Episode 10: Milliner Sahar Freemantle
Milliner Sahar Freemantle talks about the years it took to choose millinery, cultivating her intuition, becoming a full-time self-employed artist, maintaining inspiration, overcoming limiting beliefs, and transitioning her art and business in the face of a pandemic.
Rob Head 0:01 The 52 Sketches podcast, episode 10: milliner Sahar Freemantle.
Jennifer Head 0:09 Welcome to 52 Sketches—a podcast about creativity and creative practices. Here’s your host, Rob Head.
Rob Head 0:20 Welcome to the 52 Sketches podcast. I’m your host, Rob Head. We are here again to talk about living a creative life, creativity practices, habits and strategies for making wonderful things and experiences. In this episode, I am so pleased to welcome Sahar Freemantle. Sahar Freemantle is an award-winning milliner based in London. The purpose of her brand Sahar Millenary, is to create beauty and inspire creativity. She specializes in handmade hats for women, which by all accounts, have great shapes that complement the wearer and are comfortable to wear. Bespoke pieces might even tell stories of the wearer in the details. Sahar also teaches workshops on the craft of millenary as well as her newest adventure, the milliners drawing room, which are hat-focused life drawing classes. Both of these ventures aim to bring out creativity from participants. So Sahar’s audience are not just passive spectators or wearers, but intrinsically involved in the creation process. Sahar is a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust award-winner and has a degree in performance costume from Edinburg College of Art. Sahar Millenary also has a sub-brand called UglyLovely, which is a playful exploration of what beauty is, taking inspiration from nature and surrealism. Sahar’s work has been exhibited at the VNA; featured in The Guardian, the independent, and evening standards list of best Ascot hats; on-screen in Downton Abbey; and on celebrities such as Ellie Goulding, Paloma Faith, Katy Perry, Celeste, Charli Howard, Georgina Campbell, Victoria Baker-Harber and Immodesty Blaize. Sahar’s work has been shown in Japan, Portugal, Mali, Berlin, and France. So welcome, Sahar.
Sahar Freemantle 2:12 Thank you, Rob. That all sounded so wonderful in your lovely American accent.
Rob Head 2:19 Likewise, well, we can we can have a mutual admiration celebration here. Because I just love to hear your I assume what would be described as a London accent? Yeah.
Sahar Freemantle 2:30 Oh, I didn’t know I wasn’t brought up in London. So I have more of a kind of like, middle of England kind of accent. Yeah, I would say the London accent is a bit more rough than
Rob Head 2:46 I see. Wonderful. It’s so great to have our first international guest on the podcast. You are living and working in London. Yeah?
Sahar Freemantle 2:53 That’s right. Yes, I am. I may say whatever I say about the, you know, the London accent or whatever. But actually, I I love London. I love being here. I’ve been here for several years. And yeah, I don’t think I ever want to leave here. I think it’s an amazing city.
Rob Head 3:08 Wonderful. So, you know, the first thing that occurs to me as I’m speaking to you is how culturally specific some arts are so for example, the word milliner was not in my vocabulary until I was researching your work. You know, we as Americans, we might use the word haberdasher if we’re trying to sound especially British. But, so tell us about what what is a milliner?
Sahar Freemantle 3:35 A milliner is a hat maker. So yeah, just somebody who makes hats and headwear. And you can use the word Hatter, but that’s not very often used. I think that’s more used to describe people who make men’s hats. Right? So yes, I’m a millionaire. And what that means is I make hats and headpieces. Mostly for women.
Rob Head 3:58 Mostly for women. Right? Yeah. So yeah, the word Hatter over here anyway, is usually preceded by the word mad. So
Sahar Freemantle 4:05 yeah, I get that a lot.
Rob Head 4:09 Yeah, let’s talk about your backstory a little bit. How did you end up here? So let’s, let’s talk about maybe your childhood, your upbringing? Did you have creative things that you were into, as you were growing up? You know, did you sing or dance or play in plays? Or were you you know, selling dresses or whatever, when you were a young one? What were you involved in?
Sahar Freemantle 4:31 Um, art and creativity were very much encouraged in my household. I’d say the kind of like singing performance kind of stuff was more my sister’s realm. She’s to drag me into her. You know, oh, we’re going to write an imaginary newspaper. She thought that was fun. Me I was always a little bit more into the visual visual stuff. So I was into calligraphy. For Quite a young age and just kind of like details of stuff like I remember baking a cake and just spending ages making like little rose roses out of icing and stuff like that. My parents always just really encouraged any kind of artistic pursuits. Yeah.
Rob Head 5:19 Huh. Did you decide at some point that I’m going to pursue this academically? You know, how did you end up with your degree?
Sahar Freemantle 5:28 Yes,
Rob Head 5:28 Performance costuming?
Sahar Freemantle 5:30 Yeah, performance costumes. So I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. And I just was looking through all of the, you know, university, prospectuses. And it was just so like, I kind of left it last minute, as usual, because I was just like, I don’t know, like, I’m not amazing at anything, you know, in my school kind of results were, they were fine, you know, but I wasn’t. I didn’t excel in any one area, including arts. But my parents were just always, because they, they could just see that. In my spare time. I was always just being creative. So they definitely encouraged me to go to art college. So in England, we do what’s called a foundation course where you just do a foundation course for a year and you just try out a whole bunch of stuff. And so yeah, I did kind of sculpture, I did textiles. And then when I was looking through the prospectuses, I saw a photograph of this Victorian costume, which was all made from leather. And it was just unlike anything I’ve seen before. And I was like, what’s that I want to whatever this person did to study that to make that I that’s what I want to do. And I looked and it was like, okay, costume. Wow, I didn’t even know, you could do a degree in that, like, I hadn’t even thought about it wasn’t even on my radar. And I think at schools, you know, I don’t know what it’s like over there. But over here, you know, the career advice is always quite minimal. You don’t realize that there’s, you know, and even now, I meet people with just really specific, really nice jobs. And it’s just like, yeah, okay, that’s, that’s the job. And they’ve, they’ve either got the job, or they’ve created it, they’ve carved it for them for themselves, you know? And, yeah, so I chose costume design. And there were not very many places in the country that offered it. But Edinburgh up in Scotland, the capital of Scotland, was one of the places and I had never been there before. But I’d heard it was a pretty cool place. So yeah, I didn’t sort of give myself very many choices, particularly because I just knew that Edinburgh was a cool place. And so I put it down. And yeah, I went there. So that’s what I did my three year ba honors degree in Edinburgh, at the art college, doing performance costume.
Rob Head 7:42 That’s wonderful. This is turning into a commercial for liberal arts education, where you’re exploring. Yeah, you’re exploring what’s out there and without, you know, walking into a university knowing exactly necessarily,
Sahar Freemantle 7:54 and then it’s interesting, because from there, you can do so many different things. So even I mean, costume performance costume is sounds niche, but there are so many niches within that. So it’s like, going into millenary is one I could have gone into leather work, I could have gone into ride making corsets from a particular decade, like I could have gone into, I don’t know, like, dyeing fabrics that you know, there’s like, sure what, because there’s so many. Yeah, I guess kind of people always say to me, like, I don’t know, like, How did you know? And it’s like, when I didn’t, I didn’t know like, I just kind of like, every step of the way. Just kind of went well that somehow
Rob Head 8:35 Well, I’ll yeah,
Sahar Freemantle 8:37 yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Sounds fun. It sounds like it’s kind of calling me somehow. And and yeah, as well. You have to consider Of course like to consider like, can I? Is there money in this? That’s that’s a consideration. Sure.
Rob Head 8:53 Yeah. But that’s when you say performance costume. Yeah. When you say performance costume. I’m picturing stage and screen costuming.
Sahar Freemantle 9:03 Yeah, even that is broad. It’s like the difference between stage costume and the difference between film costume is, you know, there’s, there’s quite a difference, you know, actually, and you’ll, and you’ll have costume designers that specialize in one or the other most of the time. Yeah.
Rob Head 9:20 Mm hmm. Okay, so you went through the program at Edinburgh? And how did you get from there to Okay, I’m gonna figure out how to make a living doing this.
Sahar Freemantle 9:31 And when I graduated, I still didn’t know for sure what I wanted to do. But I met I shortly afterwards, I met some millionaires in Scotland, and they wanted just some help putting on a military fashion show. And as soon as I saw, they literally opened up the boot of the car, and I saw all of these awesome hats. And I was like, Wow, I didn’t even realize this kind of thing existed or you could make this sort of thing or this was a job or you know, it was kind of that one. Those moments again, right? And I sort of started trying on these hats and just having loads of fun. And I was just like, Oh, can I come and just like decent work experience with you. And I want to learn how to do this. And there was just something in that moment where in my heart of hearts, and in my intuition, it felt right. But in my head, my head was still going, here’s how you need to explore different things. And like, I almost didn’t trust my intuition. And so then I spent like, a good two, three years after that, trying out lots of different things. I was making wedding dresses, and I was working on, you know, like, costumes and films and stuff like that. And in my heart, like, I knew that I wanted to specialize in millenary. But it took me years to actually, like, have confidence in that little feeling.
Rob Head 10:48 Right? Ah, yeah, I think that’s something that every artist struggles with is this, you know, listening to the intuition that says, This is what you’re supposed to be doing? Yeah,
Sahar Freemantle 11:01 yeah. And cultivating intuition is, is a whole other ballgame as well. Hmm. You know,
Rob Head 11:08 like, do you have any practices that help you cultivate your intuition?
Sahar Freemantle 11:12 Yeah, I’ve just started over the years to try and listen a bit more, try and trust a little bit more, to become aware of the voice in my head, that’s my more kind of my ego and telling and keep trying to keep me safe and telling me not to do stuff. Listening to that and hearing that loud and choosing? Do I want to listen to that voice or not? Or do I want to listen to this other way more faint voice over there, that’s going, actually your heart seems to love this. You know, and that’s been a kind of, you know, is a practice developing over years. And it’s come from a variety of ways. There’s lots of different ways to do that. So like, of course, in one way, intuition can be kind of a spiritual thing. And you can develop intuition through spiritual practices, whether that’s kind of a visualization, meditation, or whether that’s through prayer, and, you know, or just creating time to be still. And then on the other hand, like, I’ve taken part in various personal development courses, where we are trained to listen to that negative voices what hit not less Listen, but to hear it. And once you hear that, you realize, like, oh, my goodness, that’s dominated, you know, there’s voice that goes, now you’re not good enough. Who do you know that? Yeah, like, totally. And, you know, by kind of almost putting that on loudspeaker, you’re, it’s not in your subconscious anymore. It’s very much in your conscious, and you can choose at that point whether to listen to that or not.
Rob Head 12:56 Mm hmm. I really resonate with what you said about that inner critic being much louder than, you know, the soft voice saying, Oh, you love this. And, and that it takes, it takes personal effort to hear the soft, gentle voice telling you what you need to be doing.
Sahar Freemantle 13:18 Yeah, yeah. I think it’s a cross between like the spiritual and the kind of more mind psychological, personal development, self help kind of stuff that’s out there. Yeah.
Rob Head 13:29 Yeah. Yeah, those things are intertwined. So did those folks that you know, we’re pulling hats out of the trunk of the car? Did they end up becoming mentors or people that that helped you along the way? Or is that just a moment in time?
Sahar Freemantle 13:45 They did. for you for a few months there. Yeah, I would take the bus to the countryside and go work with them in like this millenary shared thing, which they fell. And it was a fabulous, that kind of couple, couple of months where I just was, they were just teaching me and I was working for them just for free. I was you know, and it was just this cool exchange. And yeah, it was it was lovely. And that’s where I learned like my basics,
Rob Head 14:18 almost like the apprentice model in a way.
Sahar Freemantle 14:20 Yeah, yeah. And now I do the same with with people I have interns and work experience people come to me come to my studio and I do the same thing. I wanted them they go off and do whatever it is that they do with the with the skills Yeah.
Rob Head 14:35 Yeah. And it really emphasizes the fact that every art has this sort of lineage skills being passed, you know, from each each generation down the line and you know, each generation brings something new but but is also dependent on the all of the work all the way up the lineage right. Back to whenever, you know, yeah, you started at some point you’re making King hats, and you’re having some financial success? Yeah.
Sahar Freemantle 15:04 Yeah.
Rob Head 15:05 How do you frame your work? Now? You know, how do you keep inspired, you’ve expressed that you you love to bring joy to people, you love to find ways to help them express who they are as an individual? Is that what drives you? Or how do you how do you shape your career in a way that has a sense of purpose?
Sahar Freemantle 15:24 Well, first of all, let me just say that it’s taken years, to, uh, to it was years when I was doing it on the side. And just, you know, I had to start off with when I first moved to London, from Edinburgh, you know, I just had to get a standard full time job because I was like, whew, this city is expensive. And I didn’t know anyone. And that was for years, and I would just be doing my hats on the side. And then like, kind of managed to go down part time with that for several years, and then kind of got myself a millenary Studio. And then you know, kind of, that’s when the website came and everything like that. And that was, you know, it took years. And then it was about five years ago, when when I went full time with millenary. But when I went full time with military at that stage, I was not, I wasn’t making anywhere near the amount of money that one needs to live anywhere, let alone London. And so it’s been for me a very slow, organic process of growth, which I’ve constantly worked harder. And I’ve had some periods say when that first year, first couple of years, when I went full time, I was it felt like I was just shooting in the dark. And I was just saying yes to absolutely everything that came along. I was really, really pushing myself. And I learned a lot in that year. And I’ve learned, okay, what works and what doesn’t work. And that’s what I’ve learned, of course, throughout the last kind of decade or so, but particularly in that in that year. But what was really interesting in that in that first couple of years is at one point, my coach said to me, she was playing some game over Christmas, she had all of the you know, the people that she coaches, and she was she was kind of saying random words, and we had to sort of say how we related to them. And she said the word passion. And I suddenly I realized that I lost my passion. And I was like, oh, okay, this is interesting. And that’s why, you know, kind of one of many, many examples of how having either like another person there, whether it’s a coach, or whether it’s a cause or whatever it is, is really great. And not just being varies in my work on my own, because sometimes they shined a light on something that you wouldn’t have seen so. So I was like, Oh, I seem to have completely lost my passion. And so over the next few days, I thought about it. And I was like, yeah, it’s because I’m so busy trying to make money out of this. It’s all focused on the money. It’s all focused on this fear of like, not being able to pay rent, and, and I kind of thought about it, I was like, well, this is a transitional period going from being supported by my salary to not having any steady income. So maybe this is okay, actually. And maybe this is how it should be right now. And I do, I don’t need to worry about it or do anything about it, I’ll just accept that. This is how it is right now and make a goal that at some point in the next two or three years, I will make space to create just for the sake of creativity and not to make money and I will have learned enough. Or I would have had enough kind of regular clients that I don’t it’s not all about the money. Because if it was gonna be all about the money. My goodness, I could have done a better career. Yes. And being a craftsperson.
Rob Head 18:57 Yes, you know that that story reminds me of so many people that that we all have in our lives and no, and maybe ourselves, you know, this idea of like, you know, I’m struggling so hard. I don’t even like music anymore. I don’t even like painting anymore. You know, and I don’t you know, writing is ridiculous. You know, it’s a challenge, of course, because we live in a market economy, society that that doesn’t necessarily value all contributions to society in the same way. And yeah, we all have to make a living and you know, but it’s, it can be really discouraging. So it sounds like you sort of embraced that sort of life stage. And how did you come out the other end of that? Do you feel like you’ve recovered your Yeah, aspiration?
Sahar Freemantle 19:42 I feel like I, I am in that process of recovering it. So I’ve, I’m certainly a lot more passionate now than I was in in that moment. And I have bursts of it and bursts of inspiration and bursts of creativity. Yeah, I think there was maybe a couple things that was Yeah, what I kind of realized and planned out, which is like, just keep working through this next two, three years. And once you have a little bit of stability within the business side of things, you kind of will you’ll, you know, the river, you know, when the busy periods are, you know, where good places are to sell. And so, you know, you kinda are gonna know that money is going to come in at like, certain times of the year and stuff like that. And that so that kind of started happening. So it’s like, okay, less stressed about money, because just kind of knowing the ebbs and flows of it of the year, basically, because my work is very seasonal. Right? Yeah, yeah. And then it was being kind of strict to myself to make sure that I allowed time in my schedule, to just create for creativity sake. And so you know, so actually, just today, I wrote myself a list now we’re, we’re sort of in lockdown, it’s quite easy to get lost in lockdown. But I wrote myself a list to structure my week and one of, you know, one of the days per week, it I’ve said that I want to spend learning, I’ve bought myself a whole bunch of like online tutorials and stuff like that new skills within millenary. I don’t know, you know, so just to kind of keep that structure and then another day of the week to spend making the stuff that I’ve been wanting to make for ever and ever, and I just don’t ever get around to it, because I’m too busy doing this commission or that commission, or, or whatever. So, yeah, so I’m carving out more time to actually get back to creating form for fun and to continue. Yeah. And that, of course, is going to have a future wonderful knock on effect, because I’m going to have this awesome portfolio. And I’m going to get more of that work, you know, so it’s like creating stuff in my portfolio that I actually want to have in my portfolio. So not just safe, sellable pieces, but awesome show pieces. That’s the sort of thing that’s going to get me seen, and it’s going to get me noticed. So it will end up contributing to the business side of things as well, of course,
Rob Head 22:05 right. And that that’s the Yeah, that’s the thing about any kind of practice that is not for the short term benefit, right, for the short term profit, right, it still has this long term growth aspect to it, it really, you know, it comes back to finding ways of balancing our lives, ways of structuring our lives, so that we have time for that, I really appreciate you mentioning that you’ve wrote it out, you know, I’m dedicating this day of the week, or whatever it is, I’m much more familiar with the performing arts, and there’s, you know, like a musician needs to practice their instrument, you know, really seriously every day and, or an actor, you know, doing vocal exercises or all the things. You mentioned, the learning aspects, but are there other things that you do to keep yourself clear headed and creative? that you do on a, you know, regular basis? You mentioned that setting aside a day for learning new things.
Sahar Freemantle 23:07 Mm hmm. Yeah. And which I’m not very good at, I’m not very good at, at the moment, like, making sure that I, myself, you know, without being forced to, you know, kind of do this lesson and that lesson and sit down, because, because that’s difficult, right? It’s like, the, the deliberate practice is, is tough going, like, that’s not the fun part. You know, for me, the fun part is, like, when I get just an influx of desire designs, and I just want to, I like design, and I’m like, Oh, we can do that. We do that. All right, you know, and then it’s just like, that’s kind of the passionate part. But you know, for me sitting and like, following instructions of like, particular steps or whatever, like, you know, it’s like, deliberate practice isn’t, I don’t think it’s meant to be fun. It’s so it’s definitely not meant to be easy, but it’s completely necessary to become experts in our field. So that’s kind of the Yeah, it’s a dedication. And actually, what I found is, so I said about having interns and work experience people. So I’ve got a lovely girl with me at the moment in the studio. And she, you know, is what’s helping me is for me to say, let’s learn this together. And so we can both sit down and learn something new. And that is great for her because she’s getting all these new skills for free. And it’s great for me, because it encourages me to actually, you know, go down that route and to learn stuff myself, and to be humble about that and just kind of go, yeah, I might have been doing this for 10 years, but there’s still so much I don’t know, right?
Rob Head 24:43 Continuous growth. Yeah.
Sahar Freemantle 24:45 So there’s that but then there’s, I guess, on a kind of daily practice. Yeah, I mean, I get I do start every morning with a kind of very just simple practice of simple yoga which then goes into kind like reading some of the Bahá’í writings, saying my prayers, and sort of recently started to do a little bit of kind of creative visualization, meditation, sort of where I, you know, just I’m kind of new to it, but I sort of pretty much just sit there and imagine stuff I want. But I try and design my life, you know, like, I’ve sort of started to get into into that into that practice. Yeah, I think we can be pretty powerful in that way.
Rob Head 25:28 Yeah, it’s interesting, you mentioned, you know, visualizing things that you want. There’s, of course, two ways to approach that. One is, you know, I want fancy things and whatever. And another is, I want to be, I want to create beautiful things, or I want this opportunity to manifest or whatever, you know, and I think that’s part of getting to our goals is to understand what is it that I want? You know, I’m not the trappings of what I want, but what is it specifically that I want to be doing and contributing? Is that Yeah, how you experienced it?
Sahar Freemantle 26:03 Yeah, I think so. Yeah. And, I mean, I’m a fan of both, like, you know, yes, I want this fancy whatever thing, you know, visualizing material stuff, but yeah, you know, actually, kind of zooming out and looking at the whole picture or, you know, what I what I want to create in this world and yeah, I mean, I want to create a whole lot more than you know, just had I, before my last pop up shop, I Vish, I would sit in my garden summer I would do my spiritual practice. And then I would sit there and envisage this beautiful, sharp people coming and being delighted. This feeling of total, just joy. upliftment happiness in inspired, you know, people were just man. I, honestly, like I was blown away. All of that came true in my pop up like I was. So I was, like, I couldn’t just, it was exactly, as I visualized it, people would walk into the shop, and they’d be like, oh, wow, I, I love this. Oh, oh, my God, I’m so happy. You’re here. I’m so happy to see, they would greet me like I was then long lost friend. Like it was. It was beautiful. It was so so so beautiful. And so I guess what it was is like I was I was kind of focusing in on the feeling, you know, on that kind of the feeling of upliftment and joy. And then like, of course, sales came from that, you know, like, yeah, they did. And yes, that’s great. But the feeling of them, and then therefore, the feeling of me just feeling so good like that, you know, that’s kind of the priceless thing, isn’t it? Really?
Rob Head 27:59 It really is? Yeah, I’m thinking of a lecture that particular composer conductor gave in which he was referring to that that twinkle in people’s eye. That’s the you know, if you don’t get that you haven’t really done your job. Yeah, that that smile in the eyes when people see your work or hear your work or experience your work? Yeah, yeah. Oh, well, that’s so wonderful. What a what a dream to experience that manifesting itself. You know, in your, in your waking life.
Sahar Freemantle 28:33 Yeah. And I just like that. And so it’s, it’s just great, because it’s, it’s kind of a model of just life. And how much more can I create of that? How can I take that to the next level? It’s like, Okay, cool. That’s one pop up shop. How can I do that on a bigger scale? How can I touch more people? Like, do I need to get on TV and have a TV program where I do something, you know, and touch millions of people like at home? Like, do I like, how can I just expand that and just do it more for the rest of my life?
Rob Head 29:09 It can happen for baking. It can happen for hats, right?
Sahar Freemantle 29:11 Yes, absolutely.
Rob Head 29:15 By the way, it’s a global phenomenon. everybody’s watching the Great British baking show.
Sahar Freemantle 29:19 Oh, that’s great.
Rob Head 29:23 Yeah, let’s talk about the future a little bit like, you know, what are you working on right now? How is the How is the pandemic influenced everything? And then where do you want to get to sort of within and beyond the pandemic?
Sahar Freemantle 29:38 Huh? Yeah, it’s been a really interesting time. I mean, for me, as I said, My work is very seasonal. And so I
Rob Head 29:45 bring in what do you mean by that? Let’s talk about the seasonality when is when are your hot seasons?
Sahar Freemantle 29:51 Oh, so for me over here, it’s in springs because that’s where the Royal Ascot is, which is the horse racing. Right. It’s the horse is the Royal Ascot, and Then it’s all the wedding season. So So kind of Yeah. So the time when I bring in most of the money of the whole year is in the kind of six weeks before Royal Ascot. And so that’s kind of like May and June.
Rob Head 30:16 I say, Yeah, I can relate to that a little bit. Because the only time that I can think of an American culture that we really focus on on women’s hats would be like the Kentucky Derby. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And then occasionally, I guess, some Hollywood events, but but that’s pretty much it. And and so Okay, so you have the, the horse races and then weddings and wedding
Sahar Freemantle 30:37 season. Yeah. So that. So in terms of sales, that’s kind of my main, just kill time going in there. And just like an A lot of my year will be, you know, preparing for that time, really. So that’s kind of what I mean, when I say seasonal, and then, you know, I’ll have different hat ranges for different seasons. So of course, a recent range in the last couple of years I’ve done I’ve been doing Panama hats, all kinds of ethical and fair trade. And then also in the last kind of two, three years, developing a range of you know, more wearable hats for the winter. So like trilby hats, and that sort of thing. So I’m, yeah, like I used to do just kind of only occasion hats. And now I’ve got several Rangers, I also do sort of headbands, which are more kind of affordable items just to wear kind of everyday. So yeah, I’m expanding my range
Rob Head 31:28 of hats. And as that has been part of your journey, growing professionally, to where you can sustain yourself by by realizing that I need to fill in these gaps in the year. Yeah,
Sahar Freemantle 31:38 absolutely. Yeah. So before I started doing any of the kind of personal development type work, which I do, now, I had a quite a limited mindset. And I just had it that the only time millionaires can make money is just before I Scott. And it is kind of funny, like thinking back at, like, how I used to think and how trapped I made myself. And I’m so grateful for like, I don’t know, in America, I think it came from America, the landmark forum, if you know if you’re familiar with the landmark forum is sure, yeah. And I think it’s a lot more it’s not bigger in America than it is here. Over here. British people are a little bit funny about doing you know, that kind of work, because it’s all kind of a little bit emotional. Right. Sounds very American, and you know, you know, it’s like, we can’t show too much, you know, yeah. So when you go somewhere, there’s a lot of clapping and a lot of smiling, you get very suspicious. Luckily, I’ve been able to overcome that and dive right in there. And, yeah, so it’s like doing programs like this, you know, which, where you, you know, you have a coach and you and they, and they question you and so I would have just said like, Oh, no, like, the only time I can make money as a millionaire is, you know, just for our score. And it’s just kind of to be in a program like that. And just to have someone question you, and then you get to the point where you’re so good at it, you can catch yourself. So you don’t even need to have somebody you can catch stuff. And then yeah, and so then yes. And then I remember having this thought, and I remember going, Oh, that’s a limiting thought. If I ever heard one. And so I just remember then going right, I’m gonna just park that I’m going to put that to one side. Okay, that’s that’s one possible viewpoint or I could have another viewpoint where as a milliner, I can be making loads of money the whole year round, and how would that be, and I literally, I remember, I sat there, and I wrote down about 12 income streams, I could very easily have as a millionaire, which would keep me going for for the whole year. And so it’s like, as soon as I let that limiting belief go, I just opened something up and it’s like,
Rob Head 33:50 yeah, you’re walking the walk in the creative path with practical feet, figuring out how do I say? Yes, to paraphrasing, yes, you know, there’s it You remind me of there’s there’s a in my neighborhood, I live in a small town in Oregon, our primary industry is actually a Shakespeare Festival. But around the corner for me, is a forge. Which I don’t know what century he thinks he lives in, but somehow he has made a living He has created a business out of a forge which sounds so you know, 16th century You know, it sometimes just by just, you know, sheer will and creative thinking you can find a way and and I’ve always held on to this notion that there’s always a way there’s always a way we’re just not thinking you know, either broadly or creatively enough to fill in those gaps. Yeah, but yeah, gratulations on on that. Not just having that inspiration but carrying it through and and building your your life. Have you thank you.
Sahar Freemantle 35:01 Thank you.
Rob Head 35:02 So are you able to continue working as you normally would during the pandemic? Or have you had to change what you’re doing?
Sahar Freemantle 35:09 Mmm hmm. I have chosen not to change what I’m doing. And so at the beginning, when I had the realization that there’s a good, a very good chance that ASCO will be cancelled this year. Has that happened? Oh, yeah, it did happen. Yeah. But when I first had that realization, it was this, you know, that icky, sick, kind of like, I’m totally done for feeling. You know, that kind of after loss of like, you know, it’s like, this is my life gone down the drain? What am I going to do? How am I going to survive like this? This is, you know,
Rob Head 35:55 that person? Yeah,
Sahar Freemantle 35:57 yeah, that kind of feeling. felt very real for me, because I didn’t know how I was going to live how I was going to survive. And I guess, because I’m so into this, you know, all this personal development stuff, which I do. I was only in that space for about a day. And
Rob Head 36:21 yeah, yeah, yeah, we proactive
Sahar Freemantle 36:25 about it. But I was proactive about recognizing I’m in that space. Right. And in in landmark, we call it the morass, you know, this kind of like the murky swamp of the kind of lowest self kind of thing, recognizing it, allowing myself like a day to like wallow, and, and then just going, Okay, how do I get myself out of this, and I’m part of a couple of like, support groups here. One of them is my coach, she’s, you know, all her businesses, the positive changemakers initiative, so I’m part of her group. And I’m also part of a really lovely women’s kind of support networking group couldn’t nurture network, and they’re just, they’re just groups, which I’m in and they’re pretty gentle, but we just support each other, basically. And luckily, the day after this kind of thinking, goodness, I had a call with the changemakers group, and just shares really honestly, and we were all feeling like that because everyone in the world was feeling like that at that time. And then pretty much the day after that, because through kind of that call and the coaching, I was able to just kind of go Okay, well, this is how it is right now, it’s, you know, I’m probably gonna have to accept that the likelihood of Ascot being canceled of knowing buying hats, where I’m probably gonna have to accept that this is going to be Yeah, like financially. Yeah, like really super, super tough. But how can I still use this year? And I think, I think what it is, is once you start thinking in this way, you’re thinking about who you’re being more than what you’re doing. Right? So it’s like, Who do I still want to be in this year? I still want to be someone who sparks joy and creativity. And someone who writes or feeling inspired, I can still choose to be that person.
Rob Head 38:29 The human being versus the human doing. Yeah, yeah. Right. Yeah. So how do you spark joy in other people, when your normal product is not what’s? You know? Yes. Did you find
Sahar Freemantle 38:44 I did the thing again, where I went, right I so I got rid of you know, that one limiting belief, which is this year is completely destroyed. And I might as well just climb under a rock into the bag, we push that aside, and then do it again, wrote a list again, and well into my lists. All of the Yeah, all of the ways that I could spark joy and creativity. So one of the ways was, I can just start making all of these hats, which I’ve designed through the years, which I’ve been wanting to create, and I’ve never had time to. I can do
Rob Head 39:16 portfolio is growing.
Sahar Freemantle 39:18 Yeah. It’s like, Okay, what else can I do? I love being in front of the camera. I love interviewing people, I love anything to do with kind of media, I can showcase other people’s work, I can, like, do interviews with people and and do that and showcase other people’s work as well as mine, like, you know, and I basically started just kind of going, Yeah, I could do this. Yeah, I could do that. And then from the business side of things, there’s also a whole bunch of boring business stuff, which I’ve never given myself time to do or never bothered to do it. So for example, writing the content of my website, so it’s all SEO friendly. And so I then started training myself in that boring business side of things, which was like okay, how do I find all the right keywords? How
Rob Head 40:00 do I do this today? Now that boring business stuff is what? for a living for 20 years.
Sahar Freemantle 40:08 I found it and I am still working on it. I find I find it really difficult. Like that’s an area, which I don’t Yeah, I don’t want to do, but I have to do it in order to, you know, push myself because actually, I think what I was actually hoping to do this year was pay someone to do that for me. But I’m like, Well, I won’t have the money to pay someone. So I’ll train myself. And I’m very fortunate that I just have a really good network of people around me and people who I know, but one of my friends up in Scotland was like, Look, I know all about this, I can just, you know, I don’t mind sharing my knowledge with you so. So basically, yeah, like I have been using this time, productively. I’ve been learning a lot of new stuff I’ve been, you know, I’m kind of yet finally working through my to do list of non urgent things, and it feels really good.
Rob Head 40:59 Excellent, excellent. Well, Sahar, it’s so beautiful to hear about your your work and your life that you’ve built for yourself, and all the best. I hope we do see the Great British military show. Yeah. Thank you. You’re welcome. Thank you so
Sahar Freemantle 41:18 much. Absolute pleasure to talk to you. And yeah, thank you so much.
Rob Head 41:23 You’re welcome.
Damien Burke 41:35 The 52 Sketches podcast is a product of 52 Sketches, makers of earlywords.io. Daily, private, stream-of-consciousness writing to clear mind and unlock your creativity.