I was at a event recently where the founders of Smythe were dolling out advice to mostly type “A” women. Between the wine and cheese, this is what I remembered.
1. If you choose to have a business partner, go into it like you’re picking a spouse. It’s so important that they share your fundamental values and support you when you need it most. I think it’s definitely easier for these ladies as it apears they have been friends for decades.
2. The sweetest words that every boss wants to hear “I can save us money”. 5 years ago, I would not have appreciated this line as much. But once you’re in charge of millions, every dollar counts. I am happy to save $50 here and there, at every turn. At the end of the year, it all adds up.
3. (Targeted) Marketing Works. I am still in awe that this small fashion house was able to get the princess to wear their jacket/blazer on her trip to Canada. I am sure every fashion house in Canada was after this opportunity, but it looks like the PR team at Smythe had the magic touch. This is a fete that goes down in marketing / PR history. (As a side note, the day Kate landed in Canada, Smythe’s website crashed, their jackets were sold out practically everywhere like Holts, Saks and their business has grown exponentially since then)
4. Do what you love, it’s that simple. The older I get the more it resonates. I have been lucky that I always accidentally land jobs that lead to fulfilling careers. Working in telecom in its early days in Canada and going to phone launch parties was thrilling for me when I was in my 20s. Growing and transitioning into the world of Advertising / Communications was pure happenstance but I could not have asked for a better career. There are grueling days but then once in a while, when I catch myself at the music recording studio, media parties, tv and photo shoots, I have to pinch myself to realize it’s not a dream.
5. It’s okay to have a family and be really, really, successful. You just have to be planful. I am so skeptical about this ideal. Success comes out of sacrifice and hard work. Having a loving family with kids and a rocketing career still seem unattainable for women as not many men/spouses have the patience to put up with a partner that works 12hrs/day. Which means the men/spouses have to pitch in and do a lot of the house hold chores that were once done by women. I am skeptical but both Smythe founders have young families and their growing successful company. It just may be possible after all.
It was a fun event and I am glad that as lazy as I am, I still make a effort to attend industry events. It’s so easy to stay in your own little world, with the same people you’ve always known.
Bonus Advice: Always look polish! Both founders of Smythe (Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe) dressed casually that evening, but looked totally put together. As a woman, I don’t think you need to wear a lot of make up and spend a ton of time worrying about how you look. But a little effort goes a long way.