In the lead up to Mother’s Day we sat down with new mum and our very own DISSH Owner & Director, Lucy Henry-Hicks.
We spoke all things from sleep deprivation (let’s be real), the unrivalled special moments, the uncomfortably challenging moments, and everything else in between.
A second-generation business owner, Lucy grew up working alongside her Mum in the early years of DISSH. This set the foundation for her determination to be both caregiver and businesswoman, carefully balancing each important role with heart and cognisance.
Advocating for gender equality and female empowerment is at the core of Lucy's mission, which has evidently flowed through into the brands' values and initiatives you see today.
We sat down with Lucy ahead of her first Mother’s Day to hear her more about her story, her why, and raising a young woman.
It’s your first Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day. What are you celebrating? What does this mean to you?
Survival! Haha, no I’m kidding. I’m celebrating growth, I’m celebrating joy, I’m celebrating family.
Over the last 18 months (pregnancy included) I have grown exponentially as a person. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to experience the journey of motherhood – the good, the bad and the uncomfortable. It has taught me a lot about myself.
I’m celebrating joy because I didn’t quite expect the level of joy and happiness this little human could bring into our lives. Motherhood and the deep love I feel for our beautiful daughter has connected me with a part of myself that I didn’t know existed. The unconditional love – it’s pretty special and unrivalled.
And I’m celebrating family, because it’s been beautiful to experience how Remi’s arrival has brought a new layer of connection and love to our wider family unit. We are, and have always been a close family, but now we are a village, more interconnected than ever before, all working together to care for her. Everyone playing a different and important role.
Biggest learning from your mum and how does this influence you in life, at work, and as a mum?
The greatest lesson from my mum was always, you can do and be whatever you want to be. There are no barriers, or limitations, only those you put on yourself. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have struggles or challenges in life. Of course, we all do, that is the journey of life. Ups and downs. But ultimately, you can be defined by those or you work through and overcome them and come out the other side a better and stronger version of yourself. That is very much my approach to life, and I feel it has served me well so far.
Best and hardest things about motherhood and raising a young woman?
Hardest – the sleep deprivation and the physical exhaustion. I had postpartum depletion (and am still recovering), so that’s been challenging. I feel like I need to sleep for a week!
Best – Witnessing her grow. Watching her little personality starting to show.
9 months into the journey, what is your biggest learning being a mum in the workforce?
It’s a delicate balancing act. As parents we have responsibilities, as leaders, we have responsibilities. Balancing those responsibilities can be tricky. I’m still learning and finding my groove in terms of what feels right for me and my family. In the search for that balance, I put my own needs second, which we will know is only feasible for a short period of time before it effects our overall wellbeing.
The last 9 months has really made me be a better communicator, to ask for what I need (and be clear and concise in this), and protect and honour my boundaries. This is still very much a work in progress, and sometimes I get it right, and other times I don’t and there are consequences, but I’m also learning to be kind to myself. At the end of the day, I know in my heart, I’m doing my best, and that’s the best I can do.
What is your "WHY"? Talk us through the brand values and mission.
Our collective mission is to use our platform and influence for good. Our WHY is female empowerment, and it is at the core of everything we do.
The key focus for me and the business is empowering women to be financially independent through employment. Our mission is to empower women to have choices to help build a life full of passion and purpose, whatever that may be. We firmly believe employment is the key to financial independence, providing freedom of choice. Our initiatives and partnerships reflect this, from Suited To Success and The Encoreship, which is now in its third year of providing life-changing placements for women.
This March we launched what I believe is an industry-leading paid parental leave program (PPLP). This program contributes to closing the gap on inequality for women in the workplace, enabling and normalising taking time out to care for a child, and supporting our parents through every stage of the process.
It has always been a dream of mine to build a business to a size where financially, we could afford a best-in-class PPLP. I have seen too many close friends and family give up thriving careers due to the challenges of balancing family and work. After having my little Remi 8 months ago, I experienced these challenges firsthand.
Tell us about your journey and how the brand has evolved. Where did you start?
I actually went into business with my mum at 20 years old when she had just one DISSH store. We built the business together over many years. As with any partnership, there comes a time to part ways. I had always planned to start a brand of my own and when the time came in 2019, I was presented with the opportunity to start again or build on what we had already co-created. Strategically, I made the decision to transition the existing DISSH brand to align with my vision and the gap I saw in the market. Business, fashion and creativity have always been integral to my core and what lights me up.
Both of my parents are fashion retailers, so I grew up in and around the industry. Rightly or wrongly, I never really considered doing anything else. I sort of fell into it as I worked in and around the family businesses and it came naturally so I stuck with it.
Everyday I’m grateful that I can express myself creatively while also building an organisation that delivers meaningful and positive impact for our people through charitable partnerships, and many other rewarding initiatives that I’ve already touched on.
We’d love you to share a quote to inspire females in 2023.
This is one of my all time favourites.
“I stand on the sacrifices of a million women before me thinking what can I do to make this mountain taller so the women after me can see farther” – Rupi Kaur
I think about both how lucky we are to live in this time, where we have more choice and freedom than any generation before us, while also acknowledging the immense challenges that still lie ahead. Last year Wade vs Roe ruling in the US reminded us how fragile those freedoms are, and how easily they can be politized and taken away and that we must continue to push for equality in every sense of the word.