I was kindly nominated for the 2019 New Zealand Women of Influence Awards. Since accepting the nomination and becoming a finalist I have been thinking about what does this really mean to me and to others?
We have received many other awards this year such as being a finalist in the Wellington Gold Awards, the Westpac Growth Awards to name a few, but this one has really got me thinking about what it really means to me and others.
According to the official line of the 'Women of Influcence awards'.....
'the Women of Influence Awards recognise the passionate women who are creating real change and forging a path for others'
I do feel very humbled that what we have been saying for the last 5 years is having an influence on our society. We have been messaging 'no plastic' and the need for alternative products to be affordable and accessible and now this message has become main stream. Our other messages like the need to support those who would otherwise be excluded from the financial world by providing them accessible and flexible work to advocating healthy food options to our children. Also the distribution of our products in New Zealand is now very strong so people are able to access them and learn more about us
Although I do know of many other women who are doing amazing things for our society and what I like about these awards is that it acknowledges influence not just on the business level but also grass roots community level. There are plenty of women out there who are doing so much more than I will ever be able too and it is great to celebrate these women as well.
It is really hard for me sometimes to sum up everything that our brands stand for, but some of the key words are as follows:
inclusion, community, food, organics, environment, accessibility, flexibility, empathy, honesty, family, design, beauty
So I do believe that our messages are influential but does that make me influential? I have never wanted to put my face to the brands. Something that marketers would disapprove off!! The reason I have not wanted my face to grace all our social media channels is that I want our brands to live on post my involvement. Also I want my personal life to be part of those that really know me and care deeply for my family. It is one of my most precious gifts.
I suppose due to the issues that I have promoted, that makes me influential on some level. But for me, the questions is have I been a good and kind influencer to people I have connected with? I would like to think that I have been influential to the people I have personally touched. However no one is perfect, especially in times of stress, but I do hope that I have created some good for some people. But I don't feel I need any recognition from those people but I do love to see people grow and develop alongside me and my business.
Has it been easy to develop this business and become influential? Absolutely not. I have spent many hours working for free and disseminating our messages. I have also spent a lot of money creating our business. I have also been a strong believer in providing our own revenue stream, as I believe a true social enterprise needs to stand on it's own two feet - no grants, no hand outs just good business revenue. However this has been much much harder than I expected, especially when you want to do the right thing ie pay living wage, produce organic fabrics, produce in NZ etc.
I think it is really important for people to know that things take time, hard work and in reality, money. I get rather annoyed when I see articles telling people business success can happen in a year, two years or even three. In reality this is not the case at all. But I do think it is better for the sole to 'take the leap' rather than not at all. A few things that you do need for business success in my opinion is (again in key words)
passion, tenacity, persistence, curiosity for learning and optimism.
Because I tell you there will be plenty of people who will be negative, give up on you and our tall poppy syndrome that we have in New Zealand is not helpful for leaders.
I am not sure I really have answered my question. But I guess, I am proud of the influence we have created through our messages. I hope that I am a good influence on people who I interact with and I do want people to know that business success does not come easy.
Thanks for reading.