There is a lot of discussion going on about women empowerment in the last few years. To a point where the topic starts becoming a bit overused, polluted, and the words tuns into a cliché. The problem is that losing interest in women empowerment is not in our interest. I mean women’s interest! The problem is that we still want to empower women and attract more attention on the topic! So how do we make things interesting again around women empowerment? How do we provoke more action and change because women empowerment is still about change! A lot of change!
Let’s start right from the essence of things:
What does empowering women mean to us, women? Is it about our own sense of self-worth? Is it having an access to opportunity and resources, is it about education, influence or control over our own lives? Is it about independence, and I mean not only financial, but the freedom to take decisions without being dependent on men? Perhaps it is all of the above!
When it comes to Women empowerment there is no nothing more empowering than seeing a young girl go and get what she wants!
In my pursuit of understanding the topic of Women Empowerment and keeping this conversation alive and provoking further change, I thought of featuring several women who are the perfect example of women empowerment! Women leaders, women who show us interesting and provocative ways of empowerment.
Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to Sakaynah Hunter, the founder and editor in chief of Edit Her, a leadership and style online platform for entrepreneurial-minded women, covering business, fashion, psychology and lifestyle. Sakaynah Hunter chose to “empower women” by sharing the stories of many innovative women in leadership roles, women who are role modelling for a new type of world, with new ways of thinking and a new way of owning femininity! In Edit Her you can find out what women think of themselves and taking control of their own lives, writing their own stories.
Tsitaliya: Why did you decide to start Edit Her? How did the platform come to life?
Sakaynah Hunter: I have dreamt of starting a business that would empower women for a while. I remember brainstorming ideas for a boutique that would empower women back in school during my business studies class.
The idea for Edit Her first started during my Master’s degree in Fashion Journalism at the London College of Fashion. For my Final Master’s Project, I decided to focus on a publication around female leadership; that magazine was a print version of Edit Her, which involved me interviewing a range of inspiring women for the magazine. I also directed and styled shoots, which involved sourcing clothes from up-and-coming designers, as well as sourcing models and studio venues.
I was so happy with the outcome and it was one of the chosen magazines to be put on display for an exhibition at LCF.
I envisioned myself developing it post-masters, but I ended up working for a range of luxury companies and wanted to focus on gaining experience in the industry and working with inspiring teams. This enabled me to learn so many different skillsets along the way, and I’m so grateful for these experiences and the people that I have met – some of whom are still my friends today.
The development of Edit Her began after leaving my role and a great team at Jimmy Choo and deciding to go freelance.
While freelancing, I started carrying out market research with friends, colleagues and associates that are in this industry, to hear what sorts of content they would be interested in reading and engaging with, and to spend time understanding the women I was targeting.
This was followed by interviews with a range of inspiring entrepreneurial-minded women. I sourced these women from a range of platforms, selecting them for their inspiring career journey.
This is while reaching out to a graphic designer I had contracted previously. I sent her countless sources of inspiration and developed a mood board; communicating my vision was a thorough decision. I think that if you really want to get your vision across, you have to spend time really understanding it yourself and work hard to produce a vision board you are happy with.
Thankfully, I did, as bit by bit the work-in-progress mock-up pages designed by my graphic designer pieced together my vision. It was a thorough process that took the time necessary to finalise. And she executed my vision beautifully.
The interviews I have done so far have been such an uplifting and inspiring journey and I am overjoyed that my interviewees and audience visitors are loving Edit Her. I love the engagement Edit Her gets and I just want to keep growing to eventually become a multi-platform brand.
Tsitaliya: You are an entrepreneur and you talk to a lot of other entrepreneurs! Do you like it to be your own boss: what’s the best and the worst about being your own boss?
Sakaynah Hunter: I remember asking myself, ‘What would you do if you knew you could do anything?’ I would constantly ask myself this question, and my answer always involved owning my own brand. That brand is now Edit Her.
I love that I get the chance to work on a brand that I strongly believe in and truly love. I know why I started this and it’s for a great cause; it stands for female empowerment and reflects the all-encompassing woman. I want more women to feel like they can put their heart and soul into having a family while growing a business, that they can overcome obstacles, that they can be whoever they want to be.
I would say that the hardest thing about being my own boss is the loneliness and not currently having that constant office culture (as a new business), where you get to mingle with colleagues (of course, that’s been the case for a lot of us due to the pandemic). I miss Friday office drinks. I’m a sociable people person and working at home alone a lot of the time (especially during the recent lockdowns) has been quite hard. That said, the work culture that I yearn for is the one I am working towards creating with Edit Her. It’s my mission to build a company with a strong, connected women-led team. I know that in the future, I can create this very thing that I miss. And as an outgoing, enthusiastic people person, I’m striving for Edit Her’s work culture to be spirited, motivating and, of course, empowering.
As well as this, since we’ve been able to sit inside cafés again, I’ve been making the most of this. I have literally sat in a café every day since we’ve been allowed to it. I love it because I’ve just moved town and I’m getting to try out different cafés.
Tsitaliya: We live in a world where women seem to be superheroes who excel at so many things! What do you see is still a challenge for most women today?
Sakaynah Hunter: Trying to balance family life with work; trying to still challenge the stereotypes that women face; feeling pressure to have to dress in a way that shows we are ‘serious’; trying to take up more room in the boardroom; wanting to start a family while developing a career.
Tsitaliya: When you have one of those days, feeling like a failure, who is it you reach out to?!
Sakaynah Hunter: My wonderful mum (she happens to be a psychologist) and partner. I can always count on them daily. They are super encouraging and supportive.
Tsitaliya: One thing that your mama taught you?! Her best advice that you will always remember?
Sakaynah Hunter: One that comes to mind a lot is when my mum said ‘Walk out the door and down the street with the confidence of Naomi Campbell; you’re a super star’.
Ever since she said that, it’s always in the back of my mind and I always aim to walk tall and confidently, and most of all, believe in myself.
Tsitaliya: Describe what for you “HAPPY ENDING” means in li