Gender Interview

‘Support Women: Support the World’ – with Tamara Hill-Norton, CEO of Sweaty Betty

We had a chat with the CEO of women’s sportswear brand Sweaty Betty about the ‘Support Women: Support the World’ campaign, starting a business and empowering strong women around the world.

Tell us a little about why you started Sweaty Betty. 

‘I started Sweaty Betty after spotting a gap in the women’s activewear market. At the time I was working as a buyer for Knickerbox, an underwear brand and we started to do a little bit of sportswear. As a sports enthusiast this lead me to realise there was nothing on the high street offering good-quality, female sportswear. At the time, activewear for women just wasn’t a thing, it was all about big, male-oriented sportswear stores. So, then, I thought, ‘Right, this is a proper gap in the market’. After being made redundant, I took the opportunity to evolve the concept to create beautiful clothes for women who live active lifestyles – whether yoga, skiing, swimming or running, I wanted to provide products that could be part of every woman’s wardrobe.’

What inspired you to launch the ‘Support Women: Support The World’ Campaign?

‘At Sweaty Betty our mission has always been to empower women through fitness and beyond, so we have created this collection to celebrate strong and powerful women worldwide in time for International Women’s Day.  One of the main rules we live by is to find strength in sisterhood and be kind to each other, so we are wanted to work alongside charities that completely resonate with our brand mission to give back.’

What challenges do you think young women are facing today? And what advice would you give them? 

‘As a mum of three, one of the biggest challenges young women face today has to be social media and the pressures that come with this. I always say to my daughter that surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial. It’s so important to be kind to each other. I teach my kids not to judge others by their appearance. Instead of knocking each other down, I tell them it’s cool to be kind.’

What challenges did you face, either starting out or even today, as a female CEO? 

‘The beginning was stressful to say the least. I opened our first shop in November and my only staff member decided to quit, so I was left to run the entire store on my own over Christmas. In hindsight it was a great experience being on the shop floor, as I learned a lot about the customer, but there’s no denying it was a really difficult time. Though, I learnt that in order to achieve a work life balance and feel calm and fulfilled, not stressed, you have to feel in control of your time. No-one is ever going to give you more time and you are never going to suddenly have more time. So you have to make time for the things that matter the most to you.’

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If you could inspire one change through the campaign – what would it be?

‘To bring women together and encourage everyone to be strong and confident in who they are and support each other.’

Why did you want to support Ditch the Label through the campaign?

‘For our new year campaign this year we have worked with three incredible women, including Mia Kang, who selected Ditch The Label. Your message of equality and accepting each other is something we really stand behind as a brand, and after being bullied as a child, Mia was really passionate about choosing Ditch the Label as she loves how you encourage everyone to be strong within and unapologetically themselves.’

To snap up one of Sweaty Betty’s limited edition tees for Ditch the Label, click here.

For loads more great stuff, including inspirational quotes, cute pics and links to support, follow our instagram @ditchthelabel.