Inspirational entrepreneur moves into Farsley’s Sunny Bank Mills

Michelle at Sunny Bank Mills, with (l-r) co-managing directors John and William Gaunt.

By Robert Beaumont

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 in her new studio at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley.

Michelle, who lives in Horsforth, studied Geography at Birmingham University, before taking an acting course in Los Angeles.

“Whilst I loved acting, I soon realised 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.

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.

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