International Women’s Day: Celebrating community and the power of coming together

International Women’s Day has come around again, and we want to celebrate one of the greatest strengths of women: the power to build community. Communities created by women, for women, give us the space to lift each other up and support each other and are truly a testament to the resilience, strength and solidarity that defines the female experience. Last year was the year of Barbie, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift’s Eras tour - powerful communities of women who came together to embrace girlhood and shook up economies all over the world through the power of their purse in the process.

Historically, women have been pitted against each other, raised to view other women as our enemies, not our allies, and convinced that there isn’t space for more than one of us at the top, an idea rooted in patriarchal idealisms. Despite these pressures, women have recognised the importance of coming together and supporting each other, whether through networking events, online communities or social gatherings to share experiences, resources and advice. 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we caught up with our founder Olga Parno to discuss her experience as a woman in business and in the beauty industry. She takes us through her journey and how the women she’s met along the way have helped her shape Masktini into the brand it is today.

Tell us about some of the women that have helped you build Masktini into the brand it is today.

“There are too many to list! Every part of my journey so far wouldn’t have been as successful as it was without the help of other women, from executives running other companies that offered advice and guidance as I was launching the brand, to product formulators that helped me to create powerhouse products that aligned with my vision. I truly believe that anyone who tells you that they did it all alone is lying - or at least they missed an opportunity to lean on those around them to level up their dream astronomically. There’s such a negative stigma around asking for help, as if it’s almost a show of weakness, but it’s the bravest thing you can do. Everyone at some point in their journey, no matter what it is, is going to need someone to give them a chance and lend a hand and when they do, make sure you take it!”

How do you think both the beauty industry and the business world can improve when it comes to recognising diversity and inclusivity?

“The beauty industry is traditionally female-centric, and unfortunately the business world is still notoriously a male-dominated industry, especially at the top. There’s opportunities for both spaces to overlap and diversify further, and as a female founder, I’ve found that it’s important to carve out my own place in both worlds. Both in business and in beauty, recognising diversity and inclusivity can sometimes become a box-ticking exercise if you’re not careful, the social equivalent of greenwashing, and I believe the key is not to go looking for it too hard. Instead, I think that if you build a team of like-minded individuals who share a common vision, regardless of their background, you instinctively build a brand that encompasses true diversity and inclusivity.  At Masktini, we have an incredibly diverse team from a variety of backgrounds, not by design, but because they all share a common passion and contribute to our shared vision through the lens of their own unique experience. As a result, we’ve built a brand that truly serves and represents a diverse community because it started from within.”

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given by another woman?

“I remember the best advice I’ve ever been given by another woman as clear as day and it was to stay in my lane, don’t compare myself to others and to always do what’s right for me and I follow that advice every day. In beauty, it’s so easy to get caught up in what you think your customers want instead of addressing the problem you set out to solve, and in business it’s still too easy to compare yourself to the other women around you and see them as your competition. Following this advice has helped me to stay grounded, block out the noise around me to focus on my brand vision and lean on the other powerful women around me, because while society has convinced us that there’s only space for one of us at the top, I know that when we come together we create space for all of us at the top.”