I love reading about successful women who have built their careers and businesses doing what they love to do and are passionate about. This week one of Australia’s great leaders, Gail Kelly, announced she will stand down from her role as CEO of Westpac next year. I have enjoyed reading about how this great lady, mother of four, went from teaching in Zimbabwe to helping grow Australia’s oldest bank to the successful billion dollar company it is today. I know many friends who enjoyed working for Westpac under her leadership. She was one of the few female CEOs in Australia and was named among the world’s top 10 most powerful people by Forbes, I greatly admire her for what she’s achieved to date and look forward to seeing her next move. In a recent speech she gave she said “Do what you love. If you love what you do, you’ll do more of it, doing more of it you’ll gather more confidence, more energy and get better at it. That builds more confidence and energy and you love it more.”
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this month’s vogue Australia edition, with cover girl Gemma Ward, our Australian ‘sweetheart’ model who has come back stronger than ever after giving birth to her daughter Naia.
Gemma Ward above (cover of Vogue Australia December 2014).
Gemma Ward with daughter Naia
This month’s Vogue edition has to be my favourite yet, it features great articles about women who have been able to build successful careers whilst being mothers, including Elle MacPherson, Cate Blanchet, Toni Colette, Naomi Watts, Sarah Murdoch and Princess Mary. It also features articles on successful Australian entrepreneurs including Lindy Klim (blogger & founder of Milk & Co), Jo Morgan (founder of Mecca Cosmetica) and my dear friend Christiane Duigan, Mrs Clean & Lean and the other half of successful Personal Trainer to the stars & entrepreneur James Duigan (who’s trained THE Body Elle McPherson, Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley and Lara Stone). Christiane is the Director of Bodyism Global and BodyFood whose products range from stylish active wear to health foods. I was lucky enough to catch up with my beautiful friend, mother of two and fellow Brazilian Australian Adelaidian, and the middle of three successful siblings, and her gorgeous kids recently in Sydney and she was radiant as ever, and full of great ideas for the growth of her business worldwide.
Christiane Duigan (Director of Bodyism Global and BodyFood)
As a child I was always passionate about fashion, I was quite artistic and loved to draw and loved following fashion with my mum and two sisters. My academic and traditional Chinese parents dissuaded me from pursuing a career in fashion, particularly as my aunt had endured a difficult career in the fashion industry, working as a pattern designer for renowned fashion house Calvin Klein in New York. Even though I studied as an engineer at university and started my career as a consultant for a Big Four accounting firm, I always expressed my creativity through the way I dressed. For many years I travelled the world with my global firm and saw the ins and outs of many successful companies of varying industries, from finance to manufacturing and consumer industry and returned to London to work at Global Luxury Retailer Burberry. I enjoyed working for a company whose employees were passionate about the brand, and the company continued to grow under the leadership of two great women, then female CEO Angela Ahrendts and CFO Stacey Cartwright, along with the amazing designs by Creative Director Cristopher Bailey.
In 2010 my husband and I decided to return to Australia to start a family. We moved to Sydney and had a son and after he turned one I decided to pursue my dream of starting my own online fashion company.
Together with the support of my sisters (and my husband), we started J’adorais. J’adorais – about the things we love. It started as a place to share the things we love (fashion/food/travel). We also started building an e-commerce website, a platform for emerging fashion designers from around the world to showcase and sell their designs to customers globally. At the same time as we were starting J’adorais I landed my dream job of working for Australian Luxury Retailer David Jones. I was involved in the re-launch of the David Jones online website and after over a year juggling working full-time, on-call 24×7, and juggling motherhood, I decided to resign to spend more time with my son. The time off helped me build a strong bond again with my son and enjoy motherhood.
It wasn’t until my friend, talented designer and celebrity stylist (and mother of two beautiful kids) Kash O’Hara (oharadesigns.com.au) asked me to join her at one of her styling workshops and work as stylist for her company, the Style Dr, that I was inspired again to do what I love to do. Through her Styling workshop and during our client styling sessions I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the happy smiles of the clients at the end of a styling session. It is amazing seeing the clients “transformation”, they seem so confident and happy after each session. I really feel a sense of contentment after a styling session, it is so nice to finally put my 30 years of shopping and styling experience to good use.
Me on the left and Stylist/ Fashion Designer Kash O’Hara on the right at the tea salon before a client styling session (for more details, see https://theteasalon.com.au/sydney/styling-at-the-tea–salon)
And I now I have also been inspired to resume building J’adorais, an e-commerce marketplace for global fashion designers to showcase and sell their designs. These designers will be handpicked and “curated” by the Chian sisters, Clarice Chian (Fashion & Lifestyle Writer and Editor of Peut-Etre magazine , blogger with over 85k followers on @brigadeirochoc instagram based in Adelaide) as well as wonderful mother of my two gorgeous niece & nephew and Janice Chian (working from a global media company and scouting new design talents from the UK and Europe @Londonadorais based in London), see “About” for more details on my beautiful & talented sisters. When I first started J’adorais I was lucky enough to meet with some great designers who were eager to be involved with us, I look forward to meeting many more emerging designers and providing them a great forum to showcase their creations.
Here I am with my son, who wanted to join me at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (MBFFSS14) Sydney earlier this year (he loved it! 😉
My beautiful sister Clarice (@brigadeirochoc) and I at MBFFSS14 earlier this year
My stunning sister Janice Chian (@londonadorais) globetrotter in various glamorous destinations
Watch this space.
J’adorais.com is coming soon!!!
Follow J’adorais. Be inspired. Be involved. If you know any friends, emerging fashion designers that would be interested in being part of J’adorais please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.