I’ve had. We need more of that.
FF: How would you describe your creative process?
SD: There’s a flow chart that does the rounds on instagram, where it’s a cycle of, this is great, I am so inspired, to I am useless, this is a mess, to I can’t do this, to this is great, I am so inspired. And that kinda sums it up for me, it is very important to keep on learning and reflect on what went well or badly so it’s ok to mess up as long as you learn from it. Your worst mistakes are your greatest lessons.
FF: What do you love about being your own boss? And what are the challenges?
SD: Well, my kids are also CEOs and my other half is like a share holder in my business so I always have to answer to them! Like any freelancer, I have control over my hours but I have to bring home the bacon so I often work long or unsocial hours, however, I genuinely love my job so I make it work.
I think having kids is a big driver in going it alone and rightly or wrongly the childcare inevitably falls on us so we have to make it work.
FF: Can you tell us about a work project that is inspiring you at the moment?
SD: I can’t say too much but I am working on a project at the moment that is very much about embracing the goddess within, I am doing this with a woman whom I admire and adore so it is all sorts of good.
FF: There is a shift in how and where women work, was it a natural progression for you to go it alone and why? With the rise of small business entrepreneurs what do you think of this?
SD: Yes, I think women like Mother Pukka (Anna Whitehouse) are spearheading this and it is a sea change. In Denmark, if you have kids you leave the office before 4 to collect them and your boss doesn’t bat an eyelid, it’s a cultural norm, here you have to do full time work in part time hours. I think the the public sector is better at work life balance than the private sector but there’s still much to be done.
FF: If there was one thing you would change about your life as a woman what would it be?
SD: That’s a big question, to not sell myself short and to trust my gut, I’ve over ridden bad vibes about people because I didn’t want to be perceived as a bitch when actually I should have just trusted my gut and got the hell out. Embrace your inner bitch, she’s got your best interests at heart and don’t allow her to be caged.
FF: Are there key messages you are passing on to your children when it comes to gender equality?
SD: Yes, I feel this acutely as I have one of each, when Trump was elected I had a very long conversation with my daughter about what kind of a man he was and I made her watch Hillary’s speech to know that she and her generation need to smash that bloody glass ceiling with a wrecking ball. It feels like we’ve gone backwards, but I have to believe this is a blip. For my son, he is only little but he knows all mamas are super heroes, he loves his big sister so much and I think living in a house of strong female role models will serve him well.
FF: What’s inspiring you at the moment, either creatively, or on a personal level?
SD: I find so many things endlessly inspiring, but the one place that is both a hub and a pull for me is London, it’s my fave city in the world and I am a scouser so this is saying something. I live outside London but work calls me there regularly and even just a walk at night across Vauxhall bridge makes me grateful to be alive.
FF: What are you reading at the moment?
SD: It’s a book by Rosie Nixon that I was given at an event she was hosting, her first book was called The Stylist and when I told her I was one, she said I’d enjoy this one too. It’s called Amber Green takes Manhattan, I lived in NYC and so I love to read books about that city too.
FF: How would you describe your fashion style?
SD: Edgy glam, I love old school glamour but like to edge it up a bit.
Big gratitude to Sulkydoll (Instagram link) for taking part in our Future Female series.
Donna cover London fashion week as Fashion Editor and contributor to Riddle Magazine