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Women generally think more long term over quick wins than men, which is part of the reason why we would all benefit from more women in charge. We need more females in senior roles. However, for this to be realistic and sustainable, we need to change the existing systems in order to better accommodate women. For me that meant starting my own business, Arganic, back in 2012 and trying to lead by example.
In school, my strongest subjects were art and maths, both of which gave me a buzz. Solving a complex maths problem was a way to create order out of chaos and mess, with art it was the satisfaction of creating something from nothing, which is also why I love to cook. My teachers were certain I would go to art school but I went down the mathematics route as I knew it would help me get taken more seriously as a woman. This landed me a job at Goldman Sachs which was an interesting experience.
Onlookers would complain that there weren't enough female VPs, but the truth we have to accept is (for understandable reasons), many women simply wouldn’t want to put in the hours and sacrifice to get there and why should we force them? You would typically have to compromise a family life, say goodbye to your soul and accept a very unhealthy lifestyle. Real change is much more than simply putting women in higher positions to improve company diversity statistics. I remember the time I got lured into playing for a 5-a-side football team at Goldmans to tick the diversity box, I’d never played football in my life so it was all for show and I was more a burden than anything (I had fun though!) We need to do better than this.
My company Arganic launched with its roots in integrity back in 2012. It stemmed from a deep rooted passion for sustainability, health and heritage.
We believe in the gifts of nature, and that in a world that pushes for constant innovation, we mustn't lose the best ancient traditions and timeless classics.
Arganic’s integrity triad encompasses:
— full traceability: the only argan oil brand in the UK to name the source on the bottle
— substance over matter: uncompromising quality over empty brand promises
— inside-out body: beauty meets food meets health
Together with Sidi Yassine who we are exclusively partnered with in Morocco, we only work with local Berber women to conduct the lengthy hand work involved in producing our argan oil and we pay them a fair wage. Most of these women didn't get the privilege to go to school and are therefore illiterate, meaning finding work is challenging.
This not only helps them gain independence but it provides them with a life outside of the kitchen at home, where they can enjoy socialising with others. To make things easier for them, they get paid per sack of work and they can work as little or as much as they like, we know that flexibility is key.
We also provide a free creche and classroom for them onsite, so their children can be close to them and in education.
Back to London, it just so happens that the core Arganic team are all female.
Over 50% of the team have children and they get extra holiday time and flexibility to accommodate their situation. Anyone is allowed time off in relation to period pains and we finish work early on Friday’s. Running a business is hard work at the best of times. When you are a conscientious, value-led business existing within a greedy system which is more favourable towards men, it’s challenging and requires a great amount of creativity to survive.
All the more reason to support female led brands!
Find Arganic's culinary and cosmetic oil here.