Our MD, Jacqui Gale, Talks Women In Business
Jacqui Gale joined the Wax Lyrical team in July 2018 and has steered the business through an extensive brand reposition in preparation for an ambitious global strategy for the Cumbria-based brand.
Here Jacqui shares an insight to her day-to-day role in Wax Lyrical and talks about her own career milestones, what being a ‘women in business’ means to her and creating balance in the work place.
Q. Tell us a little about your career path, leading up to joining the team here at Wax Lyrical?
Prior to joining Wax Lyrical I spent just over a year deciding if I was going to continue with my own business (JG International) or join a company with a huge potential…Wax Lyrical won that competition!
Previously I was CEO of Arran Aromatics, a Scottish company based on the Isle of Arran. I was headhunted by the Private Equity, the owners of the business with a brief to lead a rebranding exercise and expand the business profile.
Prior to this I held the role of CEO EMEA for Crabtree & Evelyn where I was responsible for steering the English heritage brand with over 250 retail stores worldwide, together with significant wholesale and licensed distribution network into a profitable position.
With over 30 years of experience in business working with other successful internationally renowned brands including, Estee Lauder, Revlon, Pretty Polly, Sara Lee, Lulu Guinness, Russell Corporation and Falk&Ross, my experience includes leading operations through fast-paced growth, ensuring efficient use of resources, establishing processes and procedures, developing and maintaining key customer and supply chain relationships, and a steadfast passion to succeed.
I am happily married, and living in Edinburgh with my husband and two teenage children (aged 19 and 16). My eldest daughter is studying Business at University, and keen to follow in her mother’s footsteps! Before I stepped into the world of business I studied Chemistry, and I’m currently studying for an MBA in Leading Innovation and Change through the Robert Kennedy College, Zurich, Switzerland.
I’m also a Trustee of With Kids Charity, an organisation that aims to build self-esteem and resilience in disadvantaged children, whilst also recognising the need for practical and emotional support for families.
Q. What does a typical ‘day in the life’ look like for you?
My day usually starts early. I like to get into the office to have some study time, so my day starts at around 6am and I study until 8:30am when the ‘normal’ day begins. I decided when I started with Wax Lyrical that I would also take on an MBA in leading innovation and change, which has been an amazing journey so far…nothing like adding stress to an already busy life! Recently though the MBA has been moved to weekends as we have signed two Asian distributors and now from 6am I have a conference call.
Every day is different but usually starts with meetings to get an idea of anything we need to do, adapt or change. Then it is down to whatever needs to happen that day, it could be customer meetings, supplier contacts, training, updates.
Q. What does the term ‘women in business’ mean to you?
For me this is not about woman per say but about diversity and balance. I believe if there is no diversity, balance is out of sync. The facts show there are less woman in senior roles and therefore to me that demonstrates less of a balanced view when it comes to decision making.
Q. Do you feel that there are greater or different challenges in business for women?
I think 30 years ago yes there were greater challenges, however I look at my daughter who is studying International Business and I am inspired by her ambition and her feeling that she will be chosen because she is the best at what she does.
I still feel the guilt of being a full-time working mum who travelled for her work but my two children seem to have a great balance (biased mother!) and yes sometimes it is really hard. Recently there have been parents evenings that have been on a Wednesday and because I live in Cumbria during the week it is challenging to get to, but it would be the same for a dad.
Q. What is your ambition for Wax Lyrical?
To become a globally recognised brand, a household name and for everyone to own a wax lyrical product that they can talk about in a highly passionate and enthusiastic way!
Q. What advice would you give to women in business, with ambition to progress in their career?
I won mentor of the year in the 2019 Woman’s Business awards and I was asked the same question and the answer was simple for me. Stay true to yourself, be clear about what you want, never give up and share your experience with others.