International Women's Day is all about women supporting women in growing their dreams. We've been fortunate to partner with Oilixia skincare founder, Alex, on a number of projects including our exclusive express oilixia facial. Alex is an avid traveller and skincare expert who has built an amazing company that is growing by the second! We chatted with Alex to learn more about Oilixia, and the women that support her journey.
What was the inspiration behind your company and how did you decide to take the leap of starting your own business?
I have worked in the beauty industry since I graduated from university, in both Australia and the UK and I have always had a love for this area. I have generally worked with big global brands and while I really enjoyed my time working on them, I had an urge to do something that gave me more creative control, where I could develop something for myself. Everyone always makes jokes about Australians, that when they move overseas they travel like crazy because suddenly a lot of countries seem so much closer and faster to get to (vs. driving for days and still being in Australia!). I moved to London from Sydney 7 years ago and I pretty much did exactly that. Although I’d never travelled internationally until I was 19, I started to travel to many different countries from London as a base (I have been to over 55 now). During these travels, and with my ‘beauty goggles’ on, I noticed that many regions around the world tend to have a special native ingredient that has been used for hundreds of years by the people living in that region, but are often not very well known around the rest of the world. A great modern example of this is Argan Oil, which has been a beauty secret of the Berber people in Morocco for centuries, but it is not until quite recently that it has made a mark on the global beauty stage. My aim with Oilixia is to find these very potent, but often not well known, natural ingredients and incorporate them into our products so that everybody around the world can benefit from them. I knew that I wanted to have my own business and when I realised that I could combine a love of beauty and travel to inspire a new range of products I went for it!
How have the women in your life contributed to your success, both personally and professionally?
I have found that asking for help or advice is never usually met with a blank response. I have had a lot of women (and men for that matter!) throughout my life that have always been willing to help me if I have asked. Often, if someone can’t help with a specific question, they would usually point me in the direction of someone that can. This kindness and support has been instrumental in helping me take each new step in life and business. It’s also one thing that I love to ‘pay forward’ and I really enjoy being able to give people advice if I can and if they ask for it. There’s something really special about being supported and being able to support other people. I guess that’s what makes us human!
What advice do you have for women looking to change their career or start their own business?
Something that has really helped me is working with a range of ‘informal mentors’ – these are not the traditional mentors that you meet once per week for example, but people that I have either worked with in the past, met through networking events, are friends or work as part of the agencies that I work with. Quite often, they can be a great source of advice and are someone to bounce ideas off, which has really helped me stay motivated and sometimes given me an entirely new perspective on a problem I am facing. Another piece of advice is start small … but just start! Be ok with the fact that you simply cannot do everything when you are starting, since you are just one person. Instead, be picky about what you spend your time and energy on and make sure that it helps you reach your goals.
Which women inspire you, and why?
Both my mum and paternal grandmother have been very influential in forming my attitudes towards business and work. They both have always worked very hard and have the mantra of ‘if you want to get something done, you have to do it’. My grandmother worked all the way into her 80’s and loved every minute of it. They’ve taught me to just get going and most importantly, love what you do and throw all your passion into it, no matter what it is.