Women in business

Shoshana is a familiar face to those of us in the industry. As founder of Fuse Communications and Kidswear Collective there’s not much she doesn’t know about kids’ fashion and lifestyle. Here she shares her thoughts on being a ‘woman in business’.

I’ve never thought much about being a ‘woman in business’. From a young age I always knew I wanted to work for myself. My earlier career experiences included working for both female and male-led businesses and surprisingly found that most of my mentors were male. It got me thinking about why that was, and why, as a woman I felt less supported by my female leaders. I still don’t fully have the answer, it could simply be the lack of representation, but I vowed that if and when the time came for me to manage my own team, I would do things differently.

I always recall reading a quote by Natalie Massenet (the founder of Net A Porter) saying that women can’t have it all. And I have to agree with her. The myth that women can juggle having a family and career and it’s somehow so easily done is simply not true. Unless you have the financial means or an extended family network to rely on, it’s incredibly hard to do both well. And the
result is that it can make us feel
like failures.

When I was considering my degree choices at 17 years old, I never once thought about what degree would set me up for a career which could give me my own autonomy. I ended up doing a Law and French degree which hasn’t been particularly helpful in my current career path, but I wish I had been given more support by careers advisors earlier on about what degree subjects could provide me with more flexibility and freedom. I have many friends who ended up becoming lawyers and their careers never took off in the same way as their male counterparts as they had to take time out to raise their children.

I think we all assume that the fashion industry is a female dominated industry. However, according to a report by McKinsey & Company, whilst women do make up the majority of employees in the global fashion industry, we are under-represented in leadership positions, particularly at an executive level. Once again, it’s more often than not the work-life balance which is to blame.

" Empowering women in business needs a multi-faceted approach that addresses the various challenges we face at different stages of our careers."


Shoshana Kazab

In my opinion, empowering women in business needs a multi-faceted approach that addresses various challenges we face at different stages of our careers. Those of us lucky enough to have had a mentor as we were starting out would have felt the benefits long-term. Having someone to provide guidance, support and encouragement is invaluable. I hope we can all be mentors to younger women starting out in their careers. I always look to women for inspiration and think “If they can do it, why can’t I?” – that might be naïve but we have to believe we can.

Female founders like Raegan Moya Jones (founder of aden + anais) and Julie Wainwright (founder of The Real Real) built their businesses from scratch and must have endured endless battles as they grew their businesses, particularly when sourcing investment as they looked to scale up. Women-led start-ups only receive a fraction of VC funding compared to start-ups led by men. In fact, in 2020, female founders received just 2.3% of total revenue capital funding in the US. What can be done about this? Quite a lot hopefully. In the UK there’s been an influx of female founder networking groups and I came across someone the other day who is launching a VC business this year investing exclusively in female-led technology businesses. The tide is turning, but never quickly enough.

The irony is that women in business are brilliant. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) reports that in many countries, women are less likely than men to start a business, but they often outperform men in terms of business longevity and profitability. We tend to take measured risks, build strong foundations and lean on others for advice and support – all essential attributes when building a successful business.

Growing a collaborative community has to be at the heart of what we do as women in business. The Fuse Press Day has progressed from a dimly-lit basement in Soho House in Greek Street to a wonderful day of networking, talks, idea sharing – and most importantly, support for one another. And as over 200 of us gather today, I know we can all do great things when we combine forces!


Women in business

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