Michelle Hands, the founder of the inspirational female content and clothing company She Who Dares Wins, has moved into a state-of-the-art studio at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley, near Leeds.
Michelle has taken space in the beautifully refurbished 10 Old Combing building in the heart of the mill complex.
Michelle, who has spent 17 years in the male-dominated property, construction and civil engineering sectors, set up She Who Dares Wins to inspire and empower women to take up careers in these industries.
She explained: “She Who Dares Wins is a culmination of my life’s experience, combining my training and work as an actor, filmmaker, content creator and public speaker with my life as a construction engineer, predominantly in landfill sites across the UK.
“I have lived in a man’s world for most of my life, which has been both fascinating and challenging. Working with tough Alpha males, whose behaviour often leaves a good deal of room for improvement, is eye-opening.
“But the experience inspired me to create a company and a brand that empowers women to challenge convention and celebrate their own strengths and I am delighted to report that this has gained real traction, bringing a strong and vibrant community together. Hence my move to this fabulous studio at Sunny Bank Mills,” explained Michelle.
Michelle, who lives in nearby Horsforth, studied Geography at Birmingham University, before taking an acting course in Los Angeles.
“Whilst I loved acting, I soon realized that I preferred being behind the camera, rather than in front of it. At the same time, I needed to earn a living, and, through a friend, I found a job surveying landfill sites. Before I knew it, this has turned into a long-term career – and despite some tough times, I don’t regret any of it. It made me the woman I am today.”
From her base at Sunny Bank Mills, Michelle runs her own clothing brand and creates content, videos and podcasts for her clients. Recent posts include the moving story about a young woman who rowed across the Atlantic and a thought-provoking essay by Michelle herself on the importance of embracing imperfection.
“I feel so at home in my new office in the heart of a vibrant cultural and commercial community. I’d like to thank Sunny Bank Mills landlords William and John Gaunt who have been very helpful and accommodating with my move, making the whole process very smooth,” said Michelle.
William Gaunt, the joint managing director of Edwin Woodhouse Ltd, the mills’ parent company, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Michelle to Sunny Bank Mills. Hers is an inspirational story and we are proud she has chosen our mills as her base.”
John Gaunt, who runs the mill with his cousin William, added: “Michelle is already creating a significant reputation with She Who Dares Wins and she is a valuable addition to our community here. We wish her the very best of luck in her new home.”
During the past ten years Sunny Bank Mills, one of the most famous family-owned mills in Yorkshire, has been transformed into a modern office and mixed-use retail and leisure complex for the 21st century, creating more than 400 sustainable new jobs.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, who visited Sunny Bank Mills last December, praised the mills for being a catalyst for the regeneration of Farsley, commenting: “It’s been so inspirational meeting small business owners. The range of small businesses here is fantastic and I’ve only managed to speak to a few. I have been especially impressed by the way in which the owners of Sunny Bank adapt their buildings to enable their tenants to grow.
“Small business owners working with like-minded people will find synergies and inspiration here, which is beautiful. This is an old mill which has brought people together and been the catalyst for more small businesses opening on the rest of Farsley Town Street. It is inspirational what has been achieved so far.”