Founder of DAFNI, the world’s first ceramic straightening brush, Sharon Rabi, shares her journey and mission to empower women everywhere.
Tell us a bit about your incredible journey to launching Dafni.
DAFNI started after I had a too-short haircut and found it hard to style. I struggled with using a hair straightener for the first time, and found I was spending hours a week on my hair. I felt like I had joined a secret club of women that are enslaved to using hair straighteners and always needing blow-dries. When I discovered the hair straighter was originally patented in 1909 and hadn’t change since, I became frustrated that there hadn’t been a significant improvement for over a century. I embarked on a journey to develop a solution. Alongside my father I used all my knowledge and skills that I had acquired from my Electrical Engineering and Physics degree and developed the DAFNI classic ceramic straightening brush.
After three years I launched DAFNI and the world’s first ever straightening brush. I was working from my parent’s basement with no employees, so I used the power of social media. I made a demo video on Facebook and it reached a 120 million views completely organically, it literally broke the internet.
When you were younger, did you envisage this as your future? What did you want to be when you were a child?
When I was younger, I wanted to cure cancer, I’m not quite there yet, but I’m only 31, so you never know what the future holds! I believed I would do great things that would make people feel good. As a sexual abuse survivor, I always feel my mission is to shed light on dark places and validate more female voices. It’s a big mission and I feel very lucky to be born in this time and celebrate womankind.
Tell us about your mission to empower women. What would be your advice to empower the future generations of young women?
Through DAFNI we’ve worked closely with the women’s charity Hestia, which is the biggest provider of shelters for domestic abuse in London. We’ve run several events with them prominently with the UK SAYS NO MORE initiative and have another one planned for 2019.
Last year we had a limited-edition launch with Hestia. We visited the women’s shelter, provided hair pampering and styling for them and gifted them all with DAFNI gifts including the limited-edition brush. It was a wonderful way to connect with them and give the women a bit of a pamper.
For me it comes down to bringing women together, listening to each other, knowing that we are not alone, and that we deserve better. We all face challenges; it could be domestic abuse, it could be an everyday challenge like the wage gap, it could be a weight lost or even juggling motherhood and a career. Whatever it is, you can often feel very lonely and your confidence can be severely hurt, especially over time. When we unite and shed light on a mutual problem, we stop the negative self-talk, we learn, we grow, and we get empowered.
What was it like being listed as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30?
Amazing, getting recognition for your work, especially the way I did, just six months after the launch is something I will always cherish.
What is one thing that you would like people to know about you, that they might not already?
I am a secret screenplay writer. One day ...
What is your top tip for women to remove themselves from the daily noise, and manage a busy, stressful life and reduce the mental load?
Invest in things that make you feel self-loved, the little things. Read that book, get enough sleep, breathe.
What were some of the key challenges you’ve come across in creating and retailing DAFNI?
As this was the first ever tool of its kind, I had nothing to base it on. I had to look at computer processors to help with the design of the brush. It took three years to perfect the brush and it was a big learning curve. Once I had perfected and created the DAFNI brush the next step was getting it out there to the world. I didn’t have a big budget or team behind me to start with, so that’s why I embraced social media. I had to film my demo video myself but in the end it worked out better than I could have ever anticipated.
One of the biggest hurdles personally was believing in myself and my vision, however I knew how much this could change women’s lives, so I stuck to my guns and now DAFNI is helping women all across the globe to look glam while living busy modern lives.
What would be your advice to women who are just starting out as entrepreneurs?
The first step from on the path to entrepreneurship is the hardest. My advice is to find people whose CV you admire and start following them. Find similar success stories, try to connect with the founders. Read and listen to them answering questions like these. It will give you the confidence your ideas are not that crazy, someone else has big plans too. Trust your gut. Your passion is valid. Start working your way towards your goals.
What do you think is the single biggest change women can make to achieve better work/life balance in 2019?
Hire good people. Be really honest about what it is you want to achieve and what you are willing to sacrifice for it, don’t cross that line. If needed get more partners/ hire more or better people or change everything. Keep your sanity a priority.
Why do you think natural products/makeup are important?
I think we should be savvy and conscious about what we apply on our face. The idea of using clean makeup appeals to me as much as the idea of clean food. I respect my skin.
What is your favourite INIKA Organic Product/s and why?
The Certified Organic Cream Illuminisor in 'Gold' - I love a good Highlighter.
Tell us one thing you do for yourself every day, to be a little happier and healthier?
Sleep! I go to bed very early most days because my kids wake up early and without sleep, I am not my best self.