In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to celebrate the power that women carry every single day. For this occasion, we sat down with our very own founder and CEO, Yifat Arbely on life as the Concrete Queen and how her journey through a male dominated industry has been through the years.
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
YA: Throughout the years, women have had to deal with many difficulties that are not related to their abilities or talents, simply because they are women, especially in professions that are traditionally associated with men. This has forced us to fight for our place and to prove that we are good enough. It is important to celebrate this day to remind all women that they have a place, equal rights, and are capable of doing anything that men can do.
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
YA: Since I can remember, I have been drawn to professions that are not typically associated with women, such as artistic plastering on walls, running a store for building materials and electrical products, carpentry, and of course, concrete work. I have received many comments and some people refused to use my services simply because I am a woman. On the other hand, I must say that there were those who appreciated my work very much and even bestowed upon me the title of "Concrete Queen." I overcame these challenges with self-confidence and the ability to tune out the negative voices and continue to push forward with all my strength.
What advice would you give young women in a male dominated industry? YA: Don't succumb to societal norms and don't let anyone else decide what you are capable of. If you believe in your path, keep walking it and ignore background noise, even if it goes against what others believe. Do not be afraid to break through barriers.. Be optimistic and don't fear failure. If you do fail, learn from it and try again. The day will come when others will understand what you were fighting for.
As a young girl, I was curious to explore different worlds, try different fields, and learn different languages. Fortunately, I have been able to achieve a large part of these aspirations, and for those I have not yet achieved, I am still working on them.
What advice would you give your younger self?
YA: If I had the opportunity to talk to my younger self, I would tell myself not to worry, it will all work out in the end. Keep going with what you're doing despite the difficulties, it will eventually pay off, and looking back, you will be proud of what you've achieved. Enjoy the journey because in the end, it will all be worth it.
Which Concretti product is your favorite?
YA: It's like asking which child do you love the most. I feel that each of my products is like my child, and each one represents a different period in my life and in the life of the business. Some sinks were born out of an idea, some were born out of a need, some have won awards, and some were stubborn and took time to produce. For me, each one signifies something, and I love them all equally.
What do you enjoy doing when you are “off the clock”?
YA: I am never really off the clock as a business owner, but during my free time I really enjoy reading books, going to the gym, hanging out with friends, traveling, meeting new people and exploring new places. Most importantly, I love spending quality time with my family.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
YA: Throughout my career, I had many moments of failure and difficulties. I made a lot of mistakes that cost me a lot of money and time, and many times I was just one step away from giving up. My greatest achievement is that I did not give up despite everything and continued to fight for my place and my product, even though I had no guarantee or reward. And today, at the age of 52, I know that all the struggle was worth it, and the effort paid off.
Which powerful women do you admire the most?
YA: There is a lot of powerful women that I admire Golda Meir, Frida Kahlo, Bayliss Simon, Amelia Earhart and more, but the one that I admire the most is Miriam Peretz, a woman who lost two of her sons and her husband, yet chose life in the face of tragedy. Instead of becoming a victim, she dedicates her life to helping others. It was an honor to meet her and have a personal example of how to cope with life's challenges.