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Jaquie Love, Secret Sisterhood

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

A Women’s Empowerment Movement and Social Enterprise To Create Change

Starting secretly online, in houses, offices and communities - you can be one of the special few that will change the world, by helping and empowering those who are disadvantaged because of their gender. Secret Sisterhood will do so, by creating a million-strong community of women and girls who vow to empower, uplift and support one another.

Founded upon the belief that if women and girls come together they can eliminate gender inequality, their mission as a social enterprise is to provide a supportive and uplifting community for women and girls (and the men that love them). Their belief is that every person deserves to feel as though they have a safe space.

One of the founding sisters, Jacquie Love has always been passionate about women’s causes, but is especially passionate about Secret Sisterhood, a movement of amazing women and girls offering beautiful jewellery, inspired events and community gatherings. 100% of all profits from the group’s endeavors go to women’s charities.

Here's the interview with Jacquie Love.

Tell us about yourself and the Secret Sisterhood, Jacquie.

Jacquie Love, the founder of Secret Sisterhood, feature story by  Brilliant-Online
Jacquie Love, the founder of Secret Sisterhood

I am the founder of Secret Sisterhood, a women’s empowerment movement and social enterprise. We empower, uplift and inspire women as I believe that no person should ever be disadvantaged because of their gender. We created a symbol for gender equality, as there was no symbol out there! I am so passionate about spreading our symbol into the world as symbols are so uniting and can help spark monumental change.

Secret Sisterhood Symbol Necklaces, Jacquie Love, Secret Sisterhood, feature story by Brilliant-Online

Secret Sisterhood symbol is one of a kind. It represents a community of women and girls who stand for women's empowerment. It represents love, unity and the feminine heart.

We sell jewellery that features our symbol and then give 100% of our profits to women’s empowerment initiatives. Thousands of women around the world have joined our Sisterhood community and have worn their symbol in solidarity. Through their support, we have helped fund a range of initiatives. We have helped fund anti-trafficking programs, girls’ education, a domestic violence hotline and we have given micro-finance loans to women in developing countries. We have also helped distribute birthing kits to women in rural villages as well as menstrual hygiene products to women in Uganda.

Why did you start Secret Sisterhood?

I started Secret Sisterhood after a charity immersion trip to India. I was studying fashion design at university and undertook a sub-major in journalism. When I was studying journalism I came across the issue of human trafficking and was blown away by the horrific nature of the crime and that it was happening at such magnitude. I became very passionate about the issue and how it was very much a gender-based crime. When I finished university, I started questioning whether I still wanted to be in the fashion industry. So when the trip to India came up, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get away and get some perspective.

India completely changed my perspective on everything. We visited slums where girls are often trafficked and found out that they are often trafficked at the young ages of 10, sometimes even younger. We also visited the brothels where girls are often forced to work in, and the conditions are absolutely horrendous. No person should ever have to live like that. No person should ever have their freedom, voice and dignity taken away.

When I came back I wanted to make a difference to the women I had met but I had no idea how. I thought the best way to make a difference was to work in a charity, so I started to apply for jobs. Around that time, I randomly stumbled across the concept of a ‘social enterprise.’ A concept that means businesses can run for purpose, that they can make a difference. And that is how Secret Sisterhood was born, I was so excited that I could use my skills in design, create a business, and at the heart of it all was to give back and help empower women.

What inspires you to do what you do?

I am inspired by the women who are on the ground, every day actively creating change. In India, I met one woman who was trafficked at the age of 11. She was forced into sexual servitude for over 20 years. She finally made her way out with the help of an Indian anti-trafficking organisation. She now works in that organisation, every day, forming relationships with the girls in the brothels to hopefully encourage them to leave. I often think that if this woman can do that every day, then my challenges in my business are so small in comparison.

I am also inspired by the incredible change that can occur when women come together to support one another. We have seen this time and time again throughout history. We saw it in the suffragette movement, the online #metoo movement and just recently when millions of women joined hands together in India to demand the end of violence against women. Women can create so much change, we just need to do it together. That is what inspires Secret Sisterhood, imagine the impact we could have if we unite with our fellow Sisters around the globe?

As a businesswoman, how do you combine work and home life?

Balance is extremely important to me, so I put in a lot of effort to make time for other aspects of my life. I believe in working smarter, not harder so I try to be as efficient as possible with my work so I have time for my friends and family. To help with this, I am an avid ‘to-do list creator’, it helps me compartmentalise my day and break up (sometimes overwhelming) tasks, into manageable small steps. Sometimes the big picture can be very daunting (like helping end gender inequality!) so creating small achievable goals is really important.

I work mostly from home, so it is often hard to separate work from home life! If you are working from home, my biggest tip is to have a designated work area. Try and resist the urge to work on the couch in your pajamas, you are just never going to be as productive.

Outside of work what are some of your interests?

You will either find me at a beach with a good book, at a women’s empowerment protest, or studying at the library (I am studying a postgraduate MBA in Social Impact.)

I also love being around people, so when I am not working I love to spend time with my friends and family. There is nothing better for the soul than catching up with a friend on a walk and discussing important world issues. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support I have around me.

What did you do differently to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Incorporate flexibility. I heard someone speak at the start of COVID-19 and they explained that we need to be open to pivoting during this time. We should hold onto our purpose and mission tightly, however, we should be open to alternative paths to get there. Our destination is important but how we get there could change. I kept reminding myself of that throughout last year, and I believe it really helped our business to thrive. We were very clear on our mission of ending gender inequality so we became a lot more flexible with how we achieved this. We ended up achieving our highest growth to date at the end of last year, so that was incredibly exciting!

Where would you like to be in 12 months?

I would love for Secret Sisterhood to be reaching more and more women around the globe. I have a dream that the Secret Sisterhood symbol will become recognized around the world. I hope to be able to direct more and more funds to women’s empowerment initiatives and I hope that I can be a voice for the voiceless.

If you were down to your last $20 what/who would you spend it on?

Well, this question got me thinking!

Well, I have seen the power of microfinance and what an impact it can have on a woman’s life. Microfinance involves women getting loaned a very small amount of money to help them kick start their business. I have seen how this can transform not only someone’s life but how it can help lift families and communities out of poverty. So I think I would invest it in either my own business or a fellow Sister’s business. What would we create with $20? Well, great question... I think I would have to get a lot more creative!

Jacquie in Malawi, Visiting women in rural villages with The Hunger Project Australia, Secret Sisterhood, feature story by Brilliant-Online

Jacquie visiting women in rural villages in Malawi with The Hunger Project Australia.

Thanks, Jacquie

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