Today we continue our profiles of enterprising women on the North Coast to mark International Women’s Day 2022. This time we are talking to Jenna McCorkell, owner of Chique Sport, an international sportswear brand designed by a professional skater for skaters. #breakthebias #IWD22
What prompted you to start your own business?
I was a professional skater for 20 years and wore branded sportswear every day, but none were specifically designed for figure skating. I noticed a gap in the market for a brand of figure skating sportswear designed specifically for skaters.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Break the Bias’ – can you share any experiences you have had of gender bias or prejudice?
Figure skating is predominantly a female sport, so I feel lucky not to have experienced any bias in that world because I am a woman. However, since stepping into the business world I have often felt that I need to prove myself to be taken seriously and that I really can make this business work.
In your experience what are the main challenges faced by women in the business world?
I don’t know if challenges in business are any different for men or women. I think I have found business to be challenging in general, just like everyone else. You’ve got to be passionate about what you’re doing and willing to work hard at it.
What advice would you give to other women who were considering starting up their own business?
The first thing I would say is to go with your gut instinct and listen to your intuition – you don’t have to know everything to get started. Then I would share the motto that I have lived by as a professional figure skater, “hard work over talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. This means that it takes more than raw talent to succeed and that the willingness to work hard will override talent alone.
Jenna started skating in Coleraine aged seven and immediately developed a passion for the sport. Aged 14, she became the first female skater from Northern Ireland to compete in the World Junior Championships and went on to become an eleven-time British national champion also winning seven senior international medals.
Coming from a very business-oriented family, and with oodles of passion and ambition, it was perhaps inevitable that once the professional skating stopped, Jenna would seek out her next exciting challenge.
If you have an idea and need help to bring it to life, get in touch with us here at Enterprise Causeway