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Celebrating Female Founders | International Women's Day 2023

Celebrating Female Founders | International Women's Day 2023

By B. Soberano
Female Founders

March 8th marks International Women's Day and in honour of this, we are celebrating the amazing women founders of the innovative skincare and wellness brands at John Bell & Croyden. We spoke to the inspiring women on what this means to them and their journeys as women in business.

Victoria Neymann, Founder of Verdilab

Victoria Neymann Verdilab

As a female founder, what does this mean to you?

My path to my own company and creation of VERDILAB was not easy. Therefore, today, being a female founder for me means so much more than just running a successful company. It means standing up for what I believe in without having to compromise in the name of profits or plans and pushing myself out of my comfort zone to reach further even when things seem impossible at first sight. It’s an empowering feeling and endless growth path. Being the female founder is an incredible journey full of joy, hard work and pride in every, even the smallest, success that we managed to achieve together with our wonderful team of dedicated people. But it also comes with great responsibility towards employees, my business partners and, of course, customers.

What was the inspiration behind starting your business?

My story begins with a dream. It started when I understood that if I wanted to achieve something truly meaningful, it would have to be on my own terms. I knew I was ready to make my dream come true, using my knowledge and many years of experience to create cosmetics of a completely different quality, that make people’s lives better while also being mindful of our environment.

Due to my medical education and the fact that I come from a three-generation family of medical scientists, the health of the skin, as well as the whole body, has always been the most important thing for me. Being inspired by my father's wonderful scientific inventions in the field of immunology, I came up with the idea of transferring these discoveries to the field of cosmetology, basing the VERDILAB formulas on them. This is how our unique, patent-pending ImmunatuRNA® technology was created, which has the properties to support the natural immunity of the skin to make it healthier and more beautiful.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?

It was that time when I had reached a point where I felt like I was stuck in a wrong place. I felt I should start doing things my way. So that's exactly what I did. One thing that quickly became evident is that having your own opinion isn't enough; you need the courage to stand by those opinions too. It can be daunting at times going against popular consensus, but having the confidence in yourself is essential for any successful professional journey. Equally important though is respecting others; after all we're all on this journey together. And finally, don't forget your values along the way – they will always guide us down the right path regardless of how difficult things may get at times. 

So, my most important principles I’m always trying to follow:

  • Never give up, tomorrow will be another day.
  • Have the courage to have your own opinion.
  • Listen to others, not just yourself.
  • Don't compromise on your own values.
  • Respect and appreciate others.
  • Help people whenever you can.

Jules Miller, Founder of The Nue Co.

Jules Miller, The Nue Co

As a female founder, what does this mean to you?

I feel very fortunate to be amongst the very small group of women (particularly Latinas) who have secured funding to scale a business. I've been fortunate enough to follow in the footsteps of the very few women who have been leading the beauty and wellness industry forward, and yet- we are still very much a minority. As a new mum to a young baby girl I hope that all of my efforts, alongside with my fellow female founders, create even bigger opportunities for the women of the future.

What was the inspiration behind starting your business?

An IBS diagnosis led me to the unregulated world of supplements and vitamins. I had to rely on my grandfather, who was a chemist, to help me decipher formulas that could actually help, rather than make my symptoms worse. The idea for The Nue Co was to develop efficacy-led formulas, using extremely clean ingredients and to develop a brand rooted in transparency & engaging education.

What is the toughest challenge you have faced through the journey of starting a business and how did you overcome it?

Everything COVID related. Sourcing our ingredients from around the world became increasingly more difficult. In the end, we localised a lot of our manufacturing- which is far more sustainable and therefore a better solution for our whole health ecosystem


Margaret Dabbs, Founder of Margaret Dabbs London

Margaret Dabbs

As a female founder, what does this mean to you?

Being a female founder can be empowering. It can help you feel confident and capable. It can also give you the opportunity to inspire other women to become entrepreneurs. Most recently I was awarded an OBE in the 2023 New Year’s Honours List in recognition of my services to Business and Podiatry, my entrepreneurial ability and for creating a brand-new wellness category within beauty for the care of Feet, Hands and Legs.

What was the inspiration behind starting your business?

The inspiration for the company really came from my realisation whilst treating patients that there was a significant commercial opportunity and gap in the market which existed for foot products which were effective on a treatment level but were also beautifying and luxurious to use. I formulated my range of foot products and moved out of private consulting rooms in central London into my first flag-ship high street premises, launching my first products and giving the new brand visibility and accessibility, whilst at the same time introducing serious beauty into the foot care arena for the very first time. The business has continued to grow with an evolving range of products for feet, and the launch of anti-ageing hand products, a vegan range for feet and hands and a leg range focusing on tired heavy uncomfortable, swollen legs which utilise trademarked ingredients to deliver the treatment results. The brand is held in high regard with credible and trusted results driven products and treatments.

What advice can you give to women looking for a start in the industry?

If you're thinking of starting a business, don't let your gender hold you back. Believe in yourself and go for it. Be passionate about your ideas and listen to everyone and take advise from around you but make your own decisions. Be careful with cash and remember you must bring in more money than you are spending – cashflow is the key to getting a business off the ground. Make sure your business model works – keep it simple and don’t over think it and most importantly keep your focus and don’t be distracted by lots of other opportunities around you. A good business idea will always throw up lots of opportunities, but don’t be tempted to keep changing direction, focus on what you set out to do is key.


Dr Vanessa Creaven, Co-founder of Spotlight Oral Care

Dr Vanessa Creaven, co-founder of Spotlight Oral Care

As a female founder, what does this mean to you?

I think there is such a tribe of amazing female founders in the last couple of years and that really inspires me. Female founders offer a different perspective to what has been traditionally available in the past. I believe that female founders have a 360 approach to what it means to be a founder, taking into account work, life and family balance which I feel is super important when it comes to building future businesses.

What was the inspiration behind starting your business?

Our inspiration with Spotlight Oral Care is to create best-in-class oral care products, products that are super efficacious, sustainable and ethically created. As dentists, we feel passionate that 95% of your oral health goals can be achieved at home, using products that are rich in active ingredients that target your concern whether it be improving gum health, eliminating sensitivity or whitening teeth. We also passionately believe that all oral care products should be created cruelty free, free of any animal by-products and ethically sourced, that is why we are so proud to be PETA approved, free of palm oil and any sulphate derivatives.

Whose career inspires you and why?

Any person who is striving and trying their best in their personal and work lives inspires me, I find Brene Brown hugely inspiring and she quotes in her book Daring Greatly, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”


Lauren & Nicole Windas, Founders of Ardere


As a female founder, what does this mean to you?

To us, International Women’s Day celebrates the powerful movements and impacts that women have made in different walks and areas of life, from social, cultural and political to much more. These women are inspirational, motivational, empowering and a force for change.

What was the inspiration behind starting your business?

ARDERE was born from our own personal journeys into the world of wellness. In 2012, Co-founder, Lauren (Author of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Your Route to Recovery) became unwell with a post-viral illness (more commonly referred to as M.E. or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). After failing to find help through orthodox medicine she was determined to treat herself as naturally as possible and discovered that by making specific dietary and lifestyle changes, she was able to alleviate and overcome many of my symptoms. Similarly, sister and Co-founder, Nicole went on the journey with her after suffering with stress and anxiety in her early twenties. We have experienced first-hand the power of clever lifestyle choices. Our collective passion became sharing our knowledge with others. We began exploring techniques, natural products and recipes that not only promote a profound sense of physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, but also that can be used to support a variety of ailments and reduce your toxic load.

We realised that our all-encompassing message is that we wanted to ‘evoke people’s glow’ from the inside out, hence the name ARDERE came about which is a Latin translation of ‘glow’ to offer a 360 degree approach to wellbeing. We decided to pool all of our of knowledge over the last 10 years into ARDERE. Lauren trained as a Nutritionist and Naturopath so she could help people with similar issues to what she suffered in the ARDERE wellness clinic, and Nicole trained as a wellness coach and advocate of self-care through developing natural, honest and effective self-care products.

What is your favourite aspect of being a female entrepreneur?

We’re in a time where there are more female entrepreneurs than ever before, with many trail-blazers, showing what’s possible in the world of business. What we particularly love about being in the wellbeing sector as female entrepreneurs is that this space is heavily made up of female founders, of like-minded individuals you can connect with, be inspired by and who empower each other. It’s less about competition and more about collaboration.

Mahsa Nejati, founder of Mahsa

Mahsa Nejati

As a female founder, what does this mean to you?

It’s a celebration of doing something that women in centuries been discouraged and somehow prevented to do. It’s empowering and definitely sends out a message to all the women out there who are struggling, that they can and they will accomplish. Through all the challenges in life of running a home and having the most challenging but rewarding full time job as a mother, I still managed to launch my products and make my vision a reality. So anyone that puts in the hard work and has the passion will succeed in the end.

What was the inspiration behind starting your business?

To be my own boss and to be able to create something from the ground up. With it, comes of course, to achieve what one wants to have in life. And ultimately be recognized for one’s contribution.

What are your goals and aspirations for the future?

To challenge myself in my field, be better and make sure my products stand out. To continue to work with my team and aspire them to be part of a successful brand.

Happy International Women's Day! 

We hope you feel inspired and join us in celebrating the amazing achievements of women.

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