We spoke to Jade Ashleigh Charles CEO/Founder of Fashion brand Jade Ashleigh about her business success and the trials and tribulations shes faced throughout her career as a woman in business.
Can you tell us a bit about you and your career:
My name is Jade I'm 30 years old and this may sound cliche, but Fashion has always been a passion of mine since I was at school. I went to go and study Fashion at College and also at University in London. My career in fashion began at the age of 16 where my first job role was at Primark as a sales assistant, from there I went on to work at Jack Jones & Vero Moda. I then moved to London for University and worked at the Jack Jones store in central London. Once I had finished university I secured a summer temporary role at Harvey Nichols and then got myself a temporary rolling contract role at Burberry on Regent Street and was there for just over 8 months before I moved back to Nottingham. My Fashion brand is my first and middle name I chose this because it is very personal to me and has also helped me step out of my comfort zone and gain more confidence within myself, something I want to instil in other women.
A typical day in your career:
Well, I do also work full time as a Claims Handler so I can invest in my business. So a typical day for me is I get up at 6:45 am to start my day, get ready. I start work at 9 am and finish at 5 pm and I usually reach back home about 6 pm to where I then write down new goals on how I can improve on Jade Ashleigh in regards to getting my brand out there and getting it recognised by more people and I then continue to work on taking pictures of my products to upload on social media while also updating my website www.jadeashleigh.co.uk.
What made you choose this career/industry?
Again it is something I've always been into since a young age, as much as Fashion is a very competitive industry, it certainly didn't put me off, if anything it made me more determined to succeed and to really go for it and put 110% effort in.
How did you get to where you are now and did you face any challenges along the way?
My brand Jade Ashleigh is all about confidence, something I have struggled with since secondary school due to being bullied. Being in lessons was literally my time to get away and one of them being Textile design it made me realise that this is the industry I want to be in and want to succeed in. I would actually say that was by far my biggest challenge, believing in myself again.
What do you think gave you the drive and determination to succeed?
I want to help other women who struggle with their confidence and send a message to them that you can really do anything you put your mind to! I never thought I would be able to do a successful pop-up shop in London via Table Bay but I did it and that's because I didn't give up, even after I smashed my phone to pieces after dropping it on the floor. I also got to meet some inspiring ladies and other business owners in the same field as me which also pushed me to do better and made me more determined to succeed, I want to feel stable in my career and I haven't reached there yet so I am on this journey to get there, but its a fun and an exciting one.
What is the biggest lesson that you’ve learnt along the way?
That I am capable of doing a lot more things than I thought and it really is about stepping out of your comfort zone and just going for it.
Outside your work, what are your favourite hobbies and pastimes?
I love to go out and eat, such a weakness of mine if a friend is like "Jade do you want to go out for food?" it doesn't take much persuasion from me. I love to travel and I hope to do more travelling this year, usually, when I go away it gives me so much more determination to succeed because I want to be jumping on a private jet soon.
Do you have a mantra you live your life by?
Mind over matter. Your mind is a very powerful tool. You can't be negative and expect to live a positive life!
What is the best bit of advice that you have ever been given?
From an amazing friend of mine, he told me that every morning I should repeat my goals to myself and it will put me in the mindset to go and get them!
Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
My mother, she is very supportive, but she is definitely blunt with it. She will tell me if she thinks something is a great idea, but she will also tell me when she doesn't agree with something and she won't beat around the bush. She will then go on to give me pointers or suggestions on what I can do better or need to action to do better or to get better, I'm a sensitive person so I do sometimes get in my feelings but I always do follow her advice a couple of days later.
What are your key motivators?
To help women all over different cities with their confidence and by doing this by public speaking & through my brand Jade Ashleigh when you make a purchase you will always receive a positive message within your purchase when it is sent to you and really pushing that message out there that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.
Do you think enough is being done by businesses to address gender imbalance?
Unfortunately no, and a lot more needs to be done, while there are improvements we have a long way to go and I think more female business owners we really could bring more awareness to this, as I do think women tend to get nervous addressing these issues at their workplaces or in their careers.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Be a headstrong woman, believe in yourself, know exactly what you want and be a great communicator.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
To not let anyone walk all over you and to be a strong communicator and stand by what you believe in. It's harder for us women to be so dominating in this world we have to go at it twice as hard, but when we do reach our goals it's so much more satisfying.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Don't let the bully win, don't let it knock your confidence because it wasn't that something was wrong with you, it was a reflection on how they felt about themselves. You've got this!
If you enjoyed Jade’s story, why not check out another of our YSC inspirational women?