This is our brand new role models series where we hope to inspire you with every day people who are our real Champions of the North.
In case you missed our first Champions of the North interview you can read it here. This time around I’m delighted to introduce you to Sarah Agar-Brennan.
Q. First things first — what do you do?
A. I am the founder of Love Bomb Cushions Limited. We ethically manufacture licensed, novelty plush. Our range includes cushions, key chains and bean filled toys.
Q. What did you love about growing up in the North?
A. I don’t think I truly realised what I loved about growing up in the North East until I moved to be honest. When you grow up in a place you kinda take it for granted. It’s only when you leave do you realise how lucky you were.
What I miss and have missed is the people, the friendliness and down to earth way in which everyone interacts. That feeling of belonging is so prominent in the North East I feel, much more than in any other place I have known.
Q. What challenges do you feel like you’ve faced in the North, if any?
A. I think personally having run businesses for over 20 years I find the financial climate is tougher, people don’t have as much disposable income in the North although it is getting better I feel.
Q. What or who inspired your journey to where you are now?
A. Over the years there have been many influencers for me at differing times in my life. My dad was my biggest inspiration, he encouraged me to reach for the stars and as you can imagine 24 years ago when I began there weren’t many women in business as role models so what I wanted to do with my life wasn’t exactly out of the box stuff.
As I went through my life I met my husband, Carl who massively believed in me and inspired me to take the business further.
Then after I lost my son I think my faith got me through and inspired me to the place I find myself in now.
I know you’re probably wanting to hear Richard Branson or something but I am just an ordinary Northern lass.
Q. What advice would you give to girls growing up in the North?
A. Reach for the stars, everything is possible you just have to believe….even when the rest of the world around you don’t!
Q. How do you think we can encourage young people?
A. I think youth services into young people across the North have been drastically cut, those valuable services make the difference between a young person breaking free of constraints, either society or family and following their passion and dreams. Often these services help young people connect with their passions. Schools are over worked and managing many more services than ever before, there needs to be a way of connecting with these young people whilst in the system to encourage the development of their dreams.
Q. What are some of your favourite Northern places?
A.Growing up some.of my best memories are in Saltburn, it was a real treat going to the seaside so I love it when I get a chance to go back. I scattered my son’s ashes off the pier and my Dad has written children’s stories about adventures in and around Saltburn.
Q. How do you think we can improve and add value to our #This NorthernGirlCan campaign and movement?
A. By keeping sharing stories. I have gone through so much to stay true to myself and entrepreneurial. Many of the hurdles I came up against were male dominated ones. I came through them all and still stand believing that this is my moment! I want to share my journey with other women.
You can find out more about Sarah at www.lovebombcushions.co.uk
If you would like to be become part of our growing #ThisNorthernGirlCan movement then you can join over 700 like minded women and men in our Facebook group. We’d love to see you there!
If you would like to be featured in this series or you wish to nominate a Northern role model ( male or female) then we’d love to hear from you