As this week has seen the celebration of Women's Entrepreneurship Day, I thought it would be nice to celebrate someone I admire greatly, Sarah Clough, founder of Space Fitness & Wellbeing,
She gets up every day with the purpose of helping people enhance their lives, improve their physical strength, range of movement and flexibility as well as their overall wellbeing both mentally and physically. She teaches her Pilates and fitness classes with such experience and ease that you would be forgiven for thinking that this is what she has done all her life.
However, Sarah's path to where she is today has taken her in some fascinating directions - (and to different countries) before she had her 'eureka' moment and finally realised what she was destined to do with her life.
Tell us about the journey you have been on since you started your working career.
I studied fashion and knitwear and went on to set up a business designing knitwear that pushed the boundaries on what was considered normal at that time. We had a big following in the club scene and the pop world and quickly expanded but were very naive when it came to business - I learnt the hard way!
Sarah was featured in the You Magazine. Her shop in the young designer area of London, Hyper Hyper, on Kensington Street gave her a lot of exposure.
From London to Africa.
I’d always wanted to go to Africa and used this as an opportunity to join VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) and headed to Zambia, However, I ended up leaving VSO after a few months to set up an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) with the support of the British, Irish and American Embassies there. It was 1994 and HIV and AIDS were rife, people were dying at such young ages with no hope of being able to afford to access drugs.
With the support of some amazing people, I set up Zambili, where we trained people who were HIV+ in different craft-making activities, offered sheltered workspace, business support and a retail outlet so that they were able to earn money to support themselves and their families.
Cooking the meals whilst in the bush running workshops - I took my Italian coffee pot and the ladies would pop it on the fire every morning for me to make coffee. Anyone who knows me knows that fresh coffee is non negotiable!
This photo is taken whilst I was travelling to a remote region in western Zambia which floods (hence the boats). I was running a week-long workshop there on an 'island'.
This was my bath. The only way to wash was to swim in the flooded plains with the ladies on the lookout for crocodiles!
After a while, we set up a cafe (one of the first of its kind in Zambia) which offered a place for lunch as well as cultural evenings with traditional food aimed at an expat market.