On International Women's Day, we're honouring the thousands of amazing female entrepreneurs who are rocking their businesses, whilst juggling the enormities of busy family life. We spoke to two incredible women bosses to find out what inspired them to start their business, what their challenges are, and to discover their dreams for the future.
Meet Tracy - Founder of The Forest Trading Post
"I originally founded The Forest Trading Post in 2018 with a desire to create luxury home fragrance with heart and meaning. I wanted to find a way to fulfil my business ambitions alongside the challenges of family life and my long-term health conditions spondyloarthritis and ulcerative colitis.
The inspiration behind The Forest Trading Post
I have always been enchanted by fragrance. Ever since I was a child l have looked to scent for comfort, and to evoke memories of my past and the people I love.
When I was little, I used to take the lid off my mum's overnight rich moisture cream, just so I could have a good sniff.
So powerful is that memory, that I can still almost smell it today. As a teenager, I had a Saturday job in the local chemist, and every week I would stand behind the perfume counter, serving customers with all their pharmacy essentials, but enjoying the moments when, every now and again, a glamorous lady, or an eager to please gentleman, would give me the opportunity to open that perfume cabinet and spritz! The fact is, that I have so many scent memories I could write a book. I think we all do, and that's what makes fragrance so very special.
What advice would you give to aspiring women bosses?
I would say first and foremost to be the most authentic version of yourself.
Blaze your own trail and stick to your ethics and values. Be resilient because there will undoubtedly be knocks. Success takes time and there are always bumps in the road. Go slowly, be patient, and don't lose heart when things go wrong. Just dust yourself off, refocus and move on all the wiser!
The challenges of being a mum whilst running a business
My boys are only 11 and 14 but as I home educate them (not just through the pandemic) I have to balance my time carefully, which can be difficult as my elder son has started GCSE work which has upped the ante!
There are also the challenges that come with being chief cook and bottle washer. Being a one-woman enterprise is hard when you have a long 'to do' list, but I find that making sure I take time to step back and reevaluate things regularly keeps me on track. If things get hectic my husband is always happy to lend a hand too.
I've been known to email myself in the middle of the night with a new fragrance idea! In truth, I'm always bending, adjusting, compromising and learning.
I find it helps me to make a daily plan and I keep an ongoing journal to jot down ideas and notes.
What lies ahead for The Forest Trading Post?
In the future I'd love to grow The Forest Trading Post into a business that could support my family - that's the ultimate dream. It's a process that will require dedication and investment both financially and mentally, but I'm up for the challenge!
To celebrate International Women's Day I will be taking a moment to think about all the amazing women in my life, and I'll be spending some time face-timing them. I will also be celebrating some of my female business-owning friends on my social media pages."
If you'd like to support Tracy and help her realise her business and family goals, please visit her website at www.theforesttradingpost.co.uk.
Meet Ruby, Founder of Devaiya Oils
The birth of a woman-owned beauty brand
"I was inspired to start my own business after discovering the benefits of natural oils following a car accident injury. After my own experience, I wanted to make a difference to others by promoting natural health and healing through my own natural product range.
To all women out there who are thinking about starting up their own business, I would say 'Go for it!' Think about what makes your business unique, do your research, gain the right knowledge, do not cut corners and, most importantly, follow your passion!
Giving back to the community
There have been a fair few challenges for my business especially with the pandemic over the last year. It has meant the cancellation of planned events and treatments. However, I have used this time to offer donations to nominated keyworkers, connect with wards, hospital staff and support wellbeing at home.
Ultimately my fabulous customers have helped me overcome these challenges by continuing to support my business during this difficult time.
What's coming up for Devaiya Oils?
My ultimate aim for the future of Devaiya Oils is to expand my team and my product range. I'm currently working towards future-proofing my range by offering fully organic products, supported with eco-friendly and sustainable packaging.
On International Women's Day, I'll be taking part in the IWD #choosetochallenge campaign and supporting women-owned small businesses across all of my social media platforms."
You can get in touch with Ruby via her website at www.devaiyaoils.com or follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with the latest additions to her range of aromatherapy products.
From us to you
To celebrate International Woman's Day, we will be including a little something extra in your parcel with every order placed on Monday 8th March. Are you a woman-owned brand? Tell us what you do and what your dreams are for the future!