Last night we were fortunate enough to have Katelyn Ellery from Ellery Events Australia and Creative Lifestyle Market join Courtney on the couch to talk all things women in business: the challenges we face and how to overcome them.
Katelyn is a self-made woman and last year single-handedly ran South Australian Fashion Focus Weekend which replaced the Adelaide Fashion Festival because AFF very unfortunately lost Government funding and could not proceed in 2019.
To take on an event of that scale, without Government funding, is phenomenal and a testimony to how strong and successful her business is. Something she's grown in a few short years but not without many, many hours of hard work, sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears!
So how has she achieved that in the cut throat world of fashion and events where women can historically be quite competitive and downright nasty to one another? And not always to your face which makes it harder to overcome!
1. Be the change you want to see in the world
The top tip the girls had for us last night was that you don't have to be bitchy, aggressive or nasty to get ahead in the business world. In fact the opposite is true. They advised us to build our businesses in an authentic, honest, real way, practising kindness at all times and creating loving, wholesome, supportive environments and your business will ultimately benefit from it.
Your growth may be slower doing things this way. There's no denying that competitiveness and underhandedness can get you ahead in business momentarily but it's not sustainable. Eventually your customers, suppliers, peers, employees and everyone else will figure out what you're about and they won't want to deal with you! So what happens to your business when all the best customers, suppliers, peers and employees don't want to work with you? You don't have one!
What happens when your customers, suppliers, employees and peers love you? Your business prospers.
So be the change you want to see in the world! Even when it's hard. Even when you're faced with people in business who aren't doing the same thing. Ultimately, your business (and everyone around you!) will benefit.
2. Surround yourself with people who support you
The girls gave so many examples of being stronger together last night. Surrounding yourself with people who have the same vision as you, and genuinely want to see each other succeed in business, is key. Any underlying jealousy or competitiveness won't work.
Katelyn and Courtney me through the business and events world and slowly became friends over the course of 6-12 months. Even before a true friendship had formed they were helping each other out, sharing business experiences, offering advice and being a sounding board for business queries and problems and openly and actively supporting each other's businesses.
They even shared a story last night where very last minute Katelyn text Courtney and said "help! One of my models hasn't shown up and the runway starts soon!". There was no time for hair and make up. No time for egos. But Courtney was there in a heartbeat and walked the runway with the professional models so Katelyn didn't let her clients down. And that wasn't friendship. That was businesswoman to businesswoman understanding how important this stuff is, jumping in, rolling up their sleeves and helping each other out.
And that's how a friendship grows!
You will develop incredible friendships over the bond you develop as businesswomen particularly when you support each other fiercely and selflessly. And that my friends, is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
3. Don't compare yourself to others
The girls couldn't have made this point more strongly last night. Katelyn from a mental health point of view, and Courtney from a business point of view.
Katelyn feels very passionately about women supporting each other and not comparing themselves, falling into this trap of ill-feeling towards yourself and towards those you are comparing yourself with.
Courtney very simply said "while you're focusing on others, you're not focusing on what you're supposed to be doing! Running a business is hard! You don't have time to be worrying about what another woman is doing on social media!". You're doing your business a disservice if you're focusing on what other people are doing. Of course it's important to keep an eye o your operating environment but for the purposes of informing your own business plan - growing and learning from each other. Not to get jealous, competitive and try to tear each other down. That is so unproductive and takes your focus and energy away from the things that will actually benefit your business.
4. Share freely and willingly
The girls talked through the value of sharing the things you've learned and work shopping issues with people in your industry freely and willingly. If you're too worried about competing and "beating" each other you're missing out on one of the most valuable tools available to you - each other! Who knows your industry better than the people working in it?
This one can be tricky. It's scary to think you could be handing all your hard work away and giving your peers a competitive advantage. We obviously don't advocate that. Don't give away your IP (intellectual property) or critical things to your business. But sharing general industry knowledge and helping each other workshop issues for the benefit of the whole industry is the way innovation and efficiency comes about. It's also the way an industry can grow and prosper. Which leads us to point 5!
5. There's enough business for all of us!
A lot of the time the fear of collaboration and supporting one another comes from a fear that everyone's competing for a slice of this finite pie. The pie is not finite! It can grow! And that is what everyone in your industry should be aiming for. A nasty, competitive, insular industry will never, ever, ever contribute effectively to the greater good - growing our economy and opportunities for a stronger, more prosperous Australia (or whichever nation you are doing business in!) and for future prosperity and opportunities for our children!
An industry that works together to grow can.
So the harder you work, and the better you work with people in your industry, the more opportunity your pie has to grow. Let's double that pie! Let's get everyone a bigger slice! Let's get some new players in to grab a slice and bring with them all their unique skills and attributes that you can all ultimately learn from and keep growing that pie. You can't do it alone! You can't do anything in life alone really. In everything we do, we learn from those around us. We also mentally prosper from healthy, happy relationships and connectivity. Iso has taught us that! How beautiful and valuable are gorgeous working relationships and respect from your peers? Katelyn and Courtney can tell you they are some of the most valuable relationships in their lives that make them feel so worthy and valued as human beings. This has a flow on impact to who they are as people and their personal lives.
So create an environment in your industry where people respect each other as business people and want to collaborate and see everyone succeed. It's a nicer environment to work in, will benefit you personally and it'll be a lot more beneficial to everyone's businesses, and to the overall economy. It's a no brainer!
If you have any further questions on this topic please leave a comment below and Katelyn and Courtney will answer them all publicly on this post to share the love! Share the information and grow together!
Lots and lots of love and business success ladies!
We are all in this together and we're here for you!
Katelyn and Courtney xx
Katelyn is wearing the Acler Vallen Shirt with the PE Nation Refresh Skirt and earrings from beautiful South Australian brand Sota (not yet stocked by Miko + Mollie but do we seem like the kind of women who wouldn't give an industry peer a shoutout without any expectation for benefit in return other than to help generate loving, supportive relationships in our industry?).
Courtney is wearing the Camilla Cobra King A Line Frill Dress with the brand new The Wolf Gang Salvador Mongram Bomber Jacket released exclusively to our Instagram live family last night and now available on the website! She's also wearing the Camilla Cobra King Knit Headband. The perfect winter accessory!
And what sort of friends would we be if we didn't share the delicious drop we were enjoying last night? We were enjoying the 2018 Beklyn Shiraz by Beklyn Wines from the beautiful Currency Creek wine region in South Australia. Beklyn Wines is run by another fab and supportive woman called Rebekah Shaw. Her and her husband Mark live on the property in Currency Creek with their 3 children and produce boutique quantities of incredible wine and we couldn't be more proud of how hard she works to make their dream come true.