Can you tell us who you are?
My name is Yaqun, I am 33 years old. I was born in a very small city in China, near Beijing, a beautiful place, between the mountains and the sea. A place where everyone is very tall, just like me!
I move to Shanghai in 2005 to study at the university. My family lives in Shanghai too. I am married to a French guy, and I work for a Chinese high-end fashion brand called Icicle.
‘‘Whatever comes next, do it the best you can’’
Tell us about your career, up to now.
During my fashion studies, I was working as a part-time model. I did modelling for 12 years, linking up competitions, fashion shows and shootings.
I much enjoyed feeling the light on me, but sometimes this job was making me feel empty inside. As a model, your mission is to present clothes, you are nobody. You embody a brand.
Because of this feeling, I have been questioning for years, wondering what would be doing afterwards.
After my graduation, I was certain I would stop modelling. I wanted a real career, and I realized I had to start from scratch. But I had no background in any major field such as marketing, economics, so I did not feel very confident to find my new direction. And I did not feel very confident in myself neither…
So, I decided to accept a lower salary, in order to start from the beginning in business. I took several internships, working by chance for ethical or botanical brands, in marketing and in retail. Then I started at Icicle, which is an ecofriendly fashion brand, environmentally conscious in its development, growing slowly in pace with nature. For example, the brand only uses natural dies, natural fabrics, and selects the beast and clean suppliers. It is a company that has strong social values.
At Icicle, I started as Merchandising assistant, then I was promoted as Wholesales manager for five years, then now i am working in charge of the concept project of ICICLE SPACE from business development, operation and brand management.
What makes you proud?
I am proud of the awards of the company of course, but what gets me stronger is succeeding in continuously facing new challenges.
“Whatever comes next, do it the best you can”.
I convince myself the next to come is surely good. And I go. I will never give up, being negative, complain or do nothing.
My key to happiness is doing things, being proactive, and enjoy what I am doing. I try to find things I like in my job, and I make efforts.
Are you self-confident?
I would not say I feel self-confident, but what is certain is that every challenge you achieve makes you stronger and reinforces your confidence. “
Confidence will never be offered to you by someone else. It is a present you offer to yourself. It comes naturally with your achievements”?
Sometimes, when people face a challenge, they don’t take it as an opportunity. They think it is a difficulty. Whereas if you face it saying « well, it’s a difficulty but just do it ». And I am young, what have I to lose?
What you will get, later you’ll see.
‘‘What you will get, later you’ll see’’
As a woman, what are the main difficulty you are facing?
I think a woman’s main challenge is to find her balance in life. I feel I always have to be good in every field: a perfect student, a good employee in an global company, the good wife of an independent French entrepreneur, a good daughter in law in a French family, a good daughter in law in a French classical family… One could looser herself!
So what is your next step?
My next step is to become myself. I have to find what I really would like to do, and find a balance between family, husband, carrier, studies. Life is not only that… but it is also about oneself. You must discover yourself. Balance is my ambition; it is a life goal.
I the future, I would like to participate to a charity, something not that business oriented, liked to nonprofit. Yes, trying to help people to get a better life could be my next goal!
But how to reach this goal ?
I am a very natural person. I see life as 80% of work, and 20% for family. My every day’s life is a hurry, in a very hurry world. So, whenever I am questioning, I try to be listening to myself. I hear my internal voices, and then I try to understand why they come up. I am instinctive and try to find my values. I am in search for harmony.
Being a woman in this modern world is not easy. I admire women who succeed in creating, achieving and enjoying. As for me, a brave woman should be always facing life and being active.
I feel link I should take a rest. Work with inspiring people. Think about leaving something after you, for transmission. I realized work with artists makes me relax, as they are often quite self-centered. Business is demanding, more tense.
What kind of women inspire you?
I am inspired by many women, but the success stories that talk to me are some model careers. I know most of models are not self-confident at all, even if everyone would think they are. It is like there is something lost in their deep inside.
I would mention Carla Bruni: she was a model, she has a good family, she is a very good musician. She is really inspiring as an icon.
According to you, how can perfume can help a woman in facing her challenges?
Of course, perfume makes one person feel confident. I like to change fragrance according to my mood, or to the occasion, to the season. It is very personal. Some of my friends never changed perfume, they kept the same one for years!
Perfume goes beyond accessories, beyond fashion. It is very linked to one’s intimacy. It gives another way to express oneself, further than just appearance. A perfume helps to keep a memory of someone, but also to be better understood by others. But, of course, it works only if you found the unique fragrance for you. Then it is a perfect match!