Women Who Create / Syreeta Challinger
This week we welcome Syreeta Challinger to the blog to tell her very moving account of running a creative business whilst also caring full time for her husband. Creating something positive and beautiful out of a tragedy yet maintaining to recognise balance and a sense of self. So very inspiring...
Tell us a little about your background...
I grew up in humble surroundings in SE London, with a passion to create and travel. I studied Textile Design at University, before embarking on a career in Design & Product Development. It enabled me to travel the world, exposing me to new environments and people. Including my now husband, Rob. We met when living and working in Hong Kong. Whilst on holiday in Sydney, he sadly suffered a brain haemorrhage and stroke. In amongst the trauma and tragedy, I needed an outlet. To figure out a way of working and caring for Rob, with our life as it is now. That is how the brand was born.
Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?
My main role is to support Rob with his needs and care. I am fluid around that, so no day is the same. However, I do my utmost to wake an hour before him for time to myself. Somedays that may be yoga, meditation or even just a sit down with a cup of tea and my thoughts.
What two things can't you live without?
I am addicted to my phone. That and books. When packing up life in Hong Kong, I got rid of a most of our possessions, apart from our books.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
Travel definitely inspires me. A change of scene, to look at a new place with fresh eyes; the smells and sounds. But as our life has changed, and travel isn’t possible just now, I realise inspiration is all around. From beauty in the mundane day to day, to nature. Rob definitely inspires me too with his determination and grit; he is the reason I get up every morning.
What is the meaning of 'creativity' to you?
A form of expression, whether it be words, music, painting, drawing, cooking; the freedom to think beyond the norm and feel alive. To create with our hands even better; the tactile and tangible process is something that can’t be beaten. It lights a fire inside of me.
If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone... who would it be & why?
I would love to work with the current government. They are currently destroying pathways for future generations to express themselves creatively in schools, so much so, we will soon have a generation who will never know how to be creative unless they are lucky enough to come from a family where it’s understood.
Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?
A beautiful notebook and pen, for to do lists and sketching ideas.
What is the best thing about running your business?
The best thing is that it works around our life as it is now; it enables me the flexibility to work around Rob’s needs and ensure I still maintain a sense of my own self too.
And what is or has been the most challenging?
That I am trying to heal, rebuild myself and earn whilst caring for Rob. It’s beyond challenging; at times I am tested to my limits and it’s incredibly isolating. But in turn, I recognise at times, it’s my own limiting beliefs that sometimes get in the way.
What is your proudest creative moment in the journey so far?
That I have been able to create something beautiful out of all that has happened over the past 3 years.
What one piece of advice would you share with fellow women who create to help them on their business journey?
To feel the fear and do it anyway. No one is coming along to help us on our way; it’s up to us to create the path we wish to take. Even if that means we have to lay stone by stone, take step by step; just try. What’s the worst that could happen?
Find your own Moments Of Sense And Style here x