Jessica Herrin: 'You can't do it all, but you can do what matters most to you'

AUTHOR Q&A: Stella & Dot founder Jessica Herrin on achieving success on your own terms.

by Kate Bassett

You started online wedding gift in your 20s and sold it for £90m. How was that a 'warm-up round' for Stella & Dot?

I co-founded the company straight out of Stanford Business School and learned a tremendous amount: raising venture capital, building a team and growing a business to profitability. But I also learned that you can become commercially successful but still not feel like a true success. I wasn't happy.

I started my first company with my head; the next time around, I approached it differently and picked a business where I felt connected to the mission. Stella & Dot democratises entrepreneurship and provides flexible income to women all around the globe, with a powerfully modern business. Life's too short not to love what you do, why you do it and who you do it with.

How did you 'give up' working mother guilt?

I’ll be the first to admit that I used to try to do it all, both at home and at work – and that was not a sustainable approach to life! I reached a breaking point and realised that I had to stop trying to live the values of generations past, or prove to the mum down the street what a good parent I was, but rather simply focus on what my family valued and what was important to the four of us. I had to get real with myself about what I was able to do on my own, and what responsibilities could be delegated to someone else. I gave up the idea of perfect, but I never gave up on being extraordinary. 

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