She Leads is a place to share stories about women who lead in their own unique ways and an opportunity for them to pass on their invaluable wisdoms to others. Following are edited excerpts of the She Leads dialogues with Mary Logan.
Mary is an entrepreneur and owner of Blush Bridal. I have spent the past 2 years learning about her and her business while we drop off and pick up our daughters from school. Here is what I know to be true about Mary: she puts people first, she treats her staff well, and leads with heart. She rises above – even in tricky times she acts with integrity in her work. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs – Mary’s two sisters are also owners of successful small businesses.
How would you define success?
As a general life-happiness. If a person feels happy with their life on pretty much a day to day basis, then there is no denying they've set up a successful life. This is, of course, usually directly related to what they do for a living. Success is when, at the end of the day, you really like your life, whether through a career you are inspired by, or by working a job that provides you with a happy life. I feel like not enough credit is given to the latter category; we seem to live in a time where the belief is that to achieve true career success, one has to be a passionate entrepreneur. Don't you see people who seem genuinely pleased to be both starting and finishing their week...not the type to grumble and mumble but the ones who are at peace with where they are? Success! It helps to feel truly valuable at your workplace :)
What is one leadership lesson you've learned in the past year?
Face the hard situations as quickly as you can. Leave them for tomorrow and they fester. Pick up the phone and make the dreaded phone call as soon as you arrive at work.
As a female entrepreneur, what are the opportunities and challenges you face?
In particular when I first started, people generally seemed really pleased to have a fairly young female growing this company. At the time even my industry was run by men...it was husband and wife teams heading up all the successful North American bridal gown shops, often in the family for generations. Now, 11 years later, it is full of young female start-ups. As a female-led and based company, we are very good at apologizing. This is both excellent and very sad. We get taken advantage of for that...by our female only customer base, I'm afraid.
What is your daily leadership practice?
I try to stand outside and look back in with an objective perspective. Look at the boutique, our collection, our daily practices, staff and the way we run things. What needs to change? That, and I exercise almost daily to clear my head and give me focus.
How important is failure in business?
I wish it wasn't, but I believe it gives you greater success ultimately. If you have the stomach needed to deal with professional failure, you face necessary risk and hardship with much more ease. It's easy to get eaten away by stress caused from fear of failure, or actual failure. Learning to choose to NOT live by this stress is vital.
What advice would you give to a new start-up?
This is not Instagram and Pinterest! Women in business is so much more complex but it seems people find inspiration there. Partner up if you can – two heads are often better than one.