During the last few weeks I have met some prodigious women. They have many things in common. They are all purposeful, passionate about what they do and generous in their stories of their achievements. They are determined and realistic. They are inspiring and modest.

Rebecca from Juno Says Hello has an online boutique dedicated to the finest selection of blissful vintage dresses. Based in a studio in Bloomsbury, Rebecca sources her garments from all over the world. Her beautiful vintage dresses have been seen on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, Emmys, Elle Style Awards and last year’s Royal Wedding. I was struck by Rebecca’s clear view of the market place and her business acumen, sourcing dresses and marketing her acquisitions through events and social media. Juno Says Hello is a thoughtful, intelligent brand for the discerning woman. While talking to Rebecca she mentioned a new product but I am sworn to secrecy!

Harriet has already told her story in our first book of Women Fashion Stories and I met her again at New Broadcasting House to catch up. Now one of Radio 4’s senior announcers Harriet has worked as a reporter, editor and producer for the Today programme for many years. Her insights on the high pressure world of radio broadcasting are always inspiring and her experience of managing teams in a time-stressed environment is always a subject for our discussions, along with fashion and her support for MSL! Harriet’s calm in the face of breaking world news refreshes my spirits.

Barbara and I travelled to New York from London for a one-day meeting. We stayed on in downtown New York for the weekend and visited museums, art galleries and of course shops. Effervescent Barbara knows New York like the back of her hand, so much so that I let her negotiate our packed 48 hours with the incredibly friendly and/or rude yellow cab drivers. Barb always has the appropriate one-liner to hand! She is Chair of the Migration Museum Project and a former Government Minister with a passion for vintage jewellery, which meant a visit to enjoy NoLita (that’s North of Little Italy) where Erica Weiner’s intimate store exhibits antique wooden furnishings, vintage engagement rings and hand-cast reproductions of jewellery from city flea markets and grand houses across Europe.

Reflecting on this week’s blog I realised that spending time with these women underlines the power of generosity through friendships and connections. I found this quote from Simone de Beauvoir, whose book The Second Sex influenced me a long time ago: ‘that’s what I consider true generosity: you give your all and you always feel as if it costs you nothing.’ At MSL we always try to support and encourage emerging talent and women of all ages if we can.

Maggie Semple

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