With a recent partnership with THE ICONIC and more than 50 retail partners under its belt, AirRobe is one of the breakthrough resale platforms to hit Aussie e-commerce. We asked the CEO and Founder, Hannon Comazzetto, about her journey as a woman in the industry, her biggest inspirations, and what the future of female leadership looks like to her.
Happy International Women’s Day! Why is International Women’s Day important to you?
International Women’s Day for me is a great opportunity to shine a light on all the incredible work being done by women. I do wish we didn’t need an International Women’s Day for this to be front and centre – but I love the chance to see and read about so many inspiring stories from women across the globe.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome them?
Raising capital for the first time was a challenge. I was pitching a new concept right as COVID-19 hit. Australian venture capital investors are used to backing Business-to-Business software plays as that has been where Australia has seen huge wins in the past like Atlassian. AirRobe is consumer-facing, business-facing, and also a marketplace which kept discussions interesting. On top of that our focus is in the fashion vertical and the overwhelming majority of startup investors are male. So I had the added challenge of getting them excited about a space they may not be so familiar with. I had a lot of investors initially dismiss us without really taking the time to understand the business. Funnily enough, a couple of these ended up investing after I didn’t take the first no for an answer and got in front of them to explain what we were building.
Are there any women you have looked to for inspiration in your career?
I’m surrounded by incredible female leaders. I have a cohort of mentors like Andrea Kowalski, Rachel Kelly and Alicia Kennedy – these women are established leaders in their own fields and a source of both advice and inspiration for me. I’m privileged to call inspiring founders like Holly Cardew (Carted) and Sandra Capponi (Good on You) friends and am motivated every day by the incredible women working at AirRobe.
What is the best advice you’ve received when it comes to your career?
People always tell you to find what you love doing and you’ll never work a day in your life. This is a piece of advice that is easy to say but really challenging to act on. I’ve been fortunate enough to find what I love doing but I didn’t start there. The path that feels the safest or conventional is not always the best one. Be ambitious, be brave and go for what really excites you. One piece of advice I have found helpful and like to pass on is to pay attention to your energy. Speak to people in different fields, try different things, and be aware of those things or people that raise your energy. This is a model that can help filter what you actually get excited about and is a great indicator of passion. You’ll be surprised at how much support you’ll find along the way.
What does the future of female leadership look like to you?
The future of female leadership to me is just: leadership. When I think about all the great female leaders in my life and my field I don’t see them as female leaders or female founders. It’s no secret that women have to work harder to get to these positions, my approach has always been to work hard and not to be too concerned by the challenges being a female might be adding to that journey. In my mind, these people are successful leaders and founders in their own right – and as attitudes change towards female leadership I hope as a society we can drop the “female” when we talk about these amazing changemakers!
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