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. Karen and Grace are beauty gurus and distribute the most sought-after brands within Ireland.
What does IWD mean to you?
KAREN- I think it is an especially important day to celebrate the women of today’s world and to remember the women of the past who fought so hard for independence and equality. It is also so important to celebrate Women’s achievements to date while trying to teach the younger generation about equality and human rights globally!
What does your role entail?
KAREN- So my role on a day-to-day basis alongside my business partner, is to lead our teams in many departments, such as Finance, sales, operations, marketing, training and social media, and make the brands we carry easily accessible for our customers. While supporting our stockists and clients and working alongside our distribution partners, with marketing meetings etc.,
From picking orders and unpacking boxes to zoom meetings now, finding new brands and developing current brands, the list is endless!
What have been some of the biggest struggles and triumphs as a woman in business?
What skills are important to have in your sector?
GRACE-Resilience – the beauty industry is not easy; it is ever changing and full of competitors. You need to be resilient to it all. Have a clear vision of you, what you are about and what you are trying to achieve. You need to be adaptable, if COVID-19 has taught us anything is that things can change in an instant. You must be able to change with them to survive.
What are the current challenges for women in your sector?
KAREN- It’s important to have more Female entrepreneurs in the business, in all business. We all know women go through lots of challenges such as gender discrimination, gender pay gaps etc., and more. We loved being part of Going for Growth, which is a brilliant support group for Female Entrepreneurs and found it fantastic.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
GRACE-I think the hardest thing for the younger generation will be uniqueness. Our world now is bombarded with products, ideas, new ways of doing things. You cannot reinvent the wheel; you need to think outside the box. Breaking through the noise of social media will be the hardest part.
Describe the 3 characteristics about yourself that you believe led to your success in business.
KAREN- Hard work, commitment, and drive.
You must be prepared to work hard, and often more than not to have to sacrifice important times or things, to recognise your mistakes and learn from them.
The sacrifices will be worth it when you have employment for your colleagues, and you see growth in the business.
What woman has positively impacted/inspired you in your career, and what is one lesson she taught you?
KAREN- For me, it would have to be my mother. She is one of the hardest working women i have ever met, through lots of obstacles she kept on pushing on, who was a huge inspiration to me that you get up, get dressed and turn up no matter what! It is where I get my work drive from.
GRACE-My Mother, she has always been my balance and keeps me grounded. The belief she has in me inspires me to keep on pushing on.
What do you do on a regular basis to celebrate your woman self?
GRACE- I actually think this is a really interesting question. Honestly, not much. And I think that is a problem. I think as women we just get on with it, we complete one task or tick one thing off the list and just get onto the next without taking a step back and acknowledging what we have just done, how hard it was, how sweet the success was or anything. But it is up to us to change the narrative and take those moments to celebrate how amazing we are, all that we do and all that we will continue to do.
What is a daily or weekly ritual you have that contributes to your ongoing success?
GRACE- Communication. Myself and my business partner communicate every day, whether we are beside each other or not. Without communication we cannot drive the business forward and navigate the waves the past year has thrown at us.
What is something interesting you are currently working on? Personal or professional.
KAREN- Professionally – both Grace and I are working on developing the business and adding to our family at KAREHOUSE, our work family is important to us. Lots of plans are done for the next 3, 5 and 10 years so fingers crossed!
by Mary-Jane O’Regan