MY STORY: HOW I MADE CHANGE WORK

My Story is a new addition to the speaking line-up at The Good Life Experience, which will see seven inspiring speakers take the stage. Each will share their personal tale of how they made a significant change to their life, and offer an insight into the tools you can use to make change work for you.

Talks will take place on Sunday 15th September.

Sidonie Warren, Papersmiths

Sidonie Warren left a career in teaching in 2010 with no idea what she was going to do next. She dabbled in illustration, jewellery making and selling vintage clothes. In 2011 she co-founded Studio B, specialising in interiors and branding, with business partner Kyle Clarke. In 2013 the duo found themselves with a shop front in their temporary studio premises. Struggling to pay the bills, they needed a way to make ends meet. With £500 and a whole lotta elbow grease, they opened their first shop.

Today, Papersmiths has five locations, employs 25 people and Sidonie’s role see her running the business day to day as well as travelling extensively to source the stationery, books and magazines that you find on the shelves.

Michael Nicholson, Bòtann

xBòtann founders David Smith, Michael Nicholson and Robert McCaffrey.jpeg.jpg

Michael Nicholson is a creative writer and marketer, who works across a range of industries. Michael's dad worked in Dumfries's rubber factory, relocating to the town to take the job a year before he was born.

Now, alongside his partners David Smith and Robert McCaffrey, Michael is rebooting the welly. Bòtann have created a rubber boot that will change the way you think about wellies - when you wear them, how you wear them and how you feel in them.

“We grew up with wellies - our hometown in Scotland once made the best wellies in the world. Backed by Scotland’s heritage and our own progressive design thinking, we’ve created a unisex boot that is ethically made, practical and stylish. We want to use the success of our business to create jobs in Scotland.”

Helene Mark, Outdoor Owls

Helene will talk about finding the courage to jump off the career ladder. Like she says: "settling for 'a good life' is the biggest enemy of 'a great life'. We need to take chances at different times in our lives if we want to be free and fulfilled. While also carefully preparing to fail some."

After taking a risky job for a startup a decade ago and ultimately coming to be COO -overseeing an organisation of 200 people- Helene, once again, decided to take a new chance. This time an even riskier venture trying to change education in the UK. 

With Outdoor Owls, Helene is on a mission to create a new Scandi-inspired type of nursery taking city children out in nature. And all together a more holistic view on education: "To me, education is much more than getting ready for school - it's about getting ready for life, or rather, a great life!”

Catrina Davies, Homesick: Living in a Shed

Catrina Davies was born in Snowdonia to Welsh parents and grew up around Land’s End, Cornwall. She has worked as a DJ, gardener, circus cellist, cleaner, TEFL teacher, dog walker, flower-picker, builder and waitress. Her first book The Ribbons are for Fearlessness is a memoir about busking from Norway to Portugal.

Faced with a personal housing crisis – part of a country-wide system of inequality – Catrina Davies took the radical decision to make a dilapidated shed into a home of her own. She talks -and sings- about how simplicity can be a tonic, not a sacrifice, about Britain’s broken housing and economic system and about how wanting less can set you free.

Jane Lindsey, Snapdragon Life

jane sewing.jpg

Jane will speak about how she achieved all her financial and business growth goals but then realised that she had been chasing the wrong thing.

“One February morning in 2016, driving through snow to buy a cactus for a photo shoot, I realised I was bored, and worse than that, I just didn't believe in what I was doing any more. We had just sold our 100,000th order through Not on the High Street and had been celebrating that. It was an amazing achievement for a kitchen table business, but all I could think of was how many of those 100,000 things had ended up in landfill.”

So Jane decided to take herself out of that side of the business, create a completely transparent membership site and see whether she could make a living by basically trying to persuade people not to buy her things.

“Two years on and I’m doing just that.”

Dr Freddie Baveystock, Teacher

Freddie Baveystock.jpg

“As I have got older, I realise that I live to learn, and to share my learnings with others. Put simply, I love doing new things. I started out, during my twenties, exploring the worlds of publishing and journalism, then moved into researching C19 American literature and becoming a university lecturer; in my thirties, I pivoted into a career in brand and communications strategy while helping the Big Chill to become a household name amongst Guardian readers of a certain age and learning, along the way, how to MC, DJ and leverage the power of the internet; in my forties, in my capacity as a brand consultant, I helped a major failing British banking group turn around its fortunes and return to profitability, a role I found surprisingly fascinating but ultimately exhausting; so in my fifties, I have decided to return to what I love most, which is literature, and to learn the art of teaching it properly for the first time; I am now an English teacher at Harris Westminster Sixth Form, and much the better for it.”

Louise Edwards, Founding Member of SHARE & RAVEN

Screenshot 2019-04-18 at 11.14.54.png

Louise is a home educating mum, yoga teacher, part time volunteer, founding member of local charity SHARE (Supporting Homeless Assisting Refugees Everywhere) and a new organisation RAVEN (Refugee And Volunteer Empowerment Network).

“Back in 2015 the harrowing reports and stories about refugees that social media brought in to my kitchen and my family conversations left me feeling desperate and helpless to make a difference to their plight.

This all changed one evening when a message from a friend inspired me to take action. She was collecting items for Syrian refugees to take to a local drop off point and asked if anyone had clothes they could spare. I immediately replied: ‘Yes, we’ll have a sort out and see what we can get together.‘

The tragedy that was washing up onto Greek shores had shocked and immobilised me.

Yet this simple offer and opportunity to act and respond would subsequently launch me into discussions with local councillors, schools, community groups and into mobilising volunteers to fill container loads of love, and send them to those who had nothing. Travelling out to volunteer at refugee camps in Greece and Calais was to forever change my perspective on life.

At that time, a small yet significant change was taking place - my world was shifting from feeling small and meaningless to expanded and full of opportunity and potential. This in turn created new found energy, personal power and the change I’d so desperately been seeking - to be someone who could really make a difference in the world. I became inspired by a greater purpose and no longer saw any limitations. I just acted humanely, and my humanity helped me connect with others who were similarly moved, and acted, and are still acting out of pureness of heart…

My story is one of hope and kindness, and what happens when change is inspired not forced.”

Join us!

Photo: Rachel Kay

Photo: Rachel Kay

Tickets to The Good Life Experience are on sale now! You can head to TGLE for two or three nights of The Good Life. Or you can head here for the day and night of Saturday. Camp or stay off-site, book a glamping pitch or bring the campervan. The choice is yours.

At the heart of it all there are two simple aims; to create something truly unique and to do things really, really well.

Head to Hawarden this September 12-15th and become a guardian of the good times.

Tom Cronk