Harpers Bazaar: Entrepreneurial Women's Masterclass

Posted: Jan 30 2015

I stumbled across an event entitled "Entrepreneurial Women's Masterclass" on Harpers Bazaar's website. I was instantly engaged and within a couple of minutes I had bought my ticket.

I'm not sure what I was more excited about, the event itself or the years subscription... However, I went along to Cafe Royal on Regent Street to see what this event was about with absolutely no expectations. I walked into the chandelier lit room filled with about 200 women. At this point I instantly regretted not dragging a friend along, but I gatecrashed a crowd or two, and grabbed a glass of Nyetimber before the event started.

Once everyone had taken their seats, Harper's Retail Director Jo Glynn-Smith welcomed the room before Laura Tenison (CEO and Founder of JoJo Maman Bebe) gave her inspirational and honest advice as she was questioned by the founder of E2Exchange.

The audience was then invited to ask questions. I listened as a few women asked some intelligent and and thoughtful questions. It got to the 5th or possibly the 6th question, when I was filled with sudden panic... What went through my mind was that there were 200 glamorous and interesting women in this wonderful room, and if I don't say the words "Olive Cooper" over that microphone, that's it. I'm going home. I raised my hand so high it nearly became detached from my shoulder - and the last question was handed to me.

Oh dear, now to come up with a question. After introducing myself, I decided my question was to ask Laura how she gained her audience and what would she recommend I do - it was really a "how long is a piece of string" type question, but I wasn't at all prepared. However, what happened afterwards made it so worth it. So many women came up to me at the end offering their business cards and taking mine, and giving me genuine and helpful advice. I've been given some fantastic leads and opportunities as a result.

I guess my reason for writing this post is this:

I've been to so many events, and not once have I picked up the microphone, but this time I knew it was an opportunity I had to grab. So, my advice to you is be spontaneous. Make the most of every situation you are in - even if it means embarrassing yourself and going as red as a tomato as you speak over a microphone.

With love,

Olive x

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  • Posted by Rossi Writes on March 31, 2015

    I loved reading this piece, as it reminded me of life in London and all the networking that one needs to do there. So different to the relaxed lifestyle I am currently enjoying in Italy. I found your website and your bags via The Londoner’s blog – I am sure many more will do, too as it is such a popular blog. Good luck for your business, the bags look gorgeous. A bit of a higgledy-piggledy comment, I know, but you are right – sometimes we need to be spontaneous, take the initiative and open a communication line.

    With best wishes,


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