Considering all the odds stacked against her and systemic obstacles in her way, any woman starting her own business is inherently phenomenal. A woman starting a business aimed at empowering other women in the process? Extra phenomenal… and that’s what Mylene Paquin is. This week, we spoke with Mylene about her gorgeous new fragrance line (Kickstarter launching May 8th), how her feminism plays a part in what she does.
Introduce yourself! Tell us who you are and what you do.
Traditional answer: I am the co-founder of DIVONA, a perfume company that helps you empower hundreds of women with a single purchase. Real answer: I am the woman who cheers you on when you are at your most vulnerable. I am the woman who celebrates you when you face your fears and push past all the naysayers and obstacles standing in your way. I am the woman who will always have your back and show you how incredibly awesome you are, no matter what your story is.
How do you define feminism and how does that play a part in the work you do?
Feminism is justice and equality. Despite the negative association this word has gotten in recent years, feminism has and always will mean fairness between all genders and having access to the same opportunities. I also think that feminism is about embracing who you are, your identity, your core self. At DIVONA, we want to empower you to celebrate your uniqueness and empower other women in the process. Whatever your background is, how ever you identify, and whatever you think and feel, we encourage you to embrace that and fully dive into a pool of self-love!
What made you decide to go down the entrepreneur route?
I was lucky enough to have wonderfully supportive parents from a young age. Whether I pursued acting, singing, cinematography, or anything that wasn’t in standard academic fields, they put aside their discomfort and encouraged me to reach for the stars. After working in film for several years and being in a male-dominated world with varying degrees of judgments and preconceptions of what a woman could do in that field, I decided I wanted to create something that would nurture women and uplift them. As women, we already face a lot of injustice. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be a female business owner and empower women along the way. This is why I decided to find another female co-founder to help me in this mission. Her name is Kayte, and together, we are setting out to create a ripple effect of empowerment.
If you could give one piece of advice to other female entrepreneurs, what would it be?
You know that little voice inside your head? You know the one. That nagging critical voice telling you that you can’t do it. That voice is wrong about you, your potential, your capabilities, your talents. My advice to you is to forge ahead and do what you believe in and what you are passionate about! Only one person lives your life, and that person is you. That nagging voice is just a compilation of other people’s projected fears, insecurities, and judgments. Take a deep breath, connect to the root of your passion, and show those people, that voice, and yourself that you are your own person and capable of anything you set your mind to, whatever that may be.
How can our readers follow and support your work?
Thank you for asking! By supporting us and purchasing a perfume, you also support hundreds women! The best way would be to select a reward on our Kickstarter campaign. You can also follow us on Facebook (DivonaOfficial), Instagram (@DivonaOfficial), and Twitter (DivonaOfficial), which will contain updates and a link to our Kickstarter campaign in May. Our website will also launch at the same time as our Kickstarter campaign – http://www.divona.co