To celebrate International Women’s Day last year, we asked women at the forefront of the grooming industry for their perspective on life, professional success, and business. Each are founding members of some of our favourite brands on Mankind, and we’re really excited to hear their insights.
Co-Founder of Omorovicza
I am an American and moved to Budapest when I was 27 years old when I was posted at the US Embassy to Hungary as a Diplomat. I am a mother of four and started Omorovicza with my husband Stephen 11 years ago.
Publishing, Diplomacy and Beauty…
Stephen and I launched Omorovicza after having been inspired by the transformational benefits of the Hungarian healing waters. We wanted to recreate the healing effects of these waters in skincare and also build our lives around beauty. An early break came when we were able to secure excellent distribution in the USA and UK …on the strength of those big names, we were able to open up other markets
I couldn’t pick one highlight to my career – there have been so many! Opening up our Budapest Institute, opening up at some of the world’s most iconic stores. However, my favourite times are always our annual holiday party as it is a great opportunity to look back and celebrate the year’s accomplishments.
I must say I have never faced a challenge professionally specifically due to being a woman. That said, I have been lucky to fall into careers where the work force is quite balanced between the fellas and ladies. Publishing, Diplomacy and Beauty.
If I could give one piece of advice to young women who want to get into business, it would be to try to do internships during University to get a better idea of the industries which interest you. This is a great way to weed things out, and that’s without mentioning making contact, which can help you secure a job when you graduate. I did a wide range of internships from working with an artist to being on a comedy talk show to magazine and even a bit of PR – all helped me zero in on what I found most exciting and I got a great job with one of them after University to boot.
The beauty industry is wonderful and full of inspiring people. To someone who wants to get into the world of beauty, I would suggest trying to find a mentor, someone to open a few doors and guide you through the inevitable ups and downs of any career.
At Omorovicza we are in a very exciting phase with lots of growth – we are building our own stores which will start opening later this year.
Co-Founder and Managing Director of ELEMIS
As Managing Director and Co-Founder at ELEMIS, I oversee all sorts of aspects of the business, everything from the commercials, to the spa, product and treatment elements of ELEMIS. Outside of work, I am a mum to a teenage daughter (who is inheriting her mother’s love of skin care), I am trained as a classical singer and am keen gardener. I also love swimming and go 5 times a week in the morning.
Being honoured with a Cosmetic Executive Women’s Achiever award – in an industry where there are so many powerful women – is one of my proudest moments…
I trained in Ireland over 27 years ago and attained CIDESCO and ITEC qualifications, which enabled me to open my own salon in Cork. This prepared me for business as it gave me a practical approach and good communication skills which is what day to day business is all about. Then my real drive started when I moved to New York to learn about holistic therapy where I studied Shiatsu, Reflexology and Aromatherapy for three years. On completion of my studies I returned to the UK to manage the Beauty Spa in Harvey Nichols, London.
My career highlight has to be being honoured with a Cosmetic Executive Women’s Achiever award – in an industry where there are so many powerful women – is one of my proudest moments, as well as being a mum! Also, a real turning point for ELEMIS was the launch of Pro-Collagen Marine Cream in 2003, which seemed like “the penny dropped moment” and it took the industry by storm. It remains my proudest product development achievement to date. I love that I have the opportunity to make a change to someone’s beauty regime and create products that fit their lifestyle.
My advice to someone looking to get into business is to give it a go! There is nothing worse than having regrets. Communicate your aspirations simply. Be passionate and committed and learn all you can. When you are young and taking your first steps in business, you won’t know how to manage people – this is something that can only come with time and experience. As the saying goes, “I wish I knew then what I know now”. It’s all a learning curve though, and over the years, you will come across so many different people from different age groups and different backgrounds, all of them with something to teach you. Management skills grow with you and the role. It doesn’t matter how many books you read; you need to be doing it to get better at it, learning on the job.
I am constantly inspired by the beauty industry – still as much now as I was then. You have to remain engaged and inspired. And I still am constantly inspired by how the skin works. I think you get back what you give, so be prepared to learn, give everything your all, be a good listener, be hungry for knowledge and the rest will all come into play!
Technology is a key driver in skincare innovation – and we celebrate this with the upcoming launch of Pro-Collagen Overnight Matrix, the next generation of Pro-Collagen. It contains Drone Peptide Technology, which acts as a targeted delivery system bringing a boost of anti-ageing actives and hydration to areas of skin that need it the most! Watch this space.
Founder of ARgENTUM Apothecary
As a redhead from South Africa, I definitely needed to stay out of the sun and moved to the UK at 18 to start my adventure. According to those I meet I still have not lost my accent, which sounds somewhat Australian having lived here for 24 years. I have 3 children, all boys ages 14, 13 and 8 – so I balance motherhood and career, as many woman do. We live in London with my partner, who is also ARgENTUM’s Creative Director, Sam Gray. Sam and I met at the beginning of ARgENTUM’s journey and our relationship has very much informed the inspiration behind the brands philosophy of love.
Become invaluable and those in charge (if they are any good) will take note…
Although I took a few years off my career to focus on being a mother, when I had the dream for ARgENTUM ~ the timing felt right. My career before that was an eclectic mix, with a focus on luxury marketing and not skincare and I think that inexperience inspired the unique way in which our customers engage with our brand and products. I focused on the things I coveted as a consumer, the things I felt were missing in and around skincare.
Sometimes we can feel frustrated in a job or industry that doesn’t feel like it represents our passion, but I believe working across many varied roles helps to form an overview of business, even if it is to establish how you do and don’t want to do things. It shapes an understanding, so I very much believe in ‘what’s for you won’t go by you’ and that sometimes we are just incubating until the magic is right.
When we do something creative and it ends up feeling 100% right – that type of moment hits my heart and I just know we are connecting. I never normally stop to muse on highlights in my career, but recently le savon lune won “best new facial cleanser” with OK Beauty Awards, and this recognition meant a lot as this product holds a special place in my heart because it truly is one of a kind.
I would say the biggest challenge I faced in business, as a female is definitely not a unique one. It was the ever-common question women ask themselves around motherhood – when to put their career on the shelf and then pull it down again. I personally struggled with the idea of having to divide two very important roles and not being able to give either my full attention.
If your passion is linked to your goals then not much will be able to stop you…
I decided to try and be the best mother I could and handed in my notice when I became pregnant with my first child in 2002. I wanted to focus on being a mum, with the idea to come back in full force when the time felt right and I had that one magical idea, which ended up being ARgENTUM. I remember an old friend saying they thought I would make more of my life, but I knew that I had chosen this time to be a mother, and that life would not be over if I stepped away from my career for a time. I feel a lot of women are afraid to step off the ladder, they believe they won’t be allowed back on, which is when fear sets in. I waited quite a few years before I had my dream about ARgENTUM, and when that time came I decided to change my belief around being torn between these two things. What we believe or say to ourselves is so powerful. I told myself that I was a good mum and that I could be a good business woman too, that I would find the balance just as one does when they have more than one child and their love multiplies without detriment to the other. I changed my belief and that has allowed me to achieve what I have in business, whilst enjoying motherhood at the same time.
I was never from the beauty industry to begin with, and somehow that has served me well. We sometimes need more than just a passion for cosmetics or skincare. My advice to young people trying to get into the beauty business would be to try and take any job in the industry and prove yourself. Become invaluable and those in charge (if they are any good) will take note. What we think about, we bring about. Express to yourself and others what you are working towards, because when we set goals we are more likely to achieve them. If your passion is linked to your goals then not much will be able to stop you – develop a fear of having not tried, than a fear of failing. Trust in your intuition, its your guiding light and you should never stray from this gut feeling that takes you to your dream.
We have quite a few exciting projects currently in full swing, one in particular involves product linked to our ARgENTUM archetype cards, which are used to help our customers explore beauty within – it’s a secret though, so unfortunately that is all I can give away.
Like this content? Check out our interview with the founder of Bulldog and keep up to speed with the Mankind blog.