Donna May Clitheroe: The female entrepreneurs who inspire us

This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week, which makes it the perfect time to celebrate some incredible women who are striking out and doing their own thing in the business world.

As a woman running a business that is all about empowering others to live, learn and thrive it was hugely important to me to inspire you all by showing you that there is no set path when it comes to making a success of your passion. So, I approached women who have interesting and varied stories to tell about their experience of running their own business and asked them all exactly the same questions.

Their answers are as unique as they are and give a fascinating insight into what makes them tick as women, and as businesswomen. Some run huge companies with hundreds of staff, others are just starting out on their journey, but I know all of them will inspire you with their determination, tenacity and passion for what they do.

We will be bringing you a different woman every day this week, all of them united in being the very thing we love – they are all on fire!

Donna May Clitheroe

Founder of Donna May Make Up, an online brand of make-up bags and accessories.

Donna is a make up artist whose skill is making women look beautiful. From Tess Daly on Strictly to the Loose Women on the telly, countless photo shoots and weddings everyone gets the same star treatment. Down-to-earth, funny and driven, when Donna sets her mind to something she moves hell and high water to make it happen, so when she decided to launch her own brand of make up bags it was only a matter of time before it became a reality, starting from scratch at her kitchen table. Donna has since branched out to include accessories, all with her distinctive trademark red lips. She may be a recent entrepreneur, but Donna is going places. Watch this space.

1. What job did your parents do?

My dad worked for British Airways so we were really lucky to travel the world while we were children. It’s what definitely gave me my wanderlust. My mum worked as a home help for the elderly and as a medical secretary and has the patience and kindness of an angel.

2. Did you choose your vocation or did it choose you?

I have always been really ‘arty’ and would always draw faces and fashion illustration as a child. I absolutely knew I wanted to work with the fashion/styling business.  The Clothes Show was also my favourite TV show and really inspired me. 

3. Who was your role model growing up?

I was always in awe of the 50s actresses, their style and elegance… like Vivienne Leigh, Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day, Elizabeth Taylor…

4. Who is your role model now?

I love to follow other female entrepreneurs especially women who started their business on a shoe-string like Jo Malone. 

5. What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you and how did you use it?

Being an entrepreneur is like a long car journey. When you’re stuck in traffic and questioning what to do and if you are doing the right thing, you don’t turn around and head home – you sit and wait it out because you know deep down if you keep going you will eventually get there. On those hard days when I wonder if I’m ever going to get there, this really reminds me that as long as I’m moving forward, however small… I’m going in the right direction. 

6. When did you consider yourself an entrepreneur (and can you spell it?)

Give me 3 more years And then ask me!  

7. What was your biggest challenge when you started out and how did you overcome it?

Support for small business. I couldn’t get a UK company to make any small orders for me, so I headed to China and they couldn’t have been more helpful. 

8. If you could go back to when you started and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Slow down. I’m always rushing so that I’m ahead of the game! If your brand is solid then it doesn’t matter if you are first or second! 

9.  What’s your favourite business quote?

You have to Believe in yourself, that’s the secret! – Charlie Chaplin. 

10. What do you want your legacy to be – what do you want people to say about you after you’re gone?

I hope I’ll be remembered as a loyal and kind person and that I never left any stone unturned!

Look out for more inspirational entrepreneurs this week, we’ll be featuring one every day.


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