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The woman behind SABEN talks building one of NZ’s most iconic brands

As one of the female leaders behind the EmpowHER scholarship, championing female entrepreneurs, Roanne Jacobsen, Founder of SABEN talks about why advocating for this side of entrepreneurship is important.

With International Women’s Day just around the corner, Roanne Jacobsen, Founder of one of New Zealand’s most iconic apparel companies, SABEN, has teamed up with venture capital group The Icehouse to champion female entrepreneurs through the EmpowHER scholarship.

Having been an entrepreneur for over 20 years, Jacobsen says she has learnt so much, from starting a business all the way to building a brand where so many eyes are watching.

Ultimately through all these learnings, Jacobsen and her team have been able to create SABEN.

Jacobsen says that with SABEN reaching new heights, there are so many people watching her and the company that the room to make mistakes is small. If anything, it is a challenge for her “personal and professional development”.

“I understand that making mistakes is a natural part of growth, and I am committed to using them as learning opportunities to enhance the brand,” she says.

“While the pressure of being in the limelight can be overwhelming, it drives me to pursue excellence and creativity. This pressure inspires me to remain loyal to my vision and develop products that genuinely connect with our customers.”

But when it comes to challenges she and her team face, Jacobsen says that juggling being a business leader and a mother is “undoubtedly a challenging balancing act”.

Though there is no clear-cut answer to how juggle both, Jacobsen has one tip and that is to prioritise and delegate.

Read more: Kiwi businesswomen team up to champion female entrepreneurship

“Setting clear boundaries between work and family time, and learning to ask for help when needed, is so helpful in maintaining a healthy balance between the two roles. It sounds cliche, but self-care and making time for oneself is crucial in avoiding burnout and really helps overall well-being,” she says.

“I have to remember, and sometimes my husband or those around me remind me that, it’s okay to not have everything perfectly balanced all the time, and being kind and forgiving to yourself is essential in this journey.”

Since the creation of SABEN, Jacobsen says she has been able to find success in challenging her own thinking, to create products and experiences that stand the test of time.

She adds that meeting customers’ standards and ensuring they are happy and is the motivation to keep on going.

“Our motivation to keep evolving and innovating comes from our promise to create a brand that empowers women to take on the world with confidence, and we are constantly inspired by the SABEN community who do just that.”

With this type of motivation driving her, Jacobsen decided to support The Icehouse with their EmpowHER scholarship to advocate and champion female entrepreneurship.

“I believe in empowering women to pursue their dreams, challenging gender norms, fostering diversity in business, and creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for women in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” she explains.

“I understand that it takes more than luck to succeed in business, especially as a woman. It requires dedication, resilience, hard work, and support systems to overcome challenges and achieve success.”

She says she is in a position to be supporting and investing in budding female entrepreneurs through resources, opportunities and more.

This is all about creating a supportive community of “unstoppable women” who are powerful in their entrepreneurial endeavours.

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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