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Sophie Billi-Hardwick

Female Founder Spotlight: Sophie Billi-Hardwick

7 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder

IWD Inspirational Female Founders Spotlight:Sophie Billi-Hardwick
IWD Inspirational Female Founders Spotlight:Sophie Billi-Hardwick

After getting a degree in Media & Communications in Lyon (France), Sophie moved to London in 2009 where she graduated in Events Management from Leeds Met University. Over the last decade she worked internationally across a wide spectrum of industry from Sports and Design to Media and Tech. In the industry she is referred to as being a mature strategic marketer with a talent for getting projects delivered both fast & flawlessly. She has made a huge difference to the brands and agencies she worked with including WIRED, Havas Group, the London 2012 Olympics and XYZ. 

Her people skills enabled her to build a strong network amongst her peers and her reputation of managing with integrity, fairness and passion is widely recognised amongst the teams she works with.   Before taking the plunge in entrepreneurship, Sophie was New Business and Marketing Director at Media and advertising agency Havas. Since 2017 she’s worked at award winning experiential agency XYZ as New Business & Marketing Director, alongside being part of the Senior Management Team, winning pitches for the likes of Tanqueray, Major League Baseball and Apple. 

In April 2019 she joined the startup course Escape the City, where she learned the basics of launching a business, in the view to launch the first MVP of what is now Billi London.  Billi London is the world’s first brand to create revolutionary biodegradable tights, decomposing in five years in landfill versus traditional tights requiring 40 to 100 years to decompose. Co-founders Sophie & Marie are turning tights into an iconic item for women’s wardrobe, safe in the knowledge that sustainability was not compromised for durability, softness, and sensuality.

What would you love to share to encourage other women to start their own business?

You don’t need a ground breaking idea to start a business or to reinvent the wheel. Remember the second mover advantage and that every creative process is stealing something from somewhere. All you need is passion, drive and a bunch of good people around you because execution will be everything!

What are your 5 top tips for entrepreneurial success?

  1. Before even starting up, write on a piece of paper your guiding values, what success means to you and why you really want to start a business. This will help you stay focus and choose between conflicting options. 
  2. Be obsess with the problem you are trying to solve, not the solution. So never forget your WHY and which change you want to drive.
  3. Don’t keep it for yourself, the right people will want to help, your passion will be infectious. 
  4. Despite the negative societal impact of COVID-19, I’ve witnessed some unexpected act of generosity and togetherness, both towards complete strangers and our network. The power of the community has been stronger than the virus, and having a meaningful purpose is what will keep you alive in 2021 and beyond.
  5. Self-care, look after yourself, know your limit. 

Who are the 5 women who inspire you the most?

Michelle Obama 

Ellen MacArthur


Sheryl Sandberg

Marie Bouhier, my co-founder 

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

“Everything happen for a reason”

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