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“Do it Your Way!” Jane Lu on Motherhood, Moguls and Motivation
While she may have swapped out rosé for a baby bottle, Jane Lu is celebrating Mother’s Day her way. She tells us the lessons she’s learned after becoming a mum, the importance of backing yourself and why women shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.
Mother’s Day means something different to everybody. For Jane Lu, this year was the first time she celebrated the day as a mum. How did she celebrate the day? “I had a late lunch with my parents, husband and baby boy,” she tells us.
Jane Lu was raised by a ‘hustler’ and ‘risk-taker’ mum (known on social platforms as the Lazy Grandma!). “If she really wants something, she’ll keep working hard until she gets it,” Jane Lu says. When her family made the decision to move to Australia, Jane’s mum ‘was not going to stop’ until it happened. “Even after multiple applications got denied, she kept going and it took her five years to move us to Australia. And when she came here, she didn’t speak the language and we didn’t have much money, but she’s strong-willed and knew she was going to make it work regardless,” says Lu.
What is next on the agenda for Jane’s mum? “Queenie’s final hustle was that she wanted nothing more than to be a grandma. And you see the result of that…” she tells us.
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Jane Lu is no stranger to balancing work and social life, after all, it’s rosé all day at Showpo HQ! As a leader on social platforms and running a successful fashion business, she has had to find a way to equalise everything in a balanced way. So when she had a baby in August last year – while she wasn’t surprised by anything new – she did learn and appreciate the importance of asking for help and prioritisation.
“I think being a mother has helped me to be a better leader by taking up a lot of my time!” she says. “Being an entrepreneur that built the business from the ground up, I love getting hands-on and getting into the weeds. I was doing more doing, rather than leading. Now that I have to juggle my time between baby and work, it’s forced me to really step back, ruthlessly prioritise and empower the team to execute our company vision. I have to really focus on what’s important, rather than the noise.”
Since founding Showpo in 2010, Jane has understood the significance of women backing themselves and knowing their worth – “and that’s for all women, not just mothers,” she says. “So often, if you don’t ask you don’t get, and often women feel uncomfortable asking or negotiating. I think it’s important to not be scared of and avoid those difficult conversations.”
Flexible working is an integral part of the Showpo culture. One of the positives that she has taken away from the wild year of 2020 was the ‘easy transition’ to going back to work after months of working from home with a newborn.
“There is still such a struggle with flexibility in the workplace,” she says. “I speak with other mums a lot about this one. It’s important to know and to establish your boundaries. It may also be hard to return to work after maternity leave, especially in certain industries like tech, finance and marketing, where the industry and innovation moves so quickly. And I think the guilt you place on yourself is a big one.”
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With a nanny coming in three times a week, she can maintain a ‘great balance’ between raising her little boy and running Showpo. “I’m so lucky that not only does Showpo support flexible work arrangements, but also, of course, that I am the boss,” she says. “Showpo has been built off the back of finding great people who I can trust to help me build it. And in a way, I’ve applied that philosophy to my personal life. I’ve found great support around me (my husband, my parents and nanny) to support me so that I can juggle motherhood and a career.”
As she mentioned earlier, becoming a mother has inspired her to speak up if she needs a bit of extra help. “I think it’s really important to ask for help, and not feel like you need to do it all, and setting unrealistic expectations on yourself because of society’s construct,” she tells Power Retail. “And similarly, that applies to your business – it’s important to know what can be outsourced and what’s important to you to run in-house with your internal team.”
What advice does she give other mothers that want to excel as leaders in the business world? “Do it your way!” she says. “Do what works for you. Don’t feel like you need to be a certain way because that’s what your parents or friends did. Ask for help, there’s no shame in asking for help.”