As we still live in a world full of gender bias, stereotypes and discrimination, a day committed to celebrating the achievements of women globally is just as vital now as it was during the first International Women’s Day over a hundred years ago. Today is a reminder that we must continue creating a positive difference for women worldwide for an improved and equitable future.
Our brand is dedicated to empowering women to stand up against bias displayed anywhere from the workplace to the classroom, and our products are designed to make women look (and feel) like the best versions of themselves. Change starts from communities, and we hope to use our community to challenge gender norms and take action towards women’s equality.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we had a chat with our founder and CEO, Sian Gabbidon, to hear her thoughts on International Women’s Day.
1. Turning your dreams into reality is no easy feat, what women inspired you to pursue your passions and overcome the challenges presented along the way?
Sian: Definitely my female family members, my mum, nan, and aunties were and are a huge part of my life and reason I am who I am today. They taught me how to overcome challenges and never let anything or anyone stop me from achieving my goals. How to be proud of who I am, my heritage, my working class roots and being a 21st century woman.
2. What is the best part of your job?
Sian: From a business side - designing! I love being creative and taking the whole process from an initial sketched idea through to sampling, then seeing it on the shelves or on our website and spotting someone actually wearing it! As a designer there's no better feeling.
On a personal level, I also love the fact that because of my story and winning BBC The Apprentice, ladies and young girls of all ethnicities can see me as a form of inspiration.
I think being in the public eye as a young woman there is definitely a responsibility to be a form a inspiration to the youth, and I'm so glad I can be that - and hopefully show them that no matter your background, if you have a passion, you can make a success of it!
3. What have been your proudest moments so far?
One of my first jobs before I set up my brand was working in ASDA. To fast forward a few years and see my clothing actually stocked on the shop floors in George @ ASDA is definitely a proud moment for me.
As a business owner, sometimes things are so fast paced you don't look at how far you've come, but this was a time I sat back and give myself a little pat on the back
4. Why is fashion important to you? How do you think fashion relates to women empowerment?
Sian: We wear clothes everyday. They are part of our daily routine and part of how we express ourselves and show our creativity, our personal style, and our mood that particular morning. When we wear clothes that make us feel good, we instantly boost our mood and mindset!
My ethos with Sian Marie is to give women that positive feeling (not just in the style and design of our pieces but the finish and the quality) We want you to feel cosy and comfortable - but still ready to take over the world.
5. What lifestyle habits help strengthen your mind and body?
Sian: Walking and exercise is a vital part of my daily routine. Sometimes going for a long walk on my own with my headphones in - taking an hour out to just clear my mind and enjoy a little nature really helps me keep a healthy mind.
Running a business is stressful at times, and your brain never stops, so I always have to give myself a break and force myself to relax.
6. What advice do you have for the younger generation of women growing up today?
Sian: Follow your passion, and don't let anyone stop you or tell you that you can't. When I was studying fashion at uni, I had tutors tell me I'd never make it in this industry without moving to London.
Being a proud Leeds girl, I made a point to prove them wrong. Have that same mindset - create clear strategies to get to your goals
7. What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Sian: International Women's Day is a day to celebrate us! Celebrate how amazing we are as females, to build other women up, and shout about how much we've achieved.
I think its also important that we continue to celebrate and promote International Women's day as we still have progress to make and doors to be broken down in the female fight for equality (especially in the world of business!)