2019 is the year of the female - at least we like to think so. Over the past few years, the campaign for equality and more importantly, recognition, has grown stronger and female voices have grown louder. So it is with great pride that here at An Organised Life, we celebrate both women in business, wherever possible and specifically today, International Women’s Day.
We all know that the juggle is very real. Whether it’s mastering a side project, balancing work and family, or driving the growth of a business, there’s nothing more powerful than a woman chasing her dreams. We sat down with AYU founders Alanna (Lanny) Cooney and Madeleine Whitter to find out more about the conception of AYU, how they stay organised and what advice they’d give to other women in 2019.
The pair founded AYU whilst travelling through India some years ago.
“We've a shared passion for Ayurveda having both studied it and have both always played around with creating our own scents from natural oils. We discovered some really incredible traditional perfume distilleries when we were in India and the idea of creating scents and tying in our Vedic studies eventuated. We love working with these distilleries, passed down through generations, to help keep this dying art alive”, says Lanny.
And on top of their thriving business, Lanny has one little girl called Stevie and works as senior account manager at Golightly PR; and Madeleine juggles a teenager, a pre-teen and a one year old. Inspiring much?
Read more below - and just before you start... for today only, the first 20 customers who purchase a monogrammed leather notebook will receive a complimentary AYU Perfume too. Shop HERE x
How do you manage the juggle?
Lanny: I think it's important to be realistic with yourself, go easy on yourself with what is actually achievable between managing jobs, a family and how many hours exist in a day.
Madeleine: The juggle is real, but every mum learns to juggle and I'm so lucky that I love what I do, so going to work is a joy for me as is being with my family. I feel blessed to be in this position.
What are the top 3 ways you organise your life?
Lanny: Writing lists, prioritising, exercise for clearing the head.
Madeleine: I just discovered the KonMari method, which is a total game changer in terms of organisation in the home. I cannot cope without my diary, backed up by a wall calendar in the kitchen.
When it comes to notebooks, are you a lined or unlined kind of gal?
Lanny: Definitely lined but I don't stay between them!
Madeleine: I need a lined notebook.
And what about monogramming? Initials or something else?
Madeleine: I love initials - simple and beautiful.
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Who inspires you?
Lanny: The givers and nurturers of the world.
Madeleine: I used to work for two ladies, Lynda and Lindy, who are best friends. They employed over 35 people at a time and between them had 7 children, yet, they always found time for everyone. They taught me so many things about life, love, work ethic and compassion. They ran their businesses successfully and still do - they are tough, yet fun, and have hearts of gold. They put family, friends and travel high on the to-do lists, and I try to emulate them in my own life.
How do you want wearer’s of AYU to feel?
Lanny: Feeling positive and grounded and hopefully creating defining life moments that they associate with wearing Ayu.
As women in business, it’s important to have a strong support network – who are yours?
Lanny: My family, friends, work colleagues and my incredible business partner Madeleine.
Madeleine: Apart from family, and mentors, Lanny is my greatest support. Having a business partner who gets you and is on the same page is the greatest support for me.
Describe your workspace... What essentials would we find at your desk?
Lanny: I tend to work better when my space is arranged in some kind of order. There's always a bunch of essential oils, raw materials and scent samples that we are trialling, a Rumi travel size bottle and an endless pile of filing. I also keep a small notebook on hand for writing down scent ideas or any ideas and notes.
Madeleine: There is a lot going on as Lanny and I cover all aspects of our business, but at my desk you will find a computer, phone, notepaper, calligraphy pens. I also have my favourite pictures from our photoshoots on the walls and pictures from our travels to India. There are also many, many essential oil bottles and precious attars and tinctures that we have collected on the shelves to keep me inspired.
And finally – being a woman in business in 2019, what advice would you give budding business owners?
Lanny: I'm not so sure a work/life balance really exists - do what you really love and be involved in it at all times. Having a child can enhance your career and business in so many ways as it can help to prioritise and define all the important things in your life.
Madeleine: Work really, really hard, believe in yourself, pour everything into what you are doing and enjoy every step of the way. That way you know you're on the right track. And trust that the universe has got you.