It's International Women's Day on March 8th. The theme of IWD for 2023 is Embrace Equity. We've gathered the stories of some fabulous female founders to share with you, to celebrate this special day.
With a plethora of brilliant female founders in our orbit, it was a tough choice narrowing it down to a handful of these women, to reach out to for our IWD 2023 project. Thank you to Hayley Worley at Sheet Society, Frankie Layton at Dirt Company, Erika Geraerts at Fluff, Melissa Pain at MoveActive, Emma + Isabel at SoleilSoleil and Jess + Steff Dadon at Twoobs for sharing their stories with us. Despite working across a range of market segments, with diverse backgrounds + interests - the paths they've taken share some common themes: a love of creativity, leaning into taking a risk, creating a vision of a better future + working tirelessly to bring it to life. There's much to be inspired by in their provenance stories + the trajectory of their businesses.
We'll start the storytelling with that of our own founder, Cathryn.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE/VISION OF SANS BEAST?"The road that brought me to Sans Beast is long. After working for many years in the fashion retail space, I slowly woke up to the fact I had a blinkered view of the pain + suffering of industrially farmed animals + I was using the skins, fibres + feathers of these animals to build my career. Cue existential crisis. I went vegetarian in 2015 + then vegan in 2017, and decided that instead of continuing to build business for others + ignore my values - it was time to back myself + follow my own path + vision. It’s been the hardest yet the most fulfilling role I’ve had to date. ”
Cathryn Wills, Founder
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ELEMENT OF RUNNING YOUR OWN SHOW?"This has changed so much as the business has evolved. At the start I loved the freedom of working for myself, but now that feels really different with so many moving parts I’m accountable for. I adored the start-up phase of consistently trying new things to see what stuck. Some of my fondest memories were sharing a co-working space with Sans Beast and figuring things out alongside each other.
Now, my favourite element is the amazing people I get to work with every day. Our team really is pretty special and that’s hard to come by these days."
Hayley Worley, Founder
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE/VISION OF THE DIRT COMPANY?" I’m Frankie Layton, Founder of The Dirt Company, Australia’s first ever completely circular packaging brand. The Dirt Company sells laundry products in thoughtfully designed dispenser bottles that are replenished using refill packs. The packs are returned for sanitisation and reuse, effectively eliminating plastic waste from the wash cycle. Over the past four years The Dirt Company have amassed more than 80,000 customers, and have prevented more than 75 tonnes of plastic from being created. "
Frankie Layton, Founder
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ELEMENT OF RUNNING FLUFF?"As a founder, all I can say is that everything is a tradeoff, and that it's up to the individual to decide what is worth it or not. The beauty industry, like many other industries, is a beast, and behind the glossy facade is a complex system of consumption, growth, and short term gain. Despite this, the chance to create, to put something into the world that wasn't there before, something that could impact someone else's world - it means a lot. And it's why we go to work each day. "
Erika Geraerts, Founder
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE/VISION OF SOLEILSOLEIL?"Soleil Soleil is our baby and it truly does take a village. Although it’s just us two behind the scenes here, every part of our business has been supported by our girlfriends, sisters, mums and mentors. We couldn’t do this without them and we are continuously empowered by the women in our life and the women we aspire to be."
Emma Johns & Isabel Abbey, Co-Founders
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE/VISION OF MOVEACTIVE?"My vision for MoveActive was to create Pilates and yoga accessories which are fun, functional and stylish, while also ensuring we are a company driven by sustainability. Since the beginning of starting my business, I’ve had incredible women working alongside me, from marketing students in the early days, to driven, young, successful women now. MoveActive started with an idea but came to fruition with the help and support of the people around me. Balancing motherhood and being a founder wouldn’t have been possible without my team."
Melissa Pain, Owner/Founder
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE/VISION OF TWOOBS?" We’ve always worked in fashion, but we were feeling pretty yuck about being part of an industry that’s a top 3 contributor to the climate crisis, so we decided to create shoes that are better. Better for your feet, better for all beings, and better for the planet. It's no longer enough to be a big corporate who's giving money to non-profit organisations, while at the same time exploiting workers and creating huge amounts of waste. We like to think we're stepping into a new era of business, where everything is considered. From the person who creates our products, to the team members and the working environment we're offering them, to the impact what we're creating is having on the planet. To us, this is the path to true equity. Where through our business we're lifting everyone up and leaving no one behind. This is the kind of future we hope to see for women, and for people everywhere."
Jess & Stef Dadon, Co-Founders
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