International Women’s Day is a United Nations–sanctioned global holiday that aims to celebrate women’s contributions to society and raise awareness to the areas of society that need to improve to reach gender equality. At No.1 Media we use it as way to amplify women’s voices and however you choose to celebrate it, we are here to listen and learn. This week we are spotlighting some of Irelands most beloved businesswomen and entrepreneurs.
Each year has an official theme, but unofficially, many people use it as a day to remember all the women that have made an impact in their lives through sharing International Women’s Day quotes, thoughtful messages, and more. Right now, we are all apart so what better way to bring us together than engage some of our favourite most vibrant women in an interview.
What does IWD mean to you?
Marian Wright Edelman said: “You can’t be what you can’t see” I believe International Women’s Day is a time for everyone, regardless of gender or gender identity, to celebrate the progress that women have made. IWD is a day to recognise how far we have come towards gender equality. Women everywhere are motivated by hearing women share their experiences, triumphs, knowledge, and advice. It is a day for all women to be celebrated with love, respect, and gratitude. I believe by coming together in recognition and celebration of all women we can all help create an inclusive world.
What does your role entail?
I split my time between two roles Director of Hair Café and Creative Director Annutri. Normally my role for Hair Café consists of Customer Services, HR, Marketing and Operations plus Developing sales goals for the team and ensuring they are met. Training staff and helping develop their skills. But sadly, my day has very much changed due to the temporary closure of my salon Hair Café. There is no blueprint for what my industry is facing and like many all I can do is to try change my strategies to keep up with the current situation and keep the business afloat. We are doing this by trading online and selling our customers their much-loved Hair Care products.
Annutri has now become the focus of my time. The focus with Annutri is sourcing other salon owners who want to become stockists of GROW IT. I also look after all the collaborations with designers, copywriters, sales, PR, and the marketing to produce creative content and awareness of GROW IT. I am charged with heading advertising strategies and I oversee projects, events and product launches and discovering and exploring new opportunities for Annutri.
But my favourite part of my role is building relationships with new and existing customers. I am so passionate about helping salons with their revenue intake and especially in these unprecedented times. But most of all I am filled with so much joy and happiness when I see how GROW IT by Annutri has helped so many people restore their confidence after hair loss. There is a lot of multi-tasking involved, but my belief is that if you are passionate and whole heartedly want something, it can be done!
What have been some of the biggest struggles and triumphs as a woman in business?
For me personally it has always been juggling my career and being the best mother to my sons. Like most mothers we bite off more than we can chew, which is typically what I do but now it is exacerbated by the current climate. As women we are facing new challenges, at work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is the increased pressure of managing the household plus all the childcare responsibilities, and like most working mothers 2020 and 2021 these have been challenging and at times extremely overwhelming. But to be honest and like most people, I am still trying to navigate my way through this new environment! Many mothers are often left feeling guilt-ridden and that is the norm, but my hope is that my sons can one day see me as a role model for success and living a life of purpose. In short, we just must get it done.
What skills are important to have in your sector?
The business world is changing, and that means we need to adapt. But we do not just want to react to a change, we want to shape and move with it. In my opinion adaptability is an important skill for any sector in our current climate. The key is to remember we are not our marketplace and having the skills to see the world through other’s eyes.
Being human, successful businesses are built on real communication and real relationships. Running a business is about leadership, building partnerships, motivating customers to buy products, and empowering employees to deliver with passion and purpose! Every business transaction ultimately has a human being at both ends.
Focus and discipline are critical to success and that is not always a skill that comes easily, especially now with the world becoming harder for even the most disciplined among us, but this is a something we must at least try to master!
What are the current challenges for women in your sector?
I think the elephant in the room here is the challenges we are experiencing due to COVID-19 pandemic. The feelings of hopelessness were a common feeling among all hair and beauty specialists throughout much of 2020. Understandably with lockdowns, closing of salons, employee and customer safety and new safety regulations it is easy to lose your sense of drive and direction. 2021 has not been any different, in fact many of us will continue to feel unhinged and uncertain about what to do, or where to go next. “Have I enough financial stability to stay afloat? What should I do next? How do I keep my staff engaged and customers loyal to the business? These are the uncertainties that make even the most headstrong business owners doubt themselves and their future in the world of hair and beauty. Therefore, I am so grateful to have been able to launch a product like GROW IT that salons can sell online to help bring some revenue through their doors.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
Let me rephrase that question if I may. What are the biggest opportunities for the next generation of women? I feel is more appropriate. The lessons and experiences we take from the current situation and the impact it has had on the way we work, run our businesses, organise our homes means, in my view, we will not go back to the same,
of that I am sure. The next generation of women have a real opportunity to embrace those changes and bring forward the feminine face of embodied leadership. The time is right, as mothers, business owners, empowered leaders to bring in a new era that will impact our world for the future for us all. For it to succeed, the time is now to start building and creating opportunities for the next generation to follow that path forward. As for the next generation of women I would ask. Are ready? Let us seize the opportunities that will emerge once we are through this, and connect, empower, and celebrate the feminine face of embodied leadership.
Describe the 3 characteristics about yourself that you believe led to your success in business.
The most exciting part of my role is building relationships and meeting new people. Fundamentally business is built on “people buying from people they know like and trust” I feel I have a natural ability as a ‘people person’, I am a good communicator, so this part of my job comes naturally to me! I love being in the flow of meeting, learning, and connecting with new people. Secondly, I am an “ideas women” so innovation and bringing new ideas to better staffing challenges, staff motivation and growth, better business structures, innovative ways to market to our customers.
What woman has positively impacted/inspired you in your career, and what is one lesson she taught you?
There are many women that have inspired me but one of the most impactful experiences I have had is joining Network Dublin. I was welcomed into a group of genuine people who are wholly committed to helping each other. I received a huge amount of valuable support from the group members. It was through that encouragement and support over the years that gave me the courage to take leap of faith and open my first business. The icing on the cake was winning Businesswomen of the Year. The most important lesson I have learnt is surround yourself with people who believe in you and who you want to measure up too!
What is a daily or weekly ritual you have that contributes to your ongoing success?
Personal growth is something I try and invest my time in regularly. It is more than just an investment in your career, it is an investment in your growth, awareness, and identity. Every time I attend a training, read a book, or study I always get new ideas and inspiration. Also, each morning I start my day with completing my gratitude journal. I have learnt over the years that success does not come before happiness. Once you become happy, success naturally follows.
What is something interesting you are currently working on? Personal or professional
We are currently working on launching into the UK market and currently under development is Annutri’s next product
by Mary-Jane O’Regan