One of our most frequently asked questions, as women in business is...'what is the most difficult part about being women in business?'
What we should be asking ourselves and others is, 'how has being a woman helped you get to where you are today?' We're fortunate enough to live in a country where being a woman doesn't necessarily mean the path to success is harder, you just have to have more confidence and conviction in what you're doing, that is however easier said than done.
Of course, it goes without question that the majority of the time we've been shown the utmost professionalism and respect, and we're very grateful to be doing business in a world where being a woman actually means something. The opportunity to be a 'business woman' is something we feel very privileged to have, and we'll always wear our ovaries on our sleeve and give it as good as any man would, maybe even more!
Here are our 5 things we'd tell our younger selves as women starting in business, we hope it's helpful to anyone feeling like they need a little boost right now.
1. Imposter syndrome is a real thing, but don't let it get the better of you.
It's something that we've never consciously been aware of, but to be honest, it took quite a few years for us to actually think of ourselves as business women. On reflection, that in itself is quite a problematic attitude to have, to think of ourselves as anything but 'business women' makes it sound as if we don't deserve the title. Imposter syndrome is a real thing and we are as guilty of it as anyone else who might confuse success and hard work with luck and good fortune. It's something we're working on overcoming more, and after 7 years in business you'd think it would be easy but it's not. If anyone else is feeling the same then we just wanted to say we think it's completely normal and you're not alone in feeling this way.
2. It's not luck, it's hard f*cking work.
We've always maintained that we are just two 'normal' girls (or now we're in our 30's, I guess definitely women) from our small home town Barry who had a lot of ambition and we channeled that into creating and starting a beauty brand, that eventually evolved through a lot of hard work, blood sweat and tears into a pretty amazing business. A lot of the time we think of ourselves as 'lucky', but again, that isn't necessarily true, no one can build a business and a strong (all female) team on just luck alone. We didn't win the lottery or inherit an influential family, we are very lucky to have the one we do, but luck isn't what made this business appear from the ground up, so that's important to remember for anyone who has achieved something, you have done that.
3. You are a business woman, now own it.
One of the things we tend to do, which we have to stop is self deprecating. We've often been told we need to shout out a bit louder about what we've achieved, regardless of the fact that our success came from a more unconventional route it doesn't make it less of an achievement, so if this is you too, then remember a lot of people are looking to you with admiration and not envious of your success you just need to have the confidence to own it. It's finding a right balance between these things...we were trying to use all women for the quotes but this one was too good!
4. When women support women, magic happens.
It's only on reflection when we take the time to look back over the last 7 years, we see moments that have been hard, were probably made more difficult because of the fact that at the time we were two girls in our 20's. On some occasions we actually sat back and said 'I bet they wouldn't have said that if we were two blokes' or 'I wonder if we had a man with us in that meeting would it have been the same'.
So while we are very proud of what we have been through and achieved so far, we are sad to admit that being two women in business has had it's challenges.
On the flip side though, and this is the best bit, all of the most amazing opportunities we've had have been brought to us by women! This just goes to show that we are not in competition, we are meant to collaborate and when we do, the rest better be ready!!
5. Success can mean many different things.
You should never feel pressured to achieve anything, and also one person's measure of success may be entirely different to your own. So while we always want to inspire you to go after your dreams, if right now you're simply seeking happiness then work towards that. Everything is possible, that is the most important thing to take away from this blog post and if you feel something is important, then give all your energy to that and don't let anyone stop you. Be kind to yourself, you're your own boss at the end of the day, so give yourself a break! You deserve it.
Lots of love, Sophie & Hannah