March 04, 2020guest feature
IWD Part 2: Top Tips from our Favourite Female Founders
Continuing our celebration of International Women's Day 2020, we caught up with some of our favourite and most inspiring female founders, including the trailblazing Ruby Hammer MBE, the multi-talented Ella Mills and beauty diversity advocate Dr Ateh Jewel.
Each of the women featured have created extraordinary businesses and all have a unique perspective to share. They inspire us in different ways and we hope you enjoy some of the pearls of wisdom they have to offer in response to this question:
"What's the one piece of advice you wish you had known before you started your business?"
Ruby Hammer MBE
Co-Founder, Ruby & Millie and Founder of Ruby Hammer
"I wish we had negotiated a better deal with Boots to treat Ruby & Millie as a stand alone brand. Even with the success it so far achieved, we could have been a true global brand today as we were ahead of the curve in being inclusive and diverse in multiple retail areas with a luxury perception but still affordable."
Founder, Deliciously Ella
"The no. 1 thing I wish I’d known is that there’s an answer to everything, nothing is as final as it can feel and you just have to get to that solution as quickly as possible. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, don’t panic, know that everyone fails and everyone makes mistakes, just fail fast and learn from those mistakes so that you don’t make them again."
"Building a business doesn't happen overnight - unfortunately! Be patient, set shorter term goals and don't stress over a five year plan - just get going!"
"I guess it would be run a mile from a start up! But seriously, I guess it would be don't try and please all the people all of the time. When we started out we would get lots of requests from customers asking for this, that and the other and we were desperate to help and say yes to everything, not really thinking through the consequences of each decision. And they definitely had consequences. Keeping focused is incredibly difficult but incredibly important."
Dr Ateh Jewel
"I wish I could have loved my body and soul a little bit more. I was very driven and worked crazy 16 -18 hours days. I would often fuel writing sessions with caffeine, sugar and little sleep. The results were a huge body of work I am very proud of, but also my real body took a battering. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2016 as a result. At 22, I didn’t think I needed to take care of myself. I just wanted to be successful. I see now success is not only creating work you are proud of but loving yourself, your tribe, your surroundings, nature and feeding your spirit with people and experiences, which make them soar. Also the greatest satisfaction comes from when you give, it’s counter intuitive but you get so much more in return."
"You can do it all, but not on the same day. My hardest but greatest learning is that things take time. It sounds so obvious, but when you have a vision - the time it takes to make it happen can be frustrating. I wish someone could have told me, it's going to be a slow ride, strap in and enjoy it."
"Honestly, that running a business in the 21st century is a 24 hour a day job where you're front and centre of your brand every day. The importance of being transparent, authentic and true to your values has never been greater. While it can feel like you need to take life one day at a time, don't be too hard on yourself on the day to day - long term and brand loyalty is what matters. Looking after yourself matters more."
Founder, Stay Wild Swim
"My one bit of advice I wish I had known, is that no one really knows what they are doing. I think we can get caught up in the fear we need to know more before we launch a business. But actually the best idea is to just jump in and learn as you go, that’s what we have done. Oh and to always go with your gut!"
Sarah Ann Macklin
"That making change isn’t always the easiest thing, but it will be the most rewarding. Never forget the reason why you set out on your mission, as it will keep you going when times become tough."
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