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Running your own business is a juggling act. It’s simultaneously exciting and terrifying. Doors open and close. Balls get dropped. Mistakes are regularly made. Some days are more productive than others. And more often than not life gets in the way.

I am all too familiar with the stresses and strains of life’s hand grenades. I launched Porcupine Rocks back in 2004. Initially a jewellery business that morphed into an interiors agenda in 2013. My studio was a beautiful old stable off the Kings Road. A newcomer to the local interiors scene, I was in the thick of it yet somewhat daunted by all the big guns that surrounded me. Yet I carved my way. Invited interior designers into the studio. Watched while their eyes light up at the blaze of colour and modern African design that surrounded them. I set up stalls at the odd trade fair. Bespoke commissions rolled in. Things were running smoothly. Life was good. Like so many other women I was walking the tight rope balancing work and home. Challenging.

Then three years in, just as the business was starting to thrive, the tables turned. Dramatically. Cancer crashed into my life. Like a tornado. Every ball was dropped. This was a monumental project that required my everything. Thankfully I managed to keep sales trickling through treatment. But it was after treatment when I felt like I had my head screwed on backwards. I could not focus. The thought of meeting new people terrified me. Tricky situation given the fact we had just moved our lives to West Sussex. My fabric collection sat folded up in boxes.

Everything was on hold. But for how long I wondered?

Painted by Suze

There is always an upside. I am still here and I can safely say I am living life through new eyes. Cancer has taught me a lot about gratitude and resilience. I see things differently. I create with extraordinary energy. I am not afraid. I love deeper and stronger. And above all I am happy and healthy. So at the beginning of this rather out-of-the-ordinary year I decided that Porcupine Rocks needed a revival. A fresh start. After an inspirational couple of days away with three beautiful girlfriends at Soho Farmhouse I opened my mind and explored my options. The new beginnings started to unfold. Like a phoenix rising.

And in walked Suze. Literally, into the house. At a career crossroads, having endured the highs and lows of small growing businesses she was looking to relight the career fire in that was cindering her belly, it was serendipity. How can it be that sometimes in life things just fall in your lap? So I ran with it and coaxed Suze into the studio. And WOW… we have not stopped.

Suze has helped renew the business, with her 'learn on the job' attitude and experience with roles from, assisting on huge restoration projects to small creative start ups, she was able to bring an open mind to the table. She started by building a new colourful website showcasing all the fabrics and bespoke creations. She is whizz at logistics and has a mega-mind for technology. There is never a dull moment in the studio. Roars of laughter can be heard across the Sussex Downs. This is girl power. The sisterhood. Women in business. Whatever you wish to call it. It’s strong and it’s fun.

Business is thriving once again. Have just reached the 1000th milestone on Instagram. Thank you everyone. We are working on bespoke commissions for various private clients, supplying fabric to interior designers and are scheming a collaboration for the new year. We are grateful for every day and it is a huge pleasure to share our renewed look and colourful story with you all.

It feels apt to be writing this now as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To all those brave women and men out there who are wrestling with treatment or living with cancer I am sending you positive vibes, strength and courage. May you also find your inner warrior. Px


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