So tell me a bit about She Can. She Did. and how it came about?

Sure! So She Can. She Did. is a platform that I launched last August when I was 24, that puts the spotlight on young women in their teens, 20s and 30s who have launched their own businesses throughout the UK and I do that through a series of down to earth interviews with young female founders and informal networking events, aptly called ‘The Midweek Mingles!’

I used to produce finance conferences around the world and it was an amazing job that allowed me to travel regularly and gave me so much responsibility from day one given that I was twenty-one when I started, but after three and a half years I realised that I was no longer passionate about it and started getting that dreaded Sunday night fear! I’ve always been someone who cared about my career and education and so the day I realised I was no longer happy there was the day I decided to do something about it. I was in Boston at the time – last April – and remember opening an email from work that immediately made me feel anxious, sending a screenshot to my sister saying, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore’ and she replied straight away saying ‘maybe it’s time to leave Fi, you’ll figure it out!’ It was that simple and I remember thinking in that moment that I was done but then it was a case of ‘well what am I going to do, without a job lined up?’ My flight wasn’t until that evening, so I spent the day walking around Harvard University in the pouring rain trying to figure out what I was passionate about! After Googling ‘young female founders’ and realising that I couldn’t find anything that gave me access to how each female founder got to where they are today honestly, I remember thinking ‘if I can’t find what I want, why don’t I create it?’ I’ve always loved writing and researching and I’d always wanted my own business – although I’d always assumed it’d be something I did later down the line - so it was a case of saying, ‘let’s treat this like a project, reach out to these women and ask if they’re willing to be really honest’ and thankfully they said yes!

What are the big goals in 2018 for She Can. She Did.?

Because I treated this like a project as opposed to a business to begin with, I’ve been making it up as I go to be honest! Having said that, I’ve always known I’d bring my events background into this as there’s something really important about bringing people together under one roof so that they can meet in person. My January was spent meeting sponsors to gear up for a big event like I used to do for my old job but the gist of the meetings was ‘We love the idea Fi, but you need to prove you can get bums on seats at a small event first!’, which in hindsight is completely understandable! So ‘The Midweek Mingle’ series launched in April and the next one is on May 24th and both of those sold out within 3-4 days which felt amazing so hopefully I can launch something bigger down the line.

Fiona Grayson - Alison Cork's Inspirations
Fiona Grayson - Speaking at an event
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Because I’ve shared my journey on the blog throughout all of this too, a few of the girls I’ve met and some of the girls that read the blog have asked me to write a book about everything I’ve learned so far too – not just from my own experience but from all of the interviews - so I’m toying with that idea too! I feel so lucky that all the women I’ve spoken to have been so honest with me about their businesses, I’m learning so much from them and walk away from everyone feeling so inspired so I’m playing around with a few ideas at the moment!

How did you and Alison Cork become acquainted?

One of the Editors at the Publishing House that I used to work for, introduced me to someone who then introduced me to Alison. I think it was then maybe eight weeks after launching She Can. She Did. that I went to meet Alison!

And her scheme, Make it Your Business, how did you come to be involved with it?

I helped them in the latter half of last year and earlier this year with some of their content and conducted some interviews with a few of the incredible panellists that speak at their events.

Fiona Grayson She Can, She Did - Alison Cork's Inspirations
Fiona Grayson She Can, She Did
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As someone who founded their own business, what was a hurdle that you had to overcome?

For me it was walking away from my former salary. That has been a real struggle at times because I can no longer afford half of the things I used to be able to but I’ve just had to adjust my lifestyle. Do I go on holiday and buy clothes and go out for nice dinners anymore? No! But you spend to your means and when I have moments where I question why I walked away from a regular London wage, I just remind myself of why I started She can. She did. and how grateful I am for the journey it’s taken me on over the past nine months.

Focusing on design, would you say that you or your home has a style that you could define?

Back when I had a regular pay cheque coming in (!) I bought a real granny annexe of a flat in Buckinghamshire that I renovated in my evenings and weekends over five months in 2016 and I would say it definitely falls into the quirky but cosy category! I tend to keep the walls quite plain so the entire flat is painted in shades of pale grey and white but I love a good print so my kitchen floor is covered in Moroccan tiles for instance. And I love a good pot plant! There’s a lot of greenery around the place!

Finally - Are you more Victorian Elegance, Boutique Chic or Scandi Retro?

I would say I’m Boutique Chic for the bathroom and Scandi Retro for the rest of my flat!

BIO:

Fiona Grayson, 25, is the Founder of She can. She did. – a platform that through a series of down to earth interviews and networking events, is putting the spotlight on young women in their teens, twenties and thirties, who have dared to go solo and set up their own businesses throughout the UK.

Make It Your Business is a nationwide initiative to encourage and support women to start their own business. It is free to join and a not-for-profit organisation.

Make It Your Business - Alison Cork's Inspirations
Make It Your Business aims to encourage and support UK women in business
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The initiative runs events all over the country, where women can meet established local female entrepreneurs and network with other local aspiring female entrepreneurs, in a relaxed and enabling environment.

Make It your Business is part of the The National Women’s Enterprise Network, a not-for-profit organisation founded by entrepreneur, writer and broadcaster Alison Cork

You can join here: http://www.makeityourbusiness.co.uk/join-us-free