Girl Founder Inspo: Linda Woodhead, Mocha
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Introducing Linda Woodhead of Mocha
A bit about Mocha
"Established in 2006, Mocha Publishing has regular distribution of Trade Magazines to over 25,000+ small business owners, managers, stylists, beauty therapists and barbers.
Mocha Publishing is made up of a professional team, who have unparalleled combined experience in trade & consumer publishing, marketing, pr and the hair & fashion industry. Mocha Publishing serves as a voice and media vehicle for all hair and beauty companies with 69,000+ Readers across all three magazine titles based on 3:1 readership. 26,000+ fans on Facebook all organically achieved. 20,000+ followers on Instagram all organically achieved and 18,000+ opt in email addresses on mocha email database"
Question 1: Where did your idea (or interest in your industry) come from? Was it something you have always been passionate about?
I started in publishing in the UK and to be honest fell into the industry by accident. At the time it was a job and unlike some of my friends who had a true vocation for teaching or nursing or the like, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. I realised in later years this was quite common, but destiny seems to play a part in the right way for many!
I was not alone in not being 100% sure of what I wanted to be but, strangely, I took to media and publishing like a duck to water and worked for Reed Publishing in their trade and technical division in England.
I was only 20 but had an amazing boss who encouraged me and showed me all aspects of the business, way above my pay grade! I was in sales, but he showed me how to budget and forecast, how to deal with editorial and design departments, even working with international agents, ad agencies and more. He really was a true mentor. I moved quickly from telesales, to display sales to management in a few short years, the youngest in the company, and travelled the world as my territory encompassed many European countries. It was an incredible training ground and I loved it. When I emigrated to Australia in 1986, I settled in Brisbane and worked for one of the very few publishing companies around on a weekly street press music magazine.
Shortly after I launched my first business here in Australia, Rave Publishing. At the same time I had started my family with a daughter and twin boys (they used to come to work with me as babies lol), and I’m proud to say that “RAVE MAGAZINE” was instrumental in the launch and support of many Brisbane bands alongside media sponsorship of such events as Livid Festival and Big Day Out.
Having my own business gave me a lot of flexibility when it came to raising my family, but it was certainly hard work and long hours. We were also going through a huge transition in publishing from basic cut and paste to full on desk top publishing. I believed it was important to know what everyone did so I could manage everyone successfully so learnt all about this new graphic design and how it would change our industry.
During that time a friend wanted to launch a trade hair magazine and had experience in the hair industry but none in publishing, so by license we published for her. It was my introduction to ‘hair’! After selling RAVE followed by a few more magazines, business, spiritual, consumer etc., I found myself launching Mocha Publishing and HAIRBIZ – a business to business trade magazine sent to all hair salons in Australia, dealing with the business side of the industry, which had not been done before. Shortly after came Beauty Biz Magazine and then Barbershop Magazine. Once settled and known we then embraced the creative side of the industry as well. Over the past 14 years we have also complimented this with our awards divisions hosting and facilitating the Australian Hair Industry Awards, Australian Beauty Industry Awards and Australian Modern Barber Awards.
We also have our Youth division with 2 competitions, one for hair and one for beauty, HOT SHOTS and BEAUTY SQUAD. The comps are to nurture young talent with a host of prizes including international travel, mentorship and more.
So, while I may not have been passionate about my industry from day 1, I soon became so. I was actually pretty good at it and honed my skills across all areas. More importantly, now, I am not only passionate about my own business but the industries, individuals and companies that we provide to, always striving to make them better throughout the services, magazines, media and events that we can deliver. It is important to keep up with the times in the ever-changing landscape of media and events, and this excites me for the future.
Question 2: What gave you the confidence to get started? Or the resilience to keep going?
I think I always had a yearn to learn but results certainly helped me along the way. If you succeed at something and you have the character to want more, you will continue to set higher goals. I had been lucky enough to have a good education and while I can’t say I was academically top of the class; I have always had good common sense and believe there is always more than 1 way to do something. Asking questions of those I admire and mentored me in early days and happy to put in the extra time stood me in good stead for the future. Surrounding myself with like-minded, positive individuals was a must.
Having emigrated from the UK, with my marriage over when my daughter was 6 and twin sons were 3, basically it was down to me.., sink or swim I guess when it comes to resilience and a need to succeed and reap the benefits, but enjoying what I did was an integral part of my success and still is today.
Public Speaking has certainly also helped with my confidence and once I realised I actually knew quite a lot of stuff lol, I was able to share this in workshops and seminars with others. I know love doing this as part of my service to the industry as it is so rewarding to pass on knowledge that you have to others.
Question 3: What skills have you learned along the way as a Girl Founder (Female CEO / Founder) ?
It hasn’t always been easy as in many high-end positions of power within my industry, it had been quite male dominated. This has certainly changed and is much more balanced. Having said that it never really bothered me and whether I was dealing with men or women, negotiations for advertising dollars or sponsorships remained the same. I think we are quite lucky in the hair and beauty industry as it is pretty gender neutral.
Being a mum and bringing up children had its challenges but as I have mentioned flexibility was key. I am proud and admire the successful women around me but also the men. I do believe that women in general have more empathy but also need to find that fierce #bossladygene as well. It’s a balance like everything in life. Leading as a strong woman can have its challenges but that doesn’t mean to say that you need to give up the softer side of being a woman. There is nothing more powerful than a woman in business who knows her strengths and can relate to ALL.
My business has also exposed me to some incredible people which has also given me a new found love for Charity work. This certainly feeds the natural nurturing soul of a woman. Mocha Publishing is affiliated with LOVE YOUR SISTER and joins hair and beauty salons together each year for a National Charity Pyjama day raising funds for Cancer research.
The Creative side of the hair industry is a new found love and you will also quite often find me on the sets of photo shoots for comps and for our magazine, forecasting hair fashion trends through the skills of some incredible stylists is an absolute joy and honour.
My industry sees me also do a lot of travel nationally and internationally where I can speak at events, visit expos and trade events and mingle with hairstylists, beauty therapists and barbers. Im truly blessed!
Question 4: What did you learn from a hero or mentor? How did you find them?
As mentioned, my earliest mentor was my first boss who taught me so much about the world of publishing and went beyond what was necessary for me to know. Since then I have found many people I look up to and am not afraid to ask them advice and thoughts… and visa versa. Finding someone on the same wavelength as yourself is important, with the same values and ideas but sometimes we can’t always see the wood for the trees so certainly talking things through with a mentor, friend, family member or colleague can give one light and perspective on a situation.
In the hair and beauty industry there are many mentors and coaches. I guess that’s the same as in life or in any industry, but the key is to find someone that you identify with. It’s much the same as choosing a husband or wife lol! Care must be taken with these choices and it’s important to also maintain your own identity.
Over the years I have learnt many things, but most importantly it has been about setting goals, having self-belief and confidence, asking for help when you need it, understanding that the only person you need to answer to is yourself and most importantly to be KIND.
Question 5: Why do you think more young women should consider becoming Girl Founders? Why do women make great business owners?
Because we really can do it all! I believe my choices, career and successes have influenced and had a positive effect on many, otherwise why bother. It is important to me that I do the right thing and as a woman I have been able to bring heart and mind together in my business and in my life. My children have been brought up around this and are all successful entrepreneurs as well – my proudest achievement!
Why do women make great business owners? It’s simple… we have heart.
Question 6: Any last advice to give to young girls ?
Don’t think of yourself as ’just’ a young girl, but as a powerful and successful woman with goals and ambitions to conquer. Surround yourself with positive influences or you will not succeed. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Do anything to learn more. Take educated risks and never make a decision unless you have all available information in your hands. Remember, if Plan A doesn’t work then there is always a Plan B. In challenging times, just do the best that you can do and then rethink what you can do better. Have dreams and keep manifesting and working on your success.
Question 7: How has your business pivoted during COVID?
We have been pretty lucky with low overheads however we have had to look at ways to change. Our events took a hit and have had to be all re-scheduled, we missed just one publication, I had to self-isolate for 2 weeks after returning from Bali and we had advertisers and sponsors all in a tizz! So, we hibernated for a month, chose to take a financial hit and not invoice anyone on monthly contracts for a month, offered free exposure through our Email service and tried to do as much as we could to help get the industry back on its feet for free. This has held us in good stead with the industry, unlike any other trade media company, as sometimes it’s not always about the money…. Sometimes it’s just about HEART!
I wanted to help, so we did. Now we are rebuilding and although this year our figures may not look as great as last year, we will be fine. We made sure we were transparent in everything that we did as I totally believe that the most important thing in business is integrity and honesty. We are now back and firing on all cylinders with a bright future ahead.
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