Sharon is the perfect example of ‘necessity breeds innovation’, with her pioneering straightening hairbrush DAFNI.
The first of its kind, Dafni is the original straightening hairbrush designed by young mother of two Sharon Rabi after experiencing a disastrous haircut.
After the haircut, Sharon started using hair straighteners to help tame her frizzy mane, but found whilst juggling family life and looking after her two small girls she needed a quicker solution.
Using her background in engineering, Sharon turned to engineering father and proposed creating a smart, heat dissipating brush. After improvising and experimenting with different materials within their living room, a mock-up was created and Sharon saw that they were on the verge of a breakthrough.
After three hard years of learning, failing and trying to create the fail proof straightening hair rush, Dafni was created (named after Sharon’s sister Dafna). Sharon first demonstrated the Dafni brush to the world by uploading a video on YouTube that received over 100 million views on the day!
After the breakthrough video that broke the internet, retail giants across the world such as QVC approached Sharon. Dafni was sold out within 10 minutes of the first airing on QVC, in which Sharon recalls was her Jennifer Lawrence Joy moment.
Sharon has since become one of Forbes’ celebrated 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I am Sharon Rabi, 29, mum of two young girls, electric engineer and physicist, founder of DAFNI.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
A couple of years after university, my friends started to find student jobs in corporates and I just knew one thing; that’s not my future. I wanted life to be an adventure, instead I decided to take a course in creative writing, Chinese and more. I had many ideas for start-ups (and I still do!), and after experiencing an unflattering, short haircut I decided to try and develop a more intuitive hair straightener.
Have you faced any challenges along the way? How did you deal with them?
No matter what you do, you face challenges, inside and outside the work place. I guess the biggest challenge I faced as an entrepreneur was betting on myself. It should be obvious that we all think we can achieve great things, but somehow in the first steps it isn’t, and early stage entrepreneurial thoughts often encounter cynicism and doubt from friends and family. There is always a reason not to do something or crawl back to your comfort zone, especially when facing rejection, but I believe life should be an adventure and whenever I get rejected I still say, well, that’s one person, out of seven billion, I still got a shot right?
Do you have a typical workday? How does you start your day and how does it end?
I have been traveling a lot in the past couple of years. We launched DAFNI in 20 countries over the past 18 months, just now I am in Australia for DAFNI. Days vary, some are office days, some I travel for press events and presentations. When I am in the office I take my daughters from nursery school at least three days a week.
How do you balance your work and personal life?
I am very mindful to my daughters’ confidence in themselves. I believe that is the root of everything. I am a daughter of a career mum and it definitely helped me believe in myself and be more courageous. I never travel for more than a week and traveling makes me appreciate the time we have together and we make it count.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?
When we started to develop DAFNI I got into YouTube and looked for people like me. My biggest inspiration then was Sara Blakely, even now I sometimes ask “What would Sara do?” I am very lucky to be approached by fierce female entrepreneurs and I do my best to help.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
I would get more women to manage the VCs. It is frustrating to know only a couple of percent from the overall start up investments is invested in a woman led company. We’ve achieved so much and yet we aren’t getting enough recognition as leaders. I’ve read that girls start to think boys are smarter since they are six. I don’t think I ever thought boys are smarter than me and it is our global job to make sure our girls won’t either.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Nothing triumphs self-belief, Henri Ford said “whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right”
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I hope to keep innovating and that all our innovations will go insanely viral and to be able to really hold the flag of healthy beauty. At the end of the day, beauty is confidence. Nothing more.