Interview with Lauren Derrett, founder of This Girl Is Enough
What’s your career background?
I’ve never really had a career as such, I left school at 14 and took whatever came my way work wise. This has meant that my background is pretty varied. I’ve been a nanny, a hairdresser, an admin assistant, a pub cleaner (not my finest hour but needs must) and I once had a job for one day, folding jeans in a clothes shop, it didn’t go well and I never went back.
How did your career change after having children?
My whole life had to become more fluid, and I decided to work around the kids. I took some shifts at Tesco to fit in around the kids, this meant doing a 4am start and getting back by 11 to start my day of mothering!!
Where did the idea for This Girl Is Enough come from?
Watching my 13 year-old daughter looking out at the world feeling there was no place for her and that somehow she wasn’t enough, along with me feeling I needed to break away from society’s expectations of me as a mother and as a woman.
How did you move from idea to reality?
I took tiny tiny (like minute) steps. I started it with the intention of it just being a blog. The blog then started to draw a crowd so I put on a few women only speaking events, which had huge turnouts, it’s then when I realised it was more than a blog but more of a movement.
The next natural step was to write a book, and so Filter Free was born. Women sharing their real life experiences by some way of bringing back perspective in life and to help reconnect us through our experiences. It’s also a massive reminder of how formidable women are, and how we can withstand pretty much anything life throws at us.
I’m excited to see what comes next, but I always stay in the present.
What’s your USP?
My USP is ME. There’s only one of me (of which I’m sure the world is grateful) so although what I do can be replicated, I can’t.
Who’s your target audience?
Women and girls who need to hear some realism, who need to gain some perspective with what they see on social media and what is really happening to women around them. Someone who feels that their lives and themselves are not enough.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
I am very active on social media, I run events and am a guest speaker at other’s events. I also guest blog on other platforms such as Huffington Post and have just reached the giddy heights of having been published in The Daily Telegraph.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
Connection. For me, This Girl is Enough it’s about making real connection with women. I find this easier to do face to face, which is why I hold bi-monthly supper clubs and coffee mornings in Essex.
I think we’re all feeling a little disconnected in the world the way that it is. The women that have become part of my tribe are all seeking connection and acceptance without judgement or expectation, I give them that.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
My ego, for sure!! What I do can leave way for others expecting more and more from me personally, and maybe asking for more than I have to give. I used to feel that I had to keep EVERYONE happy or nobody would like me (and in turn my business).
I’ve had to learn the art of setting personal boundaries without feeling like I’m letting women down. My ego would have me believe that they can’t function without me, I often have to tell my ego ‘thanks for your input, I think they’ll be just fine’
And your proudest moment so far?
My book launch at Foyles. I love Foyles and I love a party so it was the best night ever. It was an event called ‘Meet the Women’ and I had a few of the contributors of Filter Free read passages from their stories.
The room was full of women relating to the stories they were hearing. We all went home feeling less alone and with less hidden shame about our stories, which was exactly what I’d intended the book to do.
Why is work so important to you?
I am passionate about supporting women and I give tireless, but alongside what I’m giving to the women, I’m also filling my own cup as they give as much back. Alongside that, motherhood can be a thankless and overwhelming ‘job’ that can reduce you down to being ‘just’ a mum.
I like reminding myself that as well as being a mum I also have something more to give, it also shows my kids who I am, which is so important for when they become adults (as I’ve experienced recently)
Who inspires you?
Bryony Gorden (HUGE girl crush on her), my daughter totally inspires me, watching her navigate her way through the current social climate is just so awe inspiring, she’s an incredible girl.
And of course, women. Women generally inspire me (the ones that build each other up, not the ones who knock each other down). I hear their stories and their emotions attached to them and then I see them pick themselves back up, dust themselves off, take the lesson and grow a little more.
How do you balance your work with your family?
It’s a juggling act! I just have to fit it in around Tesco, cleaning, kids and their never ending school holidays. Some days I do feel a bit resentful that my business has to come last, and that tasks have to wait until I’ve seen to everyone else, but that’s the reality of being a working mum. I also, work A LOT from my phone when I can grab snapshots of time.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
In general, make sure whatever you choose to do, you are passionate about it and that you want to get up to do it. It can get pretty intense, so you’ll rely on that passion to get you through the tough times.
Also, never use the word ‘failure’ instead use the word ‘lessons’, there has never been a business owner who hasn’t had to learn lessons and change direction, the world keeps turning and you’ll get back on track, if one door isn’t opening for you, just move on to the next one, no shame.
Here are my top three tips:
- Be authentic, YOU are your USP.
- Be open to changing course and don’t waste time hankering after an idea that isn’t working, just move onto the next one.
- Make sure you get some quiet time in to really listen to your own messaging. You will know what’s best for you and your business, let your instincts drive and trust them 100%, they’ve totally got you.
You can find out more about This Girl Is Enough on their website.