Yulia Antishina is Director and Co-Founder of www.jemocracy.com, the ultimate online jewelry destination for busy professional women.
What’s your story?
I grew up in Russia and moved to Switzerland after university to work for a large multinational trading company. After 16+ years of a corporate career in Finance and Business Development, I needed a change. Our family moved to Hong Kong in 2012 as a perfect opportunity to start my own business. In 2013, I co-founded From Russia With Art, an award-winning art promotion organization, later the same year launched Grain De Riz, an import/export jewelry operation between Asia and Europe and finally Jemocracy in 2018.
What excites you most about your industry?
Being able to help professional women to look & feel more confident, to simplify their lives. With my business partner, Myriam Le Sourne (who’s a lawyer), we have a long corporate background and know from personal experience how important it is for a woman in business to look put-together. It brings the best in you, makes you unstoppable! However looking professional, yet stylish and feminine can be a real challenge. The jewelry in the workplace needs to look impeccable, be practical, wearable, easy to care for. That’s exactly what Jemocracy is about: a go-to place for the office-appropriate jewelry, and I love that we help our customers save precious time in their busy schedules.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I studied Mandarin at the university and spent a year in China in the mid-90s under a Russia-China student exchange. This was one of the most memorable years of my life. Not only because I discovered a completely different culture, but also because I met the most amazing people. I used the time to travel around China and became completely obsessed with this country. I returned to Russia to finish my studies determined to find a job related to China but life decided otherwise and I ended up working for an American company in Switzerland. However, my obsession with Asia never stopped so when my husband was offered a job in HK it was a no-brainer family decision to move here.
Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong – for its simple business incorporation and administration procedures, low taxes, easy access to the rest of Asia, the absence of import/export tariffs, proximity to China. Plus the incredible energy of this city. The startup community is big and active, and you meet amazing people with inspiring stories every day. On the downside – the high cost of rent drives the cost of all services up and makes it difficult for small businesses to survive.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Success is a journey, not a destination.
Who inspires you?
Our customers. Every day I get to meet brave, powerful, amazing women who juggle important jobs, family obligations, personal interest, society’s expectations… they do it all and they crash it, every day.
What have you just learned recently that blew you away?
That a person’s brain activity may be as unique as his or her own fingerprints. So you can use an MRI image to identify each unique person.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Wouldn’t change a thing! It wasn’t always a smooth journey, and there are still ups and downs, but I love my life, I’m proud of the things I’ve achieved and of the person I’ve become.
How do you unwind?
Yoga – I’ve been doing Ashtanga for years now, and recently started on meditation.
Oil painting classes – I go to Anastassia’s Art House for their amazing Russian teaches.
Food – nothing beats a great dinner with a glass of good wine after a busy week. Luckily Hong Kong is full of great restaurants.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Truth be told, I like discovering new places. The world is too big, it feels like a pity returning to the same place over and over again when there’s still so much to see and discover. If I have to name 1 place where I go when I only have a few days to recharge the batteries, that would be Intercontinental in Danang, Vietnam. I absolutely love that hotel, the interiors are stunning, the location is gorgeous and it’s really easy to get there from Hong Kong. It’s kid-friendly too so you can also go there with a family.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s a book about networking and relationship building, and how your ability to connect to others can help you be more successful in business and life.
Shameless plug for your business:
Busy women have other things to do than think about accessorizing in the morning. We simplify their lives by offering office-appropriate, confident jewelry to make them look and feel their best whatever the agenda or the situation. FOUNDED BY WORKING WOMEN FOR WORKING WOMEN: as corporate warriors ourselves we know if we look great then we feel great – and that confidence can get us anywhere. So we created Jemocracy to make women feel amazing at work with ease, poise and a touch of humor.
I’m not active on Twitter, but I’m on Instagram! (@yulia.dimo)
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.