Career changes are high up on the ‘hot topic’ list these days – and it’s unsurprising as so many careers have the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality that is not conducive to family life, particularly with young children.  And nowhere is this more true than in the media sector.

We recently had the opportunity to speak to local mum Claudia Southgate, an ex high flying exec in the advertising world and now creative yogi and founder of yoga clothing brand BEHERE & LOVE to see how life has changed since the birth of her first child and change of career.

After attaining a graphic design degree at Central St.Martins, Claudia began her career in acclaimed advertising agency BBH, working in an all female creative team.  Claudia’s clients included the likes of Lynx, Levis, Audi and Johnnie  Walker and she impressively went on to win the prestigious D&AD pencil for Levis work shot by Rankin before becoming a Creative Director for the rest of her career.

To contend with a fast paced job and lifestyle, Claudia took up her beloved Jivamukti yoga practice in 2004 and joined the London Meditation Centre to find some much needed balance. She draws creative understanding of clothing and design from her love of fashion and passion for typography. Her love of yoga and studying its philosophy was the final piece of the puzzle in conceiving BEHERE&LOVE on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica in 2012.

The brand’s USP is that it captures the essence of the yogic philosophy. The collection was driven by the desire to give yoga wear a cool edge whilst still retaining the beauty and essence of the yogic spirituality.

Here’s how Claudia answered our ten questions…

You’ve got a really interesting career background, having worked in advertising for over eighteen years before setting up your own yoga clothing brand – what made you want to take your career in such a different direction?

I was craving complete creative freedom and the idea of being my own boss. I had grown tired of the corporate world and endless meetings. I was also thinking ahead and knew I wouldn’t want to go back to work full time if I had a baby.

I think my love of design and typography and yoga all came together at once! 

What drew you to yoga and subsequently the idea of creating your own yoga clothing brand?

I was drawn to yoga because work was so fast paced and time consuming and I was looking for something with a deeper, spiritual side to it.

Finding salvation down at Kensal’s Jivamukti (now Sangye Yoga) was life changing for me! I loved the chanting and devotional side to the classes as well as the uplifting music. BEHERE&LOVE developed once I realised there was a gap in the market for a cool brand that encapsulated the essence of yoga’s spirituality. 

What have been the most rewarding and challenging aspects of running your own business?

The challenging aspects have mostly been on the business side as my brain is not wired for numbers and complicated spreadsheets! But logistically it’s been challenging too, we have had to make Luca’s nursery and my stock room work in one room! The most rewarding thing has to be seeing someone wearing one of my tops out and about.

You stock in a number of great places including Yogaloft in Queen’s Park, what are your plans going forward?

The plan is to get the brand more established and to grow it bigger this year. I’d love to be in Selfridges Body Studio for example.

We also support a beautiful animal charity close to my heart – Animal Aid in Rajasthan. I gave Erica the owner a cheque for £500 at new year and hope to double it this year and volunteer at the shelter.

The ultimate goal is to utilise BEHERE&LOVE for the greater good. That’s the real yoga practise within the business.

You’re a local mum – how do you manage your time with a business and a young child?

It’s definitely been a baby/business juggling act. When Luca was first born he slept more so I was able to get decent spells of work done in the week.  But now he’s 7 months it’s impossible some days and I would much rather be in Baby Bells that doing spreadsheets! I do have an intern starting in June though which is exciting. 

What, if anything, do you miss about working in the corporate world?

I miss being in the city. I love the energy of London and the social aspect of it.

Who knew motherhood would be so social though? Our wonderful NCT gang is always meeting up. Last week we had Prosecco in the park and even took the prams to Picasso at the Tate. 

What’s your favourite thing about living in Kensal Green?

Queen’s park is my favourite place to relax. It’s just as beautiful every Season. It’s my happy place. 

Ida’s is my favourite place to eat.  My family is from Lucca in Italy as are the owners. It feels like a tiny capsule of Italy in Kensal.

If you could have one day entirely to yourself with no work commitments, what would you do?

If I had a day to myself or with my family I would probably head for the sea as it’s good for the soul. I don’t see it often enough.

Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

The ultimate dream is to live in the sun, somewhere with a great city but where we could be closer to the beach. My husband grew up by the beach so we want the same for our family. Just got to work out where!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone hoping to change careers, what would it be?

I would say don’t be afraid to start something entrepreneurial. New motherhood seems a daunting time but it’s actually the perfect time for a career re think as well as sparking business ideas in the baby world.

The birth of a brilliant business idea could be just around the corner… 

BEHERE&LOVE is now stocked all over London in some of its biggest and most popular yoga studios such as Tri Yoga, Yogaloft, Indaba and Yoga Haven as well as in Europe and the US.

The brand has featured in British Vogue, Stylist, Women’s Health, The Evening Standard and has been worn by Yogis such as Julie Montagu the Flexi Foodie, Danielle Copperman and Jasmine Hemsley.

BEHERE&LOVE is offering QPM readers 20% off all items quoting the code LOVEQPM20.

BEHEREANDLOVE.COM

@behereandlove

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‘Asana’ vest from BEHERE&LOVE

 

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