Just over a decade ago female entrepreneur Jessica Herrin launched Stella & Do – a social selling company which would allow women to run their own jewellery business to their lifestyles.
Ultimately Stella & Dot launched with a mission to offer working women flexibility, reward, style, profit, and fun, and to date this vision still runs through the heart and veins of the company.
Alongside supporting its very own employees, Stella & Dot uses its influence to encourage women through charity work and campaigns.
For example, for this year’s International Women’s Day, the company joined up with All Woman Project – a non-profit content creation studio dedicated to showing only unretouched women of all demographics in advertising and media – to highlight thought a series of inspiring videos that young women don’t need a degree or small fortune to be an entrepreneur.
Herrin says women need to assume they’ve got what it takes, and reject thoughts which make them believe otherwise.
“You have to ignore your gender and assume the world is on your side,” shares Herrin. “I think women hear the message that they are underrepresented and at a disadvantage so much that it can chip away at their confidence. Starting a business, starting a jewellery line, or starting a career, is already hard enough, so you have to assume you’re the exception. Assume the world is on your side and it’s simply been waiting for your success.”
10 years on from the launch, Herrin believes one of the greatest challenges for women in business is still balancing work and family life.
She says: “When I speak at Stanford Business School or talk to women who are starting in their careers, when they ask about challenges in businesses they assume my greatest challenge has been dealing with currency fluctuation or supply chain issues, or employees, but honestly, that wasn’t as hard as balancing being a working mum.
The businesswoman continues: “It wasn’t even external forces, it was guilt – all my own guilt that was in my head.”
Herrin reveals she felt pressured to be the woman she thought different people wanted her to be, alongside trying to accomplish her own dreams of being at the forefront of advancing women in the workplace, all the while feeling the need to live up to the mum next door.
Finding a way to let go of this guilt was key to growing herself and her business.
“If I could get rid of that mental anxiety, I could not just perform better but perform easier. And enjoy it more. So that’s my number one thing, I just wish women could recognise early on in their career that they are enough and they are not in the business of trying to please people all the time. You can’t be in business, and be in the business of trying to please people, at the same time.”