Inspiring women are go-getters. They make things happen. They live life with no regrets. They are learning about themselves and reaching their full potential. They are not afraid to take risks and just go for it. I talked to Joanna O. from Create Curate Styling, which specialises in designing shopping and styling services as bespoke experiences. Her mission is to fuse fashion into her clients’ lives rather than make drastic styling changes.
1. What was your biggest challenge when setting up your business?
I left my position within a big fashion institution to pursue my vision and go blaze my own trail as a woman in business. Naturally, the initial separation from work consistency and the security that a corporate position can be associated with, brought many doubts to the surface. One of the hardest things to do was to be 100% honest with myself first about my aspirations, possible limitations and fear of failure. You learn a lot about yourself and very quickly when you take a giant step outside of the comfort zone.
2. How did you overcome the fear of failure and any insecurities you had?
I accepted that my vision, energy and motivation had to be lined with great patience and a well-thought process and that I was the only person who could voice my business’ identity, and communicate the passion and love, sweat and tears that it takes to get to where I wanted to be. I think a significant barrier to female leadership is that there are very few women who’s leadership is celebrated, given as an example or presented as aspirational but I found that you can learn so much from someone who is six years into what you are trying to do, so talking to other women in business, who have taken that leap of faith, taught me that believing in yourself, how much you have to offer and not apologising for it comes first. It’s empowering to know that we can all be role models for somebody and that has definitely enabled that momentum for women across different industries that we are seeing right now.
3. What has been your biggest business lesson so far?
That intuition is a great superpower to have. Every good decision I’ve made, and consequently, every bad one has come from not listening to the voice of myself and trust my ability to lead as a woman who’s left her ego at the door. Fashion is an industry where having integrity and a relentlessly energetic spirit are your biggest assets. There are going to be almost as many difficult days as there will be ones you breeze through, but when I knew I was following my true calling and my idea was on the line, I learned to be more flexible, to take things in, filter through and reinvent intelligently but mostly to not let go of that drive during transitions; – it’s about career agility.
4. Where do you see your business going?
The business has already surpassed what I had initially envisioned in more ways than one so I tend to steer clear of a concrete strategic roadmap and listen to what clients want. What started out at a service-driven venture, where service truly was the number one KPI, has grown into an omni-channel business that is in the process of disrupting the DNA of our editorially-led digital platform by integrating the unparalleled value of human intelligence into styling and shopping across different channels. I am motivated to move forward into maximising the network effect and melding the online and offline experiences that our clients have access to, by translating preferences and accurately predicting interactions throughout the user experience while we continue to deploy our leading-edge capability in the area of luxury item sourcing, and challenge the traditional direction of delivering exclusivity to our clients in new markets.