Women in business: Veronica Lamond, Landy Books

By Growth & Skills Hub - 04th March 2020

In the lead up to International Womens Day we spoke to some inspirational businesswomen here in Cornwall. What a wealth and talent and passion we have in the County!

 

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your business.

I started writing, illustrating and publishing my children’s picture books 10 years ago, whilst working full time as a manager at a medical centre in North Cornwall. I write warm-hearted stories about two old animated Land Rovers and their energetic young owners in Cornwall and have self-published nine titles so far. All my illustrations are hand drawn and painted and inspired by what I see around my local area.

My past work has been in the field of therapy with people on the autistic spectrum and children with emotional difficulties.  
 

2. If you were to turn back time and give yourself one piece of advice before you started your business what would it be?

If you asked me what advice I would have given myself as a young adult I would say ‘Be brave, stand up for yourself and don’t rely on anyone else for your happiness’.

But by the time I got to starting up my business at 54, I’d learnt all this the hard way. Looking back over the last 10 years, I think I did everything I could do to make my books how I wanted them to be.
 

3. Who is the most important woman in your life and how have they influenced you?

My mother.  She was resilient, open to life and changes, a good listener and she overcame her fears and did work that she never dreamed she would do. She started the whole relationships and sex education programme in South Africa in the 1970s, wrote several books on the subject and was a perceptive poet, who was loved by many people.
 

4. What is your proudest achievement in business so far?

Self-publishing nine books and selling over 95,000 of them, is my big achievement.  For the first eight years I was also working as a manager at a medical centre, so it was a very hard work but, my belief and passion for what I was creating, drove me on.

Being asked to create a Landy book about the Defender Land Rover Factory in Solihull, two weeks before they stopped production was a wonderful challenge for me. I was given free access to the whole factory, which was opened especially for me on a Sunday, so I could access the reference images I needed for my story.
 

5. Have you had to face any struggles in business and how have you overcome them?

Yes, I was rejected by a publisher when I first set out and so reluctantly turned to self-publishing by borrowing money from my mother. It turned out that it was the best thing that could have happened; it has given me the opportunity to pursue my work in freedom and publish when I want to.

Being self-published also gave me the freedom to create two animations of my work on Youtube, negotiate a publishing deal in South Africa with Penguin Random House and now I’m busy negotiating publishing a series of American Landy books.

My other worst moment was after I’d published three books, I received a letter from Jaguar Land Rover saying I’d breached copyright by illustrating Land Rovers and was immediately shut down. Many people told me to argue with them, but I held firm and kept a friendly correspondence with them and, in the end, I was granted a licence for my work. Jaguar Land Rover only has 16 licence holders, so that was an achievement.
 

6. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, championing the individual actions we can all take to challenge stereotypes, broaden perceptions and celebrate women’s achievements. What does equality mean to you and what can we all do to forge a gender equal workplace?

I think in my life, my biggest struggle with equality was in my marriage where I had to constantly put my needs on hold for the sake of my husband’s. It eventually led me to find the courage to be true to myself and, through sheer hard work, I took my life where it needed to go, whilst embracing the responsibility of bringing up my three children on my own.

Be brave, stand up for yourself and don’t rely on anyone else for your happiness.

- Veronica Lamond, Landy Books
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