Think women can’t work together? Think again. Welcome to She’s My Cofounder, a series all about powerhouse cofounders who also happen to be (you guessed it) female. We’re going to be diving in with women who support and nurture each other through all things business and beyond to find out just exactly what it’s like working alongside a gal pal.
Women should never have to feel awkward when buying condoms. Thanks to Hanx Official, founded by gynecologist Sarah Welsh and investment banker Farah Kabir, they’ve created their own version which is “beautifully designed in matte foil packaging presented in a discreet white box, which is slim enough to tuck into your bag or purse,”. They’re also made of 100% natural, vegan, and fairtrade latex, making them extra trendy. Currently, they are the only European condom brand focused on women and designed by women. We caught up with Sarah and Farah on how they partnered together to change the world of condoms for women.
1. How did you become co-founders and how long have you known one another?
Sarah: We are good friends from school, so we go way back! After school in York, we both went to Durham University. Farah ended up working in investment banking in London, whilst I moved around working in medicine, focusing on gynaecology and sexual health.
Farah: HANX launched in 2017 after we realised there was no condom brand out there talking to women or representing what we wanted. This was when we officially became business partners as well as friends!
2. Trust is an important aspect in any relationship, how have you been able to build the trust between you?
Sarah: We are lucky in that our trust has been built over years of friendship prior to going into business together.
Farah: A little bit like being friends before committing to a relationship… we knew we could rely on each other as soon as we became business partners. It is a little bit like a marriage being co-founders!
3. Disagreements happen in every relationship, as co-founders how do you manage disagreements and making final decisions?
Sarah: We have always been open and honest with each other and if we were not, this wouldn’t work. Like every relationship, we work as a team, and when there are disagreements, we hear each other out, discuss options moving forwards and at times have to compromise to make things work.
Farah: We are thinking of the business (our baby!) and as co-founders we are working towards the same vision for HANX.
4. What are your working styles and if different from one another, how do you bring them together?
Sarah: We work so well together because we are quite different in the way we work and our skillsets. Of course, as a chartered accountant, Farah is a wizz with the numbers, and as a doctor I take control of the medical and analytical side.
Farah: I am a night owl so manage to work late into the night, whilst Sarah is a morning bird and picks up the emails first thing! Our working styles compliment each other and we manage to work well together.
5. There’s a myth that “women can’t work together because we tend to be quite emotional etc” and some other lies, what are your thoughts on this and what message do you have for people that hold this opinion?
Sarah: Everyone is different, despite sex, and we all have unique characteristics. I think some women can’t work together, for whatever reason, and some men can’t work together too. But the opinion that women can’t work together because of their emotional traits is very narrow minded and judgemental.
Farah: There are some incredibly strong female founded companies out there, and we have the view that empowered women empower each other.
6. What are some important attributes one should look for in a co-founder?
Sarah: Trust is a huge one. Also a commitment to the same cause, motivation for a shared goal, confidence in the vision, and a sense of humour to get through the tough times together!
7. What makes you feel empowered?
Farah: Running HANX and being in control of our own success! We believe that living your best life is a mindset, a choice and way of life that is different for everyone.
8. Podcast or book? And which one would you recommend?
Sarah: Right now, we are really into podcasts. Being on the go or commuting, it’s super easy to just put your headphones on and tune into some of the great podcasts out there.
Farah: We have recently been featured on Keeping it Real with Sophie Stanbury and Caroline Fleming, as well as the Mimibee podcast with Mimi Bouchard. So naturally, we would recommend those!
9. Could you share something about your co-founder that you would like to appreciate?
Sarah: I appreciate Farah’s respect, which is of course mutual. We are a team and working towards something incredible together. I couldn’t do it without her!
Farah: I appreciate Sarah’s passion for HANX, which is something that we share. Not only are we going through the highs together, we have lots of tough times and managing to tackle these and her continued support is a strong sign of a co-founding team.
10. Any last advice for those seeking a co-founder?
Sarah: Don’t settle for second best, it is comparable to going into a marriage, so choosing your co-founder is not a decision to take lightly.
Farah: Listen to your gut, it has your best interests at heart!
Brands worn: Mango
Styled by: Christina Banjo
Photographer: Ade Adeyemi