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Vanessa Bell Mumbition the Podcast

Mumbition

The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 64: The art of networking

Jen Harwood

Founder Happy Hairbrush

April 18, 2023
The incredible story of how Jen escaped an abusive relationship with her young daughter and went from being $80k in debt to creating a business with over $2 million in turnover and generously giving back to the community, in just a few years. Listen now for her tips on the importance of networking as business owners and her inspirational journey.

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Links

Happy Hairbrush

Credits

Produced & Edited by - Morgan Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guest - Jen Harwood

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Loved this episode of Mumbition The Podcast? Find out more from our special guest.

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    • Read the blog article
    • From $80k debt to $2 million turnover in 5 years

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00:01:42:08 - 00:02:07:09

Carrie or Lucy

Networking is one of the most vital skills that you can have as a business owner, because meeting the right person can be one of the fastest ways to meet new customers. Spread the word about your product and service and also build your credibility and confidence. Jen Harwood is an expert in networking. She's coached business owners in The Art of Connections for almost two decades.

00:02:07:17 - 00:02:20:11

Carrie or Lucy

She's also the founder of Happy Hairbrush and more recently on board as one of our Mums & Co experts generously sharing her time and expertise with our community. Jen, a big welcome to the podcast.

00:02:20:12 - 00:02:21:04

Jen Harwood

Thanks for having me.

00:02:21:04 - 00:02:47:10

Carrie or Lucy

I know you're so passionate about supporting women in business. We saw that firsthand at Be MPowered recently at our annual conference. We're passionate about telling women’s stories too. But let's first start with yours. Can you give us a little bit of background about your journey so far?

00:02:47:20 - 00:03:12:15

Jen Harwood

I know that could take the whole podcast, so I've sort of thought about what we could put in here. And I've got some bullet points for you, so then people can sort of see the progress. So I graduated uni with a Bachelor of Science, and that was in 1992, and there was a massive recession on. So I took a job in admin and then I got promoted to doing events and sponsorship.

00:03:13:01 - 00:03:34:22

Jen Harwood

And then I found my groove as being a business development manager. Before business development managers were a thing and I worked for the Sydney Olympics and my job was finding business opportunities for companies in South Australia and in New South Wales to secure opportunities coming in. Building the stadiums and the sponsorships of anything to do with the Olympics was awesome.

00:03:36:00 - 00:04:06:15

Jen Harwood

And after that I got really excited about that sort of thing. And so at 29 years of age, I quit my job and I was a pretty high paid executive. I was making $130,000 a year and I decided to start my own consulting company. And I coached and consulted to businesses writing business plans and doing business development and that sort of thing, and I took on extra training and I became one of the very first business coaches in Australia in 2001.

00:04:06:22 - 00:04:30:22

Jen Harwood

Coaching I find is just a joy and I love it most of the time. And you know, I've coached over 3000 businesses in the last 20 years. I've been speaking at events and networking, published three books in that time. I got married when I was 42, My Dream Man, and we had a daughter, Rose. It turns out the dream marriage was a bit of a nightmare.

00:04:30:22 - 00:04:53:13

Jen Harwood

With domestic violence and alcohol related abuse and trauma. So I left with Rose when she was three years old and I was in the process of trying to protect us. And I didn't find coaching fun because I was trying to support other people. I didn't find speaking fun because I had nothing to talk about and I just sort of sat at home with her and sort of just wasn't prepared to get out in the world.

00:04:53:13 - 00:05:13:18

Jen Harwood

And I accrued $80,000 in debt on five credit cards, just surviving. And I just tried to struggle to rebuild my life and protect Rose. And so one morning after fighting with her at before going to school, I said to her, If you don't sit still, shut up and put up with this, I'm going to chop your hair off.

00:05:14:24 - 00:05:31:22

Jen Harwood

And I was probably one of the worst things I've ever said to her, because the look in her eyes was just like, Are you kidding me? You know, given what we've together been through, and that's where the journey of hair and all of that sort of stuff came in. I'm not a hairdresser. I'm not, I'm not anything to do with hair.

00:05:31:22 - 00:05:57:19

Jen Harwood

I've never actually cut my daughter's hair. And I just started to look at the market of brushes and what this was all about and decided it wasn't people's hair that was a problem. It was the brush industry. And the brush industry is designed to sell people as many brushes as they can over, you know, the period of little people growing up and then women teaching and reinforcing to women that there's something wrong with them in their hair when in actual fact there's nothing wrong with them in their hair.

00:05:57:20 - 00:06:27:13

Jen Harwood

It's the brush. So I started Happy Hairbrush and, you know, started to make myself happy by giving people a brush and getting them to try it. And I just found that this business made me really happy. Every time someone got this brush and was just like, Oh my God, it works. And I was sort of yeah. And yeah, the business is now we celebrate five years this January, February, and the $80,000 of debt has been paid off.

00:06:27:24 - 00:06:47:02

Jen Harwood

Last year we donated over $80,000 to the McGrath Foundation in the support of breast cancer nurses, and we support women in violence shelters. And we provide brushes to hope and a suitcase for kids that are foster kids. And I was thinking about it last night, and it's like I really do feel like I'm a mum to all families.

00:06:48:10 - 00:06:48:17

Carrie or Lucy

Yeah.

00:06:49:12 - 00:07:16:04

Jen Harwood

Wow it we just last financial year we just turned over less than just slightly under $2 million. And I now feel like we know what we're doing and that all came about through networking, right? Like this is this is a conversation around networking. I wouldn't be able to have done what I've done if I had just stayed at home feeling sorry for myself and frightened to trust anyone again.

00:07:17:20 - 00:07:41:19

Jen Harwood

There came the process of starting to share, starting to talk, not at the level I am today, but just starting to connect with people and doing my best and sharing what I could with either where I was at or where I wanted to go. And it's been a process of, you know, doing that for someone who's naturally quite capable of going up and talking to a stranger.

00:07:41:19 - 00:07:54:08

Jen Harwood

I do understand shy people, withdrawn people and traumatized people who don't want to talk, because I've actually now been through that personally myself. And you can still build on top of that.

00:07:56:11 - 00:08:21:13

Carrie or Lucy

That's a few things that would stand out to me. Thank you for helping so many people as you have coached them in perhaps one part of your career. And thank you for helping so many people in different situations as well. You know, I kind of was thinking about those conversations that we have at home and very much inspired by that.

00:08:21:19 - 00:08:45:12

Carrie or Lucy

You know, you unfortunately had a fairly tough conversation with your daughter, but that helped you realize that there was a bigger problem here. And once the passion that you started a business to solve was interesting because when you were talking to me I was thinking, did you actually name it Happy Hairbrush with that intent of spreading happiness?

00:08:45:22 - 00:09:09:03

Jen Harwood

I didn't. It was actually funny because when we started this, we were actually at a campsite. We were camping. I was camping with Rose and my sister and her kids. And my dad showed up as well. And we were all just sort of, you know, sitting around talking about it. And I was actually teaching the kids about business because, you know, I kind of myself, I had Michael, my nephew, who was ten at the time.

00:09:09:03 - 00:09:25:15

Jen Harwood

Claire was eight and Rose was six. And so I said to them, you know, if we're going to start a business, guys, we need a name that talks about what the product does, what the benefit of the product is. And they were like, Oh, it's the smoother, it's the Velveeta, it's the the magic brush. And we're all like, Yeah, the magic brush.

00:09:25:15 - 00:09:43:01

Jen Harwood

And then we and I'm sitting there with my computer looking on the Internet and looking at web domains, and I'm like, Not the magic brush. We can't do that. That nice idea. Scrap that we need. We need a web address, you know. And so it was we found the happy brush. And I would have loved to have called it the happy brush.

00:09:43:09 - 00:10:01:05

Jen Harwood

But there's a company in Germany that's called the Happy Brush in their toothbrushes, so we couldn't do that. So it was like scrap that. And so we just sort of playing around with it and happy hair brush sort of well describes what it is and as much as it was a long url, I don't like long ones if I can help it, I like as short as possible.

00:10:01:16 - 00:10:18:10

Jen Harwood

It was descriptive of it and it was something we could play with and the kids, the kids all liked it. So it just was right. And I actually didn't even secure the dotcom because I didn't think this business was going to be what it is today. I was just setting up something that could be a bit of a side hustle.

00:10:18:18 - 00:10:42:20

Jen Harwood

That was a side hustle if it made me 20 or $30,000 a year to pay for a holiday in some school fees and you know, all of those sorts of things we would have been winning. And that's that's that was where I started. I wasn't expecting this to be what it is, me and my team. We all sort of sit there with eyes open and mouths dropped going, Oh my God, look what we just did.

00:10:43:03 - 00:10:45:04

Jen Harwood

I know. Who would have thought?

00:10:45:04 - 00:10:55:22

Carrie or Lucy

And we're going to touch on you've had a, you know, a very full journey. And I'm still processing a lot of what you said. But you have run Happy Hairbrush.

00:10:55:23 - 00:10:58:01

Jen Harwood

This is its fifth year, in fact. Yep.

00:10:58:04 - 00:11:19:01

Carrie or Lucy

Yep. And when you look back on the trajectory of the business, you've just mentioned some commercial milestones, which is incredible that you've donated $80,000 as well from a philanthropy perspective. Yeah. What are some of the perhaps I'm going to limit it to two or three pivotal moments.

00:11:19:08 - 00:11:20:01

Jen Harwood

Yeah. Yeah, sure.

00:11:20:08 - 00:11:24:00

Carrie or Lucy

That have helped you achieve this level of success.

00:11:24:00 - 00:11:51:13

Jen Harwood

I think the first there's three pivotal moments that I thought about because obviously you've given me questions to think about so that we do have something to talk about for 25 minutes. But I think the underlying thing of everything that I've done is I drop expectations. I don't have expectations. Any time I have expectations, I get bitterly disappointed and something and it doesn't work, whatever it is.

00:11:51:15 - 00:12:08:20

Jen Harwood

Right? So I came into Happy Hairbrush with no expectations and I'm just sitting there going, Let's see what it's got. Let's see what this can do. Right? So I started with three brushes, a black, a red and a white one, and a loan from my sister Kate. And I just sort of said, Well, let's see how this goes.

00:12:09:03 - 00:12:32:02

Jen Harwood

So the first pivotal moment was Rose was helping me pack orders and stuff, brushes into bags and all of those sorts of things. And we were getting exhausted and I was making lots of mistakes in transcribing the labels and all that sort of stuff because it's not my, it's not my special place. And so I actually waited and hired a warehouse to do all of the fulfillment for us.

00:12:32:13 - 00:12:59:17

Jen Harwood

And that was really scary because there were fees involved. And at that point, at the beginning, we were doing maybe, I don't know, $300 a month. And when I went into the warehouse, I had a shipment of 12 and a half thousand gold brushes and 5000 sensory brushes, and we wouldn't be able to fit them into our apartment like it was never going to work, but they were the minimum orders that I needed to order.

00:12:59:17 - 00:13:24:14

Jen Harwood

So going to the warehouse actually took us from a hobby business to a real business. And what it meant for me was that I could actually think about marketing and I could think about stuff because I wasn't up to my neck packing orders and just doing all of that work. And that meant that we then were doing two or 300 orders a week and we were starting to grow because I didn't have to do it.

00:13:25:09 - 00:13:49:08

Jen Harwood

The next milestone was actually about nine months later from that point. I hired a lady named Terry who knew about wholesaling and she came into the business and helped us put a model in place of how we could approach hairdressers and salons. So I wanted to diversify our income, rather, from just online sales, which could fluctuate depending on how our marketing was going.

00:13:49:09 - 00:14:17:02

Jen Harwood

I needed some steady revenue for the business for us to sort of for me to feel comfortable. So we ended up, you know, building getting the wholesale side of the business started, which means that irrespective of what sales are doing, there's a steady income coming from wholesale. And that was amazing. And then the third pivotal moment was actually hiring Jenny Holder, who started off initially when I got the warehouse, but she came on as our full time customer service manager.

00:14:17:02 - 00:14:33:13

Jen Harwood

She is the best care buyer in the world. All she wants to do is make people happy. And I give her I've just given her the rules of how we make people happy, which is not typical for most businesses. And I said to her, This is what you get to play with, go for it. And she loves it.

00:14:34:00 - 00:14:54:07

Jen Harwood

And then getting JP, who's our graphic designer again, just revolutionized how we communicate with everybody and these two people are my friends like we're friends. Look at it, Jen. She's sitting over there. You know, we're friends. And then the other part of the was the third part of the team, and that's getting Emily in.

00:14:54:07 - 00:15:18:16

Jen Harwood

And Emily is our CFO and I'm good at numbers. I can calculate the numbers of what I need in my head, but she's all about the details. So by getting all of that, the four of us are like the four pillars. That is the platform for us to grow. And these are the main things. But, but it's really just, you know, again, I had no expectations of what the warehouse would do and it's blown me away.

00:15:18:16 - 00:15:40:02

Jen Harwood

And, you know, no expectation of what I hope I will do. We've now got 260 salons in Australia and we've got I think we've got eight in New Zealand now and, you know, it's just it's just let it, let it grow, just like you have a baby and you know it's going to do what it does and you want to try and control the growth of your kid and you want to try and control how much it learns and all of that.

00:15:40:02 - 00:15:57:09

Jen Harwood

Ha ha ha. You are never going to do it. And if you can, if you can have the same grace for your business as a growing baby, you will have so much more fun, right? Because then you can just figure out how to help it and how to nurture it and how to feed it and how to protect it.

00:15:57:16 - 00:16:03:00

Jen Harwood

Because it's got a life of its own. That's sort of more than the question you asked.

00:16:03:00 - 00:16:29:11

Carrie or Lucy

But I think it's phenomenal. And there's a lot of it in what you've said. I was just wondering, in among all this success. One of the challenges then of this stage, because you've described an incredible trajectory, it's really taken you by surprise, as you said. But what are the challenges now at this stage?

00:16:29:21 - 00:16:56:07

Jen Harwood

Okay, so there's a couple we're in. I was looking at the stages of growth. We're out of the startup phase pretty clearly, but we're not funnily enough, we're not in the mansion phase yet. We're still in the growth phase. So part of the challenge for me is patience, right? We've got to keep doing what we're doing. We've got new products.

00:16:56:07 - 00:17:23:22

Jen Harwood

Now we've invited I want to go faster, but I love Gary V and Gary V says, What does he say? It's not about being in a rush. It's about doing things right and doing things properly and being consistent. And that's what we're doing. It's about being consistent. And so, you know, we need to nail being consistent and expanding it and taking the opportunities.

00:17:23:22 - 00:17:25:07

Jen Harwood

And sometimes I'm like, Yeah, let's.

00:17:25:07 - 00:17:25:23

Carrie or Lucy

Go here.

00:17:25:23 - 00:17:42:05

Jen Harwood

And I take it to my team now and they're like, That's good. But if we're going to do that, what does this mean over here? How are we going to fulfill this? How's this going to work? And so, you know, the next step up, it's actually going slower to go faster is what the challenge for me is.

00:17:42:05 - 00:18:14:15

Jen Harwood

And I do like to think way ahead. It's like the business needs to go up the stairs and I'm dashing to the elevator to go. Let's go to the 50th floor. And it's like, well, no, no, no, no. Right back, everybody. We're all going to go up together and grow it because, you know, there's there's different challenges when you've got warehouses, when you've got different logistics, when you've got to learn the things that you've or the team has got to learn how to handle it, rather than just me flippantly saying, this is what we're going to do, and leaving a wake of destruction behind me and everybody trying to scramble together to fix it.

00:18:14:15 - 00:18:37:06

Jen Harwood

So I'm learning how to be patient. And the other thing that's there, too, is getting your head around people that are copying us. We have people copying us. We've got somebody that's actually copied almost our entire website pretending to be us. Wow. Right. And I've got customers, very loyal customers coming to us going, this is outrageous.

00:18:37:06 - 00:18:55:20

Jen Harwood

And I'm like, Yeah, I know, I know. You know? And so it's again, tightening up, legal's, tightening up all the areas. So I look at every problem that we've got and it's like, okay, well we need to deal with this before we go bigger because, you know, we've just got to get all of this sorted out. So that's the challenge that I'm in right now.

00:18:56:07 - 00:19:16:03

Jen Harwood

I'm very grateful for our business. A lot of people at this point would be challenged financially because you need capital. But we've managed it quite well with the business and particularly now with Emily. So we're actually self-funding this whole thing, which I'm pretty proud of.

00:19:16:03 - 00:19:49:17

Carrie or Lucy

Now networking is your field of expertise. You've been speaking and coaching business owners for, you know, these for almost 20 years. So now we want to dove in a little bit more about what sort of changed or where do you put your energies now in this area? So I've heard you speak a lot about the importance of being bold and brave and tin gender invitations, but what else do you need to bring to you for a networking opportunity for it to benefit you and your business?

00:19:50:18 - 00:20:03:23

Jen Harwood

Okay. I'm going to answer this in two parts. The first one is I read somewhere in the briefing notes that you said that there's a statistic on LinkedIn that says 67% of entrepreneurs don't know how to build a network.

00:20:04:06 - 00:20:06:09

Carrie or Lucy

Yeah, right.

00:20:06:22 - 00:20:30:19

Jen Harwood

Okay. So 67% it's like two thirds, right. That's the number. There's a general statement that says, you know, two thirds of small businesses will fail in the first five years. Yeah, I look at that and go, yeah, they'll fail because I don't build a network. You can't be a lone ranger in a business, you cannot do any of this stuff all by yourself.

00:20:30:19 - 00:20:56:03

Jen Harwood

And that's why I think that starts there. And so, you know, you need a network of people to fill the gaps that you have. I'm not like Emily who gets so excited about spreadsheets, you know, Jen gets very excited about the design of something. You know, everybody's got their contribution to make and it actually makes it better. So, you know, you need people for vision, resources, ideas, input.

00:20:56:10 - 00:21:12:20

Jen Harwood

I need people for mental and emotional support. It's not that I'm depressed, it's just that I need someone to keep me regulated. I can get too excited or I might go, Oh my God, they're copying us. Oh, maybe we should stop this kind of thing. You've dealt with this before. Keep moving like you need the circle of people around you.

00:21:12:20 - 00:21:37:00

Jen Harwood

And that's one of the books that I write about called The Greatness Principle. But when you were talking about, you know, the innate the importance of being bold and brave to engender invitations, I think what I do, I'll just talk about myself. I have a willingness to do whatever it takes. If I'm going to go network and create opportunities, I'm prepared to do whatever it takes.

00:21:37:00 - 00:22:00:07

Jen Harwood

And the thing with opportunities is that opportunities are really easy. Okay, you can sit there with your mates with a glass of wine and talk about and go, I know that's an opportunity. Oh, that's an opportunity. But actually opportunities take work. And I thought, how could I explain this better? And that opportunities are like swings in the playground, like imagine a swing.

00:22:00:07 - 00:22:18:19

Jen Harwood

You can go up to the swing and you can push it once and it'll rock back and it'll rock forward, and then it'll lose its momentum and then it'll come back to still. Now that's not an opportunity to leverage. That's just an opportunity to just kicking around. If you want that opportunity to work, you've got to get on that swing.

00:22:18:24 - 00:22:34:24

Jen Harwood

You've actually got to walk back in the seat, which is like the planning and the thinking phase. And then you've got to launch yourself up in the chair and kick your legs forward, which is work, and then you've got to kick your legs, which we'll try and teach our kids how to do this. And they look absolutely awkward and ridiculous when they first learn how to use a swing.

00:22:35:07 - 00:22:56:01

Jen Harwood

Right. And then they got to kick themselves back in. They got to put their whole body in. And so you've got momentum. And then once you've got that momentum, then you can actually sit there and enjoy the swinging because you've actually build yourself up. That's the same thing with an opportunity, right? So when, when there is an opportunity in front of you, you've got to do work and you've got to be willing to do whatever it takes.

00:22:56:08 - 00:23:21:22

Jen Harwood

Now, you need your own moral compass on that. All right. I'm not saying you do whatever it takes. It's like whatever it takes for you to do whatever it is that you need to do. And in a lot of cases, it's not talking about it. It's being quiet about it and just doing it right. So the opportunity for the Happy Hairbrush was there and my dad said to me, there's an opportunity here.

00:23:21:22 - 00:23:53:08

Jen Harwood

And I'm like, yeah, there is what it was one of the things that I would need to do to turn this into more than just pushing the swing and saying if it rocks, like, how do I get that going? And I think everybody needs to look at opportunities that way. And some of them will take less work, but they might not be an opportunity, but they also might be a little opportunity that creates something else, which is the knock on effect, which is a completely different visual of those magnetic balls that sit in a row like five of them, and you pull one out and it smacks the balls and the one on the other

00:23:53:08 - 00:24:22:21

Jen Harwood

side smacks the ball, and it goes backwards and forwards. Like last night I went to a networking event where I was the guest speaker and I took Rose with me. My daughter Rose, she's 11. That opportunity came out because I spoke somewhere else a month ago at the Silver Sirens event, right? So sometimes the opportunity is showing up with an open mind, a smile on your face, and being vulnerable enough to share who you are, what you're doing, and how you'd like some help.

00:24:23:19 - 00:24:34:00

Carrie or Lucy

Was really an instant. And you know what I was thinking as you're talking, is it a little bit like saying yes and then working out how to say it.

00:24:34:00 - 00:24:53:21

Jen Harwood

That's my absolute motto. Say yes and then figure out how to make that happen. And and I'm not a yes person saying yes to everything, because then you'll get overwhelmed with all the things you've said yes to. And then you're a slave to all of your promises. I say to people, if it inspires you, then say yes, because you know that this is in your future.

00:24:53:21 - 00:25:13:20

Jen Harwood

You know, this is something that you need to do and get the people around you rallied in to help you to do it right. If you sit there and try and solve it all yourself, there's only one person on this problem solving team and that's you. And you could easily collapse in a heap because you're emotionally or mentally overwhelmed because you don't have the answers.

00:25:13:20 - 00:25:32:14

Jen Harwood

Whereas your team and the team doesn't have to be your staff, it could be your best friend. It could. I mean, I listen to my daughter rise all the time because she's got great ideas. It could be a neighbor. It could be a friend that you haven't seen for ages. And they say, oh, what about this? Like, it's a network of people that you create yourself.

00:25:32:14 - 00:25:44:24

Jen Harwood

You're responsible for creating the people around you. And if you've got a whole bunch of doomsayers and, and, and drain takers and people that don't believe in it, stop talking to them about what you're trying to create.

00:25:45:11 - 00:26:09:11

Carrie or Lucy

Yeah, so true. So I have a question. I wanted to touch on that. It takes us to what you were sharing in the beginning about your journey. A couple of months ago you came on the stage to give us the backstory of Happy Hairbrush.

00:26:09:13 - 00:26:17:09

Carrie or Lucy

Yeah. You mentioned there as well your history with domestic violence and how that really impacted the business that you've created.

00:26:17:17 - 00:26:18:03

Jen Harwood

It did.

00:26:18:09 - 00:26:45:04

Carrie or Lucy

I wanted to invite you to share, you know, if you wanted to share a bit more about that, perhaps in the light of the context of this kind of focus where there's, you know, thousands of women listening who might be experiencing a similar thing, what would you share? What do you feel is important to share about that experience?

00:26:45:04 - 00:27:06:16

Jen Harwood

And I don't know if I'm allowed to swear, but it was and at the time I had no capacity, none. All I could think of was protecting Rose and protecting myself, and to try and navigate a whole number of worlds that I had no experience in. I had no experience with the police. I had no experience with the court system like the criminal court system.

00:27:07:03 - 00:27:25:18

Jen Harwood

And I had no experience with family court. Luckily, I invested in a lawyer. An old guy won't say who he was, but an old guy who was sort of probably near retirement, who'd been around and seen it all. And I bought an hour of his time for $440, and I said to him, Give it to me straight, mate.

00:27:25:24 - 00:27:44:04

Jen Harwood

How's this going to play out? And where are the areas that I can protect? Because she was three and a half and protect myself, like, don't sugarcoat it. Tell me how this is going to go. And he said, Well, this guy's going to get off. This is how he's going to get off. If you go to family court, these are all the issues and these are the issues that you're going to have.

00:27:44:11 - 00:28:15:19

Jen Harwood

This is what you need to do here. And this is how I suggest you liaise with the police so that you can start asking for what you need. This is what I'd suggest you do with here. And, you know, I started getting great advice, but I did it in pockets because I couldn't afford it. From a business point of view, I turned to friends who would listen because again, a lot of times with domestic violence, the the person that's doing it, male or female, is usually seen by the public as a great person.

00:28:16:15 - 00:28:38:02

Jen Harwood

Everyone thinks they're great and they think you're just overreacting. Right. I had lots of people saying, oh, you're overreacting, Jen. And I'm like, no, I'm not. I'm not overreacting. You haven't seen what has been said and what has been done, and I'm feeling like I'm going crazy. So anyone that listened to me, I borrowed money from friends and the terms from friends.

00:28:38:02 - 00:29:00:21

Jen Harwood

You know, some of it was a couple of hundred bucks, some of it was a couple of thousand dollars. And I started taking advice and I started planning how I was going to make this work. And I dealt with my life day to day. And I, I didn't trust anybody for years and didn't trust anyone with Rose. And I just got my grandmother said to me, it's okay.

00:29:01:04 - 00:29:19:12

Jen Harwood

It's okay to be fat, it's okay to be fearful and it's okay to second guess yourself because you've been through something that's pretty big and you're just going to need day by day by day. And so I gave up the whole thing that I'd put on so much weight and gave up the fact that, you know, I was frightened.

00:29:19:12 - 00:29:36:05

Jen Harwood

And by naming it, it made it actually easier. And then I started to identify, well, who are the safe people around me? Who are the people that have got my back no matter what? And and I started talking to them. My sister was one of them and JP was one of them and Jenny was one of them.

00:29:36:05 - 00:29:58:24

Jen Harwood

And I just sort of grateful for the people who support me and I'll do anything to support them back. So I feel like I'm paying it back and I'm paying it back because I can. No, and I couldn't then. So there's been years of investment in me by people who knew me and people who didn't.

00:30:00:07 - 00:30:27:17

Jen Harwood

And I said to myself, I will pay this back and I will pay this back for as long as I can to everybody that I can because I want to. And it's the right thing to do that is beautiful. And that's why you need a network of people around you. Because if you go into that, if you go into your networks and say, I'm here and I may and this is it, and I'll and I, you know, I genuinely love my friends, families, their husbands, their kids.

00:30:28:12 - 00:30:43:10

Jen Harwood

And I don't sit there and go, I wish I had that because I'm very happy, mind you, very happy being a single woman with one child and a business. And, you know, I just love all of them as if they're my work, my own family. Yeah.

00:30:44:08 - 00:31:07:18

Carrie or Lucy

And I think what's so powerful is to be able to use your voice as you've done, you know, and as you're doing and share that story, the level of hope, hopefully and inspiration. And that gives other women who are in those situations to know that one day you can come out the other side and you can feel safe enough to talk about it.

00:31:07:18 - 00:31:29:11

Jen Harwood

Yes. And I guess the other thing that I did with this is I didn't shield it from Rose. Yeah. And JP and I were just celebrating this morning because I spoke at the Mama Creatives event last night. She's 11. This all happened when she was three. Happy Hairbrush started when she was about six and we spoke. She interviewed me and we spoke in front of a crowd of people.

00:31:29:24 - 00:31:48:04

Jen Harwood

And on the way home, Rose is beaming with excitement. She's like, We really made a difference, Mum. I know, darling. We did. And. And she said to me, You know what, Mum? I know that when I grow up, no matter what happens, I know how to hustle, I know how to sew, you know, I know how to create business.

00:31:48:04 - 00:32:08:23

Jen Harwood

I know what I'm doing here. I will never, ever need to rely on anybody else. I'll be able to take care of myself no matter where I am. And I was just like I couldn't. I couldn't be any prouder because my daughter will never have to rely on anyone else, although she will lead people, she knows that she can take care of herself.

00:32:08:23 - 00:32:33:20

Jen Harwood

So I'm interested in helping any woman of any age liberate herself to know her value and to know that she's capable of creating anything. Happy Hairbrush got started when I was 48 and a half. I was almost 49 years of age right. You're not done. You’re never done. You can always do something more. And I know starting a business at this age is even easier than starting quite young.

00:32:33:20 - 00:32:49:10

Jen Harwood

Because when you're young, you don't know anything, you know? And you think you got plenty of times on telly, time on your hands on. When I was 49, it's like I know a whole bunch of stuff that doesn't work. It's much easier to do this because I know what doesn't work. You know?

00:32:49:20 - 00:32:54:16

Carrie or Lucy

I love that work. I love that. Thank you so much for sharing all that.

00:32:55:05 - 00:32:55:20

Jen Harwood

You're welcome.

00:32:56:06 - 00:33:24:21

Carrie or Lucy

Jen. I really do hear that. The amazing gift that you've given your daughter or is as well, you know, they observe things and they don't all think that we just work on email. It's a common and common response for certainly my two young boys that observe and watch. But you know that they're going to be able to negotiate or they're going to be able to present.

00:33:24:21 - 00:33:31:09

Carrie or Lucy

Are they going to be able to know that, you know, if you apply that work, something will happen, something amazing could happen.

00:33:32:21 - 00:33:55:15

Jen Harwood

Yeah. Just let them see you. Right. Let them let them see you be scared. Let them see you doubt yourself. Let them see all of it. Right, let them say it because it gives them permission to go. I'm feeling nervous. You know, you're not superwoman. You're a super woman, but you're not superwoman, right? You don't have to have it all handled.

00:33:56:16 - 00:34:02:06

Carrie or Lucy

Jen, what do you love about being a woman in business?

00:34:02:06 - 00:34:22:12

Jen Harwood

I thought long and hard about this one and that I actually love that I'm underestimated, that I and I absolutely love it. I'm quite happy for people to pass me off as someone that isn't a real player serious about business. I might show up in clothes. That's not the glamor power suit, you know, I just don't do that anymore.

00:34:23:06 - 00:34:40:10

Jen Harwood

And it helps me work out who's a genuine person here to be in business, and it spares me a lot of the B.S. I actually don't need acknowledgment from others anymore. I did when I was younger, so I'm not looking to impress, to be seen or be heard. I'm being me and I'm bloody good at it and I'm on purpose, right?

00:34:40:10 - 00:34:59:00

Jen Harwood

So, it makes a difference to myself. The only competition that I have is the competition that I have with myself. Right? So I can see the world through the eyes of a woman. That's why Joy, being a woman, understands my target market and I know what it is to be a girl, a woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunty, and everything in between.

00:34:59:00 - 00:35:25:00

Jen Harwood

From a female point of view. So, you know, I think there's a lot of I am a woman and what does that mean? And I'm not. I actually get overlooked a lot. And it's like, well, you're missing out. Whoever you are, whoever you are, you are missing out. And that's okay. You know what I mean? It's just fun.

00:35:25:13 - 00:35:50:11

Jen Harwood

It's fun. Whereas the younger Jen would have wanted to be seen and heard and acknowledged and recognized. And it's not. The recognition that comes with the business is for the business so that people find us. You know, I'm more proud of who Rose. It's more interested in JP and Jenny and Bill and Emily and then growing and going, you know, and seeing what they can achieve.

00:35:50:11 - 00:36:06:07

Jen Harwood

And I, I know I'm behind some of these and I set stuff up for them and I watched them. I watched them win. I saw I don't I don't need I don't need that anymore. And if you talk to the younger version of me, I would have been sitting there scoffing. I can't believe that. That's just ridiculous. But it's true.

00:36:06:12 - 00:36:31:21

Jen Harwood

It's true. You have to live it to get there. You have to live it to get there. And I would encourage anyone to take a risk to back themselves. Every woman has awesome ideas and they should back the idea and give it a crack without any expectation of what it could be.

00:36:31:21 - 00:36:51:05

Carrie or Lucy

So good. Jen, thank you so much for joining us on Mumbition the podcast and thank you to our listeners for your company. If you'd like to hear more from Jen, you can head to the book now tab on the website to register for her next workshop. She's got a couple in 2023 or you can head to the Get Advice tab.

00:36:51:05 - 00:36:53:23

Carrie or Lucy

We can book in for one on one session with Jen.

00:36:54:24 - 00:37:07:24

Jen Harwood

Happy to talk to anybody on anything that they've got going on.

00:37:07:24 - 00:37:09:01

Carrie or Lucy

What makes you happy?

00:37:10:00 - 00:37:36:18

Jen Harwood

Oh, what makes me happy? Lots of things. Saying people brush their hair for the first time with that brush. What makes me happy is these crazy gnomes that I know you can't see because this is a radio show, but it's the little names I'm going to bring one because you guys can see me. It's these little gnomes that have this little, little bobble nose that sort of peeks out with their big beards.

00:37:36:18 - 00:38:10:21

Jen Harwood

Every time I see one of these or I'm given one of these, I can't help but burst into laughter. Watching my daughter learn something new about stuff and her jokes are hilarious. Just seeing people be themselves and going for it. Just, you know. And the last thing that the most recent thing that makes me happy is I bought something in the business that makes me smile and that is I bought myself a new van and it's a brand new van and it is unreal and it's got seats in the back.

00:38:10:21 - 00:38:27:17

Jen Harwood

And then this huge part of the van and it was not cheap. And it's like the first thing I ever actually bought myself that is a business thing. But I've bought it for myself too. And you should see the photo that Rose took of me. It looks like my smile literally wraps my whole face. And she looked at me.

00:38:27:17 - 00:38:38:20

Jen Harwood

She went, You really are happy about this van, aren't you? I'm happy about this. So again, it's not your regular thing, but it makes me smile.