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November 3rd, 2015    |    by Melissa Browne    |    No Comments


Last Sunday night I watched with interest the 60 minutes interview with Lorna Jane. Now I’m not a fan of Lorna’s active wear and I’m definitely not her target market but I was interested to hear what she had to say in light of the stories that have circled her of late.

What I saw was a real, honest, transparent interviewee who admitted to stumbling along and who recently turned down $500 million for her company. What that tells me is she’s kind of passionate about what she does – otherwise who would turn down half a billion dollars right?! No-one who works for me at A&TA when I did a quick poll. And yes, they’ve all been given their first warning as a result.

Now I know we have a 24 hour news cycle and we need to feed it. I also know that we don’t love a tall poppy in this country of which Lorna Jane is kind of a whopping big one. Lorna Jane also has the incredible misfortune of being tiny, healthy, bubbly and successful. Four things we also don’t necessarily love if we’re none of those things. Which means when someone like LJ stuffs up it’s pure gold for the news cycle.

But here’s the thing. What if, instead of tearing down our tall poppies for our own amusement, we decided to support them. What if, when someone acknowledges to stuffing up, like Lorna did in her interview over the whole reception/fit model debacle (which if she’d just advertised for a fit model who did some admin I’m sure there would be have been no problem by the way), can’t we just acknowledge they’re human too and move on?

Because it’s just not as much fun as pulling down a tall poppy. Which is why so many of us don’t aim to be bigger than we are or more profitable than we are or admit what we earn or what we have because we just want to fit in.

You don’t ever feel like that? Must be just me then.

That’s because I find running and owning a business can be an incredibly exhilarating, terrifying, nail clenching ride. With tears of happiness, frustration and hopelessness all part of the one day at times. So the idea of being judged on top of all that as LJ has been judged, can just really seem like something that’s not worthwhile. Which is why I choose not to partake in bringing down our tall poppies and instead, aspire to be one. Which is in itself, a terrifying thing to want to do and be.

If you feel like that too then why not join me in deciding to be a tall poppy. To stand out in business, to dare to be successful and to be open & transparent about it.  Because just imagine what might happen if, as women in business, we decided to all have a really good crack at this thing called business, to be honest and to support each other along the way. After all, we’re starting businesses faster than our male counterparts only we’re not doing it as successfully or as profitably. And it’s not because we’re not as smart or as business savvy.

So why not join me and decide to be part of a movement, part of a change, in short, to become a tall poppy.


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