Jewellery designer and life coach Hannah Shucksmith shares her positive philosophy and why prioritising helps her feel in control. She also talks about her experience of life coaching and how she’s observed that ‘women are stronger than we think’.
Hi Hannah! Thanks so much for sharing your story… tell us some more about you.
We recently moved out of Putney to Haslemere in the beautiful Surrey Hills. I live with my husband Phil of almost seven years, our first child, Oscar who is one this month and our teacup Maltese, Cashew who is just the most joyful little dog.
How did you decide to make jewellery your business?
As a child I loved beading. I was working in Fulham as an interior designer and knew I wanted my own business and with being a mummy at some point in the future in mind I wanted a business that was flexible. It seemed like the ideal opportunity to return to my love of jewellery.
Your jewellery is created with a positive message – why did you decide to make this a core part of your brand and the pieces you designed?
Friends have said that I should find a way to get paid for encouraging people as I am so good at it. It wasn’t so much a conscious decision to make ‘encouraging’ jewellery… I think it is just a big part of who I am. I always see the best in people and as individuals we often find it easier to see our shortcomings. Wearing a positive word is a great way to focus on who we can be rather than how we behaved at breakfast … like patience – instead of just feeling bad all day that we lost it over the food being thrown on the floor again!
You trained as a life coach – what made you choose this career path? What exactly is a life coach?
I had coaching first when I was 18 and loved it! I knew then that I wanted to be a coach one day but wanted more life experience. It’s thanks to coaching that I am married today – my coach challenged me to set a relationship goal which I found really tough. To me it seemed like something I had no control over. In the end the goal I felt comfortable with was that within six months I would get to know ten guys that I would consider dating with a view to marriage. It totally changed my dating game. I was open minded – kindness and integrity became the key attributes I was after, I never said no to a first date. And I met a lot of brilliant people in that time.
Within a year I was engaged. This for me was the final evidence I needed that coaching could be incredibly powerful and that it is possible to be coached on any topic. After doing the jewellery for a while and having a patch of depression, partly because of working on my own a lot, I decided it was time to pursue the parked dream of becoming a coach so that I could also encouraging people on an in person basis. One of the most rewarding things about the jewellery are the emails I get from clients saying they had a tough day but that the word on their bracelet kept them strong through it.
What did you learn during your time about women in general that you coached? Any similarities? Comparisons to men you coached?
We’re all afraid we will be found out. We are all more brilliant, beautiful, talented and lovable than we believe. We find it hard to accept that we have needs that need to be met and make them known. We’re all affected by the inequality of women in the work place and how to balance being a woman, and therefore probably a mother at some point. We think we deserve less than we do. We are stronger than we think. When we have courage to step out we can do whatever we set our minds to and we do have the strength it takes. We think too much. We all have a bitch in our heads but she is tameable. We all need to give ourselves a break and appreciate ourselves a little more. We all wonder if we are worthy, allowed… we are waiting for someone to give us permission. Men don’t do this.
You’ve suffered with depression – how have you put your mental health first since then? What helps you stay in a positive frame of mind?
I’ve taken time to learn what I need and make it a priority. For me that is getting outside in nature, meditating, seeing friends, journaling, being by water. These things are no longer little luxuries … they are non negotiables. Although it is a new challenge with a child to get the quieter activities in but I am working on it. I’ve learned to notice my thoughts, this means I can choose not to dwell on something unhelpful. And instead focus on something positive … not always as easy as it sounds but this is why prioritising the above is so important. It helps me stay in control.
How did your life coach experience motivate/support you when you relaunched the jewellery brand?
Through coaching, and also sharing my story of depression online I’ve learned that so many of us struggle with self doubt etc… and it’s great to know a lot of us are in the same boat. We just have to take the risk and be brave.
What motivated you to relaunch the brand?
I always wanted to be a mother who set an example for my children that they could follow their dreams. I now have one and he’ll be learning from how I treat myself and my desires as much as how I treat him and his. I want to show him that it is possible to take the road less travelled.
How do you separate business from your personal life?
Since having depression I just don’t put as much pressure on myself – if my business succeeds at the expense of my personal life then as far as I’m concerned that is a failure. There is of course overlap. But I know when to stop… if anything I think I might need to put some evenings in at the moment and I’m resistant.
Is there such a thing as a work/life balance? If yes, how do you achieve it?
We each have to ask ourselves what we value most. For me that is my relationships – work for me is a part of my relationship with myself. Being creative, encouraging other people, going to events are all things that make me feel great. And that affects my relationship with others. I think it is down to each of us to get really honest about what we want most and what that ideal ‘balance’ really means to us.
How has being a mama changed you?
I care less about pretty much everything. I’m less judgmental, more accepting, even more in my own world with my little boy. I feel like he’s given me better perspective on life.
Any words of advice for women considering setting up their own business?
Get a support network around you early on – I worked in a hub called The Refinery off the Kings Road for a while and met so many other great young businesses there. We’re actually doing a pop up on the Kings Road for June… it makes a big difference to know about the highs and lows of other business. And be really honest with yourself about what you want and why. How do you hope to feel? What are you hoping to achieve? How will these benefit you and others? These are just some of the good questions to ask yourself.
What’s your favourite piece from your new collection and why?
I love love love my Benison cocktail earrings. A real show stopper and totally elevate any outfit.
Visit Hannah’s website to view her jewellery collections and find out more about her brand.