Meet Miss Dashwood ...
The Shoes by Shaherazad team were super excited when they got the chance to meet Victoria Lambert, CEO of Miss Dashwood’s Register. Miss Dashwood’s Register bridges the gap between small businesses keen to raise their profile with journalists looking for interesting stories. In the novel, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen tells us to “know your own happiness”; so when we met Victoria we just had to find out how she found her own happiness through setting up her company. Read on for advice and tips from Victoria ….
Victoria, what motivated you to become a CEO when you already had such a sparkling career as a journalist?
Deciding to launch a startup felt natural; I’m quite entrepreneurial by nature. So although I’ve enjoyed working in executive positions on national newspapers both in the UK and Australia, when I became a freelance journalist in 2006, I knew I had found my métier. I loved the freedom to set my own working hours and direction, and found it very satisfying to stretch out beyond writing (which I still love and continue to do) by giving masterclasses and consultancy sessions.
Establishing Miss Dashwood’s Register and becoming CEO seemed an extension of all that was good and enjoyable about what I already did – interacting with new people, sharing experiences, trying to be a force for good. I was also struck by how creative setting up a business is – it might sound dry, but in fact it’s exciting to imagine what this intangible thing might look like, to give it the most beautiful shape you can, and then to work to fulfil that. So in a way it’s like writing an article – just in a different dimension.
What is the most rewarding part of running Miss Dashwood's Register?
I love talking to clients and helping them find their soul – what makes them or their story that extra bit special. And it’s incredibly exciting when they email or call to say they’ve placed themselves in a national newspaper or landed a spot on radio. I feel incredibly proud of all of the members. We share a real connection, I think.
How did the partnership between yourself and Kate Stewart come about?
Miss Dashwood’s Register was a good idea on paper, but I really needed someone who could help it come alive and complement my abilities. I’d known Kate for many years first as a fellow journalist, and when she was Celebrity Manager and Head of Press and PR at Prostate Cancer UK. I knew she was a cool head under pressure, and had a great eye for detail. When I discovered she had moved near to where I lived in Hampshire I couldn’t wait to persuade her to join. (She also has a very dry wit and makes a great cup of coffee.)
What more do you think women can do to empower each other in the world?
One of my favourite concepts is Pay It Forward – the idea you help someone today, trusting in the universe that help will come your way in turn if you need it. I feel that’s something women naturally do for each other, and when they apply it to their business life, it really pays dividends. I think this is because women remember that little good deed longer than men. We’re grateful for the helping hand or the moment’s mentoring. So the key is to keep paying it forward, keep extending that support or wisdom when you know it can’t yet be returned. It’s not weakness to be kind. It’s actually good business sense too. And that’s OK.
Which is your favourite style of 18 Hour Heels?
Equally Ever After have to be my favourites. They are stunning to look at, and deliciously comfortable to wear. On a recent theatre outing, the gold and silver shoellery was getting a lot of admiring glances.
What do you expect from a great pair of heels and do Shoes by Shaherazad deliver this?
For me, shoes have to be comfortable. That’s my greatest priority. And thank goodness Shoes by Shaherazad deliver on this. As you get older, heels become more problematic if they aren’t well designed, forcing too much weight on to the ball of the foot. But my 18hourheels are so well balanced, I can wear them out with confidence.
Which style of 18 Hour Heels do you believe the following fictional and non-fictional characters would have worn and why?
For Jane Austen herself, I can’t help thinking she would have loved a pair of 18hourheels to wear to a party. In Pride and Prejudice, she said: “To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love”, and we know – although she never married – she was very taken with love itself. Let’s give her Dream Then Do, in gold.
She would also have approved heartily of Shoes by Shaherazad’s philanthropic work, especially the Primary Education Project in Pakistan. Austen wrote in Mansfield Park: “Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody. “
Elinor Dashwood is a sensible woman, as we know. I think she would be very appreciative of Take My Lead – a pair of elegant and timeless heels which would carry her up the aisle with Edward Ferrars, and still be practical enough for walks to the village to do good service.
Lizzie Bennett may be prejudiced against Mr Darcy when they first meet, but when she writes to her aunt Gardiner to tell them she is to be married to him, she says “give a loose to your fancy, Indulge your imagination in every possible flight” – and gives us an insight into her true spirited nature and lively, happy mind. I think she would like a pair of Luxury English Heels in Blush – perfect for days spent walking the length and breadth of her marital home Pemberley.Small business and individuals looking to gain media opportunities can join Miss Dashwood’s Register by visiting www.missdashwoodsregister.co.uk