International Women’s Day: Meet Our Suppliers

We’re celebrating International Women’s Day and increasing the visibility of women owned and run businesses. 

This IWD we are encouraged to collectively #BreakTheBias and imagine a world that is free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. At Green Outlook we support a number of women in business and what better time to give you an insight into what drives them, what challenges they face, how they develop as business leaders and who inspires them. 

Sophie Freeman (Mullingar) – Sophie’s Soaps: What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?

“This is a great question – I think the biggest issue facing women today is sexual violence. As a 26 year old woman I have experienced it myself and I have seen it happen far too often. Sexual violence is a serious issue facing women of all ages in Ireland and it is worringly prevalent. The statistics don’t even show the true number of women affected by this. There were 855 disclosures of sexual abuse made to Women Aid in 2020, including 340 disclosures of rape. The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s National Helpiline received 13,438 contacts in 2020. This is a massive issue facing all women in Ireland and I hope something will be done to tackle this sooner rather than later.”

We just began stocking Sophie’s Bath bubbles.

Suzie Gillespie (Scotland) – Moo&Yoo: Do you consider yourself to be a powerful woman?

“I do consider myself to be a powerful woman. I have confidence, determination and an inner strength.  I think that these skills are needed to be an entrepreneur and all women have the potential to be powerful if they believe in themselves.”

Why did you decide to become a business owner?

“I wanted to have my own business so that I could have the flexibility to live and work on my own terms.  I have always been independent and knew that if I turned my passion into a business that it could give me the life I wanted both personally and financially.”

Moo&Yoo vegan hair products are back in stock

Anna Brightman (London)- UpCircle: How do you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

“As a brand founder I have no sense of entitlement. No work is below me, and no work is above me. I try to say yes to as many opportunities as possible and do what it takes in order to make them a success. Each opportunity is different, so I grow with each one I embrace. I think I’m from a generation unafraid to make decisions different to our parents. A big milestone in our journey was having 3 dragons fighting over us on Dragons’ Den and choosing to walk away from their offers. Everything we’ve achieved we’ve achieved on our own and I think that’s partly down to our commitment to constantly evolving as a brand, and as individuals.”

Anna’s UpCircle Eye Cream is proving popular at Green Outlook.

Elaine Kennedy (Mayo)- Hawthorn Handmade Skincare: What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting her own business?

“Do what you are good at and keep doing it, the rest will fall into place. I have a philosophy: when in doubt – make, make, make! This ethos has carried me through the toughest of decisions and the most stressful of events. Without consciously thinking about an issue, a solution will come to me during the making process, seemingly out of the blue.”

You can buy Elaine’s Cleansing Oil with same day dispatch up to 3pm.

Janni Sjöstrand (Kildare)- Janni Bars: What’s your proudest moment in business?
“Building a business is never about one specific moment but when you look back there are of course a series of significant milestones that all add up to where you are at this moment. Attracting the first shop to sell my products was massive, just as landing in the 60th shop was equally important to me, but having long term relationships with shops and their owners and in turn their customers is the most vital part of my business. It is something I had no training or experience in and had to learn as I go, just as many parts of my business, but perhaps the thing (rather than moment) that I am most proud of, are those relationships.” 
Who is your biggest inspiration?
“I have a lot of role models in business, I listen to podcasts and read books about highly successful people and I am also lucky to be surrounded by a lot of people who run their own businesses, in different sectors and at different levels and I try to draw from all their experiences on an everyday basis. However, when it comes to pure inspiration on a daily basis no doubt my daughter is my biggest force. Building a sustainable business has so much focus on the future and the future of the next generation and she is a constant reminder for me of that, and the fact that she is a fun and happy kid really helps too!”
Janni’s shampoo bars fly off the shelf every week.
Róisín Lenehan (Dublin) – Just Basixx: What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?

“Lack of female representation in positions of power, both political and corporate – Although there is near-parity in entry level jobs, as you move up the food chain to decision making roles  the number of female representatives reduces. For young females, it is hard to navigate an unpaved path. To use the tag line for the 20×20 campaign, “if she can’t see it, she can’t be it”.”

Who is your biggest female inspiration?

“Serena Williams”

Róisín’s organic cotton socks are available in black and white.

Gina Galligan (Galway)- Autofulfil: What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting her own business?

“Ok first off, it’s just start as the ‘learning is in the earning’.

However, the most important piece of advice I’d give to a woman thinking of starting her own business is the following:


Once you disregard the very small number of genuine ‘overnight successes’, I think we’d find that…the very very very large majority of successful people in business…have had the grit to stick at it…especially when they ‘fail’ along the way.

I can’t take the credit for this one – someone has written a book on it. I haven’t read it…but I think their main observation is right: the large majority of those who make it…is as a result of grit (of which hard work is a big part…but not everything). What’s great about grit is it allows you to keep the story going. It ain’t over til it’s over. In the grit school of thought a failure is most certainly not final, it’s a learning experience where you dust yourself off and get back at it with your toolbox full of lots of new interesting instruments to win tomorrow.”

Gina’s team dispatch all our orders in record time with the utmost care. Order by 3pm Monday-Friday for same day dispatch.

Hanna Backmo (Cork) – Hanna’s Bees: What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting her own business?

“My number one tip for any woman starting in business is to do one thing at a time and do it well.

Women are experts at multitasking, we pride ourselves with being able to do a hundred things at the same time. Sometimes this is an advantage because we get stuff done and seldom miss a beat. But. To succeed in business, you need to be able to focus. Multitasking is the enemy of focus. So, whether it is R&D or marketing, SEO or grant applications, get stuck into one thing at a time, do it well and excel!”

We stock a selection of Hanna’s bee wraps and vegan wraps which replace cling film.

Emily Smith (UK), Head of Retail Partnerships at &SISTERS: Who is your biggest inspiration?

“Such a tricky question! I’m inspired by women who are limitless in terms of what they want to accomplish – and there are so many! However at the moment, I’ve been reading an incredible book called the Code of The Extraordinary Mind and feel particularly inspired by the interview with Arianna Huffington. She has incredible ambition, focus and resilience whilst maintaining a very calm and kind demeanour. She constantly challenges the way we go about our lives so we can not only be more productive, effective and creative, but also how we can live stress-free, present and connected too.”

How do you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

“I think it’s important to have goals and focus on where you want to be heading, but also to have regular reflection points so you have chance to appreciate the wins you’ve had so far! Coupled with this, learning and reading is so important to grow and develop so you can keep on top of trends, whilst challenging innovative thinking and planning.”

We stock a number of sustainable and plastic free period products from &Sisters.

Zuzana Ilavska & Michaela Fricova (Meath) – Three Hills Soap: Why did you decide to become a business owner?

“Many of our customers have asked how Three Hills Soap got started. The story began in 2014 as a hobby born out of a concern about the synthetic ingredients in body care products and the adverse effects of these ingredients on our skin, our children, and our environment.

I knew there had to be a way to make a natural soap without synthetic ingredients that would be effective and safe. I started researching the subject of “soap”, and my hobby was born. I always dreamed that this “hobby” would become a business. Thanks to our loyal customers, the company grew so fast that it was clear that I could not both – work full time and operate the business.

Of course, first, you think that being your own boss would give you time, freedom, and money, but at main I wanted to see if I could be a business owner and be successful. I like a challenge with myself to see what I am made of by stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something entirely new for me. I wanted to prove that I could really do it as the others have and make a living doing it. Plus, I wanted to balance my time at work and home with my family and be more flexible. I’m now able to contribute to the community by creating new jobs. Nevertheless, no dress code at the workplace is a big bonus)) and I’m delighted that I made that decision and found the courage to do it and risk my security of working full time.”

You’ll find Zuzana’s and Michaela’s best selling shampoo bars at Green Outlook

By supporting Green Outlook and shopping local you are playing your part in creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive world. At Green Outlook we will continually work towards equality and continue to support local business.