This International Women's Day - and everyday - we're celebrating all mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, colleagues and leaders with our own inspiring round up of the hard working women in the BB family.
Laura Oosterloo, Co-Founder and Managing Director
Laura Oosterloo saw a 'gap in the market' for a natural, vegan Suncare range that didn't irritate the skin while on a work sabbatical in Bali in 2014. It wasn’t long after that she and her husband, David, worked tirelessly to develop a multi-million dollar business offering an array of natural and nourishing Self Tan, Suncare and Skincare products. Nine years later, with 1.4 million Instagram followers and a legion of devoted customers worldwide, she has big plans for the brand’s upcoming 10th birthday, and is rolling up her sleeves for what’s yet to come in the next decade of business.
When you reflect back on your career, is there a particular woman that inspired you to pursue your dream?
Whilst I have a close relationship with my mum and sister, it was actually my own self-belief that drove me to pursue Bali Body. I knew I had a great concept that didn’t exist in the marketplace at the time and so, I trusted my own judgement and backed myself, without hesitation. If I didn’t go with my intuition, then the Bali Body brand we all know today would cease to exist.
As a female co-founder of a global company, how will you continue to support women at work?
It’s a privilege leading a team that is majority female, so ensuring that they have a safe and supportive work environment where they can speak freely and express themselves without backlash is a starting point. Offering flexible working arrangements, particularly for those team members that are re-entering the business after going to maternity leave, is also of paramount importance. As a mother myself, I completely understand the anxiety held by a first time mum so I want to make sure that we work together to ensure they are comfortable returning to work at their own pace. Finally, providing equal opportunities for career advancement, pay and leadership roles is an absolute given - I’m all about celebrating achievements.
What advice do you have for the next generation of female leaders?
Be fearless - the first step to becoming a successful female leader is to believe in yourself and your abilities. Don’t let self-doubt hold you back, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Also, don’t be afraid of failure and instead, embrace it as a learning opportunity to reflect and learn from your mistakes.
You’re also a mum of 2 - how do you balance being a mother and a professional?
Plan and organise your schedule in advance to ensure that you can meet both your professional and family commitments, by using tools such as calendars and to-do lists to stay on top of your tasks. Delegating also really frees up my time so that I can be fully present with my kids - I have a very capable team back at the office that are specialists in their fields, and on my working days, I have a fantastic nanny that helps me with the household. It’s true when they say it takes a village and I’m very fortunate to have formed a solid network of people to help out at any given time. And finally, making time each week for my own self care! Prioritising time at the gym or dates with my husband away from the children fills my emotional cup and keeps me balanced, so that I can be the best version of myself.
Harriet Harvey, Head of Marketing
Harriet Harvey started at Bali Body as the brand’s very first Social Media and Marketing Coordinator back in 2016. Today, she leads a team of 7 across Digital Marketing, Graphic Design, SEO, Social Media and Influencer Management - to name a few. At just 27 years of age, she is paving the way for young female leaders excelling their way to the top… and is only just getting started. Impressive? We sure think so.
What advice would you give to someone who is beginning their career in a business that has a large female following and customer base?
Understand your customers - it’s crucial to understand their needs, preferences and behaviour in order to effectively market to them and provide them with the best offering possible. Clear and concise communication in our messaging has also always set us up for success, enabling us to effectively respond to customer questions and concerns, particularly as we have such a vast product range. Finally, ever since I started at Bali Body, I have engaged thousands of micro and macro influencers from all over the world, which has proven to be an effective way to reach a wider audience and build credibility with our female customers. Choose influencers whose values align with your business, and work with them to create authentic and engaging content, just as we have done.
How important has female support been to help you in your role? From the workplace to family and friends?
During stressful times, relying on your network of family and friends certainly gives you a much needed boost of confidence. My family actually lives interstate, but their presence is still felt from afar - they are my biggest supporters. I’m also really proud to work in a female dominated business like Bali Body, as women have historically been underrepresented and undervalued in many industries, and having female allies and colleagues help to break down these barriers.
Lauren Mand, Product Development Manager
Ever wondered who is behind all the new product development you know and love at Bali Body? With an extensive background in Operations and Customer Service, Lauren works alongside our Co-Founder Laura to identify new opportunities for developing new marketable products, from concept to distribution, as well as crafting innovative solutions to solve significant customer problems and getting them into market quickly and efficiently. If you’re an avid user of our products, she is one of the women to thank!
Do you have a woman leader as a mentor or are there specific women who inspired you and why?
For as long as I can remember, I have always been my own motivator. As the oldest of 4 girls, I learnt early on to be a leader and have always been very confident in going after what I want, striving to always achieve the best result. Having said that, I am always inspired by the women who surround me in my life. This includes my mum, my 3 sisters and the women I work with everyday. Working in a predominantly female based company, I am always inspired by our team who are creative, independent and leaders in the highly competitive beauty industry.
What do you think is the best way to support other women in leadership positions?
Listen to one another! Each person has achieved a leadership position because they are hard working and determined in the roles they have. By listening and using the knowledge and experience you have, you can help another who may not have encountered a specific challenge previously. Sometimes talking out a problem with like-minded women in your company is the best way to support each other when times get tough.
Jeannie Susser, Global Wholesale Manager
Liaising with countless retailers the world over, is no easy task. Our Global Wholesale Manager, Jeannie, is certainly up to the challenge, ensuring the Bali Body brand remains best in its class by driving sales, profitability and brand awareness worldwide in accordance with the brand strategy and business objectives. With strong communication skills and a keen eye for detail, it’s no wonder Jeannie has helped the brand maintain solid relationships with key retailers like Sephora, Ulta, Chemist Warehouse and Woolworths.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing female leaders today?
The double standard for women in leadership is real. Society praises and respects men for their confidence and ambition and often punishes women for expressing those exact same traits. According to a 2003 study at New York's Columbia Business School, “Women face social penalties for acting in the very way that leads to power and success”. My advice? Continue to show up authentically with confidence and ambition and take your seat at the table anyway.
How do you deal with stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance?
I set boundaries to ensure I am prioritising the things that fill my cup, my productivity at work is directly correlated to how I am feeling mentally and physically. Meditation and self-reflection are great ways to manage stress, encouraging white space thinking and reducing the noise of disruptive thoughts. I highly recommend at the end of each day/week, to practise gratitude and acknowledge the small wins - remember, what you appreciate, appreciates.