It’s International Women and Girls in Science day today. With the purpose to promote equal and full access to women and girls to participate in science, this day hopes to encourage people to recognise the role that they already play. In honour of this, we wanted to create a three part series that spotlights the women in science behind Wǒ, appreciating their motivations, what they have achieved and the barriers they may have faced.
We are delighted to introduce you to Judy Phillips… Judy is an experienced creative new product developer with a passion for skincare and exciting new ingredients. She loves to explore new ideas and work with technical people and technology, challenging the status quo to create new innovative concepts and brands.
Q. What motivated you to work with Wǒ?
During my time at Walgreens Boots Alliance, I worked with Karen on many exciting Innovation projects, many of which did not always come to fruition. Always on the lookout for new trends and opportunities and taking inspiration from our travels to Korea and the Far East, we saw there was a gap in the market for mono dose formulations that combined a unique concept of mix & match skincare tailored to suit your individual skin needs.
Q. What's the biggest lesson you have learnt working with Wǒ?
Ideas need to be nurtured and explored. You need to be flexible and work with lots of different options at the outset so you can filter and test out the good ones. Along the way you can face many obstacles and it’s about thinking creatively or ‘ outside the box’ to overcome problems and come back with solutions, often better than the original idea. You don’t always get it right the first time and often it's about trying out and exploring new ways of doing things that achieve results.
Also launching a new product during the Covid-19 pandemic was a big challenge. Our specialised filling was due in the midst of the crisis but because of illness and changes in priority at the factory we had to be patient and delay our launch.
Q. How did you become successful despite gender inequalities?
I believe people should be valued on individual merit irrespective of gender. I have been fortunate enough to work for a variety of different people who share these values and treat and reward based on the hard work, effort and results they deserve.
Q. What are your most proud achievements to date?
I am really proud to have been part of the success and creative development of the Wǒ brand and its unique approach to skincare. From the branding and naming, to coming up with the creative concepts and product briefs. Working with some of the best skincare experts and development laboratories in the world, we have achieved a high quality skincare range to suit all skin care needs. The unique range consists of a flexible skincare system made up of a choice of 3 in 1 multitasking Daily Bases™ and Power TonIQ™ beauty essences. The high performance targeted formulas are freshly packed into single mono dose ampoules. This novel fun pack format is simple, easy to use, always fresh and with high quality active ingredients that give great results every time.
Q. What struggles have you faced?
Developing new products is always a challenge. You need to plan and build in enough time for testing and always have contingencies. Formulations can fail stability or issues can arise with packaging. Delays may come about which are out of your control, but having a strong team and positive mindset to overcome hurdles and try new things, exploring alternatives are what keeps you on track. My philosophy is there is no such thing as no, just what if!
Q. What advice would you give your teenage self?
Don’t be afraid to try new things, ask ‘what if’ and always be willing to push and challenge the status quo.
Q. Did you have any female mentors or role models in your field?
I have been extremely lucky and honoured to work for and with Marcia Kilgore, one of the most awesome, inspiring serial entrepreneurs and disruptors in the beauty industry. Founder of Bliss, Soap & Glory, Fitflop, and Beauty Pie, Marcia is a beauty genius, creative beyond your wildest imagination, leading and inspiring all those around her. I helped create many of the iconic Soap & Glory brands over my 10 years of working with her.
Karen is another great inspiration, as a friend and colleague and master of Wǒ, her integrity, perseverance and vision for developing the Wǒ skincare brand alongside holding together the family with young children never fails to inspire me and how she can multitask so many things and yet still keep an eye on all the detail!
Q. What are your hopes for the future of women in science?
There should be no boundaries to development, ideas or opportunities. The trend is for genderless fragrances - how about genderless skincare?!
If you have any questions for Judy, please share with us below!