Tell us about yourself?
I was raised by my grandparents (Mum and Dad) on a Marae up the Whanganui River in New Zealand. A small village, where culture, family, and people are the most important thing. The values of my culture, my upbringing, and the influence of my Mum and the elders of my marae would become a major contributor in my future life and career as a businesswoman and leader. I have been in Australia since 2012 and I am married to my soul mate, and my biggest fan Ritchie. Together we have a blended family of 5 children and 9+ Grandchildren.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve ever had to overcome in your life?
I was a teenaged mother and a school dropout. I was also told that I would amount to nothing.
What is your business or job? Embrace You, Stylist. I am a Stylist and I run Confidence Building Programs for Women. The women come from all walks of life and from all types of situations, but generally a place of hardship and trauma, such as drug addiction, probation, violent relationships. The women have often been stripped of their self-confidence and are on a journey of rebuilding their lives and their self-worth.
How long have you been in business or your career?
I have been a stylist for over 30 years. Have had my own business since 2015.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place? or … What you love the most about your current job? I used to work for one of the most powerful fashion icons in the world, Karen Walker for 15yrs as her righthand. My growth as a business leader developed under her guidance and with her complete support. It was tough at times, but it gave me the confidence and the know-how to step into my own dream of being a business owner. My role now, allows me and my team to empower other women, enabling them to step into the best version of themselves. We use the fundamentals of styling, identity, personal presentation, and grooming. When you are part of a transformation or a shift in a woman’s self-belief, it is the most moving experience for all involved.
Who has been your greatest influence in business or your job and in your personal life and why?
My mother Rose (grandmother) who has passed. She demonstrated kindness. She helped women and children often. I am an example of that. I was left in an orphanage as a baby when she found out, and without hesitation, she scooped me up and raised me as her own.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? There are a few, however, the one that means a lot was when I won a Young Business Achievers Award. I won this award based on achieving leadership success in my role for Karen Walker. I was a General Manager with no formal qualifications, and I was achieving outstanding results and success in every part of my role from sales growth to happy loyal staff. For the award, I was up against, accountants, junior lawyers, etc…One judge asked the question, so how do you achieve all of this with no formal training? My answer: I was raised around the greatest leaders on my Marae, in business, they are called a CEO, in my village this role was my Uncle Morvin. And the list goes on…. from the HR manager, supervisor, team leader, team. This is what I observed, and these were transferrable skills that I could apply, not only to my leadership role but to my life.
“Hei aha te mea nui o te ao, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata” translated: What is the most important thing in this world, the people, the people, the people.
What do you do to inspire other women?
I lead, not follow, I am innovative and creative, I am self-assured. I turn up.
What inspirational qualities do you possess?
I am 100% sure about my purpose. Every day I am focused on this. I have a positive outlook. A never-give-up attitude.
What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?
It is important to understand your purpose or your “WHY”.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Nikki’s blog. ?
It wasn’t advice it was more of a statement by Karen Walker’s husband Mikhail Gherman, said “When they Zig, We Zag”
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I enjoy being home and listening to calming music, my favourite at the moment is The Sacred Chants of Devi, Mother Devine. This type of music takes me to my peaceful place.
What’s the best way for our women here to connect with you?
Facebook is the best way, through my personal page, Carla Jayne Smith.