Inspirational Woman: Anoesjcka Gianotti | Founder, Footballers4Change

Anoesjcka GianottiI’m a mum of one and an entrepreneur passionate about the thrill of solving problems. Born in Cape Town, I moved to London on a gap year which turned into 13 years.

I’ve lived in a few different countries from Milan to LA and was always in the fashion design and ecommerce field. I started my first venture in 2008 specialising in bespoke shirts and I was fortunate enough to have the support of the iconic Mr Armani himself and private bank Coutts and Co. I then moved to LA launching a handbag brand. Here I realised just how tough it is for designers launching their work and turned my focus to championing emerging designers by co-founding a marketplace to give them a platform to market themselves. My current roll is as the Founder and CEO of Footballers4Change, a platform for iconic footballers and their families to gift their pre-loved clothing items for a charitable cause of their choice. Items could be anything from their worn and signed playing kit, their season’s training kit, their wives fashion items and children’s outgrown clothing items.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not at all. An entrepreneur wasn’t a career choice when I finished school. I hugely struggled to commit to one field as I was interested in so many. Whilst I took my time to figure it out, without realising I solved my first problem of making a bespoke collar shirt for the working woman. Off the peg shirts just didn’t work for our unique shapes. The life of this idea led me to down the path of fashion and soon I was measuring iconic sports personalities because of their unique physical shapes. Today I’m combining the contacts I met on that journey, the experience in fashion and sports industry to create Footballers4Change, all because of the life of the idea of making a perfectly fitted shirt.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

So many! And today I value them. Every challenge, failure and mistake is a gift and if understood can propel you to finding your purpose and reach your goals. My fear is stagnancy. Ones ideas sometimes can come to a halt. It is important to have the courage to pivot these ideas and know when to get out. Although, sometimes the only way out is through.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

The happiness on my daughter’s face. Investing your time in loved ones are so important and the rewards of close relationships are crucial especially if you are walking the lonely life of an entrepreneur.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Being a “doer” and failures played a major roll. When you get knocked down you find the true potential of you and what you are doing. Combining that with my need to do I think led me to here.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I have been so lucky to have had truly great people who invested their time in me, who understood what I’ll be up against and who had the confidence in my many ideas. Today they are all great friends. They are my sound board for most decisions. I help many young creatives on their journey to launching their creative visions. One young designer that I’m particularly excited about is soon launching BOA – a snake inspired sustainable streetwear brand. Just as my mentors helped me and I hope I can play as big a role in their journeys.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

There are so many great men and women today taking a stance for Gender Parity. I think we have come a long way but there are so much more to do. Increased global awareness and consistently highlighting the issues would be one way to accelerate it but also equal representation in the boardrooms, c-suites and decision making bodies in our society.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

The goal is balance. Trust your instinct, choose your friends carefully and be aware of low hanging fruit – it rarely is.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My next challenge is to make second-hand clothing premium items by connecting an iconic idols name to it – championing a more sustainable fashion cycle.  With the proceeds going to a charitable choice of the idol, this business model allows for all connected to be true ambassadors of change. Starting with one of the most powerful sports in the world with more than 3.5 billion fans, my wish is for Footballers4Change to rapidly expand to other sporting and celebrity sectors.

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