Juliette Hogan started her eponymous fashion label out of her parents’ house in South Auckland when she was just 24, opening her first shop on Ponsonby Rd in 2007.
Now, the Juliette Hogan brand has grown into one of New Zealand’s most well-known fashion labels, with three stores in Auckland and one in Wellington.
And it’s all thanks to the determination and vision of its founder.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Juliette sat down with REDnews to discuss progress, motherhood, and how #MeToo is helping shape the conversation on sexism.
The 2018 International Women’s Day theme is #PressForProgress. What progress have you seen made during your time as a fashion designer, and in what areas do you think progress still needs to be made?
The industry itself has changed a huge amount for me over the past 14 years. I think we as a team and also myself as an individual are always pressing for ourselves to be better people, a better company, and a great culture, and continually challenging ourselves so that we see progress in our workplace.
How do you personally press for progress?
In the last six months I’ve decided to take personal steps to press for progress, so I’m doing a business course for the first six months of this year, and I’m also working with a company to help me develop my personal speaking abilities and skills.
With the company and the greater team of Juliette Hogan, we’re continually wanting to see our people strive and succeed, so we need to offer the opportunities to do so.
What new challenges to running a business did motherhood bring?
It was an absolute joy becoming a mother. It did pose a new world for me to understand as I’d had the business for 12 and a half years and I’d never really stepped away from it for a long period of time.
It was challenging not to be involved in the day to day runnings of the business, but it opened up a whole world of opportunity for my team to be able to excel at what they’re great at without me being over their shoulders the whole time.
We had 9 months to prepare for this, and I’m such an organised and efficient person that we put in procedures and systems so that my absence wasn’t going to be detrimental to the company.
It has been challenging but it has been incredibly rewarding and I really enjoy the balance that I have.
How do you ensure your workplace is a positive and inclusive environment?
I love what I do so I really enjoy coming to work, so I think my personal values are lived each day by the team.
We like to encourage people to be themselves, to be able to talk to us and communicate with us about any issues that arise, and just have a really open forum within the business.
What to you is the biggest issue facing women in New Zealand today?
I think juggling that work/life balance. A huge amount of responsibility is placed on mothers, and just coming to grips with how that works within a working environment can be challenging.
The #MeToo movement has helped start a worldwide conversation on sexism. What are your thoughts on that? Are we experiencing a cultural shift?
We are seeing a cultural shift, which is great. I think there is sexism, I think there has been sexism, and I think there will continue to be sexism in business and in life. But the greater we’re aware of it and the more that we can talk about it, the better it is for all of us.
Have you experienced sexism as a female entrepreneur?
Tricky one to answer but I think there have been times where if I had been a male, I potentially would have got an easier ride with a couple of things.
So yes, I have experienced sexism, but I’m also a very strong, determined person and I don’t let that stop me.
If you could have dinner with any woman, who would it be and why?
Michelle Obama. I just think she’s an absolutely fascinating person and what she’s achieved is mind blowing.