I love being inspired by brilliant small business women who are tearing up the rule books, and empowering their children to be the Future Females they wish to see in the world. Karen Wilcox is one of those amazing ladies who I am lucky enough to have met in my local community and call a good friend. Karen’s creative process is all about inclusivity of children’s artistic talent, so they can express their skills and have them transformed into ‘junior masterpieces’, and they don’t have to be super skilled drawers. After all a memory is a memory to cherish, capturing beautiful moments in time, unique to your child. Find out in our Future Female interview, why karen believes, avoiding gender differentiation when parenting is so important for bringing up her two girls.
FF: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
KW: I was raised in Holland, studied architecture in the UK and started my design studio while I lived in Spain. Love dragged me back to the UK, where I continued my design studio and I had my 2 girls. I turned that change in my life into an opportunity to start another business, Quirky Lime, which is now a little niche business which works brilliantly within school terms.
FF: What does Future Female mean to you?
KW: It means very much the future of my 2 girls. I am not where I had envisaged I would be today in gender equality. But I have come a long way from my parents. I hope to show by example and hope for them to be ambitious in their wishes to be strong, independent and stand up for themselves in society.
FF:Describe your current work role and your creative process
KW: A do-it-aller. It is early days for Quirky Lime, so I wear all the hats. I most love receiving the children’s drawings and editing them into a piece of art. I show parents their own children’s drawings in a different light. That is the core of what I do, I love connecting with other people, I hope to collaborate with other small businesses soon.
FF: What do you love about being your own boss, and what are the challenges?
KW: I love the fact I am constantly learning and improving things, in every aspect of the business there is so much to learn. I love the development process and improving of everything. Creating ideas, products that enhance the message and values of my business. I find it hard to switch off or take time off, as there is so much to do. I miss having somebody to brainstorm ideas with, somebody who is in it as deep as me. I know I need to start outsourcing things and I find that quite hard.
FF: Can you tell us about a project that is inspiring you at the moment?
KW: In the last two months my business has been really busy, and it seems what I have done most is convince parents that their children can draw. My strap line has always been ‘celebrating children’s creativity’ . My additional project next year will be ‘make parents believe their children can’ ..
I always love speaking to other small business owners and hearing about their adventure, and currently I love your future female Yvonne (who I saw talk at a Lucky Things event) and I found her words incredibly inspiring!
FF: There is a shift in how and where women work, was it a natural progression for you to go it alone and why?
KW: I have worked alone the majority of my working life, I have always made my work to fit in with the life I wanted to have. I wanted to live in Spain, so I found a way to move there. So it has always been natural to me to be alone. I found it very hard having children as I no longer was my own compass. Children also made me realise why I did it alone for so long. I enjoy my own space, I like to reflect on what is happening in my life. I believe settling for my children, will allow me to grow my business, establish the brand more, and create collaborations.
FF: What’s your view of the rise of women business entrepreneurs?
KW: It can only be a good thing, the larger the herd, the bigger the impact. There is a real momentum growing, which is really exciting, if we all run the same way we will be unstoppable.
FF: If there was one thing you would change about your life as a woman what would it be?
KW: How about this as an idea, that as a couple you could choose who would have the child(ren). I think the world would have been completely different and we might not even be writing this! Or at least women and men would be authors…
FF: Are there key messages you are passing on to your children when it comes to gender equality, how important do you think it is to change your story around gender?
KW: I try to teach them with a growth mindset. I teach them that you can learn anything with determination (grit) and willingness to put time into it. Focus on your strengths, believe in yourself and you can achieve amazing things regardless of gender. We avoid gender differentiation with toys and sports, lego and skateboarding are currently the favourites. I hope they will be allowed to be children as long as possible, and society doesn’t make them grow up too fast.
FF: What are you reading at the moment?
KW: I have just finished ‘All you need you have’ by Gerrad Kite, which I loved, its about trying to find peace within yourself. And somebody suggested I read ‘E-Myth revisited’ by Michael E. Gerber, which is really helpful for my business where I am trying to grow from one person to more people.
FF: How would you describe your style?
KW: I used to spend a lot of time looking for unknown designers and quirky unusual clothes, especially when I lived in Spain. Now, I wear a lot of black and try to add some bright colour with it. Could do better!
A big thanks to wonder woman Karen for taking part in our Future Female campaign, I love your super inspiring answers and I am so grateful for your innovative thinking. Do check out Karen’s instagram feed and business Junior masterpieces Instagram and Future Female Instagram for a limited edition discount code. And I am definitely one of those parents who needs convincing my child can draw!