How this successful business woman is helping the next wave of female leaders
Adina Jacobs shares how she runs a successful, global business and is now helping emerging female leaders through the Mentor Walks initiative.
SDT: So Adina, you’re the co-founder of STM Goods, which you launched in 1998. What was life like before STM?
Adina: Before starting STM Goods with my business partner Ethan I worked as an Accessories Buyer for companies like Hound Dog and Seafolly.
In fact, Ethan and I met while working together at Hound Dog (he was in the IT department). I'm lucky that in all my adult life I’ve always worked in product related roles, which gave me a solid foundation when starting STM Goods.
SDT: STM Goods is now a global scale business, which is incredible! Can you give us some pearls of wisdom on scaling your business?
Adina: There are a few key things that are important when scaling up a business.
They are: Relationships, relationships, relationships! Relationships are so important to successful
business growth - with your suppliers, manufacturers and customers. You need to be important to your stakeholders and they need to be important to you. Along with making sure you build strong business relationships, starting out on your own can be challenging so it’s also important to ensure that you have a close network of family and friends who can support and encourage you.
Think like your customer. For anyone starting out in a product based business, try to get inside your customer’s head. Aim to really understand what appeals to them and what they need, then design, and then build a product to suit. This is the exact principle that STM Goods was founded on - Ethan and I created a product that we wanted to use - which was a stylish and practical laptop bag.
It’s also important to stay on top of trends and constantly look for innovative new ways to improve your offering. Even after over 20 years in business I’m always thinking about how we can develop a product that will make life easier and better for people when using their digital devices.
SDT: You also set up the Mentor Walks chapter in Australia, which connects emerging female leaders with senior women from diverse industries. What was the inspiration behind this venture?
Adina: In 2016 I was at a conference in Shanghai when I met Australian restaurateur, Michelle Garnaut, who was running a program called Mentor Walks. I went on a walk while I was there, fell in love with the concept and brought it to Australia with another businesswoman named Bobbi Mahlab.
For those not familiar, Mentor Walks is an Australia wide, monthly event series connecting emerging female leaders on the cusp of making a difference in their chosen area with established achievers and executives.
SDT: For you personally, how important is having a mentor in business?
For me, mentorship in business is incredibly important and something that I am very passionate about - I think having a mentor is one of the most important investments you can make for yourself. It’s incredibly important to have someone that you can share your experiences with, and who can help you workshop any challenges you may have encountered at work, or in your personal life.
As a mentor, it is also rewarding to be able to listen to a mentee, help them along the way and support them in the best way you can. Mentor Walks gives women a taste of the impact that really good mentoring can have.
Anyone can get involved in Mentor Walks. We're always looking to welcome new mentees and mentors. To be considered for the program, visit www.mentorwalks.com.au and fill in an application form for your chosen location.