Real Women Series: Meet Leena
Our customers are at the heart of what we do. We pride ourselves in having many long term customers, who have been supporting us on our journey to make fashion more sustainable over the years.
In the run up to Christmas, we explore our Autumn Winter 21 collection through conversations with six women across the UK.
Please start by telling us a bit about yourself, your career and lifestyle?
I’m Leena, an entrepreneur and the founder of Citrus Connect Recruitment. My friends would describe me as passionate, loyal, strong, confident, and fun.
I give 100% to everything I do and the meaningful relationships I form. I am constantly motivated by challenges and at work; I am very much a vision caster and a leader, but also a protector of all my clients and more importantly my team, who are all soul mates to me.
In 2008 I saw a gap in the recruitment market place, in 2009 I founded Citrus Connect Recruitment, I have perfected a recruitment process that is simple, easy and efficient to ensure everyone who interacts with Citrus Connect has a positive experience. Initially, my vision was to fill a gap in the market place to recruit for self employed sales sales roles. This has evolved, and since the inception of my company as we now are the number 1 direct sales recruitment company in the UK.
For me personally, I run a business because it gives me a degree of autonomy in how I choose to live my life. It's also important to me that we can give back, being socially conscious means I spend a lot of time reviewing our company's Corporate Social Responsibility.
I love my work with Love Support Unite where I work closely with families and children in Malawi in sustainability and education projects. Living is about 'giving and taking', it is about a natural 'in and out', so from an energetic point of view how can Citrus Connect and I ever succeed without ever giving back. Thats why Citrus Connect and I will always commit to partnering with a charity to create a real, positive difference in the world. I will continue to make a change in the world my own way.
How and when did you find out about Beaumont Organic?
I have loved fashion and clothes from a very young age, in fact I remember at my careers consultation at school I was adamant that I wanted to be a fashion designer. Due to my academic strength, my teachers at the time discouraged me from such a career. But my love for fashion never left – after graduating I pursued a career in fashion, I travelled all over the world with this career – LA, Mayalsia, Singapore and much more!
But I got disheartened by the notion of fast fashion and started to research how fashion could be a more sustainable and ethical industry which is when I found a whole world of new thinking when it came to fashion and the impact it has on our world. I met Hannah when consulting as a buyer for a sustainable fashion store, and since then I have followed Hannah’s journey and seen the brand grow to where it is today.
How does the sustainability and slow living ethos of Beaumont Organic sit alongside your everyday values?
About two years ago I made big changes, it started with the outside things - I sold my three-bedroom home, moved cities, and gave most of my belongings to charity. This was the beginning and really didn't know just how big of a beginning it would be and where it would lead. Removing the excess of the outside 'stuff' was only a fraction of what my simplicity and the slow journey have taught me. Once I organised, I started living by intention, value and consciousness.
I am passionate about the earth we live and breathe, and ensure that Citrus Connect and I personally are aware of our carbon footprints - whether it be sustainable and slow fashion and a plastic free life for me personally; or having a paper free business, every action is carefully considered and thought about.
Buying my vegetables in brown paper bags and finding a refill shop for my grains is just as much a financial decision as well as being environmentally conscious. It's important we understand money, and it's real purpose; for me, conscious living is also about financial well-being. As a business owner and an individual, financial responsibility is another very important skill I have learnt.
We think clothing can be transformative. How do the right clothes make you feel and why do clothes matter to you?
Clothes to me are like a second skin, just as health is important to me – I work out daily and am super conscious of the foods I eat as I understand the impact this has on my ability to work effectively and consistently – I think of clothes in the same way. The clothes we wear impact how we feel about ourselves and for me also impacts the energy I create for the people around me. It’s so much more than just taking pride in your appearance, it is about how others see you, but more importantly, feel you. It’s an opportunity to show the people around your personal style as everyone has one!
What does your everyday wardrobe look like?
I think it is important that my outfits feel and look well put together, it is where I can use my passion for clothes and fashion. As I am in and out of the office and gym Monday to Friday, my clothes are very neutral, functional and some what smart as I am always on video calls with clients, candidates and business partners. I do have a love for print and colour but I save this for the weekends and evenings when I sometimes let my hair down.
Has your relationship with clothes changed post-lockdown?
I am not sure whether my approach to my wardrobe has changed recently due to lock down or as a result of my simplicity journey. As well as selling my home and giving most of the things in it to charity, I had the same approach to my wardrobe. My wardrobe is very much a capsule wardrobe, where many outfits can be created without too much thinking. It is organised so I am always aware of everything in it. I believe in repeating your clothes, you can make each outfit look so different just by the way you wear it, how you pair or accessorise it.
If you had to pick a favourite from the new collection, what would it be and why?
Nellie Dress – makes me feel like a pretty, strong, elegant and confident, and plus the cotton is just so soft!
And do you have any favourites from past Beaumont Organic collections that you wear on repeat?
So many, I have been buying Beaumont for so many years, maybe a decade. I love my Blaine blue shirt which is a go to when I am relaxing at home, and of course my denim maxi dress which I live in in the summer.