women

She’s a woman who has a dream

Tracy Stone, 49, is managing director of Gant. She lives in London with her second husband and has two grown-up sons from her first marriage.

“I never intended to work in retail, but I was a hard-up young mum, so I went and got a Saturday job. I had been studying law, but didn’t complete my training. My then-husband and my parents would look after the boys while I worked in the Bhs homes department. I loved it, and ended up on its management training scheme. By the time I left eight years later, I was the first woman manager of a top-20 store.

Description: Tracy Stone

“I started with a high-street Saturday job and, now, I’ve doubled the size of Gant UK”


Every time I take a step forward in my career, my goals stretch. Thirty years ago, my ambition was to be a shop manager. However, in the past five years at Gant, I’ve doubled the size of the business, set up its first e-commerce site, and opened an 8,000 square foot flagship store on Regent Street.

My career has been all about growing and developing brands, I also love fashion and, at Gant, I’ve been able to marry the two. These days, women of my age don’t have to look like our mothers. Quality of fabric, cut and the way things are put together are so important. Luckily, no, you can look good at any age.

I’m 50 this year and have no intention of slowing down. I’d love to volunteer, perhaps working with local children, I also want to mentor. My mentor, Mair Barners, was on the board of Gant, and she taught me so much. I’d like to do the same for other young women.*

She’s a successful entrepreneur

Laura Tenison MBE, 45, is the founder and managing director of Jojo Maman Bébé. She is married and has two sons.

 

Description: Laura Tenison MBE

“Jojo Maman Bébé is now an international brand worth £30m, but I still sell on trade-fair stands”


“Jojo Maman Bébé is now 19 years old and, in the current economic climate, we’re doing well, but we can’t rest on our laurels. I was at a trade fair in New York in January and sold my heart out. You’ll not find many MDs of £30m companies on trade stands, but it’s too important to delegate.

My parents told me I had to get a job as a secretary, but I wanted to launch my own fashion company, so went to work for Aquascutum to learn about the industry. After a few months, I decided I’d learnt everything I needed to know, but the banks wouldn’t lend me a penny. So I spotted a gap in the market as a property agent in France, then 18 months later sold my business as a going concern, and that gave me my start-up capital.

I’m lucky to have both a business brain and an eye for design. I love monitoring the cash flow forecast and analysing where we are, but I also love the brand. We now employ a wonderful team of designers, but every now and then, I get involved with the process and they produce one of my ideas.

If you’re a workaholic, the great thing about children is that you have to down tools and concentrate on them. Family meals together, talking about things that don’t include work or homework, are special. The boys are very sporty, and I spend my weekends standing on various touchlines. As my children get older, I love them more and more. They are incredibly supportive of the fact that I need to work. My greatest sense of achievement is that my children are proud of me – now that’s more important than any award or MBE”

We don’t have set ideas about life

“Generation Y Not” women are healthier. A survey found that three out of five women who visit a gym or health club are over 40, while another showed we’re 80 per cent more likely than the under 40s to feel healthy. We’re also happier. Sure, our lives aren’t problem free, but we have more freedom, more choice, and we both feel and look good. Plus our experience and self-belief mean we don’t need to impress or seek approval.

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