Wellington is fashionable and quirky; unlike other capital cities in the world, Wellington isn’t boring. On a recent trip to Wellington Amy Huang was invited to spend some time with some inspirational women in Wellington, and here are what they said about life, and their favorite city.
What I found fascinating was that everywhere I went in Wellington, there were women business owners calling the shots and making it big out there. For some reason, women in Wellington seem happier, more confident and just plain fabulous. I gathered a panel of experts to find out why.
Clockwise from top left: Robyn Mathieson, Cathy Davys, Jennifer Looman and Gretchen Bunny
Women on Entrepreneurship
Jennifer Looman is the director of Wild about Wellington (www.wildaboutwelington.co.nz). Sophisticated and well spoken, she is the image of how I picture women in Wellington. Going about the city with Jennifer is like tagging along with someone while they visit their old friends. Everywhere we went, there were lots of kisses on the cheek and enquiries on the family. I asked her what motivated her to start this business.
“A while ago, I celebrated a significant birthday. At that time I was working in the technology industry and things were feeling a little gloom. I thought, what will I do with myself? I wanted to do something different, something that I actually enjoy doing. So it got me thinking, I love my city, I love showing people around my city, why don’t I do something about that?”
The importance of a can-do attitude
Jennifer’s can do attitude was consistent across all the women I met, and there is a certain flair of confidence among those business owners. Gretchen Bunny, who runs the March Hare Cycling (www.march-hare.co.nz) business in the nearby Wairarapa Valley, said acknowledging a realistic goal combined with time management is the most important ingredient to her success. “Managing my own time is difficult. I book a meeting with myself. I have planning sessions where I draw up an agenda and I analyze recent performance and plan for the next month or quarter or year. With so much on my plate it’s very easy to get exhausted and be immersed in working in the business and it’s important to take a step back and come at it with fresh perspective”.
Gretchen’s advice for those women who may be hitting some hard times is to “analyze why you didn’t succeed. The key to success is having a good product and you can seek expert help with managing the rest. You need to be very thorough in your analysis of whether it is indeed ‘good’, and if it’s not, then you need to accept that and move on”.
Beauty tips from an expert
Cathy Davys has been in the beauty business for more than thirty years, and her Hair Design & Day Spa (www.cathydavys.co.nz) studio has been pampering local women and international celebrities alike. I ask her what the best beauty products are for busy traveling women.
“Eye cream and hand creams. They really work wonders on a flight when you can really feel dry and flat. We get a lot of tired traveling business women who just want to pamper themselves, get a massage to relax and spend a bit of time to themselves”.
Cathy recommends a bit of pampering every now and then, as women can only look fabulous when we feel fabulous from the inside.
The appeal of Wellington
Robyn Mathieson, fashion designer who calls Wellington home, is another local who is mad about her city, despite the weather.
“In a strange way I do like the weather in that I don’t like it too hot or too cold. So the temperate climate here does actually suit me quite well! I think Wellington is a very beautiful city. I like the water views, the bushy hillsides, and the variety of house styles around the city. I love the way everything is so handy, the beaches, the cafes and inner city shopping is incomparable.”
And if Wellington was a person, who would it be?
This question sparked a bit of a debate among the women. “Oh, it’ll have to be Bill Clinton”, Jennifer said, “At first your impression of Wellington would be a little serious, you can see that it’s good looking but you wouldn’t really know what it’s like until you dig a little further and find all these layers about it. That’s what Wellington is like, and the more time you spend here, the more you’ll end up liking it.”
“She is Audrey Hepburn, for sure”, Robyn took on a more stylish icon for this city, and “there is certain elegance and confidence about Wellington”.
Cathy on the other hand couldn’t put a name to it, but is describing Wellington as “someone who is extremely independent, possibly a bit schizophrenic too, as it could be bright and sunny one minute and cold and windy the next”.
Are you an entrepreneur? Do you have any advice for other women business owners? Share it with us in the comments below.