MW Stories

Get a Head Start with Iris Lillian

March 26, 2019

Back in 2010, no one was talking about how messed up the corporate world was for women. We’re brought up to believe that "girls can do anything" but as soon as you leave school you quickly realize that just isn’t true – there are still too many barriers in place preventing women from thriving.

This week we partnered up with Iris Lillian, a website and community which features inspiring & useful articles for the busy working women. The website's mantra is "style your career & life your way". This idea just so perfectly aligns with everything we believe in here at Maggie Wu Studio.

 

For our partnership giveaway, we interviewed the founder, Elissa James, a senior corporate lawyer, about what inspired her to start Iris Lillian and what tips & advice does she have for women looking to switch careers.

 

 

 “Back in 2010-2012, no one was talking about how messed up the corporate world was for women. We’re brought up to believe that ‘girls can do anything’ but as soon as you leave school you quickly realize that just isn’t true – there are still too many barriers in place preventing women from thriving. I founded Iris Lillian as a way to kick-start these important conversations and to encourage others to share their own experiences; to delve into the issues and inspire change.” – Elissa James, founder of Iris Lillian.

 

Iris Lillian was named after Elissa’s grandmother, an elegant, impressive woman with kickass style and a no-fuss attitude.

 

Please tell us a bit about yourself: Where is your hometown & where are you based?

I grew up in sunny Perth, Western Australia. When I was 19 I moved to Italy in pursuit of long-held dream of becoming fluent in another language. I lived for a short time in a Costa Rican jungle helping a women’s’ group to establish an eco-tourism venture when I was 20. More recently, I lived and worked in London and then Sydney as a lawyer before settling in Hong Kong with my husband and new baby.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your journey of how & why you started Iris Lilian? How did you pivot your career?
Women still face roadblocks in the workplace and in business because, structurally and culturally, it’s not set up for women to thrive. Back in 2010, few people were talking about the issues women were facing in the corporate world. Issues like how to prep for pay raise discussions; how to stop being a chronic people pleaser; how to deal with Imposter Syndrome; and how to respond to questions like, “so, when are you popping out your first kid?” I founded IrisLillian.com as a way to kick-start these important conversations and to encourage others to share their own experiences; to delve into the issues and inspire change. It’s not surprising that we tend to publish content that doesn’t appeal to the mainstream media publications – this makes our platform unique.
When my partner secured a job in Hong Kong it dawned on me the time was right to take the leap. I set up the home office and launched IrisLillian.com.

 

Iris Lillian is all about helping women kick-start their career that aligns with who they are. The website even offers a free downloadable Career Guide. As a busy working woman yourself, how do you usually kick-start your day?
I wish I could say that I sprung out of bed at 6am, hit the gym and was at my desk sipping my celery juice by 8. But, I’m not a morning person. My husband usually makes me a cup of tea, which I drink in bed. Only then can I muster up the motivation to drag myself to the bathroom.
One thing I maintain religiously is my coffee ritual – every week day I walk to the train via my favorite coffee shop, chat with the barista and collect an Americano – it sets me up for the day.

 

If you have one piece of advice for women looking to change their careers, what would it be?
 
Make sure you are ready. The grass is often greener, as I discovered. If you are going to go at it alone and start a business, make sure you are confident in what you are doing. When you’re all alone you don’t have colleagues to bounce ideas off or mentors to guide the way. I found it hard to grow in isolation. If in doubt, here are 11 things to consider before quitting your job.
 
Thank you Elissa for sharing your journey & tips with us. We are teaming up with Iris & Lillian by giving away this beautiful Head Start Beauty Ritual Set that will help you kick-start your day. See our Instagram post for more details.

 

 
 



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