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March 8, 2021

International Women’s Day Interviews 2021

This year’s International theme draws attention to the pandemic and its effect on women and work, highlighting how the COVID-19 pandemic has unequally affected women, from losing jobs to having a greater care burden.

In this feature, we celebrate 5 incredible women-owned businesses as well as get their insights on what International Women’s Day 2021 means to them.

Mandira Sarkar Founder of the award-winning Mandira’s Kitchen, based at the stunning Silent Pool in Surrey, @mandiras_kitchen

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women – not just the leaders of industry or the famous, but women like those who are part of our all-women team at Mandira’s Kitchen. Their knowledge, enthusiasm, flexibility and innovation keeps the wheels turning – especially this last year during the pandemic where it has been essential to constantly respond to changing situations to keep going.

What advice do you have for women starting out in business careers / other aspiring female entrepreneurs?

My message to women is – If you have a dream – go for it!

Use the exceptional natural skills and qualities that are inherent in women: adaptability, strength and resilience to break down the barriers you find in front of you – and most of all believe in yourself with a ‘can do’ attitude. Since I started Mandira’s Kitchen it has grown and evolved constantly.

The food, catering and hospitality industry can be a difficult place for women to work as often hours are unsociable, and this causes issues juggling childcare – a supportive family is vital. I firmly believe in encouraging young women to fulfil their dreams and we partner with a Young Enterprise scheme, giving experience to young women in hospitality. Research and information is always key to creating a strong base from which to follow your dreams.

Maxine Laceby, CEO and Founder of award winning supplement Absolute Collagen, @absolutecollagen.

What advice do you have for women starting out in business careers / other aspiring female entrepreneurs?

Prior to launching Absolute Collagen, I had been a full-time mum for 25 years, but I didn’t let my lack of business experience stop me. I applied every skill I learned from being a woman and a mother to the board room – and still do every single day.

From the moment I founded Absolute Collagen, I truly believed in myself and my product – and that has helped me get to where I am today. If I could share one piece of advice to other women looking to start their own business, it would be ‘you don’t know what you’re capable of until you try’.

How can young women find mentors? How do we ask for mentoring?

I’m a big believer in women supporting women and all women need to do is continue to be themselves. I see many women who feel they need to change who they are in order to be successful in business, sometimes becoming aggressive and knocking other women out the way, which is sad to see. I see genders as equal in my business – we are one team striving for the same purpose.

When asked about young women and mentoring, I’d always suggest that they look out for someone who has the success and qualities you admire. Always reach out, see if they are open to mentoring and if they have time – there’s no harm in asking. Just always remember to do your research before, there’s nothing worse than being approached by someone who doesn’t know you as a person. Anything is possible, you’ve just got to make it happen!

Lara Eurdolian, Founder of the incredibly stylish face mask chain strap and accessories brand Pretty Connected, @prettyconnected

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

IWD for me is a time to reflect and celebrate women’s achievements, lift each other up and an opportunity to shine a light on women’s equality and what change we want for the future.

This isn’t a message women should be having solely with each other, as every great movement or conversation about equality it needs to be heard and spoken by all genders or how ever you identify.

What advice do you have for women starting out in business careers / other aspiring female entrepreneurs?

The best piece of advice I can give to any female or small business owner is grow your network and support system early. I was lucky to be a journalist and super social prior to launching the Pretty Connected Mask Chains + Multi-use straps. My community helped me tell an important story about all the ways my products can be worn from on our mask to water bottle, as a necklace and so on. Surround yourself with a community of smart, ambitious individuals.

Cast your net wide net and don’t take any type of no or rejection personally. Be humble, be kind and work hard.

Charu Malhotra, Founder of luxury nibbles with a glass of bubbly brand Biscottilicious, @Biscottilicious

What can we as women do to support each other more?

In my personal experience I strongly believe ego and jealousy are the biggest enemies within the women. Our attitude, behaviour and persona changes and we differentiate between men and women.

Instead of feeling threatened by one another we need to empower each other and give each other more opportunities to succeed. I believe that through IWD platforms, women’s entrepreneur groups, and charity organisations like Belevuk.org we should seek mentors.

We need to create awareness about female entrepreneurship.

I was reading the paper when my 4-year-old commented “mamma how come you are reading the newspaper? Only daddy’s read newspapers.” And that is when I realised that I had to be an example for my daughters.

We can’t fix the past, but we can work on the present to change our future.

What’s your iWD message?

If you desire something with all your heart and soul, the world’s energy will come together to make it happen!

Clemence de Crecy – Managing Director of Luxury Communications Agency Clementine Communications, @Clementinecom

What does IWD mean to you?

I recognise the success of every single young entrepreneur who starts or grows a business.

In many countries around the world the journey for a young woman to start a business can be that bit harder and so it is important for us to join in with International Women’s Day celebrations and share the stories of the women who do succeed so we can inspire other young women and encourage young men that it is possible for everyone to turn their dreams into reality.

What’s your IWD Day message?

Success for women is beneficial for society as a whole. Evidence is very clear that when women are economically independent and empowered, it makes a big difference, not just in their lives but also for their families and their communities. By showcasing and celebrating female entrepreneurship, we can start to change the way people think and by providing positive female role models we can encourage more women to start their own businesses.

Written by Kaya Cheshire for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International

Instagram / #Luxurialife