Karen Hanton is the founder of PetsPyjamas, which reflects the important place pets can have in people’s lives and offers dog-friendly travel holiday ideas amongst lots of other things! PetsPyjamas supports and works closely with a few chosen charities and strongly encourages those who want a pet to source one from an animal rescue centre. She is also the inspired partner of sustainability site Positive Luxury. Read more.
In your own words, what do you do?
Create things that didn’t exist before.
Which is your favourite part of your job?
Helping others unlock their potential and achieve things they never thought they could do.
Which is the part that you enjoy the least?
When whatever it is I’m doing gets so big that I can’t know everyone really well – I am best and really enjoy the early stages of a business. And it’s never easy telling people they need to move on but that’s the job and has to be done …
Who is your greatest influence?
Different people at different stages of life/business. Feels like it’s very important early in life to be told you can achieve anything you set out to do, which my mother always told me I could – so it’s probably her.
Best advice you’ve been given?
Believe in yourself.
What was your Plan B?
If entrepreneurs thought about needing a Plan B, Plan A would never get off the ground.
Your personal indulgence?
Snatching an hour to quietly read a book. I know how well I think my enterprises are going by how often I feel I can do that. Has been quite good lately…
How do you like to travel?
I love to take my dog Wilson along where ever I go. Travel by train is my favourite as he is welcome on all train lines around the UK and I get to do some reading as above!
What steps do you take to make your life more sustainable?
I was brought up on a croft (small farm) in Aberdeen and recycling was what we did as a matter of course way before anybody had put a label on it. It was a farming community and we always shared resources like recycling clothes, bartering things like food, producing very little waste and other stuff like sharing farm implements. This is how I continue to live – except perhaps sharing farm implements!
Any regrets so far?
No, not really. You just have to keep looking forward and trying to do better in all aspects of life and try to bring positivity to as many people you come in contact with as you can.
Favourite sustainable hotel or other place to stay?
Rusticae is a revolutionary group of boutique hotels that have had a major impact in Spain. It’s quality over quantity, and they work hard to preserve the artistic and cultural heritage of the communities and landscapes around them.
What must happen now to help make our planet more sustainable?
It must be now that we reward and incentivise good sustainability practices for individuals and at corporate level through things like the taxation system, because the harsh reality is that people and companies will often more likely do things for financial benefit rather than anything else. The younger generation are better citizens in this respect, so I think good progress is being made and will continue to be made.
Hotels or other places to stay who walk the talk on sustainability in your experience?
The private Song Saa resort in Cambodia is completely made out of recycled materials and the resort’s founders also created the country’s first marine reserve. The food is locally sourced and there are all the things you could need from a luxury stay, from jungles to private pools – but it’s luxury that treds lightly. Now I just need to get Wilson a passport!
If you could have one hour with a world leader, who would it be and what would you say?
Nelson Mandala – and I would ask him how a belief can sustain you for 26 years.