Hi! I’m Emily, the founder of STUDIO HICKS, which I started up in late 2016. Starting off my career as a female graphic designer, and growing into a business owner, creative director and more. I absolutely adore the freedom and creative control that come with running my own business. There’s this incredible feeling of “the more I invest, the greater the rewards.” But, let’s be real, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. I often wonder how different my challenges would be if I weren’t a woman. Would I have faced those strange remarks, sexist comments, and overall discrimination? Honestly, I highly doubt it.
Where It All Began
I was just 22 when I started my venture. Now, as I approach 30, I’ve noticed a positive shift in the way people perceive and trust me. It’s great to see that change for me personally. However, it also highlights the harsh reality that, at the beginning, I faced discrimination not just because of my gender, but also my age. Oh, and let’s not forget, I’m proudly gay too! 🏳️🌈
I launched my business in a pre-COVID era, when Zoom calls weren’t the norm, and face-to-face networking events were all the rage. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy attending networking events in person. Maybe that’s the millennial in me shining through. But, with certain networking events (I won’t drop any names, but I’m sure some of you can guess), it often felt like I was the only woman in the room (because sometimes, I actually was). Yes, I did manage to secure some work from these groups.
Their communication style with me clearly indicated a lack of trust. Now, I’ve always been confident in my design skills, especially when it comes to logo and branding design. I take pride in what I do… but I knew other female graphic designer ‘s who felt the same way as me. So, being a female business owner definitely presented its challenges, especially when I was younger. But here’s the good news: this problem is gradually diminishing!
Millennials are rising to the occasion, making their mark and earning six-figure salaries by the thousands. It won’t be long before our generation becomes the highest earners. While millennials, as a collective, may not be perfect, we’re a lot more socially aware than some other generations (I’ll let you connect the dots here). In fact, there are businesses and entrepreneurs who actively prefer working with women or other minority groups because they recognize the issues we face.
Now, the world isn’t perfect by any means, but I’m hopeful about the growing inclusivity in the business realm. We still have a long way to go, but when I compare 2023 to 2016, I can definitely see the significant social changes that have taken place. All we can do is keep the conversation going, raise awareness, and challenge outdated perspectives. Together, we can bring about positive change.