One thing we aren’t short of at Sarah Haran is wonderful customers. Our lovely ladies have become the most integral part of our brand through our Bags of Joy Facebook group. In the group, we are all about sharing joy! Many likeminded women share all the joyful things that go on in their lives, as well as all of their bold and stylish handbag combinations. Friendships have been made, many of our ladies meet up for drinks, or have become amazing online friends. Empowering women and bringing them joy is at the heart of what we do at Sarah Haran. We thought with such a great community, why not get some of our wonderful ladies involved by sharing their inspiring stories on The SHcoop!
The wonderful Moira was happy to be the first customer to be interviewed for the segment! A hardworking woman in both TV and HR, and owner of the cutest rescue dogs, Moira has plenty of insight for other women in business, as well as a few tips on the best ways to style your SH bags! We're sure you will all love getting to know her!
Hi Moira! As we know, you are a high-flying businesswoman! You currently work in HR, with a background in Television! Although times are rapidly changing, it can be difficult for women to break through into male-dominated industries. Tell us a little about how you came to work in HR.
I had a great career with the BBC and Granada. The BBC was a superb training ground and they invested a lot in their employees. But once you were trained you tended to move to ITV where they paid better.
I was lucky to have managers who offered me opportunities and one of those was to run an induction program introducing people into the world of studio production. I also worked as a trainer for new directors into live TV.
I had had no official training and no understanding of the psychology of learning and something pushed me to take my HR qualification. I studied my post grad diploma in Kirkcaldy and then took an MSc at Stirling University. Now I am co-director with my husband of an HR Consultancy which has been going for over 10 years.
Prior to your current job, you worked as a TV director, you must’ve met some A-listers! Can you divulge any celebrity secrets?
I couldn’t possibly!!!!
Working in TV is pressurised, particularly for those in front of cameras.
I’ve met some of the kindest, funniest and friendliest presenters and a lot of backroom staff. But there also those whose ego’s got too big and forgot the old mantra “be kind to the people on the way up, so they will be kind to you on the way down”.
You have worked in fast paced and unpredictable industries. Do you have any tips for coping under pressure?
Being able to switch off is necessary in all jobs. As we work from home from an office which overlooks our garden my down time is spent gardening and watching the wildlife.
I can see only too clearly when the grass needs cutting and when the weeds pop up. Our local blackbird tells me where the mole is digging as he follows the sounds awaiting a worm or two. Any tips for moving the mole to another site? In the evening I sit at the end of the garden watching the foxes and badgers.
Many women are at their most productive when they are looking and feeling their best. Do you find dressing and styling yourself improves your confidence in the workplace?
Oh yes! Looking good, makes us feel good, and therefore gives us confidence. Take a plain (wool) black dress, add a Hermes scarf and a Sarah Haran bag and all is well with the world. Particularly when you receive compliments!
We imagine it takes a strong character to make it in both TV and HR. Do you have any advice for other women aspiring to make it in these industries?
The one thing you need in bucketloads for both sectors is emotional resilience and to remain calm under pressure. You need to exude confidence so that people will follow your lead. In TV I would be making split second decisions as my role was to lead the crew.
For many years in TV I tried to become a studio director and kept being knocked back. My advice to any woman is try, try, try again. There are brick walls and glass ceilings we simply have to knock down.
The same applies to HR as it is a predominantly female profession, but the top jobs tend to be filled by men. Thankfully that is improving now but a lot needs to be done about disparity in pay between other professions.
In HR we are there to support the management of the company with any issues relating to their employees. Managers can be frustrated with the behaviour of individuals and might initially want to sack them. We advise them of the risks and discuss the best, legally correct, route to minimise the impact on the company of unfair dismissal claims.
Of course, one of the most important things in life is a good work-life balance. What do you enjoy doing outside of office hours?
I don’t think anyone in HR has a good work life balance! I sometimes think it’s similar to being a policeman in that you deal with situations when something has gone wrong. So you need to keep a good perspective.
When something happens at 5pm you can’t just walk away.
Fridays at 4pm always seems to be when managers decide to ‘dump’ the issue with HR having ignored it for the previous 4 days. Then they want the answer first thing on Monday!
Outside HR I like being visually creative. I sew, make felt paintings, and immerse myself in a good book. As well as playing with my handbags!
We know you have a great love for dogs, so much so that yours has his own occupation! Tell us a bit about him!
Ben is our 10 year old yellow Labrador. We rescued him when he was 3 after he had lived with 3 different families. At first when we took him out in the car he would shake. He associated a car drive with being taken to a new home.
He joined us when we had an 11 year old chocolate lab called Megan. She already had a role with the company as Head Receptionist (with bandana) as when the front doorbell went her brother, Moghli, would push the handle down, open the door, and Megan would grab the persons coat and drag them in whether they wanted to or not! So, she become Head Receptionist.
It seemed appropriate that Ben should have a job too. He became Employee BENefits manager! He has posted videos about his work paddling pool and the benefits of keeping employees cool. He also is a very good Security Manager.
Seriously, there are a lot of studies showing how dogs in the workplace keep blood pressure and stress down.
We all have people we look up to, who has inspired you either in your personal life or the public eye?
French women who always look so stylish. They know how to accessorise a few high quality designer clothes. They throw on a scarf and it looks styled and effortless. I look like a throttled chicken!
You are a star member of our Bags of Joy club and boast quite the collection of Sarah Haran handbag’s, what made you fall in love with the brand?
Funnily enough it was all down to Anthea Turner (who I worked with on Saturday morning children’s programmes many years ago). I fell upon a YouTube video where she was demonstrating the duck egg blue Dahlia. I couldn’t believe I did not know about Sarah Haran.
So, I ordered one and that was it. The addiction began. The quality of the leather, the lining and the hardware is second to none. And I have bought many bags over the years. But then it was the way you can change the colour scheme to match your outfit. You can make the bag look more “work-like” or “going out like’. Long may Sarah reign!
How does the day- to-night aspect of SH handbags help you move from your desk to your personal life? What are a few of your favourite dressing up accessories?
I love the new Bows. They add a bit of femininity to a work bag. The fluffies add a softness. I can dress my bag to suit the situation I am facing and how I feel about it.
In a previous role when I attended Board meetings (pre SH days) and knew it was going to be a difficult & challenging meeting I used my handbags as distraction therapy. The other Executive directors thought I was bonkers – but it worked. The female board members automatically commented on the bags and the tension in the room was broken. Probably a bit of HR/psychology being used there!
As a woman in a tough industry, we know you need to be prepared for everything. What are a few items you keep in your handbag at all times?
Lipstick, tissues, money, keys, phone, pen, notebook, Jo Malone perfume, dog treats, nail file. Nothing unusual. But I do find the Sarah Haran bag inserts very useful when changing bags.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our ladies?
Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong listen to your inner voice.
Whether this was your first introduction to Moira, or you are already friends through the Bags of Joy club, we're sure she has left you with some interesting food for thought! From how to dress for success, to having furry friends as a de-stresser in the workplace, Moira certainly wasnt short on insight.
If you haven't already, why not join the Bags of Joy group and start connecting with our wonderful ladies, we would love to see you there!