At the Navy Retreat, an event organized and hosted by Navy Professional, the wonderful Lynsey MacDonald of Nouveau HD Beauty Group, fellow sponsors of the event, asked why we are all so happy to describe ourselves as ‘just’. Not ‘just’ as in ‘fair and good’, but ‘just’ as in ‘only’. Women in our industry always introduce themselves as ‘just’ a nail artist, or ‘just’ a salon owner. Well I’m Ruth, and I’m ‘just’ going to tell you how amazing we really are. Today, is International Women’s Day, and this year the message is #BreakTheBias. The bias around our own industry is that it is ‘just’ about beauty and looking good. But we know that looking good equates to feeling good, and that this equates to a positive impact on all aspects of the society we live in. During the Navy Retreat, Lynsey herself highlighted the immense economic impact our industry — a uniquely and fantastically female driven sector — has on the wider economy. In a report for the British Beauty Council, Oxford Economics, a leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis, found: “[I]n 2018 the British beauty industry made a total contribution to UK GDP worth £28.4 billion; on top of this, it supported £7.0 billion in UK tax revenues in 2018, and consumer spending was valued at £27.2 billion [..] The total contribution to UK GDP of the beauty industry was shown to be more than that of the manufacturing of motor vehicles and sports activities.” To put the 2018 tax revenues of our sector into perspective, £7billion is exactly what the government has put aside to help the NHS and care industries recover from the Covid crises. Not bad for a bunch of women who ‘just’ work in beauty right? I’m guessing that people in the motor and sports manufacturing industries rarely introduce themselves as ‘just’ anything. So why should we? We need to #BreakTheBias and start celebrating the amazing positive impact which we collectively create. According to Tide’s Uk Female Entrepreneurship Index, over two thirds (66.8%) of self-employed business owners in the hair and beauty sector are female, as are 94% of workers in the industry. One proud Yorkshire business owner is Navy Professional’s own Rebecca Crawforth, who actively supports other brands and business owners. Rebecca has been instrumental in creating a community of mutually supportive business owners which include other inspirational role models, such as Angela Thiagarajah of Nouveau beauty, who has an impressive background in chemistry, and who has inspired me and my company in our efforts to change the industry. Here’s to the women who own, run and work for an important industry which has a positive role in wider society. Here’s to ‘just’ being positive about who we are.