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GLAMOUR Women in Charge: Catching up with Susan Kemp

Design Director of Sloom, Susan Kemp is a thriving creative in the mattress industry. Her unique approach to design and presentation sets Sloom apart from its male, technology-focused competitors. Here, she opens up about her entrepreneurial journey, lessons and message for Women’s Month

Glamour: What does Women's Month mean to you?

Susan Kemp: I love that a time is set aside to acknowledge and celebrate women and how far we have come. I am so extremely thankful for the women who have come before me, that worked and fought hard for where we are today. We are rising up and taking charge in all aspects of life and especially in the workplace. Even more, we celebrate the uniqueness of women, the unique way that each woman takes on life, does business and tells her story. We have a unique presence and we won’t allow that to be suppressed.

Glamour: What would you attribute your success to?

SK: Personally, it would be my adaptability and drive. Life and work tend to throw unexpected curveballs, and I refuse to let that throw me off. Rather than shying away from a challenge, I adapt, change and learn new skills to help me through. If I fail, I learn from it and if I exceed I celebrate it.

Glamour: What has been the biggest highlight of your journey?

SK: Joining my entrepreneur husband full-time at the beginning of 2020 was a significant step for me. I had no idea what to expect, whether it would be beneficial for our relationship to work together and if there would be meaningful growth for me. Yes, I was scared! My journey has been a jam-packed rollercoaster ride! But it has been extremely rewarding. Every time we reach a new milestone or receive positive feedback, not only about our products but also directly aimed at something I was responsible for, I am reminded about our unique position in the market and I’m often humbled by how much people love us.

Glamour: Do you have any lessons you'd like to share with our audience?

SK: Investing in the right marketing plays a massive role in an online business. Without marketing, our website would be like an underground shop that no one’s aware of. Because we are taking a new approach to the traditional mattress store, there is no tried and tested marketing recipe for us to market our products, we have to trial avenues and see what works and what doesn’t. If you’re going to do something new, you have to try new things in all aspects, without knowing what to expect from the outcome. Assess the outcome of what you’ve tried, if it’s worth pursuing any further or to call it off and take it as a learning experience.

Glamour: What sort of conversations do you naturally gravitate towards?

SK: I recently did the Enneagram test to get to know and understand myself better. It’s been very insightful, to say the least. And what is very true to my type is that I gravitate towards positivity, peace and harmony and would typically avoid pessimism and conversations steered by anger or judgment. I am inspired by other creative people and love hearing about their ideas and visions. This includes a much wider range of conversations than just visual creativity.

Glamour: What's your approach to social impact?

SK: We try to identify potential in people and to train and uplift them to a place of bigger responsibilities and thus better benefits.

Glamour: Which women are on your radar at the moment and why?

SK: Lauren Hom, a graphic designer who has also moved into culinary. Not only is her work amazing, but she’s also always busy teaching others how to make a living from their passions. Her passion for art is contagious and I’m always looking forward to the next inspirational thing that she’s busy with. I’m also admiring all the strong women behind the scenes. So many women out there are doing the really hard grind work, without recognition. We would not have been where we are today if it wasn’t for the women working silently in the background, especially the moms who never get enough recognition. I see you, and I appreciate you.

Glamour: Why is it important for women to be celebrated?

SK: Women tend to take the backseat in society, due to decades of being forced to the backseat. But also, as women, we tend to be more nurturing and take on a heavier load at home to care for our families. This means we would more easily move our careers to the backseat as well. Women work extremely hard in the background and deserve to be seen and appreciated for their sacrifices, love and strength. This world would not be the same without our unique contribution to society.

Glamour: What's your message to women in business?

SK: Find what inspires and energises you. What keeps you going? Pursue that. Yes, there are times when life is heavy, or we feel overwhelmed or overworked. We need to hold on and make time for the things that’ll get us through the tough or mundane times.

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