On International Women’s Day, our CEO Pippa Hallas shares how her pioneering great aunt continues to inspire her every day.
Ella Baché, the woman, was very much the inspiration for me to write my book Bold Moves: How to Stand Up, Step Out and Make Your Next Bold Move (launching this April). My great aunt was not just an incredible pioneer in the worlds of business and beauty but a truly independent thinker—and doer—who made many bold moves throughout her lifetime. I couldn’t think of a better day to share some of her inspirational story and why it’s still so relevant today, not just for me but for our Ella Baché community of customers, team members, salon partners, and college students.
Born in Eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, Ella had to fight for her education at a time when women were not encouraged or even allowed to get a university education. Ella persisted and became the first woman to become a qualified pharmacist in Prague. Two world wars forced her to leave her family and friends and relocate; first to Paris where she opened her own boutique selling the skin-care formulations she had developed, and then to New York to set up a laboratory to enable her to continue the research and development that was so vital to her brand. Along the way, Ella managed to escape an unhappy arranged marriage and divorce her husband, not an easy thing to do in Europe at that time! And she always maintained her financial independence, even throughout her second and happier marriage when she insisted on maintaining separate bank accounts.
The Basics of Bold
Ella lived an extraordinary life peppered with the kinds of challenges that, fortunately, most women today don’t have to endure. In the face of adversity, Ella responded with the types of bold moves that allowed her to determine her own destiny and to write her own story. A better story.
Ella’s standout qualities were many but for me, her most inspirational attributes that continue to inspire me every day were:
An incredible work ethic - Despite growing up at a time and in a culture where women stayed at home, Ella chose a very different path. By choosing cosmetic chemistry, a profession and an entire industry dominated by men, she had to strive harder than her peers. In fact, Ella worked tirelessly her whole life, continuing to go to work every day well into her nineties.
Tenacity - Ella didn’t let anything get in her way; not the gender stereotypes of the twentieth century, the barriers for working women, the challenges and dangers of war, nor the difficulties of starting a business from scratch in a different country with no contacts or family. No matter what hardships came her way, she continued to show up and think bold.
- Focus - Once Ella discovered her passion for skin and the realisation that no two skins were alike, she devoted her life to that passion. A woman creating purposeful products for women. That focus was key to her successfully building an international brand available in over 20 countries.
A brand that I could not be more proud to lead into its 66th year in Australia.
Read more about Pippa Hallas’ new book Bold Moves.