When asked what advice she would give to young females, Dolly gets straight to the point, “Don’t let ANYONE tell you that you can’t do something because of your gender. Dig your heels in and work hard, eventually, the world will have to catch up and you will be sitting pretty at the top”
Fed up of working for larger organisations and feeling disposable, Dolly wanted to be responsible for her own decisions and was driven to be successful, whilst also being her own boss!
Being a female in a male-dominated industry can have its advantages as well as its disadvantages; “I’m actually very lucky that as a result of being hugely outnumbered by men in my industry because a lot of women come to me for their tattoos. They feel more comfortable being tattooed by another woman and it often means we have a lot more to chat about.” She continues “Around 95% of my clientele are women and it’s become a bit of a trademark. But it’s important that women don’t just bow out when the pressure hits, I’ve definitely been in situations where my competency was questioned because I’m a woman but I have learned to speak my mind, stand up for myself and prove them wrong. In my younger years I would have shied away and to be honest, a part of me would have believed them.”
“My biggest role models include my mum and auntie, coming from a traditional Greek background where the norm would be for the man to work and the woman to stay at home they said no thanks, they both worked all hours while raising a family. The tattoo industry has come a long way since I’ve started but I still think its absurd that we live in a world where women are paid less than men for the same role, I’d also love to see a change in the way businesses reward employees, there is still very little incentive for hard workers in regards to job satisfaction. “
Talking about the struggles of being a business woman, “In regards to what it takes to make it if you’re self-employed, compassion, energy and organisation are vital, it’s also important to stay driven otherwise you’d never get out of bed in the morning! It’s also important for my clients to see me excited about projects we embark on. Organisation is essential, as my work doesn’t stop when I leave the studio, I have emails to reply to, keeping my diary updated, tax returns etc, it’s not just a case of drawing pretty pictures on people!”
Dolly finishes with, “To get to my current position I have worked really really hard, I have not stopped working, pushing and have never lost focus taking every opportunity to improve my craft and learn new business skills I have also had to learn the importance of being able to ask for help when its needed and not burying my head in the sand, especially when it comes to the more sensible side of running a business because they don’t teach you about tax at school!
“If I could speak to my 16-year-old self I would say stick to your guns, be true to yourself and choose your tribe accordingly, University is not the be all and end all and it doesn’t guarantee success down the line, be sure to take care of yourself first.”