2020 has been a strange year for everyone. For me, it’ll also be a year that defines me. I started the year in therapy, hating my job and where I was at in my life. I’m ending the year with two businesses, a new job and a new outlook on life.

I’ve always struggled to know what I wanted to do in life. Even going to University wasn’t my plan, until I realised how crap it was working in a department store on a Friday night and seeing all my friends out partying. I quit that job after 3 weeks and promptly got applying to University. It was one of the best decisions I made, and I fell in love with my degree. So much so that I decided I wanted to pursue a masters in Cancer Biology.

After a second gap year after University, off I went to Imperial College to start my masters. You want to know what happened next? I quit 3 weeks later, deciding I didn’t want to be a scientist. Frustratingly enough, I seem to know exactly what I don’t want to do in life and have no idea what I do want to do.

I was fortunate enough to be able to go back to my old job and decided my new path in life would be to get a promotion to the London office and move into London like all my friends had done. In April 2019 I did just that and off I went into the big bad corporate world, which slowly took its toll on me.

By the end of 2019 I felt directionless. Lost in my career, lost in my life and struggling to find any passion in what I did. I decided to seek help and found a therapist, which was a big turning point for me. I realised I was miserable in both my career and my life and it was so refreshing to have an outlet to get the support. I decided to get out of the passenger lane and start grabbing life by the horns again. I began to put into motion finding my passion again and step 1 was changing career. I managed to land myself two final state interviews and I was over the moon.

Then came the first rejection, however I still had hope for the second interview which was in April. Then came lockdown and the interview was postponed indefinitely. At least I still had my job…then come May I waved goodbye to my old job as my company were making financial cuts due to the pandemic. The panic began to set in, I lived in a rented flat with outgoings and now no income.

However, after the panic subsided, I remember a dream of mine I had. In November 2019 I was inspired by the popularity of clay masks to start a skincare business. Despite setting up the website and Instagram account, it had remained dormant due to lack of time and those other ‘reasons’ you tell yourself as to why you can’t follow that dream of yours.

So, rather than seeing my job loss as a setback, I decided to see it as an opportunity to follow that dream of mine. I combined my passion for science and degree in Biology with my love for skincare and set up PERLcosmetics in May 2020. A short 2 months later I launched my product, a pearl powder clay mask with illuminating oil and I sold out in just over 4 weeks.

Starting my business has given me back that passion, drive and determination that I so desperately lacked at the beginning of the year. Not only that, but it’s given me confidence in myself that I can do this. I’m honestly shocked every day at how I’ve managed to pull it all off, from financing it all myself, to creating the formula of my product, to packaging, marketing, website development. The list could go on and on!

It was also around the same time I set up PERLcosmetics, I got thinking about how many other women there are out there who have started their own businesses. Whether that be because of lockdown, a hobby turned hustle or just following a dream of theirs. I was struggling myself to get my brand out there and thought of how many other women must face the same problem. To me, I felt there was space for a platform that showcases women in business and so I set up Girls in Business UK, which has the premiss of showcasing a woman in business each day.

What started out as a place for me to shameless self-promote PERLcosmetics, has quickly turned into such a supportive community of like-minded women. I had absolutely no intention of it turning into a business, but a few weeks ago I decided to host Virtual Markets. Low and behold, I’m now the owner of two businesses!

To say 2020 has been wild is putting it lightly. Starting out the year in therapy and truly miserable with where my life was at, to losing my job, to then setting up two businesses is beyond me. On top of that, I also landed myself a new job in September 2020. Oh, and moved back in with my parents haha.

I hope that in telling my story I can help to inspire others in that when one door closes, another better door is waiting to be opened. I also want to emphasise that life is just too short to do something you feel miserable in. I felt such immense pressure to follow suit of my friends and get a job in the corporate world and move to London. However, on reflection this just isn’t me. Stay true to yourself and remember to believe in your capabilities. You’ll flourish at what you set your mind to when you believe you can do it.

If you want to get involved with Girls in Business UK, be it with a feature (which is free) or for the Virtual Markets then pop over to girlsinbusinessuk.com and submit an application. I’m also always happy to have a chat so if my story has touched you in any way or you want to know more, then please feel free to message me over on Instagram at Instagram.com/girlsinbusinessuk

Where you can find me

Perl Cosmetics: Website | Instagram

Girls in Business UK: Website | Instagram

Isobel Perl

Isobel Perl

About your author

Isobel is the CEO & Founder of two businesses; PERL Cosmetics & Girls in Business UK. PERLcosmetics is a brand that has sustainability at the heart of what it does with one hero product, their customisable Pearl Powder Clay Mask with Illuminating Oil. Launched during lockdown after Isobel, lost her job due to COVID, each mask is lovingly handmade in Hertfordshire using natural ingredients and simple formulations.

Read More