SILKE London was founded by mother, daughter duo, Maria and Christine; some years later they’re still at the helm of the leading brand in innovative, 100% silk hair care.
To celebrate International Women’s Day we caught up with our founders for a special, inspiring interview.
Why do you think celebrating International Women’s Day is important?
Christine: I think celebrating IWD is important because the only way to rectify a history of inequality is to consistently and continually lift those who have been unfairly treated. By celebrating women, we promote women feeling powerful enough to act on their aspirations instead of feeling quieted, and that will mean we eventually balance the scale.
Maria: International Women’s Day is a celebration of women’s achievements around the world. I feel that spotlighting women on this day gives women, especially the younger generation, the opportunity to see and hear about women who can inspire them that may not have heard of before. Many women are not fortunate to have positive role models around them, but they have a desire within themselves. Finding that source of inspiration is so important and inspiring others will never get old!
As a woman, have you ever faced any challenges during your career? If so, how did you overcome them?
C: I believe the challenges I face as a woman in business is that, unlike men, my personality is far more up for debate. I find when I am direct or authoritative, it's met with less acceptance than when my male counterparts do the same. I have to sprinkle everything I say with exclamation marks and niceties in order for it to be acceptable. But after years of building my brand, I’ve switched the sprinkler off. It might feel scary at first, but I realised that getting what you want comes from saying what you mean.
M: I knew from a very young age that I had so much I wanted to achieve in my life but as a busy working mother, the biggest challenge for me was timing. How was I going to manage a transition in my career whilst still managing to financially support my family? I realized I would have to create something that I could grow organically, and that’s when I took a calculated risk.
What’s been your most proud / memorable moment?
C: My proudest moment was seeing our SILKE Hair Wrap used in a cover shoot for Vogue. When we started our brand, I remember saying in a meeting to our branding team that I’d be so excited to see our product featured in the likes of Vogue. I didn’t imagine a hair care product would ever make it into a fashion shoot spread.
M: It was our first feature in Vogue, but there have been so many more too!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by whom?
C: I read somewhere that, if you think back on every difficult time you’ve ever had, you’ve always made it through to be able to look back on it now. So in moments where things might feel like they’re hard, remember, you’ve got through hard before, and you will again. It can never stay the same.
M: The best piece of advice was from my mother “For this world, you must learn to be a strong woman”.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to other women?
C: There isn’t enough time to waste it.
M: Always work with a purpose and learn to trust your gut.
Who inspires you and why?
C: My mum, and I know it might seem an obvious choice, but not only is she the kindest person I know, but she inspires me to “just go for it.” Being inspired to make more money etc is not what it’s about. It’s what you’re spending your life and time doing that matters.
M: I find inspiration from so many different women. Being a hairstylist for all my working career I’ve always loved engaging with people from so many different walks of life; you can find inspiration in so many places. From those who struggle but find a way to survive on a day-to-day basis, to those who have achieved so many incredible successes. I look for the light and opinions of every woman.
Why is it important for women to pursue their dreams and take on leadership roles?
C: Because we can. If companies, investors, or whoever it may be are overlooking a woman for a leadership role, just because she is a woman, it’s a reflection of their terrible business acumen rather than anything to do with you. Why would you want to pursue your dreams with these people anyway? Pursue your dreams, and pursue the right people to do it with.
M: It’s incredibly important for women to pursue their dreams. Every successful woman will naturally elevate many more women. Women bring a different dynamic to any workplace and I believe always provide such engaging mentorship. They will pave the way for better working conditions for future generations.
What’s the biggest positive about being mother / daughter founders?
C: Coming to work every day with your biggest champion and comfort, makes how stressful running your own company can be, that bit easier.
M: Having a business partner who has the same work ethic which is “limitless”. We can be completely honest with each other and allow each other to be heard. I get an added bonus of seeing my daughter every day, I don’t know if she agrees with me on that!!
Happy International Women’s Day!
Love, SILKE xo