Celebrating International Women's Day 2023
Today on International Women's Day, we are honoured to bring you a special interview with four of our favourite international women who are making a significant impact in the beauty business. Meet Nirisha Haines from Audere Beaute (Mauritius), Alison Benison from The Jamila (Bahrain), Veronica To from Lady Lohas (Hong Kong), and Jane Hong from Onda Beauty (USA).
These women are passionate about empowering and uplifting women, and use their businesses as a platform to create positive change. In our interview, we ask what IWD means to them, and discuss their journeys, the challenges they faced, and the lessons they learned. We hope their stories inspire you as much as they inspired us.
1. What does International Women's Day mean to you?
NH: "I personally think that International Women's day has lost some of its meaning. As a woman, I see the struggle and disparity that my gender face on a daily basis. However, I don't see many impactful measures being taken.
For me, I would like International Women's day to be a day where we put emphasis on the concrete actions being taken to bring us to gender equality as well as put a spotlight on some of the issues that women still face globally."
AB: "IWD for me is a celebration of women globally: their knowledge and intuition, their passion, their inner strength, their multi tasking abilities. We are a business of women, the majority of the brands we stock are female owned and operated and we support them and lift them up! In turn, they support women in their businesses - lifting them out of poverty through higher wages, flexible work arrangements, charitable donations and education. It makes me so happy to know that we contribute to that through wellness products."
VT: "IWD is a day to celebrate! It's a big day to celebrate who we are as women, regardless of nationality, age or whatever. This day is a reminder that every woman in this world should be fearless in being who we are. This day reminds the world of the achievements and contributions of women. It's also a day to remind ourselves that we should all believe in our worth and never stop planting the seeds of gender equality for our next generation."
JH: "International Women's Day is, quite naturally, an opportunity to honor and celebrate women: all the amazing things that we are and things that we do. We're often mothers and career women and friends...we wear so many hats and have so many responsibilities, yet we get it all done with grace and good humor (most days!)
And of course, Onda was founded by women, the majority of our brand founders are women, and our core team is made up entirely of women. So it is very much a sisterhood, a place where we support and lift each other up. We all feel quite lucky to be a part of this family."
2. What challenges did you face growing your business into what it is today, and what advice would you give female entrepreneurs wanting to start their own business?
NH: "Business is hard whether you are a woman or man. The struggles I faced haven't necessarily been gender related but rather a nature of being an entrepreneur. But If I had one piece of advice to give, it would be for women in business to be more assertive. Our core nature and societal construct impede us from being more assertive with our needs, ideas and achievements."
AB: "For me, it has been one huge juggling act to grow The Jamila whilst remain present for my family! Making sure I get as much done as possible while my children are at school, being home for them and prepping dinner for the whole family. Then doing a little more work with international suppliers or social media when they are in bed. My husband had faith in me and encouraged me to go for it all those years ago. It’s incredible to see how far we have come!
I would encourage every female I meet to create their own life and follow their dreams. I truly believe this is how we break the glass ceiling - by working for ourselves and writing our own rules and setting the course for our destiny. The way to get there - is to really focus on what your are passionate about, plan and budget every last detail (not the fun bit) and after the last few years, scale it back a bit and plan for any eventuality! Move along be step closer every day! Oh and meditate:) We know that each product purchased in our store contributes to a healthier person, healthier families, healthier communities and a healthier world. That rocks!"
VT: "As a business woman, my biggest passion is to remind people of the joys of self-care and wellness. I may sometimes question myself on the road of building the business, yet I’m thankful my lovely customers always remind me of how my skincare advice & products have completely improved their skin. Their trust & encouragement have strengthened my passion, and somehow became my driving force.
My advice is - Don't be afraid to implement your wild ideas. Stay enthusiastic and dare to change!"
JH: "I joined the business in the heart of COVID. As an experiential retailer, we were hit particularly hard with mandated store closures for months at a time. That being said, it was an opportunity to restructure, to truly rebuild the team for what we needed then and where we wanted to go, and so that's exactly what we did. Making difficult decisions in hard times is not easy to do, but it's the best thing for long-term resilience."
Our brand, founded by Saya McDermott, is built on the principles of empowerment, equality, and community. We are dedicated to supporting and empowering women, both in business and in their personally. Through our partnerships with inspiring women entrepreneurs, we are working to build a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for making a positive impact in the world. To hear more about why we started, watch our brand video.