Embracing Sociology, Mentorship, and Entrepreneurship – Chandrika Thomas London

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Chandrika's Notes

CHANDRIKA'S Notes

Embracing Sociology, Mentorship, and Entrepreneurship

Life often unfolds in mysterious ways that can leave us questioning. Some events may seem to lack purpose, while others appear to be guided by forces beyond our understanding, whether it be fate, divine influence, or the underlying principles of science. I believe that nothing in life is merely a coincidence. Everything happens for a reason, and although we may not always see the reasons immediately, living intentionally can help us shape the life we desire.

Through my own experiences, I've come to realise that everything in life is interconnected, with each occurrence serving a unique purpose. Let me share how embracing this perspective transformed my life from that of a struggling child to that of a successful entrepreneur. Success is attainable regardless of circumstances, anyone can overcome challenges and thrive.
I had a difficult childhood, unlike the typical experience that most children have.  I used to spend most of my time alone, often being in my own world and getting lost in deep thought, which allowed me to explore ideas and reflections that captivated my mind.  Looking back, I realise this was my way of training myself as a child to see things more profoundly.

Sometimes, I sought solace in nature, especially in our garden. The gentle rustling of leaves in the wind, the vibrant colours of the flowers, and the overall tranquillity provided me with a sanctuary.  

Nature and my own head became my refuge, a place where I could find peace and serenity.

I encountered strangers who showed me love and care akin to a family's embrace. It was through these unexpected connections that I began to believe in the idea of a shared humanity.

As a child, I had a penchant for deep thinking and introspection. During difficult times, I would observe the behaviour of adults around me and rationalise their actions. 

Rather than seeking external support, I learned to draw strength from within myself. Instead of conforming to typical adult behaviours, I developed a habit of deeply examining my thoughts and observations, making mental notes, and exploring multiple perspectives in various scenarios. This internal exploration trained my mind to discern what felt right and provided me with the resilience and understanding to navigate adversity independently. 

It was almost as if I had to raise myself, relying on my own inner strength to navigate life's challenges. I never considered this a negative thing; rather, I believe that this journey shaped my perspective on life and instilled in me a sense of self-reliance and introspection that continues to guide me to this day, which I view as a blessing.

SOCIOLOGY AND MR. PHILIP ALLMAN

 

School was always a challenging environment for me, especially with undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD. Retaining information felt like trying to hold onto sand slipping through my fingers. The classroom, in particular, posed challenges as I faced bullying and isolation due to my difficulties, making it a constant struggle to keep up with my classmates.

When it came time to select our main subjects in Secondary school, I chose Sociology as one of my main subjects because I was curious. Looking back, it feels as though taking this class was truly meant to be for me.

I had no expectations when I entered Mr. Philip Allman's Sociology class. I anticipated zoning out and daydreaming through the lectures, as I often did in other subjects. However, Mr. Allman was unlike any teacher I had encountered before. I can still vividly remember the first day I met him in his class. He was tall, with long curly hair, wearing jeans and a chequered jacket, and he leapt into the classroom with enthusiasm, moving around as if he couldn't contain his passion.

As he delved into topics like the sociology of religion, class dynamics, and politics, I found myself captivated. Mr. Allman's teaching style brought these concepts to life by sharing personal experiences and making the subject matter relatable and exciting. His detailed explanations allowed me to visualise and understand each topic, sparking my interest.

One of the valuable lessons I learned from Mr. Allman is the importance of being discerning about what we hear or see. I learned the importance of being vigilant and having an open mind about what and who will influence us. This lesson provided me with a strong foundation and understanding of critical thinking and discernment. He taught me to always seek the truth, think for myself, and have a mind of my own. 

I will never forget when Mr. Allman encouraged me during a difficult time with his words: 'You are not dumb, you are not stupid; you are highly intelligent; you just learn in a different way. You can do this, Chandrika.' These words have since become my guiding light, echoing in my mind whenever I face a crossroads. I use them as fuel to push forward and conquer whatever challenges come my way.

Through Sociology, I began to understand not only the subject matter but also myself, other people, and the intricacies of society. Understanding why people behave the way they do in society and the environment that surrounds them is truly important; this wisdom can take you a long way. One key thing I learned is that we are conditioned to be the way we are, and even if I was conditioned in a negative way due to a difficult childhood, I realised that I could recondition my life. I refused to let my childhood conditioning affect me as an adult, which has helped me achieve a perfectly balanced life.

Mr. Allman's passion for helping struggling students, along with the lessons from Sociology, ignited a passion for learning and self-discovery within me that continues to shape my life and career. This experience was one of the most influential events of my childhood, ultimately turning things around for me.

THE ROLE OF PRINCE’S TRUST

 

It's no secret that I launched my business with invaluable support from the Prince's Trust, a story I'm always eager to share because of the significant impact they have made by paving the way for me and many other young people who need guidance and support. 

At eighteen, I received a marketing grant from the Prince's Trust, which enabled me to start advertising early in my career as a dress designer. My first ad appeared in the Prince's Trust booklet for small businesses they were supporting, resulting in orders that allowed me to create my first wedding dress.

Initially, due to my dyslexia, I struggled to craft a business plan, so I continued to grow my business without one. However, with the help of a friend, I eventually developed a marketing plan. This progress led to additional funding in the form of a loan granted by the Prince's Trust, which I used to expand my advertising efforts and establish myself as a couture wedding dress designer.

With this support, I participated in larger exhibitions and placed a full-page advertisement in Condé Nast, positioned on the first 30% of the right-hand page, along with other national magazines. This exposure led to editorial features and fashion stories, broadening my reach and attracting more clients.

I handled all aspects of the business, including the marketing and the technical side such as cutting and pattern-making, while also managing a small team of seamstresses.  I invested in photoshoots with professional photographers, hair and makeup stylists, and other stylists, and from then on, the business grew organically. 

The rest is history. None of this would have been possible without the help of the Prince's Trust.  

From dreaming of becoming a couture designer to seizing these opportunities, continuously improving myself, and making my dream come true, I have gained invaluable insights and growth along the way.

Organisations like the Prince's Trust, dedicated to supporting and believing in young people facing challenges, play a crucial role in society. They offer assistance to individuals like me who are struggling, providing not only financial support but also mentorship and resources. 

Their existence has significantly impacted and improved the lives of many young people, as it did for me. 

TRANSITIONED TO A NEW BUSINESS

 

I was a manufacturer, designer, retailer, and supplier in my rapidly growing business of couture wedding dresses. Despite my love for couture wedding dress design, I felt a strong desire to reconnect with nature and have more personal freedom. This led me to make the difficult decision to step away from my successful business and pursue a new venture aligned with my personal beliefs and passion for nature.

Many people, including my mentors, friends, family, and the boutiques across the country that I supplied, were shocked and advised against giving up my successful business of selling wedding dresses. They pointed to my success and high sales as reasons to continue. However, I realised that the very success of my business was part of the problem—I desired a change of lifestyle. I longed for a business that would afford me more time freedom, the ability to enjoy nature, go for walks, and achieve a better work-life balance.

When I talked to my husband, Peter, about it, he was incredibly supportive. He believed in me and trusted my decision wholeheartedly. It gave me the confidence to move forward. As the saying goes, “Behind every successful man is a successful woman,” and in our case, this rings true on both ends. Peter's support and partnership have been essential in my journey towards success.

With all the support I received, along with my experience, knowledge, and self-trust, I took the leap into starting a new business. It turns out I made the right decision, as I now have the life I've always wanted. I can confidently say that I've embarked on the most amazing journey. Every challenge that came my way transformed into a positive opportunity for growth and success.When I think about what's truly made my business successful, it's a mix of different things that have really made a difference. Mr. Allman's wisdom has been like a guiding light for me, and the support I've received from the Prince's Trust has been invaluable. 

Alongside all that, my own determination to turn negatives into positives has been key. But I can't forget the incredible support from the most important people in my life, especially my husband, Peter, my kids, and my small team, who truly understand and support me in everything, as well as the clients who have always been passionate about my fragrances. As I always say, my perfumes don't belong to me; they belong to my customers. Also, the support system I've built over the years through networking feels like having silent partners who genuinely care and are always there for me.

Their unwavering belief in me, along with their encouragement and understanding, has given me the drive to push through obstacles and make my dreams a reality. 

Additionally, embracing diversity, fostering balance within our society, and learning to work together harmoniously while accepting each other's differences are all essential aspects of building a successful business. These principles contribute to a supportive and inclusive workplace environment, which in turn enhances innovation, productivity, and overall success.

The combined insights and approaches from these experiences create a robust framework for growth and achievement in entrepreneurship.

Individuals like Mr Allman and organisations like the Prince's Trust, who believe in and support young people, are essential pillars of our society. Many young individuals encounter hardships, adverse environments, lack of support, and financial constraints. However, Mr. Allman and the Prince's Trust offer hope and opportunity. Their dedication to empowering and uplifting young people contributes to creating a better and more beautiful world for the new generation. With the right support and mindset, anyone can thrive.

I will be forever grateful for Mr. Allman's mentorship, and the support of the Prince's Trust. Their impact on my life has been profound, and I hope to see more people and organisations like them making a difference in our world.

In every success story, there are always people behind the scenes supporting and believing in you. 

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