An artist, hand embroiderer, writer, podcaster, but also a dreamer, multi-passionate creator and traveller – Mara Girone

Image of Mara Girone

I am an artist, hand embroiderer, writer, podcaster, but also a dreamer, multi-passionate creator and traveller.

At the age of 8, I fell in love with hand-embroidery and regularly returned to this artform throughout my life. I could get lost in it for hours and although at the time I didn’t know, I had discovered a powerful and effective form of meditation. Creating with hands has always been very fascinating to me. It holds magic as it has the power to transform raw materials into beauty – an almost alchemical process.

From the age of 30, I spent my life moving around the world, meeting my husband and having two children along the way. I was living in Athens when I turned to hand-embroidery again to ease the transition to another new country, far from my family, this time with two very young children and a husband working crazy hours.

It was a complete rediscovery for me, of a world of magic and wonder, meditation and inner peace. When my family and I returned to London in 2017, I took a leap of faith, and I decided to transform what I so much loved into a business.

The reason for using my embroidery to create inspirational items is due to a reflection of my past, and other women’s futures.

The versions of me from the past: the girl who was trapped in a small reality, desperate to fly; the woman who lost her identity when she became a mother; and the entrepreneur who didn’t always have the right mindset for success but who had to work on herself to find it together with all the women who need support and reminders of their value and their own magic – they are the inspiration behind my creations.

As an successful entrepreneur please share your view point if you believe that entrepreneurs are born or made?

I don t feel that entrepreneurs are born OR made, but born AND made.

I believe that potentially we all can be entrepreneurs, but in order to become one, there are some elements to combine in the pot that not everyone has or is willing to use.

An entrepreneur needs to be brave because any growth means pain and maybe some falls along the way.
The entrepreneur needs to be curious and never stop learning, curious to face new adventures.
The entrepreneur needs to know how to keep the motivation and productivity high without a leader to push him/her.

I like to think of the entrepreneur like the one able to use these three elements successfully:
Curiosity, Determination, Resilience.

Curiosity is what pushes us towards new adventures, it is the quality that keeps our motivation, our spark alive; Determination is what gives us strength, energy and endurance to get to our vision; Resilience is the help we need when falling, to stand up again and start stronger than before.

Nelson Mandela once quoted – ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’

What has been one fear you have overcome?

I couldn’t agree more to this quote. We have to leave behind the concept that successful people don’t experience fear. We all do in different ways, at different levels and at different degrees.

To be honest when I understood this simple and basic truth I was readier to face my fears and to accept any possible outcome out of my actions.

Not long ago, maybe 2/3 years ago, I was scared to be on video, I would say I was terrified.
I couldn’t help myself to be in front of a video camera knowing that I was on a live or that the video would be seen by someone else.

No need to say that now I am very often on video on social media and I have my own video show and podcast where of course I am centre stage. Not only I am very proud of myself for the achievement, but I really enjoy it and I came to the conclusion that I was just missing out on all the fun.

Tell us what the word “empower” means to you?

The word ‘empower’ means literally to give/offer power, but what often gets misunderstood is that the power we talk about is not to be intended to be used OVER someone/something but we need to see it only as a step towards freedom for the subject enjoying it. If we start from this understanding, we stop seeing a treat in the ‘empowerment’ of others and we can actually see its true nature: freedom, positivity and happiness that can only reflect into growth for us all as a community.

Running your own business can be scary. Success requires moments of courage to push through to the next level, please tell us one of the moments you have had to push through to take your business to the next level?

When I still was on my own to make the pieces we produce I couldn’t create thousands as hand embroidery is very time consuming. I remember in occasion I had to push my pieces to a buyer while having a discreet stock and not money to invest in people to help me in the production. At the same time I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity. I pushed it through, they placed a big order but they asked me to send it in a month time. Audax fortuna iuvat Romans used to say! I had the time and the money enough to produce a big quantity and fulfil deadlines and have a very happy customer.

Tell us what attributes you feel make a good leader in business today?

A good leader must be an inspiring example. He/She has to be humble enough to be part of the everyday challenges and be the first to start the dirty work. He/She needs to gain respect and admiration through collaboration and empathy, good example and hard work surely not through fear and arrogant behaviour.
And of course as a strategist at the highest level he/she has to be ten steps ahead, always, even and maybe more in moments of crisis.

What is your favourite quote about empowerment?

It is very difficult for me to choose only one quote as I work with words and their power and with quotes and their truths.

I would like to allow myself to offer two quotes that for me express most of the idea of empowerment relevant to me.

The first one is from the one and only Maya Angelou:

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

and I would add that it is our responsibility to show the way to those girls who haven’t started yet.
The second is from another great and inspiring woman, Coco Chanel:

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

And I find that in our society paradoxically with more channels to communicate, it is more difficult than ever to make our voice count above the noise.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?

  1. Take inspiration from those around you. Their stories. Their uniqueness. Their creative journey. They can be children, they can be strangers, they can be absolutely anyone.
  2. Do what you enjoy and enjoy+Q4+R4

What would be one (1) question you would you ask the person who most inspires you? Also share with us about this person and why they inspire you?

‘What are you thinking right here right now?’

I am a big admirer of Frida Kahlo so sadly I won’t ever be able to ask her the question (unless I am open to wait for the afterlife).

She was beautiful and talented. I love her style and her attitude. Her energy and strength despite what life offered her make her a heroine to me. She was passionate, full of fire, curiosity, rebelliousness and creativity at the highest levels. I lived in Mexico and you can breath her presence everywhere there. When I visited her house, several exhibitions and saw all the objects from her daily life it was like I met her in real life. Many of her quotes, words, ideas resonate deeply with me.

Enjoyed reading about Mara?

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