Inspirational Woman: Juliet White | Co-founder, delilah

Juliet WhiteI am the middle sister to two brothers; my mother was half Indian and half Persian and my Father is a Yorkshire man – I had wonderful parents who gave me a balanced up-bringing.

Both my brothers were very academic at school, while I was arty, sporty and had a consuming love for animals. To be honest the school academic environment didn’t suit me well, I think it was fair to say I was a bit of a non-conformist. Coincidently, my first job out of college was with Mary Quant Cosmetics, based in London; if you had told me then that many years later I would start my own make-up brand, I would never have believed it.

I have always loved adventure and new challenges, which has led to a varied career from working in a theatrical agency to advertising. My love of sport and tennis eventually led me to setting up my own business in corporate hospitality, organising celebrity tennis events.

One of my early loves was photography, which I turned into a full-time business for 15 years; I was lucky enough to travel the world doing commissions, book covers and portraits. It was during this time I met my husband, who was working as a make-up artist doing product development for small brands here in the UK. The next step was inevitable, we combined our passions and in 2014 we started delilah. Here we are 6 years later, with a few more grey hairs, still loving the daily adventures and challenges.

My role is Operations Director, but as we are such a small team, I wear many hats from product development to marketing and sales, not to mention all the things that come with running a business and a small board of directors.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Oh no, definitely not! In the early days my frustrated parents were convinced I might end up in a hippy commune! My careers have always been a little more spontaneous and impulsive, but I would say that I have always understood my strengths and weaknesses; I am not afraid to follow my passions. In the end life has a way of looking like it was planned; all your experiences bring you to where you are now, and I am not afraid to trust in that. I could still end up in that hippy commune!

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Oh yes, plenty. I have never been diagnosed with it, but I am now starting to understand that I may be dyslexic in reading. My writing and spelling have always been fine but reading has its challenges!  Still now, when I am faced with pages of shipping regulations or distribution agreements, I really need to be in the right space to deal with them.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

In 2016, delilah won “best new brand” at the CEW awards – the Oscars of the beauty industry. We really had no idea we were going to win. I had invited my father to the awards dinner and when they called our name and we went up on stage, it was that moment I will never forget.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Passion, to the point of obsession. I have always thrown myself into whatever is in front of me, I have never been content to just amble along. My business, my hobbies, my beautiful dog, my home and family are at the centre of my universe and deserve all the love and devotion that I can give.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I have never officially mentored anyone, but I always try and guide the younger tribes in my world though my own experiences. My amazing father has been my inspiration in life and in business, his guidance and reassurance has helped to get where I am today.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I am genuinely concerned about the type of female role models that reality television and social media are producing at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand what a revolutionary platform social media has been for many female businesswomen. The ability to reach out to like-minded people and inspire them with content has changed the face of the beauty industry forever, giving smaller independent brands the edge over the large corporations. However, I am disappointed that in a time where we have the opportunity to celebrate individualism, we are faced with over sexualised caricatures of what a woman should look like. Happily, I think we are getting past that now, but it can’t come too soon as far as I am concerned.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

That’s tricky. Possibly to give more to and be more patient with the people who are the most tricky to love or work with.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

That’s easy, it’s the work / life balance. We have been a start-up for the last six years and it’s been relentless, fun also, but it never stops. We are just getting to a point where we have the most amazing team around us. Life moves fast, nieces and nephews grow up quick and I want to be there for them also. I love my business and I am so proud of what I have achieved, but you spend so much time thinking about the future, “wont things be better when…” it’s time to start living in the moment again, either that or find that hippy commune!

WeAreTheCity has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Cherie Blair, Paula Radcliffe MBE, Caprice Bourret, Anna Williamson and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here

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