This is me! Just a woman with an idea and a never give up attitude.
Image: Cheryl Botha wears her Sylvia sandals
Two years ago, I took the plunge and the biggest risk of my life by actually running away from home. Yes, literally I left a note and got in my car and drove across the Nullabor Plain to a new life and the beginning of Ankalia. In case you don’t know, the Nullabor is a five-day drive across the desert between Perth and Melbourne. I called it my “great escape.”
Image: Cheryl Botha wears her Lara sandals in white leather
I was heartbroken and I really needed to get out of a dysfunctional situation. I was also a woman with a burning passion to reinvent herself out of the corporate world and into the online fashion world, where I would not only become a Cobbler, an Artisan and a Social Media beginner but also everything else that goes with launching a brand-new business and getting a brand ‘out there’ into the online fashion world.
Image; Cheryl Botha in her Lizzie sandals - embellished with a little Gecko (lizard) design
Because I ran away from my marriage I had nothing – pretty much just my clothes and my dream of creating and handcrafting pretty Swarovski crystal sandals. I slept on one of those skinny hiking mattresses with a sleeping bag and I had one camp chair to sit on.
Image: Cheryl Botha wearing her Sienna sandals
Day and night I did nothing but design and make sandals and work on trying to get my brand ‘out there’ with no money.
I got kicked in the guts and rejected hundreds of times on a daily basis. I never gave up and I just kept working away. Giving up was never an option!
Image: Cheryl Botha and some of her 20 limited edition Swarovski crystal sandal designs
Two years on and I still have a long way to go. I still work day and night on Ankalia. I’m still learning and I’m still getting rejected everyday but I love what I do whole heartedly. Also running away was something that I really needed to do. You only get one chance at life and I decided “I deserved a happy, “normal” life”. I stayed in an unhappy marriage because I was living in fear and trying to please others. At the end of the day you need to live “your life.”
I have met some amazing people on this journey and I am loving learning and meeting new and inspiring people every day.
Thank you to everyone that has embraced Ankalia and supported me on my “great escape” and this mid-life creative detour.
I would love to hear your story too about any big risk you’ve taken or any big challenge you’ve faced. I remember the words that really resonated with me was when a friend said to me “you only stay in that marriage because you think that’s all you deserve. I decided I “deserved” a happy, normal relationship.
Sending you lots of love and please share your story with me too!