Natasha Davidov is the founder of the Aska Maternity Movement Bracelet and Davidov London Jewellery – head to www.askamaternitymovementbracelet.com
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m Natasha Davidov, CEO of Davidov London Jewellery.
I’ve been privileged to have a varied career, first as a journalist, then as editor in chief of the Serbian edition of Cosmopolitan magazine, followed by a marketing career working for some of the world’s greatest women’s brands such as, Nivea, Eucerin, AVON and many more.
Through my work with influential brands and being a part of women’s groups and charities I engaged in various activities to creatively empower women and raise awareness about important health and social issues. That remains my overall mission in everything I do.
I founded my jewellery company because I wanted to create beautiful luxury jewellery pieces inspired by many varied historical and cultural traditions. This has been the latest incarnation of my creative instincts.
Last year my company embarked on what I consider to be an even more important project however, the Aska Maternity Movement Bracelet. In conjunction with an NHS Trust, we are producing a bracelet for pregnant women to help them monitor the movements of their unborn babies in the womb. The aim being to help the mother-to-be track changes in the pattern of the baby’s movement and seek medical advice where appropriate. The long term aim of implementing such a product is to help Government’s initiative to reduce the stillbirth rates in England.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
All of my professional journeys have been inspired by the desire to define myself through my creativity and curiosity. There was never a clear plan as such, just the innate need that whatever I do has to leave this special blueprint and to impact society. I felt that a very specific plan wouldn’t work for me as it would be too binding and limit the channels for expressing my creative potential.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Many. Changing careers and the countries where you live and work are big challenges which require strength, focus and discipline. Integrating yourself and your professional life into the dominant culture in a new country is a special challenge. It always feels, not matter what you achieved by then, that you are recreating and reinventing yourself. And then there is this aspect of getting to learn how immigrants are framed into people’s consciousness.
Now more recently, there is the big challenge most businesses are facing because people are making more mindful, conscious choices before they reach for their wallets. Yet, this new trend is also a potential to grow your brand in answer to customers’ new behaviours, to understand this new atmosphere which seems global, to create the brands and products that will resonate with their psychology, to embrace reducing as a new luxury, the decision to buy for a long term style, not just passing trends.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Setting-up my own respectable brand, one which has potential for worldwide exposure, whilst being in a foreign country, albeit one I now consider my home. Ultimately learning that home is where your creations are.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Not admitting to myself that I’d already achieved it. Hard work and without boundaries even when everyone was telling me I don’t have to go further or try to achieve more. I’ve held this view whether I’m working for my own company or someone else. I always think we can do better!
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
Whilst meeting people is easy, the real challenge is meeting those who can help you answer the questions which feel too big to answer on your own. I had the great fortune of working beside, and being mentored by, the famous Helen Gurley Brown, author of ‘Sex and the Single Girl’. Back in seventies, this book inspired Cosmopolitan magazine to change its editorial stance and make her editor in chief. This revolutionised the magazine, making it an even greater success and positioned it amongst the most famous brands in the publishing world. As an aside, it also inspired the legendary TV show ‘Sex and the City’.
The most important lesson I learned from her is how harmful stereotypes can be. One of them being the untrue narrative about female ambition typified by “This town is not big enough for the both of us” to use the legendary quote from the movie All about Eve. This inspired me to support many young journalists, editors and later marketing professionals at the beginning of their careers. Unfortunately, not all of the women I mentored believed the same and didn’t keep this nurturing capacity in their further career paths. It is sad, but that is their choice. I still believe that this is the age of heroines, and remain open to supporting others on their career journey.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
I’ve always been focused on this matter, and perhaps naively, hoped that one day it would be one we’d not need to address. However, it is extremely disappointing to see even today, so many professional opportunities still seem to be male dominated. It is also disappointing that many who can, don’t use their influence to speak out loud about it, despite having the ‘luxury’ to do so. I use word ‘luxury’ because I come from a part of the world where for decades many freedoms didn’t exist. When I see that someone can speak freely and influence the social change, but not using it, it makes me wonder what do we think we will leave to the future generations. Being aware that how we think, what and how we create and consume will dictate what kids are going to buy into should generate certain responsibility. Every person can be that substance of change by lifting up us and those around us. I wouldn’t want to be asked the same question by the girls I love one day when they grow up.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Not to worry so much. Worrying can’t bring benefit, it only weakens us. If bad things that we don’t have the power to control need to happen, they will happen anyhow, and, on the other hand, good outcomes surprise us when we are not so much focused on the outcome.
I also wished I knew how to balance better the decision about when it is time to stay and when is time to walk away. Like with all the things in life, when things feel wrong, they probably are. Insisting on keeping the actual situation can exhaust us and prevent us to achieve our goals.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
After the phenomenal response we received for our Aska Maternity Movement Bracelet, I hope to bring it to more women around the globe, and we are working hard to set up the distribution capacities worldwide.
And, then, one day, to admit myself the success.
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