The Wise Why

Episode #47

Episode #047

#47 Paula Cannon – Female Workwear Design and Sustainability

by | 3 Feb,2023

About This Episode

Workwear and uniform that is comfortable and practical does exist, just ask Paula Cannon to fix the problem for you. For me the most annoying thing about workwear is it never fits, the trousers are too long, they fall down, or are too tight.

Paula Cannon, Founder of Pen to Peg Fashion Design Consultancy talks with Kirsty van den Bulk on The Wise Why. Paula has specialized in the design and supply of uniforms in the corporate wear Uniform sector for over 25 years.

Previously working for blue-chip brands like Virgin Atlantic, Barclays Bank, HSBC, and Costa Coffee she helped them design and create collections suitable for the corporative and the workwear market. A great believer in the co-design process, Paula brings together management, brand, and wearers to create uniform wardrobes to fit all sizes, ages, and body shapes.

Paula not only works directly with the end customer she also provides a consultation design service to companies that do not have their own design and technical department, helping create new ranges and finding sustainable solutions and supplies.

Episode #47 : Full Transcription

During this episode we had a technical glitch in the first minute. This was quickly sorted.

Kirsty van den Bulk: Hello and welcome to The Wise Why. This morning I am joined by the incredible, fabulous, and talented Paula Cannon. And I am so excited that actually, for once, I’m going to be quite quiet and ask Paula to introduce herself. Because not only is she a talented lady, she also has one of the loveliest voices I have ever heard. And when we first spoke on the phone, I just went, yeah, that’s a voice for getting onto the show. And she’s beautiful as well. So, as usual, enough about me. Over to Paula. Please introduce yourself.

Paula Cannon: Hi, everybody. I’m Paula Cannon

Kirsty van den Bulk: Oh, I think we’ve just lost you, Paula. If you can hear me, um, go out and come back in. And this is what happens when we go live and technology will let us down.

Paula Cannon: There we go. Sorry about that. I touched the screen because I got notifications of state to say I was on your show and then I disappeared.

Kirsty van den Bulk: I love it. And that’s the thing. If people don’t realize about live, they go, oh, I can’t go live because something will go wrong. And I always say to people, you’re going to go live, it’s going to go wrong. And if we accept that, then we can start moving on where we were before the screen went blank. Please take the floor.

Paula Cannon: Hi, everybody. I’m Paula Cannon. I am, um, a fashion designer. Well, I started life as a fashion designer. I trained as a fashion designer. And, um, I worked in high street retail for a while in Ireland. And, um, um, I worked in a factory cutting patterns and stuff like that. So when I finished my university course, I worked basically on the floor of a factory and, um, learned my trade from there. So I was lucky enough to have a great mentor at the time, tom, uh, McDonald, who encouraged me to do lots of freelance stuff as well as my day job. And I freelanced in corporate wear design. And, um, that’s really what that is. Designing for big corporate brands like banks. Designing for brands, really designing garments for people to wear to work, um, be it banks, airlines, things like that. So I love doing that because you got to meet real people. We were able to do research with people and actually design clothes really meant something to them in terms of they were wearing every day to work. So it had to look good, but also had to have last well and, um, be comfortable and um, something to suit everybody ship. So that’s a real challenge, designing for everybody ship. So I just loved the whole idea of being able to, um, do, uh, designs that made a difference in people’s lives. And also, um, designing to a specific brand can be challenging because often you’re tied to the colors that they use or whatever. And, uh, I suppose also I got to do lots of design physical illustrations because you’re presenting all the time. So, you’ve got to sketch up your ideas and present the fabrics and present, um, illustration boards and you don’t get to do that in fashion. So, um, I entered the world of corporate clothing design, um, and I knew that’s where my niche was. Um, I moved to the UK many years ago now and have lost the Irish accent though, and I have softened it a bit, I would say. And I specialized in, it was time of privatization of the railways when I moved over. So I got to do lots of work on the train companies with lots of different, um, brand companies, brand new brands that were being created and did um, a lot of work in the transport industry, buses, planes, airlines, cruise ships. And um, my career really progressed from there and um, I had a great career. I was very lucky that I found something that I loved to do. Um, when I was younger I wanted to be a singer, uh, in a band and left home at 17 to join a show band and I thought singing was going to be my profession for the rest of my life. But I found that, um, I was just as passionate about fashion and making clothes and designing clothes. So I found I was one of the lucky people that had two great passions in life. So I was able to go through university and sing my way through, basically earn money for my course. Um, and now it’s taken me forward all these years to a career that they just love doing and I feel sorry for people who don’t find a career that they love because I’ve been very lucky to find two careers that I love. So, I can design on the day and sing at night.

Kirsty van den Bulk: I love it. And I’m just sitting here thinking about the amount of times I have worn a uniform and I have worn a lot because I worked in retail and I can remember. I’m just thinking about the evolution and obviously I’m a singer, m, but I haven’t sung for years, but obviously I’ve sung a lot as well, so that’s quite kind of interesting. But what I’m interested in is the evolution because we have moved on. When I think about the sort of I’m going to back to the because she’s my age, but the late 80s when I started working in corridor in order to department stores and then moved into the central London stores, the big high end ones, the Harrods particularly, I’m thinking back to the perfumery uniform in Harrods. Yes, everybody, I worked in perfumery and I’m just thinking about the two inch heels and there’s a little fluffy skirt that I got in the tight jacket which was doubled breasted and how impractical it was. But you wouldn’t do that now, would you?

Paula Cannon: Um, being a designer, I like to get, um, involved and ask people what they want and what is important to them in their clothing. Um, so before I design anything, I go and do the research with the staff and the employees, see what job they do, see what things they have to carry, what the environment they’re working in. And then I’d start to do more research into the shapes and the styling and then bring the two together. So there’s probably three elements there’s what the brand and management want in terms of sometimes the brand managers are very, very passionate about their color, and you can’t move away from it. Um, then you’ve got the people who wear it, um, and then you’ve got the practical things. So you bring it all together and you bring it all together to suit all body shapes. And that’s a real challenge sometimes, because not only have you 16-year-olds, you could have 65-year-olds wearing the same garment and all body shapes. So you’ve got to be there are a few tricks, the trade that you learn along the way that help, um, create, um, something for everyone. So creating an Award WIN is more what I like to do a wardrobe of uniform so that people get to choose what suits them best. Because at the end of the day, you can’t fit all women into the same style of trouser. We can’t all wear a skinny, fit trouser. Put it like that. So, um, I like to make a wardrobe of a collection of garments that goes into the uniform, that people can choose what they like to wear and what’s more comfortable for their body shape. Um, some people are hotter than others, and some people are colder. So, to be able to layer up your garments, so that’s really important. I think offering choice, um, something for everyone, so that’s the real difference is getting to know the wearer, I think, makes the biggest difference, and doing trials with them. So, try and make up some garments and try them out and maybe try different fabrics, because people don’t realize that, um, well, now everybody wants stretch, don’t they, in their garments. And if you don’t have stretch, you feel restricted. Now, if you’re used to wearing Jenkins or something like that, which I love. Uh, but they’re not always suitable for every work environment. So, it’s finding something that you can trial with people, um, and see how things wash and wear. And, of course, the big issue now is having garments that have a sustainable angle. And that just doesn’t mean getting garments made from recycled plastic bottles, which you can get a lot now, and that has its place. But I think more important is making garments that have longevity, that last longer, that stay classic, um, that are used much longer. So, we’re getting away from sort of a throwaway society. Um, I think it’s really important to look at the quality of the workmanship and, um, the quality of the fabrics that people use, um, so that has an element of sustainability, because you’re working towards really great quality garments that will last much longer, um, and will wash and wear really well. Things like color continuity, all these things get tested along the way in the corporate field. People don’t realize how much goes into it. When I do a critical path from the start of, uh, when we do consultations, um, to the end, when we roll it out, it can be 18 months development. Yeah, because if you want to fit in all these trials, you want to try new fabrics, you might be making a fabric from scratch. You’ve got, like, a lovely little design in it that you’re taking forward. So, there’s a lot of development goes into it. You can get off the shelf garments, too, of course, and you combine them with a design element. If you’re short on time, that’s sometimes what people will do, or if they have small numbers of staff. This is the other thing people don’t realize. If you want a bespoke uniform, you kind of have to have a good chunk of staff to be able to, um, go out to the factories, uh, with a sizable order. And if you don’t have a large turnover staff, you might be better going down the route of something that’s already stocked somewhere that, um, you can customize, maybe with a beautiful scarf or a unique print on the blouse. So, yeah, there’s lots of iterations. It just depends on the customer.

Kirsty van den Bulk: Um, yeah, I love passion, I do. But that’s the thing, I think there’s something very similar here, because I love what I do. I loved performing, I loved acting, so we’ve got that back together. But I love what I do now, and I have my passion. I’m sitting here every Friday doing a percentage job, and it ticks my boxes. But your passion is amazing. What I wanted to ask about, and it’s interesting because it’s all about sustainability, but I guess that also comes into where you source the fabrics from. Yeah. Um.

Paula Cannon: People come to me with a budget, or sometimes they have no budget, but I do try upfront to decipher what’s your price range. They want to pay for their garments, because that will make a difference as to where we source those garments, source the fabrics. Um, so fabrics, obviously, we can get brilliant UK fabrics, European fabrics, and, um, more often, people are using fabrics in the Far East. Um, but of course, there are lots of things you got to think about in minimum order. Quantities from the Far East can be 2000 meters upwards. So, yeah, I mean, it just depends on the project. Um, I’ve developed some amazing fabrics, um, in Pakistan for workwear. Um, uh, I worked on a job during COVID, for a brand called Crafter Collection. Uh, we designed a range specifically for women in workwear. So, women engineers, women in building, uh, anybody who needed a really hard wearing trouser for work. So, uh, we started with a trouser, and we developed a trouser that was much softer than the regular poly cotton trouser that you get off the shelf. It had stretch in it. It had, um, um, KUDURA in it, which is, um, KUDURA is a fiber made from nylon that makes the fabric last longer. And, uh, uh, takes a really high abrasion, so it takes lots of rubbing. Um, and if you’re kneeling down, that sort of thing, it makes it last much longer. And developing, uh, that fabric was really good because it’s brand new fabric. They’ve developed, um, uh, and it’s been worn now, uh, by lots of women in trades all around the UK and Europe, and very successful. And it’s a very long lasting, hardwearing set of garments. Uh, there’s trousers, things like that. So, fabrics, uh, it’s such a minefield because you could be one day you could be looking at silks and beautiful lining fabrics, and the next day you’re looking at, really, hardware and procure fabrics that are suitable for outdoor use and heavy duty use. So, it’s such a wide subject fabric. In fact, um, next week in Paris, Premiere Vision is on. That’s where Premier Vision and Text World, that’s where you go to find all the new fabrics. Uh, um, things that I love finding are things like fabrics that are made from really unusual things, like milk. I found a fabric last time from milk. Um, it’s a beautiful, soft fabric.

Kirsty van den Bulk: It’s woven.

Paula Cannon: The milk is extruded and made into a yarn, and it’s made into the softest, um, jersey fabric. Beautiful for kids. Where, um, I’ve seen fabrics, uh, um, um, mock leather made from pineapple. Um, one of my favorites is bamboo charcoal, which is yarn that is made from burnt bamboo. So, the ashes of the ashes of the bamboo, um, and it’s burnt to an ash, and then it’s made into, like, a little bead and extruded as yarn. And, um, the benefits of wearing bamboo, you might have heard bamboo. There’s a few, um, but bamboo charcoal is slightly different. So, it’s naturally, um, um, antibacterial. It naturally, um, wicks, uh, your moisture away and keeps you fresh. It also, um, stops electromagnetic rays from mobile phones and things going into your, uh, it can be a barrier to it. So that’s a real instant fabric. But that’s what I love about what I do, is find the knees and.

Kirsty van den Bulk: Things no, because a lot of people that listen to the show are from the engineering sector, are females, and I’ve worked in that sector, in the security industry. And you can’t find comfortable workwear. You’re going on site, and your steel toe caps are steel toe caps. And whilst I don’t mind wearing the same thing, I’ve got no problems wearing them. But my hard hat now, all hard hats have different kind of meaning, and, um, so I wanted to be slightly different. And then I got told off because I bought the wrong kind of hard hat. I didn’t want to wear that kind of hard hat. And it’s those kinds of things because I was only going on site occasionally. But when I did, I ended up wearing a pair of, um, combats that were way too big for me because they were men’s combats. They were too long in the leg. They didn’t bend particularly well when I bent down and went to look at things and it was just like and if I’d known that you existed, I would have been in touch at that point and gone, where do I get my combat? So, I do want to put that in. Lindsay has just joined us, said, well, bamboo charcoal fabric sounds so rustic, yet, uh, really spaced. I totally agree. And again, that’s a really interesting fabric for some of the people that work in the sector I used to, because there’s some interesting yeah, I’m really intrigued. What I do want to know is how you got from where you were doing all this designing to Penn to Peg.

Paula Cannon: Okay, so I, um, decided to go out on my own. The company I was working forgot sold. All, um, the people that I’d worked with for 16 years migrated or retired. Um um, I had grown up with the company basically from, uh, the start of the company, and the dynamics in the company changed. So, I decided I wanted something different. I got to those stage 16 years in the company. I’d worked, uh, in a very big department and ran a very big department. And, um, you know what? I just wanted to try something for me. Uh, do something that I work with people that I chose to work with and, uh, work with people that excited me and appreciated what I do. And I suppose also I wanted to, um, be in control of my own destiny and, um, be able to take holidays or trips when I wanted to, not when the calendar says so. I think I just took control of my own destiny and decided, look, I’ve done this work for so long. Um, I’ll try I’ll start a pent peg and, you know, go, um, out there in the wide world as a consultant and see what happens. And, um, of course, just after I went freelance, well, about two years after I went freelance, covert kit. And nobody’s wearing uniforms, so it was like, oh, my goodness, what do we do now? Uh, so and that’s the thing about when you don’t have a regular, you know, salaried income as a solo person, it gets scary when things like this happen. So, um, I took the time then to upskill ah. And, um um, as you know, I did the course tech course, and I upskilled as a social media manager. And that was really for myself, so I could learn all the different platforms and use to my advantage for my business. But it also helped me, um, I went on from that to learn how to set up an, ah, online course. And during COVID I set up a whole course called Table to label helping people who had no idea, had a great idea for a garment, but no idea how to execute it. So, I did a few courses. I ran four courses, um, and helped some very totally different types of people. I never would have um, come across female, um, jockeys. I helped them do a range of uh, garments for female jockeys. That’s how crafter collection happened. We created the whole brand from scratch on social media before we even designed anything. So, we created uh, um, an Instagram account, reached out to women in trades, the yes she can. Um, they came on board, they helped us find our ideal avatar. And then we uh, campaigned them and said, what would make your life better in terms of a garment? And um, they give us great feedback. We had women, ah, electricians, we had engineers, people in security. We had one lady; we had the digger lady. She’s very big on Instagram. And ah, we had um, thinking else, oh yeah, we have a lady who was a master Thatcher. And they all came on board. And um, we the woodworker. Different crafts, lots of different avenues, but the more the merrier, we said. And they came on board and told us what they needed from a proper workwear. And um, from that we created uh, ah, a range of garments that they trialed for us. And when they trialed it, we asked them, would you please photograph yourself out and about, tell us what’s good, what’s bad? And then we took all their feedback and finalized the design. And the great thing was they were giving us a lot and lots of images to go on our social media. So, the whole growth of the brand was amazing. And without having done the text Pixie’s course during lockdown, I wouldn’t have known how to put that together even. Um, the thing is from that then, my online courses brought me a whole different, um, host of um, clients really as well. Because although people have a great idea, anybody out there can have a great idea for a garment. It could be for a disability; it could be for something you wear in a wheelchair. Could be something um, for a particular sport. Um, so there’s uh, loads of people out there with brilliant ideas that just can’t execute them. So those type of people I encourage come to me and I’ll help find the fabrics, sketch the drawing, make a technical specification, find manufacturers, and then hand it over. And then your new business has started, right?

Kirsty van den Bulk: I’m going to get my mom in touch with you. Um, I don’t share it very often and I said to you before I go live, I never share this, but my sister is disabled and, uh, getting clothes for her trousers because she can’t wear a skirt. Well, she will wear a skirt, but she won’t because she’s got this boot that she has to wear all the time. So, I’m going to get my mom in touch because actually, my mom dress makes and she’s been making the clothes from my sister for a very, very long time. And wow. Sorry, that I digressed and went off, but wow. You are incredible. We’ve had some lovely comments. Um, Ralph has joined us this morning from Nelson’s Direct Marketing. Um, he will be getting in touch, I’m sure, because he and I always talk about branding and brandy clothes. And then, um, Haley has said, wow, there she’s from the security market. If fabric ooze as much possess as Paula, I’m in. And so, they should. I love that you have created a range that is practical for work wear. I think it has been missing. I love that you’ve touched on female jackets. My brain is firing in so many different directions right now because of my network. And I know people I need to get you in touch and in front of. But I wouldn’t have known that if we hadn’t got you onto the Wise Wife. So, you grow up in Ireland?

Paula Cannon: Yeah. Very, very big family in Ireland. Um, my history is also connected to fashion because my grandfather was a hand weaver in Kilcare in Donegal. And, um, he was a master weaver. And when we were small, we used to go to his house, and he had two looms at the back of his house where he used to weave and he used to teach weaving in the village of Kilcare when it was all the hand weavers were working from home on little sort of 36 inch limbs and they were shipping there. My, ah, grandda used to ship, uh, his tweed out to America because I think there was no tax to be paid, uh, on 36 inch wide, um, tweet at the time. If it was shipped out to America, there was some dale made. But but yeah, Grandeur was a weaver. And then when Kilcar was my dad’s hometown, it’s a very small village, beautiful village in Donegal. And, um, I think when automation came in, then big factories were built, and people stopped handweaving quite a lot. I still know some people who handwrite. My, uh, brother’s wife. She has a lovely little studio in Donegal and her handwaves on St. John’s Point. And, um, Cindy, um, uh, so big up for Cindy. Go and visit her if you ever go to Donegal. She handwaves and makes the most amazing tweed as well. And then on my mom’s side, my, uh, great aunt Kitty, she was a tailoress and she used to work in the local tailors in Donegal town. And I remember Vishner. And she’d be handsome buttonholes. So she’d be obviously making beautiful because Donegal is the home of McGee as well, which is renowned for suiting and tweed. And lots of people in my home kind of Donegal kind, worked for the likes of McGee and the big woolen companies. Um, it was one of the biggest industries when I was growing up in the area. So my background is very much and then my mom, because I’m one of seven, and mom was a dressmaker, so she like, your mum, um, she made all her clothes. So I, uh, was very lucky. I always had to hide a fashion when I was young. I’d walk into school all proud, and my new trendy outfit that mom had made me, so I was very lucky.

Kirsty van den Bulk: I’m lucky at that because I have the same and, um, um, I don’t do it for my daughter because fashion has moved on for children. Actually. It’s much cheaper for me to buy or get second hand than it is to make, which is a real shame in a lot of ways. But there is a wheel out there of me making curses for my daughter. And I was out with the Taylor’s chalk, and this is over Christmas. And she said, Mommy, what’s this? And I was like, What’s Taylor’s chalk? And she went, what’s? Taylor’s chalk. Well, you don’t write on the wall with it, and you don’t put it on the backboard. You put it on fabric. And she was, uh, absolutely fascinated with me putting out this huge tape measure and measuring it across. And it’s not something I particularly share, but it is a skill that not so many of us still use. And my daughter got from Granny, not surprisingly, a, um, little sewing machine, which we have to sit down and actually start working on. But, yeah, it’s one of those things where you get a skill and like, you my dad’s, mom was a court dressmaker. And after the war, she didn’t have a job. What she did do was she made wedding dresses and other garments for everybody in the streets three or four streets away. And she had a lovely little business doing that. So, I grew up around the hand sewing machine. And I really get your passion. I think that’s probably why we connected, because it was just like I love it. I, uh, absolutely adore it. I cannot believe we’ve been talking. I could have put my glasses on. Oh, my goodness. We’ve been talking for 25 minutes. Awesome. Uh, we’ve talked about Ireland, and we’ve talked about your inspiration to your family. But, uh, we know that Joy has empowered a lot of women. But who else has inspired you to get you where you are?

Paula Cannon: Oh, gosh. I think the great thing was when I kept the industry first, I had a few great mentors that encouraged me to keep learning. Um, and it’s something I never want to stop learning. I always want to keep on top of technology. And um, on top of lots of my friends come to me for tech, help make my laptop broken. Um, um, obviously Joy was a great inspiration. I wouldn’t have found things like Canva, which I totally love. That’s another thing I’ve mastered. I’m an expert in canva. Totally love it. I think every small business should use canva. I did some free training as well online, um, during COVID because, um, I took part in Tech Pixie’s Festival and dressed up on my festive gear. Um, I’ve been lucky to have lots of supportive people in my life that, um, encouraged me. And it’s about not being afraid to go out there and just try something different. I mean, sometimes going out in your own can be very daunting. But if you’re passionate about it and people and it rubs off on other people, they become successful in your own rights. Um, um, it’s not always easy. This is going to be easy. Uh, but I think if you find the right people to work with, um, and if they keep coming back to you, you’re doing something right. Uh, and I’m very lucky to have some very good clients that come back to me time and time again and um, really appreciate the work that I put in and the things that I do for them. So, it’s such a great feeling, really, to have these people in my life that, um, totally appreciate what I do because, um, yeah, I wouldn’t have work otherwise.

Kirsty van den Bulk: Um, exactly. Um, I was looking at my client this thinking they all return that’s the most amazing thing I can say is people come back and they work with you more and more and every time. I had an email this morning and I’d suggested something, and, um, I talked to the owner of the business, and just before we came live, there was this lovely email saying, I’ve done it. And here it is. And it’s like, oh, uh, yeah, that’s a moment for me that makes me so happy. I sent a message back going, I’m beaming. And it’s as simple as that. I’m beaming. You’ve done it and it looks great. So, I love the fact that we met through the techniques. I love the fact that Joy Foster has empowered and still empowers today so many people because my business would not be where it is now. And, you know, I can sit here and say, oh, yes, I’ve done it on my own, and yes, I did do a lot of it on my own. But she enabled me and said thank you to Miss Joy Foster. Episode Ten of The Wise Wife By the way, um, you get to turn the tails. You get to literally ask me a question that I’ve got no idea what it’s going to be.

Paula Cannon: If you were to, um, start again, would you do it all again? Would you do it differently? Your, uh, career?

Kirsty van den Bulk: Oh, that’s a good one. Um, no, I, um, still have dreams and aspirations. I would have liked to have acted more; um I would have liked to have been busier as an actor. That would have been, uh, a wish. But when I decided to, I made a choice at about 34 and I knew that that choice was going to change the way that, uh, my career path was going to go. And then the times that I spent on the crossroads, surviving, working out, doing my degree at 37, I think doing my degree at 37 was really empowering. That’s when I found out I was Dyslexic and Dyslexic, and it was a real wow moment for me, because it meant that everything I knew and actually that was the biggest pivot in my life was when I got that diagnosis that the neurodiversity and the understanding that I wasn’t silly and I wasn’t stupid. I was just neurodiverse. And when I got into that, that was very important. If I had come earlier, uh, I wouldn’t have been ready for it. Um, so, no, I wouldn’t change anything, actually. And even finding myself here today, running a business, I was asked that yesterday. How did it all set; how did you start your business? Did you plan to and of course, I never did. Um, and then life threw curveballs at me. So, because I’ve always embraced ruway and Bent, um, I found myself here and I will continue, I think, to bend and adopt Wu Way, uh, because I think it’s really important. I hope I said that correctly, but, um, I have no idea where tomorrow will take me. But I do know I’m going to sit on that surfboard and see where it lands and stay there for a while and then I’ll I’ll lift up again. And I love the fact that my gold is happiness and I’m happy. So, I guess, no, I wouldn’t change anything. I would have liked a bit more sometimes, but I’m also incredibly grateful for what I have. And I’m one of those people that get to pinch themselves every single morning and go, um, how lucky am I and how grateful am I? So no, I wouldn’t change anything.

Paula Cannon: What’s the point looking back anyway? Let’s look forward.

Kirsty van den Bulk: Yeah. I genuinely look at my life and I think, you know, I grew up in, I was born in Surrey and, um, my parents, my dad, my mum didn’t work when we were children. She did, but she didn’t. She liked many, uh, mums of the time. She, uh, ended up working in the evenings and my dad would work all day. My dad worked three or four jobs to keep us. They were hard working people just to get the rent. They eventually managed to buy the council house and they stepped up the ladder and dad worked for British Rail pretty much most of his life and they were hard working people and they taught me that, you have to work hard in life, and I guess my parents inspire me, and they taught me that. Be grateful for what you’ve got. Um, I think we had childhood trauma, so that shaped me. But I look at my husband, I look at my daughter, I look at my life, and I go, I can’t believe how lucky I am.

Paula Cannon: That’s good.

Kirsty van den Bulk: Yeah. No, I feel very lucky. So, to round up, um, have the gift, because it’s a lovely thing to finish on. AHA moments. There must have been some AHA moments in your life that you just went, AHA.

Paula Cannon: Oh, gosh, I don’t know. I think maybe sometimes when your collection gets launched, often when I do a uniform collection, there’s a big launch day, and that’s always an AHA moment because people maybe weren’t on a dining red carpet. And, um, you finally see everything that you’ve worked towards, maybe for 18 months. Like I said, it can’t take that long. Sometimes come to fruition, or even just simple comments from people who said, I’ve never loved my uniform until I’ve worn one that you designed. Little things like that mean a lot. Really making a difference to people, uh, making a difference through design, through what I do, through having the passion and doing the research behind it. So, I had lots of AHA moments, I suppose, but, uh, yeah, there’s not one in particular the stands, I’d got to say, but, um, uh, there’s been quite a few.

Kirsty van den Bulk: That’s well, thank you so much for giving up your time this morning. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing your passion. Uh, I can’t wait to see where Penny Pete goes and everything that you do. I love your work. Thanks. Thank you so much.

Paula Cannon: Thanks for having me.

In this episode:

00:00 Welcome to The Wise Why
00:33 Paula Cannon
02:00 Designing for major brands
03:52 Singing in a band to finance University
04:11 passion for design
05:20 Allders, Harrods Uniform
06:39 Create something for everyone
07:56 Sustainability in fashion
11:30 Gender suitable and role appropriate workwear
12:58 Charcoal Bamboo & other fabrics
15:36 Pen to Peg
16:23 Control of my own destiny
17:31 Setting up an Online course
18:55 Work wear for everyone
19:41 Garments can be inclusive
21:26 Growing up in Ireland
23:30 Dress making a brilliant skill
25:22 Great Mentors
28:18 Doing things differently
32:31 Aha Moments

Connect with Paula:

Facebook: @pentopeg
Instagram: @pentopeg

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