There's nothing I love more than to see a woman build an empire and overcome gender stereotypes. Being an entrepreneur has its perks, but it can also be a stressful, overwhelming and a confusing journey. Reading stories about female entrepreneurs and women in business helps to restore my faith and encourages me to keep on going during my 'meh' moments.
Here are some businesswomen and female entrepreneurs who inspire me and Rani & Co. as a brand. I hope their stores inspire you too!
If you're a make-up enthusiast then you've probably come across HudaBeauty on Instagram. Not only is the 34-year old a blogger/vlogger, she is also the creator of the 'HudaBeauty' empire, one of the best-selling beauty brands. She is beauty blogger #goals!
Huda started vlogging in 2007 and began blogging in 2010 about her make-up and beauty tips. A couple of years later she started her Instagram page (@hudabeauty) which quickly gained 20,000 followers. A few years later her Insta following has grown to over 24 million and she earns around £14,000 for one Instagram post, placing her on the Instagram Rich List.
Huda used to make her own fake lashes, which her sister Mona spotted as a business opportunity. After persuading Huda to sell the lashes, her older sister Alya then invested £6,000 to help start the business. Even though the lashes got rejected by lots of retail store, Huda's goal of selling the lashes in Sephora became a reality and they even broke the record for the best-selling item in the store.
One of the things that I love about Huda is that she studied Finance at University, started a career in Finance but then realised that it wasn't for her. She decided to follow her passion for make-up and booked a ticket to LA to become a make-up artist. Having studied Accounting and Finance at University myself, I really feel that I can relate to her. I gave up a 'high-paying' finance career to follow my creative passion and it was pretty scary! But successful people and entrepreneurs are risk-takers, so don't be afraid to take risks and pursue your dreams!
What we learnt from Huda: Follow your passion and your gut instincts and pursue the ideas that resonate with you.
Jessica Alba is more than just a pretty face in Hollywood. Even as an actress, she's always been very driven. In fear of people doubting her as an actress, she made sure that her publicist published her in 3 women magazine's for every men's magazine that she was featured in.
After an allergic reaction to a washing detergent whilst she was pregnant, Jessica panicked and wondered 'what if my baby reacts to this? How will I know? What if their throat closes up?'. A moment of panic lead to a business idea; non-toxic and safe home products.
Naturally investors didn't see this as the 'sexiest' product, but Jessica believed in her product and didn't give up. Her persistence has lead to her creating a billion dollar company, The Honest Company
What we learnt from Jessica: There's always good in a bad situation, even if we can't see it straight away...maybe even a billion dollar business idea!
I've been told that women can't reach director-level roles because they're 'too emotional'. Angela Ahrendts is proof that that's B.S.
Angela became the CEO of Burberry in 2006, a time when Burberry was suffering form a decline in sales, partly due to so many counterfeits with the Burberry pattern. Angela turned this around and used her brilliant business brain to increase the company's revenue from £2million to £7million! She became the highest paid CEO in the UK, earning $26.3million!
In 2014, Angela left Burberry to become the Senior Vice President of Apple. She earned over $70 million that year, more than any other executive (including CEO Tim Cook) had earned at Apple.
Angela has been ranked as the 9th most powerful woman in the UK (BBC), 25th most powerful woman in the world (Forbes 2015) and 29th most powerful woman in business (Fortune's 2014).
She did all this with a child and husband, which makes me question whether the glass ceiling exists...
What we've learnt from Angela: Women can be, do and have anything that they want. Don't let gender stereotypes get in the way of your goals.
J.K. Rowling is a true inspiration. After a failed marriage, left jobless with a child and living on benefits, Rowling considered herself a failure and became clinically depressed. But she channelled this 'failure' into her passion for writing.
The idea of 'Harry Potter' was born whilst she on a 4-hour delayed train from Manchester to London. She expressed the recent loss of her mother through Harry in the first book and the idea of the Dementors were born her depression.
Rowling's first Harry Potter book was rejected for 12 publishing companies. A year later she finally found a publisher who also told her to get a day job as she wouldn't be successful in writing children's books.
Her first Harry Potter book only had an initial print of 1,000 copies. The last Harry Potter book sold 11 million copies the day it was released. The Harry Potter brand is now worth over $15billion, the books are the fast-selling in history and have sold over 400million copies, Rowling was placed on The Sunday's Rich List in 2016 with a fortune of £600million and she was named as the 'Most Influential Woman in Britain' in 2010.
If this story doesn't inspire you, then I don't know what will!
What we've learnt from J.K. Rowling: Use difficult times as a fuel to express your passion. Don't listen to people who don't support your ideas, they don't have the same vision as you.
I'd love to hear which female entrepreneurs inspire you! Leave a comment below :)
Lots of love,
Founder of Rani & Co.