Interview with Co-Founder Jane Best - International Women's Day

By Maria Katsika


Interview with Co-Founder Jane Best - International Women's Day

Meet our co-founder and co-director, Jane Best, and hear her views on International Women’s Day, equality, being a woman in business and advice to women following in her path.

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

International women’s day means a lot, but it is a bit bitter sweet. It's wonderful to celebrate women and to have a day where you can be introduced to lots of wonderful women around the world doing amazing things. However the fact that we need a special day lacks progress to me. I hope for my grandchildren's generation that International Women’s Day will seem archaic because we are living in an equal world with equal rights. Will we make that much progress? I don’t know. On a positive note it is a wonderful celebration of some very impressive women.

Who are the women you've looked up to in the past and who inspires you today?

That is a really hard question, and when I was thinking about it I thought of all the amazing women throughout history that have achieved so much against all the odds: there are actually too many to name, but the one woman in fact who really inspires me is my mother. Because she is a really exceptional person who would never think of herself in that way. She is nearly 93, and learns something new everyday. She is not afraid to use technology and uses her mobile phone for everything, online banking shopping, sending gifts etc. She has an iPad, and a laptop for photoshop. She has recently started online German classes with a teacher in Tangiers. She has never stopped helping other people throughout her life, as well as bringing up her family. She has been a teacher, worked for the probation service, volunteered for the Samaritans, the Citizens Advice Bureau (which she started in her 80’s.) She has only just stopped teaching adults with learning difficulties to read, and listening to the children read in her village primary school. She has done all of this as well as being an artist and being a very accomplished dressmaker. She never stops reading and her knowledge of costume, history and politics is amazing.

Which female role model / icon (dead or alive) would you love to design jewellery for?

There is no one woman who I would like to design jewellery for. I want to design jewellery for any woman who wishes to wear it.

What advice would you give to women starting a career in jewellery?

If I met someone who was going to start out in jewellery today I would say, get yourself a mentor. Someone who has already done it and who is generous and kind and helpful. Go on a good business course because you need some basic business knowledge to simply sell your jewellery at the right price. Ask yourself what kind of ethics you have, what responsibilities you have to people and the planet, and then build your company around that. Do not compromise.

What does a bright future look like to you and your business?

A bright future to me looks like our country following France's lead with abortion laws. Rights for women. A bright future looks like our taxes going towards health and education and raising up those in our society that need our help. Making our society less self centred and more community based. All of this would help our business, we can't exist unless people are happy, healthy and well paid.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don't waste time and energy on people that don’t love you. Go where the love is.

What have been the challenges you've faced in your career? How did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I have had in my career is having children. I dont think it's any easier now than it was when I had them. Working with small children is a nightmare. It's expensive and you feel guilty all the time that you are letting them or work down. 

What's been your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement is building a strong personal and working relationship with my husband, Stephen, having our two wonderful children, and having some really lovely friends. Yes, our business is important, and I’m really proud of it. It's supported us and given us a living for 30 years, it's provided a creative outlet for us and everyone who works here and supported them to hopefully lead a good life.  But when I’m lying on my deathbed I don't think I will be wishing I had worked harder!


Read a bit more about Jane’s journey and background here.

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