We all have our own stories and tales to tell of how Tilletts came to be a part of our lives and why it has had a lasting effect on us. Mine will of course differ from yours, as will that of the next person and so on. Ultimately the one thing we all have in common is the end destination of our journey, Tilletts. I have wanted to tell you all my story for some time now but as the business continues to blossom and reach out even further to more of you fabulous ladies, finding a minute to put pen to paper can be difficult. Thankfully, today I have found that minute!
I hope this will give you a better understanding of how I came to be the Sheryl you all know today and why Tilletts is much more than just a ladies clothing company and a place of work. So, if we are all sitting comfortably I will begin...
I was 16 when my Dad died suddenly of a Heart Attack. My Mum and he had been separated since I was 10 and she had later gone on to marry my Stepdad, Derek when I was 12. By this point I had spent the last 6 years seeing my Dad each & every weekend, and I doted on him. I admired him for his love of animals, his wicked sense of humour and impeccable music taste. Throughout my childhood I always had a very close relationship with my Dad and my Mum but being so alike my Father meant I developed an affinity with him that I have only ever been able to replicate with my husband, Ashley. When he was snatched away so quickly, a huge hole developed inside me that I would subsequently spend years trying to fix but never able to fill.
This traumatic event sparked the very beginning of my battle with depression & anxiety and sadly the start of my unhealthy relationship with food and my own body image. Within a year of my dad's untimely death I had put on a couple of stone and had become somewhat of a recluse. At 17 years old, I was miserable and made the conscious decision to get back to my former bubbly self. To achieve this all I would need to do is become slim again because after all, if I was slim then that would mean I would be happy again. Right?
So, I lost the weight, I looked great but you guessed it, I was still unhappy. Even though everyone was constantly telling me how amazing I looked and how well I had done, I still felt fat, uncomfortable and out of place. This was a pattern that would follow me around for the next 13 years. Now of course, I look back at photos of myself from this time and I would give anything to have that figure and energy again. I wish I could tell my younger self to believe people when they told me I looked beautiful and to enjoy the moments because they will fly by so fast.
I’m sorry to say I spent a good 10 to 15 years not savouring the moments and never fully letting myself be happy. It’s pretty hard to have fun when the voice in your head is constantly berating you and scaring you into hiding away - not to mention being emotionally and mentally exhausting. Eventually there comes a point that every outing becomes something to dread, fear and avoid. Towards the latter part of my 20's I pretty much stopped going out altogether and hanging out with friends in public places. I was so sore and bruised from the mental beatings I had given myself for the last decade that I didn't have the energy to fight anymore.
I was at my very lowest and my toughest battle each day was simply trying to get dressed. The thought alone was so overwhelming that it would often end in a panic attack with my husband trying to console and comfort me. This was not your average ‘I Have Nothing to Wear’ tantrum, this was a daily meltdown on what should be the easiest of tasks. Picking something to wear to the corner shop for a 2-minute visit would take close to an hour before I was comfortable enough to leave the house. All I wanted was to not be noticed, to pass strangers by without fear of them looking at me. Soon enough leaving the sanctuary of my home became an impossible thought.
I had been signed off work for several months with Vertigo of which I later found out was a symptom of my Fibromyalgia however, all this time at home only exacerbated my depression and anxiety and I was at my lowest ebb. Then, something wonderful happened….
My MRI’s had come back clear, and the Doctor had finally given me the go ahead to return to work. I did not want to return to my previous role and opted for a fresh start. Pretty quickly into my search I came across Tilletts who were advertising a Customer Service Vacancy – I had lots of experience in this area and I also had purchased a couple of items from them before in store a year or so earlier and so I was familiar with the Company. At this point I wasn’t aware they had now transitioned to Online and I was delighted when I saw the Advert as my previous work had also been in Ecommerce. I began looking through the site and ordered myself several items (in my husband’s name – I didn’t want them to think I was a suck up after all!).
Now, unfortunately the items arrived the day after my Interview but luckily, I still managed to impress Jess without wearing Tilletts attire as she called me the same day (Friday) to offer me a trial and start on Monday. I accepted and the following day I opened my parcel. As you know Ladies, a Tilletts parcel is always a delight without exception but this parcel was more than that, this parcel actually changed my life! I tried on the clothes and…they all fit…. they all looked great AND I wasn’t uncomfortable, which was huge for me. I couldn’t quite believe it, I had avoided shopping for so long that to receive an order where everything fit me and fit me well was mind blowing. For the first time in a long time, I went out with my husband that weekend in my new Tilletts clothes and I felt incredible. I was out in the open, I had picked my clothes without any drama and left the house. I had forgotten what that felt like, it was extraordinary!
Fast forward 1 x Year and my position had changed from Head of Customer Experience which I had proudly handed over to the gorgeous Donna and I was now Head of Content. My wardrobe was overflowing with Tilletts clothing and not much of anything else AND I had posted several photos of myself in VIP while appearing in a couple of Live’s. My panic attacks had long stopped at the thought of leaving the house or simply getting dressed and was now reserved for unsettling situations only. Suffering with Anxiety is a lifelong deal and I’m grateful that for the most part I have control of it now since working at Tilletts, but it will always be there and there will always be occasions where I struggle and I’m ok with that.
2018 was full of challenges for me personally and I’m proud to say I made it out the other side. My intention last year was to lose excess weight in order to improve the pains and symptoms of my Fibromyalgia, but as the late, great John Lennon said ‘Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans’. After such a difficult and emotional year, it’s easy to lose your way but amongst all the chaos, I had a constant in my life keeping me on track, keeping me sane and that was Tilletts.
Unfortunately, diets do tend to go out of the window during times of turmoil and now we are in February 2019 and I’m pretty much where I was physically this time last year. Does that matter? Well no not really, it’s never too late to make a change right! I will cut back, eat better and exercise more but no matter my shape or circumstance, one thing will remain the same.
My size will forever and always be……One Size - Tilletts Size.
Thank you for reading.
Sheryl & Team Tillett xx
Author: Sheryl Gibson-Hill
If any of you lovely ladies would like to share the story of your ‘Tilletts Journey’, please feel free to contact me.