International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. In the lead up to this year’s IWD we’ll be highlighting some of the great women who are members at our spaces.
Career Jomay Cao started her first business in editorial styling when she was just 18 in order to fund her undergraduate studies and travel. Jomay then leveraged that experience to found her first event wear and bridal label which she designed and retailed from the label’s first flagship store. After four years Jomay decided to take something more scalable online, the store was sold in 2016 and from there she has gone on to found her ecommerce label, MONFORM. Since then, several other doors have opened up for Jomay. She’s incredibly passionate about sustainability and sits on the board of a renewable energy company as a non-executive director.
Women in the Industry Although the apparel industry is predominantly female dominated, Jomay has noticed that, “women are sorely underrepresented in many areas in which I’m currently interested and involved. While women appear to be avid small business owners, few have any wish to identify as founders of startups with big growth potential the way that men do”. She also believes that women led startups are underrepresented in terms of VC funding, partially because they tend to start creative enterprises as opposed to technologically based businesses. Thankfully however, Jomay has also seen a slow increase in the proportion of female led startup businesses, and investment into them. You can find out more of Jomay’s thoughts on these issues in her letter for International Women’s Day here.
Role Models When asked who her role models are Jomay cites her parents who have strengths and expertise in areas across entrepreneurship, economics and law and have been pivotal in my work and businesses. Jomay believes her parents have had a significant impact on her career as they are “one of the primary reasons for [her] healthy (sometimes over inflated) self-concept and firm belief in [her] own competencies.” In terms of female role models, Jomay looks up to Gloria Steinem and Jane Goodall due to their are two respective social and environmental contributions. She also loves the story of Ada Lovelace who arguably conceived the first computer (The Analytical Engine) in around 1830.
A personal success that Jomay credits to her Spacecubed membership is becoming acquainted with CSS coding, allowing her to perfect her open source websites without needing to outsource to developers. In 2018 Jomay is looking forward to seeing each of her new projects flourish.