2014 Honoree

Jo Sampson

Designer, Founder, Jo Sampson Studio

“There is more opportunity than ever for females to have an individual choice and opinion and for it to be heard.”

Who inspires you the most?

From a professional stance Coco Chanel – a true revolutionary full of determination, ambition and energy. A huge talent not only in design but also in business.

What do you now know about yourself that you wish you knew ten/fifteen/twenty years ago?

Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and believe.

Fill in the blank: You can never have enough _______.

True friends, laughter and Prosecco.

What City best describes your personality?

New York for its energy, opportunity and culture. Working with Waterford means that I am in NYC quite a lot and I have really got to know the city, its like a second home. London, because it IS home and for its honesty and creativity.

What gets you through even the toughest days and what are you most grateful for?

Definitely my two daughters they make me laugh, make me cry, and ground me. They are my world (and coffee…).

What socio-political women’s issue do you care about the most? Do you feel that women are typically presented fairly in the media? Why or why not?

Equality in general must always be strived for however I feel that the design world is a place where male/females are on a fairly equal footing, the creative world seems to be less gender biased.

Despite separation between Church & State, religion still seems to govern decisions regarding women – abortions, birth control, etc. How do we shift power over women’s bodies to women?

With the emergence of user generated content on social media channels, there is more opportunity than ever for females to have an individual choice, opinion and for it to be heard.

What is your best read? Favorite character you would most like to be?

My favourite character at the moment would be Princess Anna of Arendelle!!!! I must have seen Frozen at least 30 times…she gives as good as she gets and can really sing… My more intellectual answer would be Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights, I read the book in school and she mesmerized me (lastly Kate Bush whose song, Wuthering heights just blew me away – it was immense!).

What will it take for women to be viewed as equal to men?

Working in the creative industries there is not such a divide of men vs women, there is a strong history of female artists and designers who have produced outstanding work. Its great to experience designing for a company like Waterford who work with people based on talent not gender. My natural design outlook is actually quite un-feminine my influences come from everywhere.

What was your best decision to date? Worst decision?

My best decision to date from a work perspective was to concentrate on product design. I love creating a narrative around my collections and stay totally focused on this. I feel more dedicated and more able to concentrate on making the work the best it can be. The worst decision has been trying to please everyone and do everything, you can’t do this and end up burning out, I’ve learnt my lesson.

Social media has exploded. How can women use it to market themselves without seeming narcissistic?

The question could be applied to both men and women! Social media is not just about selfies, but an opportunity to express personal views/tastes and lifestyle in an immediate and creative way. Its great to see so many varied points of view, its up to you to focus on the bigger picture.

Write a fortune you’d like for all women to receive in a fortune cookie.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, nobody is perfect, take a break, relax with friends and enjoy life.

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Creator of time!

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