I am so glad you all liked my latest Sparkle Session, featuring Lindsey, a London based female entrepreneur, and her company Bourne Antiques. As with the last few interviews in this series I have been shifting the focus to people I know or have met in person as I have friends and acquaintances doing great things like designing swimwear or writing children’s books or a illustrating for top fashion magazines. And today is no different, let me introduce you to Jae Ruax, the founder of Fiena Members Club.
You may recall I mentioned Fiena back in February when I shared about my trip to East London for an event at Lauren Baker’s gallery. The evening was put on by Fiena Members Club, a group which I had recently joined at the time, and I had the chance to meet some of the other members – it was a fantastic evening filled with great conversation with so many accomplished ladies from different fields (this Investment Banker, Burlesque Dancer, Real Estate Broker, Body Builder and Business Coach) while sipping on cocktails and touring Lauren’s studio. But it is not just about art, but I will let Jae explain:
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What are five words you would use to describe yourself?
High-Spirited. Resilient. Focused. Open Minded. Kind.
How do those personal characteristics relate to your brand?
I think in any business, a brand will reflect the change that it’s founder wants to see in the world. For me, it’s about moving away from competition, jealousy and aggression to opening doors for each other and having fun together. Each characteristic I listed above is so important to me personally- but will also come as second nature to many of the Fiena’s.
To create anything great in the world you need to be resilient and focused. To be a positive ambassador for humanity, you need to be kind. And the best way to achieve great things in life is, of course, to be high spirited and open- minded. I truly believe Fiena’s are all of the above- and are leaving their footprint on the Earth in big ways.
What inspired you to start a female based members club?
When I moved to the city, I was always busy working, and didn’t always have time to find the right people….And then, when I did go out networking, events were tedious and you could waste a lot of time talking to people you had nothing in common with. And that’s really where the idea of the Fiena Members Club came from. We wanted to make it easy for you to find the girls you wanted to be friends with, who share your passion for success, fun and adventure. We wanted cool new experiences that moved away from the typical networking event to bring your city experience to life! Lets face it. Guys can be great fun – but good ol’ fashioned girl time just can’t be replaced and is a MUST in a fast paced city like London.
Fiena x MT Art Agency exhibition with Lauren Baker in January 2020
How are you spreading the word about Fiena?
We grew through word of mouth. It’s really the best way to source members who have a lot to give to Fiena and are really a great fit. We’ve never run an advertising campaign to date!
The club has five distinct Fiena divisions; showstopper, samurai, magic, heart & soul, and gentlewoman – how did you go about creating these?
Women are very often put into boxes. “She’s the fashion one.” “ She’s the sports one.” ‘She’s the smart one”. Just look at the Spice Girls! That was 1990’s girl power. In 2020, it’s very different. We as women can now be seen as everything. Think about this: a highly powerful lawyer who dirt-bikes on the weekend and is a trained Reiki Master and theta healing. A glamorous fashion designer who petitions for political and social equality and is trained in kung fu. That’s a Fiena. It’s about contrast. It’s about power. It’s about having no boundaries or limits. That’s what the Fiena divisions represent. The divisions were born out of a rebellion for what is stereotypical female.
Our members get access to all five of the division experiences within their memberships – from Samurai ‘boxing’ or ‘dirt biking’ events to ‘Showstopper’ Fashion Galas & private parties and Astrology and Astral Travel in our ‘Heart & Soul’ division. It’s all a lot of fun.
Fiena ‘Mad To Live’ Surfing Adventure to Portugal hosted by Sophie Everard
What change does Fiena set out to create?
The reality is that men have dominated industry and well, the world for a long time. Think about Hollywood, the arts, science, commerce… Who invented the lightbulb? A man. Who created the under-ground system? A man. The list goes on…
It’s really time for change, and for women to stand at the forefront. This is a change that is already happening – and Fiena really provides a place for you to hang out, evolve and feel at home on your way to embody this change and achieve greatness in your field. At Fiena, you meet women you can travel the world with. You meet business partners you always wanted. You meet girls you can talk all night to, about politics, spirituality and life. You meet the adrenaline junkies who never say no to a challenge, and the women who will fight battles with you and for you. Kind of life changing, when you stop to think about it…
Fiena Members posing for club photoshoot in 2019
How do you go about designing your events?
Experience design is something we care deeply about. It’s not always about the event idea, it’s about how it makes you feel. We strive to design experiences that make you feel something, learn something, transform – that’s what life is about. It’s also about connection. That’s in essence what the Fiena club’s all about; connection and friendships with girls who live life the same way as you do. When it comes to our division events, it’s all about thinking of the craziest, wildest things that we could learn and experience within each of those, and then making them a reality.
What is one lesson you have had to learn the hard way?
We’re not elitist – rather, we’re about values such as kindness, passion and adventure – but we do find it important to withhold the Fiena values in our membership application process. We learnt this very early on. When women apply to join the Fiena Members Club, we look at their energy and how well they reflect the characteristics of the Fiena woman.
We’ve found that the Fiena Club is for open-minded, hard working, adventurous women who are willing to try anything. Highly conscious, the Fiena woman makes her own rules. She’s nobody’s fool! She lives life the way she wants and really exercises her freedom to enjoy the world. This means that as much as we do have an open door policy, we expect you to come in with the right mindset. If you hear the words ‘Magic, Adventure and Soul’ and think, THATS ME… you’d definitely be a fit for Fiena.
Fiena group shot in Costa Rica during a bonfire night on the beach (source)
Is Fiena Membership only for those in New York, LA, London, or Dubai?
The idea behind Fiena is that you can go to any major city and meet #Fiena women. New York, LA, Dubai and London are our first cities – but worldwide presence is upcoming. In less Fiena-dense areas, our increased virtual events enable maximum involvement for all of our members globally. Our Fiena #Magic trips are always so fun because you get girls from all around the world attending. Girls Trip to Mykonos anyone?
What makes Fiena different from other members-only clubs? **
We are a club specifically made with the female millennial in mind. This means we have a fun and adventurous approach. We care about luxury and style, but we’re also super down to earth. This philosophy extends to our events, venues and even, our members.
Fiena girls often say they are kindred spirits ; united by their common nature of being free spirited, highly conscious, and kind natured. This is really what sets us apart from other Club venues and community. If you’re a #Fiena, you’ll know it!
Fiena Members lounging at a Club event 2020
Is there a particular entrepreneur or celebrity you would love to work or collaborate with?
Personally I love Connie Walker and her brand House of CB ; my whole wardrobe is pretty much Mistress Rocks… but also Monica Vinader. Her jewellery is so classic, and captures the style of the Fiena woman really well.
What is your favourite quote
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ― Helen Keller
If you had to give advice to other female entrepreneurs, what would you tell them?
You can create anything you put your mind to- don’t listen to what anybody else says. If you have a feeling about something in your gut – listen to that. Follow your own guidance and intuition, and don’t get discouraged by setbacks. Setbacks are often setting you up for a win, or teaching you something valuable that will be essential in you progressing to the next level…I say ; ‘by giving you exactly what you asked for’. Sometimes you want to reach a bigger goal, but you can’t because there are still areas where you need to improve, or ‘holes’ in your strategy. Setbacks or failures will highlight these for you and thus keep you on the road to success. Entrepreneurship is a war of will, so stick to your goalposts and don’t give up on yourself.
Founder of Fiena Members Club, Jae Ruax, pictured at Fiena Co-working space in Fulham
Lastly, is there anything you would want to tell my readers?
Life is meant to be lived and lived WELL… so go crazy and enjoy yourself. Your legacy will be built from doing what you love so choose where you put your attention (and intention) wisely. In the city we can often get caught up in day to day dramas… but… none of it matters if you’re waking up every day and thinking yes, I love who I am and the life I’ve created for myself. That’s the most important thing- to live a life you love, and that’s really something we advocate over at the Fiena Members Club.
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Thanks Jae for the interview and if you want to learn more about the organization, you can head to www.FienaMembersClub.com and if you decide to apply (from New York, London, or somewhere else) mention my name to fast track your application! And follow @fienamembersclub on Insta for the latest!