She's the face of dog&boy, our Founder, Sonya, and this International Women's Day we took some time to get to know our latte-loving, urban princess a little more...
What quote resonates most strongly with your brand and values?
There are lots of quotes I love that tie in with our designs, but as a mother raising a son, there’s one that stands out.
"It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." ~ Fredrick Douglas
I’ve always loved this and keep it close when raising Nicky. I want him to be the best version of himself so when the time comes for him to step out on his own and make important life decisions, he will be in the best place to do that.
We love hearing the stories that are tied in with each design, how has this resonated with your customers?
When I started dog&boy, I wanted to create something simple and beautiful. Telling stories through designs came into fruition because of my mum, and how she has influenced our story as a business.
For me personally, I love hearing of other’s stories, ones of love, loss and laughter. We often receive heart wrenching emails after a purchase or a gift given, but with this, the sheer strength of these women to overcome such challenges. I think they see themselves or their loved ones in our stories, our designs.
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the success of women and how far we have come in such a short time. Even within my lifetime, women have gone against the grain and changed the world significantly. The world is a very different place to how it was 40 years ago, and it's important to acknowledge the incredible women who stood up and changed history.
You work with a female team, how important is it for you to lift each up? Who else forms your support network?
Starting dog&boy has been the most amazing experience, and I’ve established strong relationships that I never formed in the corporate world. We are a female team and it was only by chance that these wonderful women came to work with dog&boy and that their values align with the brand and what we are trying to achieve. It was really moments of serendipity that formed the team we have today!
Of course, I couldn’t do this without the support of my husband Tony, my biggest cheerleader and, at times, my harshest critic, and my son Nick who is part of the inspiration behind dog&boy. Nick loves being involved in the process of dog&boy and is always there to lend a helping hand.
How does building your own company and leading a team of women compare to working in a corporate role?
In the corporate world, you are bound by so many restrictions. Working in my previous industry could be best described as a ‘slow moving dinosaur’. It was very challenging to make change, create change or get change supported. While days could be interesting and we worked with great companies, there simply wasn’t the satisfaction that I needed to feel at the end of each day.
Leading a team of women means there is so much more room for collaboration within the team, and we each hold accountability, responsibility and ownership that what we’re doing is helping move our brand along and achieve what we want.
What is the most important message you would share with women wanting to step into the role of a businesswoman?
Don’t underestimate how hard it is! I know I should start off with something more positive, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to the girls, “I just wish that one season would run smoothly”. At the end of the day, I suppose it keeps things interesting. It would be great if starting a business was textbook, but it is a constant learning cycle, it’s about being prepared, educating yourself, keeping up with the trends, and learning how to make your business more effective.
If you want to start a business, go for it, but know that passion isn’t the only thing that drives your business - you need to be practical and pragmatic.
And finally, if you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be?
Elizabeth Hamilton – Alexander Hamilton’s wife. While supporting her husband as America’s Founding Father, she founded the first private orphanage in the US and oversaw the care and education of over 700 children. A pioneering woman who was ahead of her time.
Shonda Rhimes - an American television producer, screenwriter, and author. Her ability to tell stories is something I've always admired, especially ones often with strong leading female characters. She has, and continues to, pave the way for women in her industry.
Helen Mirren - for her wit, grace and wisdom. She'd certainly have some fun stories to tell!
In celebration of International Women's Day, we've partnered with iChange to triple our donation from each sale to give back to causes we care about. Simply order with us online as usual, select which organisation you'd like to donate to, and let us do the rest!
So if you were thinking about treating yourself or a loved one to a dog&boy design, there is no better time to do so. X