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Female Founders Spotlight: Virginie Charles-Dear

6 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder

Virginie Charles-Dear is the founder and CEO of toucanBox, a monthly arts and craft box for children, designed to ignite their curiosity and creativity. With over 6 million boxes sold across Europe, toucanBox has been recognised as one of UK fastest growing business (Deloitte Fast Track, Leap 100).

After studying in Paris, Oxford and Berlin, Virginie Charles-Dear started her career in investment banking at Morgan Stanley. Prior to founding toucanBox, she was in charge of acquisitions and strategic partnerships at Yahoo!  Originally from France, Virginie holds a Masters in Economics from ESCP Europe. 

What would you love to share to encourage other women to start their own business?

Starting my own business has been an incredible rollercoaster but definitely the best decision in my professional life. Waking up every morning with a purpose, doing what I am passionate about every day and knowing that I’m making a difference is liberating. Of course it hasn’t always been easy, so having the right support network is very important, but there is nothing like being successful through your own vision, leadership and ability to make it happen. 

What are your 5 top tips for entrepreneurial success?

1. Follow your passion, forget about your self-doubts, believe you are ready because the truth is, you are probably more ready than you think.

2. Surround yourself with positive people and when you’re ready to make your first hire, choose carefully, they will set the tone for the company’s culture.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff, keep focus on the goal. It’s not just about hard work, it is about hard work directed at the right thing.

4. Take care of yourself. You can’t be a good leader to others if you’re not in good shape, mentally and physically. You’re running an ultra-marathon, not a sprint. 

5. No matter the size of your business, never forget that it’s about trading: buying, selling and making a profit. The size of your latest funding round, the number of headcount…all these are vanity metrics. 

Who are the 5 women who inspire you the most?

a. Simon Veil, a French stateswoman who fought to advance women’s rights. 

b. Marie Curie, a polish/French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice. 

c. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writer and feminist 

d. Estee Lauder, businesswoman and founder of the eponymous cosmetic company

e. Eleanor Roosevelt, American political figure, diplomat and activist

What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

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