Make your life count for something- Live your legacy
Penelope Wilson – Make your life count for something- Live your legacy
Penelope Wilson is currently working on an invention, a piece of exercise equipment that makes certain exercises easier and helps to prevent injury, with a vision for a clothing line and community around the brand. She has had it manufactured and is in the first stages of marketing and is exploring partner and licensing opportunities.
After graduating from Loughborough College of Art and Design with a degree in Silversmithing and jewellery design, Penny started her first business in Hatton Garden. She was the only women in a male dominated profession at the time.
She believes in never giving up, whatever the circumstances.
Your background is in art and design. What does your art work represent? Does your art work represent something about you?
My art work gives me purpose and time for me. I love making and mending things, making them better. As a jeweller I would find it very satisfying taking something broken and mending it. I loved seeing people’s delight when it was like new again.
What inspires you? What connection do you have with your art?
I think it comes from my time in nature as a child, planting things and getting my hands dirty. I grew up watching my father mend things. I helped him by passing him the tools – I love tools! I have always been a tactile person. If I go shopping, I have to touch everything – I can’t buy anything online!
I like making unhappy people feel happy, and my art allows me to do that.
What does your art mean to you?
Freedom and expression.
You are currently working on an invention. Tell us more about the new project and what you want to achieve.
It’s a piece of exercise equipment which makes exercise easier and prevents injury. It’s not just a piece of exercise equipment, it’s a clothing line and a community where we can mend together. I am mending people who are broken and making them better (a lot like my jewellery!).
For me, this invention is like a piece of art. The one thing I have learnt is that it’s okay to be good enough. We strive for perfection but there comes a point where we need to just stop and realise it’s good enough and take the next step; also, to get the right help and advice.
Creating it was the easy part, as I knew in my mind what I wanted it to be. Then came the hard part. Things I didn’t know about: manufacturing, marketing, shipping… the business side. My father used to say to me: “it does not matter if you don’t know something, as long as you know where to find the answer!” I spent my childhood looking it up in books whereas today I just google it!
What do I want to achieve? I want to put a pole in the ground and say “Penny was here” – leave a legacy, recognition for what I have created. I am an inventor – I’ve invented something, thought of it and made it even when others said I couldn’t (which made me all the more determined to show that I could!).
In the past I was never that person. I was always behind the scenes. I was told as a little girl to never “show off”. I no longer want to live that way.
I also need an income and want to be an inspiration for my daughter. I lost everything in a short period of time: my mother, three uncles, my dog and my partner soon after. There was a time when I felt that life had no purpose anymore. Then I had this idea – it gave me focus and a reason to keep going. I just kept on taking the next step and it gained momentum…
What are some tips and insights for all women who want to have a career like yours?
I am still on my journey and still have lots to learn but I would say: If you have a good idea but don’t know how to go about it, just google it! It is really important to build a team that will support you. Don’t let tech skills stop you – I did everything on my mobile phone. Never give up, even if it feels like the whole world is against you – stay true to you. I gave my life away to others. Do this for you – make your life count for something. It’s easy to repeat the patterns of the past unless you decide: enough is enough, and you want a different life – so take action. You are much stronger and more capable than you give yourself credit for.