Two words: Girl Boss.
We’re pretty sure you would’ve heard of Kiwi entrepreneur Iyia Liu, and if not her name, definitely the various thriving business she’s started, including Waist Trainer, Celebration Box, Luxe Fitness and Bambi Boutique among others. All in all this girl is making some *serious* moves in business, and all before the age 25. Can we say… killing it?! She’s now giving people more of a glimpse into her life through the TVNZ On Demand show, BossBabes, which she co-stars in alongside her best friend and fellow entrepreneur, Edna Swart.
Find out why Iyia is the ultimate girl you need to know, plus her tips for motivating yourself and getting a business up and running:
How did you get to where you are today?
I studied Marketing and Management (Bcom) at the University of Auckland and started my own business straight out of uni. My very first business didn’t do very well, but my second business Waist Trainer kicked off and then I went on to launch Luxe Fitness, Bambi Boutique, Girls in Business and Celebration Box. Then I ended up with a TV show Boss Babes.
When did you first know you wanted to be in business?
I was actually weighing up between studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Commerce. I’ve always loved art and am a creative person, but ended up doing a marketing and management major within a business degree which still allowed me to express my creativity.
Who do you admire most in business and why?
The person who inspired me to start a business was Sophia Amoruso, the founder of e-commerce fashion retailer Nasty Gal. I related to her as she started by selling her old clothes on eBay in her early twenties and grew it into a multi-million dollar business. I wanted to be just like her at the time.
Do you have a favourite quote or mantra to live by?
“Day one… or one day?”
View this post on Instagram
What’s your favourite thing about being a Girl Boss?
I never started any of my businesses with the goal to make a lot of money. I just wanted to be my own boss and have that flexibility and feeling of achievement in accomplishing something of my own.
How important is female empowerment to you and why?
I think it’s important for females to feel as if they have equal opportunities in this world. Women are so capable, and we can do anything we set our minds to!
Do you have any advice for Miss FQ readers who want to get into careers like yours?
Give it a go! Take some action and put whatever it is into play. You never know what’s going to happen, but you can’t get good at something if you don’t put anything out there at all.
How do you define success?
To me, success is achieving goals that are meaningful to you, whatever they may be.
What has been your greatest accomplishment or milestone to date?
I’m not sure of my greatest, but perhaps selling my businesses, or buying a section to build a home for my family, or maybe becoming a mum in early 2020.
View this post on Instagram
What are some challenges you’ve faced or had to overcome?
There are many challenges I face every day. Things don’t always go to plan, shipments can get stuck at customs, items can run out of stock, shipments can go missing, the list never ends, and that’s business (and life). I’ve had to deal with a lot of criticism, tall poppy syndrome and bullying, but have learned to manage and deal with it.
What motivates you?
Originally, my goal was to one day be able to build my own home in a farm/lifestyle area and raise a family there. I suppose I chased that dream when I started my business, but now I just love challenging myself and achieving growth.
Out of all the businesses you’ve started, what’s been your favourite?
Every business has been the same business model, but I suppose there have been some differences between them: With Waist Trainer and Luxe Fitness we were able to work with awesome influencers around the world; with Bambi Boutique we got to do buying trips in Australia and photoshoots which was super fun; Celebration Box we get to be super creative with the products; and Girls in Business is awesome because I get to meet so many incredible women at the events.
Define what a Boss Babe means to you?
Being a woman and being able to do what I want – chase my dreams, and achieve my goals.
View this post on Instagram
How do you deal with negative feedback?
For my businesses, we have a dedicated customer service team to handle enquiries, but when I receive negativity myself, I will take the feedback into consideration but won’t let it rule my decisions. If it’s bullying, hate or abuse, I tend to just ignore it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My timetable fluctuates, but on an average week I will generally get up, go to the office, go through my emails, go to any meetings with suppliers, partners or opportunities, check with the team that everything is running well operationally, do some PR package unboxing, attend an event and finally, go home and have dinner with my family or partner.
What’s the one beauty product you couldn’t live without?
I am quite self-conscious of my skin, having dealt with acne most of my teenage years, so I love a good coverage foundation. My go-to is Estee Lauder Double Wear with Laura Mercier translucent powder on top.
When did you last act fearlessly?
Probably filming for BossBabes. Filming a reality TV show has been totally out of my comfort zone, it’s incredibly nerve-wracking wondering what you are going to look and sound like on-screen, but it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up so I’m glad we did it.
You’ve already achieved so much, what’s next for you?
I’m going to be a mum! I’m due in February 2020 for a little girl and I am so excited for motherhood. That’s really all I have up my sleeve for now.