I first met Rachel Harrison during the DETOUR launch last October. She is an effortless gorgeous woman with a mesmerizing aura and brain to boot! While I was a bit intimidated to approach her, I knew that she would be inspirational to all AMLY fans. So, I took a deep breath, and with a bit of courage, I approached her, introduced myself, and the rest, as they say, is history.
After our initial meeting, we set up a date to meet at her friend’s place (which was quite fancy) for an interview. At first it felt humbling to be surrounded by her equally gorgeous and successful friends, but with their happy vibes it didn’t take long to get into the swing of things. Eventually, it felt wonderful sharing narratives of our lives and I learned so much from them.
At first glance, Rachel seems to embody a combination of Athena and Aphrodite goddess qualities. Yet as I got to know her, I realized that she’s very down to earth, compassionate, and the epitome of mother extraordinaire.
Without further ado, here is our full conversation:
Hello Rachel, tell us what do you do?
I am the Founder and Creative Director of Zambawood.
Starting a company can be very risky, but you took the risks. Who inspired you to start down this path?
The inspiration behind what I do is my son Julyan. The support for adults living with autism is very limited in our country. Parents educate their children so that they will be okay when they become adults, hopefully, more okay than their parents! We have three children, our middle son Julyan, has special needs. We decided to be proactive by creating a purposeful life for him through fun activities in the country side. We created Julyan’s Farm where he works as a farmer; the boutique resort Zambawood where he is part of housekeeping team and at Julyan’s Surf Cafe as part of the service and kitchen team.
Have you ever felt afraid while building your business? If so, how did you overcome that fear?
Funny enough when I started this business, it all came from a need. I did not have any feasibility study, and it all came from gut feeling that it will work.
You have to believe in what you do. Perseverance, determination, focus, creativity and hard work are the key ingredients to reaching your goals.
We assume that top executives like yourself are very hard working… AMLY fans are curious, do you work on weekends?
On weekends, my family takes priority. This is the time to reconnect, relax, do fun things together. However, if there’s something urgent that I need to attend to, I will not ignore and help solve a problem. My family understands my work.
You are one of the most successful women in the Philippines, do you have any tips to share on how to break the glass ceiling?
Identify your passion. Then focus and work hard to attain your goal. Dream big and dream high to push yourself. Do things with love, because when you do, it gives you happiness and fulfilment. God loves people who are hardworking. The more you fail, the more you learn. Without failing, you will not have the opportunity to be better.
AMLY is a style blog, which aims to empower women through suggesting on how to look their best. You have an innate sense of style, and I’ve love for you to share a bit about that.
Be yourself and be natural. Style comes from within. It must be effortless. My style is very relaxed and casual. I dress for myself, I wear what makes me happy. My style is really simple with a twist. I like simple designs with interesting shapes and colors. I love accessories. It completes the look. But accessories are tricky too. Too much would make you look silly, and the right ones will give you the perfect look.
For everyday, I love comfortable clothes. I love to wear dresses in the summer. I love wearing white as well as colors too. I love blue and white denim jeans and skirts worn with polo shirts during the day or beautiful chic top in the evening. I love contrasts and unpredictable combination. It’s the little surprises that makes dressing up more interesting and exciting. I can pull off an eclectic look of boho rock look as much as a chic stylish elegant look in the evening.
Image from Rachel Facebook profile
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Zambawood is a reflection of our lifestyle as a family. It’s relaxed, warm, casual, happy, stylish and very natural. It is a sanctuary. It is a place where you will be happy you visited because it is where you will reconnect with yourself. Our serene and peaceful surrounding will sooth and give your tired mind, body and spirit the much needed break you are longing for.
Indeed, true to our tagline, “There’s a reason movies are made here….”