How to wash that stress out of your hair! Designer Anya Hindmarch reveals her top tips for business and happiness in a fascinating memoir
- Anya Hindmarch, 52, has written a memoir describing how to run a business
- Fashion accessory designer also shares her best advice for happiness
- Admits that every new project she’s ever launched has involved a cycle of emotions
IF IN DOUBT, WASH YOUR HAIR
by Anya Hindmarch (Bloomsbury £18.99, 256 pp)
Anya Hindmarch has always had the genius to keep her finger on the pulse of the global zeitgeist.
Over the past decade, her best-selling item has gradually shifted from the ‘I’m Not A Plastic Bag’ (a canvas bag to signal one’s anti-plastic credentials) to her current ‘I Am A Plastic Bag’ (made from 32 recycled plastic bags). plastic water bottles, indicating that someone does not have their plastic hold on landfill).
When she launched I’m Not A Plastic Bag in 2007, there was a stampede outside her store in Taipei, Taiwan, and 30 people were hospitalized.
Anya Hindmarch, 52, (pictured) shares her advice for running a successful business and being happy in a memoir
Launched in 2020, the I Am A Plastic Bag project was “my husband’s idea, even if it hurts me to admit it,” Hindmarch, 52, writes in this honest memoir, which also gives us tips cares about how we make a business and (just as tricky) how to be happy.
Her best advice for happiness came from a nun at her convent school: “If you accept that you will never be satisfied, then you will be very happy indeed.”
This was the brave, dyslexic but highly visual girl who, on holiday in Italy at age 19, saw a bag she liked and asked an Italian factory to make samples from it. She then persuaded Harpers & Queen to sell the bags as their monthly offer. They sold 500 and she made a profit of £7,000.
At the age of 28, she married James Seymour, whose wife had recently passed away, leaving him three children under the age of four. Anya took them on with boundless maternal love and had two more sons with James, who is now the financial director of her company. The couple seem blissfully happy – despite his love of socializing and her great need for weekends off.
The rather unambitious title, If In Doubt, Wash Your Hair, is Hindmarch’s most important advice for the busy woman: ‘It sums up how much better I feel myself – how much more confident, how many glittering eyes, how much more able to cope and to react – if I have freshly washed hair.’
IF IN DOUBT WASH YOUR HAIR by Anya Hindmarch (Bloomsbury £18.99, 256 pp)
To such a successful businesswoman, it may seem surprising that Hindmarch ever has much doubt, but she admits that with every new project she’s ever launched, her cycle of emotions has been “I love it – I’m nervous – I’m bored.” I love it – it’s really hard – I hate it – actually I really hate it – I hate myself,” then gradually climb back to “I love it.”
She cites a chilling piece of advice given to her by M&C Saatchi’s advertising executive Nick Hurrell: ‘Anytime you leave the office at night, mentally fire yourself, then come back in the morning as your successor’.
Hindmarch is said to have taken that advice to the extreme: in 2011 she sold a large part of the company and in 2019 she bought it back.
That was “one of the scariest and hardest things I’ve ever done,” she writes. But ‘I like to be in charge. I like the pressure’.
The fun of her working life, at its best, among her team of loyal colleagues, dances off every page.
None of her success seems to have gone to her head and the self-doubt never goes away hence the constant hair washing.
In fact, self-doubt comes across as a vital, spicy ingredient in her drive to succeed.