This browser is outdated and doesn't fully support our website.
To better enjoy your customer experience, please either update your current browser, or switch to a different browser.
Carmen Hijosa interview by BOSS Carmen Hijosa interview by BOSS
BOSS Voices – Carmen Hijosa
“Concentrate on what you are good at and get others to do what you cannot do”

In five years, Carmen Hijosa has gone from PhD student to founder and Chief Creative and Innovation Officer of her own for-profit company, Ananas Anam. BOSS speaks to the award-winning ethical entrepreneur about giving back and getting ahead - on her terms.

Image of ethical entrepreneur Carmen HijosaImage of ethical entrepreneur Carmen Hijosa
  • Five years ago, you were studying for a PhD, today; you’re an award-winning ethical entrepreneur. How have you come so far in such a short space of time?
    The PhD was the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. It was the last stage of a journey that took about 10 years to complete – so not that short!
  • When you started out on this journey, did you realise the impact your work would have?

    You start a journey with a vision, and in my vision, the impact my work would have was always a key factor and a strong motivator.

  • You gained a PhD from the Royal College of Art, London when you were 62 years old. What prompted you to want to go back to education?

    To me, age doesn’t come into it. I had a vision, I needed to conduct my research and be surrounded by like-minded people that could support and understand my ideas and product development. I think that doing my PhD at the RCA at that time was great. I was in the right place at the right time. Simple.

  • How would you describe the experience of setting up your own business? Did you face challenges you didn’t think you would?

    Setting up your own business is not for the faint-hearted; it takes a lot of determination, sacrifice, energy and (in my case) a strong belief that all the above will bring positive changes and opportunities to others and the environment. Yes, of course, you face challenges that you did not even know existed, but this is a part of starting out. The important thing is to embrace all that comes your way and grow through the challenges, both as a human being and as a company.

  • Did you ever feel like you had to work harder to get where you are because you are a woman?

    Absolutely! It’s still the case today. But as you gain experience and wisdom, and become stronger, it is easier to hold your position and take no nonsense from anyone.

  • When it comes to business, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

    “Concentrate on what you are good at and get others to do what you cannot do."

  • As founder and Chief Creative and Innovation Officer of your own company, does leading come naturally to you or is it something you've had to learn along the way?

    Both my parents are self-employed, and their parents before them. If you combine this background with a rebellious streak and a habit for not taking no for an answer, it’s a good indicator that you’re a doer and not a follower. When you have clear and strong ideas that are pioneering and transformative on top of this, it easily brings you to a position of leadership.

  • Has the idea of giving back – to people and the environment – always appealed to you? How does this carry across into your personal life?

    Yes, I think it’s very much in my nature. I can truly say that I never think about personal compensation when I develop something or start a project, but what impact it would have as a whole.

  • Do you have a motto – a phrase that you try to live by?

    It’s a bit private but translated into English it means: “to care and have respect for people and the planet”.

  • Do you feel like sustainable start-ups like yours deserve attention?

    Yes, I do! This is a critical time in the history of our planet, with the impact of global warming, and sustainable practices being a must - not just for start-ups but also for every company striving for a better world. As such, this attention is important and serves a good cause.

  • Why should people care about their environmental footprint?

    Simply because we have no other planet to go to.

  • What are your plans for the future? Is there anything else you want to achieve?

    Of course, there are lots of things I want to achieve. I have a long list of ideas that will, one by one, become wonderful projects. Watch this space…

Responsible sneakers

Shop now