Supporting the journey of motherhood, in style
Jasmine Garnsworthy

Jasmine Garnsworthy On Building Businesses, Empowering Female Entrepreneurs And Juggling Motherhood

We chatted to Jasmine about how she has juggled building her business and being a first-time mum, and what she’s learned from failure.

Jasmine Garnsworthy was just 24 years old when she moved from Australia to New York. She was working as a fashion and beauty editor – her resume includes Australian media giants like Mamamia and POPSUGAR – when she was offered a job in New York whilst on a press trip there. “It was this amazing kismet experience,” recalls Jasmine. “I packed up my bags and moved a few weeks later.”

Jasmine worked at the New York-based media company StyleCaster for a few years before taking the leap to become a freelancer. “I always knew I wanted to own a business, so I tried freelancing to see if it would scratch my entrepreneurial itch.”

It wasn’t long before Jasmine launched her first business, The Buff – a customised, clean beauty brand – but it struggled to compete with the increasing competition from venture-backed companies. In 2020, Jasmine decided to close up shop.

Reflecting on this experience prompted Jasmine to come up with the idea for Female Founder World, an organisation where like-minded founders can connect and access the tools and resources to help them scale their businesses.

“I wondered why I lacked the confidence to seek the expertise I needed,” says Jasmine. “People don’t go into entrepreneurship having all of the answers, it’s something that’s figured out on the way. I let a really big opportunity pass me by. So Female Founder World was born out of that.”

Jasmine started Female Founder World as a workshop series during lockdown. “I spoke with different founders and invited my Instagram community to join these free Zoom calls, and then it evolved into a group chat with different business owners and aspiring business owners. Then the newsletter and podcast came next. And then we started doing in-person activations, which is what we’re really known for now.

“We want to show people examples of folks like them who have come from places like them, who are maybe the same age as them, who have built amazing things or are doing what they dream of doing,” she says. “We want to show them the exact steps they took to get there, what’s working right now in these startups and we want to connect them with a network of people who can help them build their business.”

“Rather than the identity crisis people warned me about, I feel like motherhood has materialised some missing puzzle piece, and I’ve upleveled and grounded, and evolved into a new version of myself that I was always destined to be."

Jasmine has spoken to thousands of business founders throughout her career and has determined that there is no one trait they all have in common. “There is no special entrepreneurship gene,” she says. “It’s just a job, you can learn how to do it.

“You definitely need to build some resilience and keep getting up. For most of the people I have spoken to, the business they are known for is not their first business. They have done other things before that you’ve never heard of, that never took off, or took off and failed, and that was their mini business degree. They also need a bit of grit and drive to be wanting to do something a little bit different with their lives.”

Her advice to people wanting to start a business is to just go for it. “A lot of times we want an idea to be fully baked and perfect before we put it out in the world. And this is the feedback that comes through the podcast, the newsletter, the community, all the conversations that we’re having with founders all the time, that you need to put something out in the world to be able to iterate on it. 

“Sitting alone in your office or in your kitchen or on your couch creating something very rarely leads to the kind of success you hope that it will. You need to create in collaboration with your dream customers, and with your dream community and bring people along with you. Start building community, creating content, and telling people about what you’re building.”

“The second thing is to find a network of people who will support you. Sometimes this won’t be friends and family because they will be afraid for you because this is not a path they’re familiar with, but there are plenty of people who will think you’re a rockstar for doing this. So find them on the internet, and come and join the Female Founder World group chat, it’s free!”

Learning from past business decisions and knowing what she now knows, Jasmine says she is being “radically transparent and honest” about her business in order to combat imposter syndrome and self-doubt.

“I tell people how much revenue we’re making, I tell them what I don’t know, I’m very upfront and honest and I think that’s what I got wrong last time. I was nervous that I wasn’t big enough or growing fast enough and that people would judge me for it. Now that I’ve seen under the hood of so many businesses, I know that any small amount of traction is something that isn’t easy and should be celebrated. I have no shame when it comes to asking questions and a lot of pride in what I have built.”

Jasmine has been scaling Female Founder World while raising her son Sebastian, who was born in early 2023.

Having a baby wasn’t something Jasmine particularly looked forward to growing up, because she thought she had to choose between motherhood and building a business.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve professional goals before children and I imagined that I’d become professionally irrelevant once I became a mum,” she says. “Of course, I know this to be nonsense now, but I didn’t see many examples of women achieving success in entrepreneurship while also building a family when I was coming up in my career, so this is what I internalised.”

During pregnancy, Jasmine steeled herself for the hardest parts of motherhood that were being described to her by other mothers and on social media. “Society loves to tell you, ‘Just wait until this happens.’ ‘Just wait until they start teething’ or ‘Just wait until the four-month regression.’

“I found that when I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed a certain phase, it was ‘Just wait until he’s crawling’ and, honestly, crawling is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! And now it’s ‘Just wait until he starts talking back and having tantrums’…I’ve found it overwhelmingly unhelpful.”

Jasmine advises other mothers-to-be to stay off Instagram and TikTok during pregnancy if they are anxious – especially in the late stages – because she experienced a lot of fear-mongering around birth. She also recommends Mysha – a group for mothers and mothers-to-be to connect and access helpful resources.

“I wish more people told me about the good stuff and the love and how gorgeous they are so I could have been a little bit less anxious and a little bit more excited.

“Rather than the identity crisis people warned me about, I feel like motherhood has materialised some missing puzzle piece, and I’ve upleveled and grounded, and evolved into a new version of myself that I was always destined to be. If you’re pregnant and terrified of parenthood, don’t be! It’s the best experience of my life.”

Jasmine has been juggling looking after Sebastian and growing her business, and it hasn’t been a walk in the park, especially since she lives away from home and doesn’t have family nearby. “It has been me and my husband at home and the juggling has been juggling,” she says. “I’ve been getting up really early and working through naps and after Sebastian goes to bed.”

To better balance everything they have going on, Jasmine and her husband are in the process of looking for a nanny. “Someone once told me that businesses are not built during nap time, and that is so accurate. But, I have to say, this business has been built so far with the baby at home that I am almost solely responsible for, so I’m excited to see what we can do when we have some childcare.”

Jasmine is looking to other women who are also building a business and a family at the same time and “who are creatively choosing what they want their lives to look like and ignoring societal expectations about what motherhood should look like. 

“Women like Adriana Carrig, founder of Little Words Project who hit $20 million in annual revenue for her bootstrapped jewellery business while raising her little ones (and breastfeeding at work – respect!), Babba Rivera who is building a haircare brand that celebrates her Latinx roots, Chillhouse founder Cyndi Ramirez, Poppi founder Allison Ellsworth who is powering one of the fastest growing beverage companies in America and has little kids. 

These women are incredible, and I’m lucky to have them in my orbit through the work I do at Female Founder World.”

Throughout her pregnancy and since becoming a mother, Jasmine has been redefining her sense of style. “I’m struggling not being able to fit into my old clothes, which is something I need to wrap my head around. Or, things I do fit into don’t feel right. I’m not feeling myself anymore when it comes to style.”

“I’m definitely leaning towards more neutral, simple pieces that can be styled together. I’m really enjoying Australian brands like Lee Mathews and Shona Joy.

“I wore a lot of DISSH items at the end of my pregnancy – a knit dress with a blazer over the top, and they were my saving grace. I wore them with some chunky boots that were flat. They got me through most of my pregnancy. At the end of my pregnancy, it was winter in New York which was a very challenging time, it was very cold. So those knit dresses were fantastic.”

As another New York winter approaches, Jasmine is busy preparing to host the first Female Founder World Summit in December. “It’s going to be a huge day celebrating female ambition and entrepreneurship. We’re also building out our IRL plan for 2024 and there is a lot more coming there as well. I cannot wait!”

Words by Ellie Wiseman. Jasmine was photographed by Eva Zar at her home in New York.

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