10 inspirational women in small business

- March 8, 2017 5 MIN READ
Updated March 3 2020

With international women’s day just around the corner we thought we would take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on some fabulous women in business. This list celebrates ten women who have taken a leap of faith and are making a name for themselves in small business. Would you and your business like to be featured on Kochie’s Business Builders. Let us know by commenting below or sending us a message here.

Lisa Messenger

Lisa Messenger is the CEO of The Messenger Group as well as founder and editor-in-chief of Collective Hub a multimedia business and lifestyle platform, comprising of a print magazine distributed into over 37 countries, an online news site and event agency. Lisa has authored and co-authored 16 books and become an authority in the start-up scene. Her passion is to challenge individuals and corporations to change the way they think, take them out of their comfort zone and prove that there is more than one way to do anything. Lisa’s vision is to build a community of like-minded people who want to change the world.


Jane Lu

Jane Lu founded Showpo, an online retail store, back in 2010 from her parents’ garage. Jane previously worked in accounting and corporate finance. But after returning from a year overseas, Jane wanted to leave the ‘cubicle life’ behind, so she quit her job to start her own business. With a truckload of enthusiasm Jane set off to start her first business, which failed miserably. But she got right back up and started Showpo, a month later. Showpo began with a laptop and two shelves of clothing and is now an online global fashion empire. Today she is one of Australia’s most influential women in business.

Rachel Service

Rachel Service is the founder of Happiness Concierge. Rachel helps people ace work and life, with workshops that give people tactical tools to manage boundaries and achieve their goals. Having suffered anxiety and depression many times and with 13 years experience in freelancing and working in agencies with major brands in New Zealand, London and Australia. With professional help, the support of her family and friends, Rachel landed on a sustainable life she loves. She began sharing her tips with friends and on a blog, which led her to producing workshops around each of these tactics with other women in business.

Caroline Africh

Three years ago Caroline Africh was searching for a job. This year the Sydney mum-of-three under five went to Hollywood. Her Australian distributed baby shoe line Attipas was included in the coveted Academy Awards gift bags with more than $300,000. It was during a holiday to Japan did Caroline discover the perfect shoe for her toddler’s feet. She brought the idea back to Australia and created a fantastic small business. The business is projected to turn over up to $1 million this financial year.

Chern’ee Sutton

Chern’ee Sutton is a 20-year-old indigenous artist from Queensland with a successful small business. Chern’ee’s passion for painting came about when she was experiencing trouble at school during her early teenage years. Chern’ee’s works are seen in Queensland Parliament House and in exhibitions around the world. She embodies her ancestor’s culturally sacred stories in her paintings. Her work is also a reflection of a young Aboriginal’s view on their identity and culture. Her most recent achievement has been designing components of the Commonwealth Games mascot for 2018.

Clare Harmer

Florist Clare Harmer runs a boutique floristry, Fleur & Threads with her business partner Daniel Moore in Sydney. They’ve been in the industry for eight years. Clare started out as a retail florist for two years until she decided to branch out on her own to create something unique. in the spring of 2014, Fleur & Threads was born. Clare runs her business out of a design studio.

Denise Straty

Denise Straty is the founder of Monkeysee. Having left the corporate world behind her, Denise began noticing how vulnerable cyclists were on the roads and it sparked an idea. Along with the help of a friend, Denise started putting some ideas together and came up with something ‘smart, light and playful’. Denise develops safety products for cyclists, runners etc. Eventually, Monkeysee developed into an online store and became a wholesale store which supplies promotional products to councils and community organisations.

Helle Warming

Helle Warming is the founder of Lucas Loves Cars. Helle found it very difficult to find gifts for her son. She was always looking to find good quality, beautiful toys for her son, but she struggled. Looking for a change from the corporate world, Helle launched herself into Lucas Loves Cars. She’s been running it for four and a half years. Despite having had no experience in business, Helle has come a long way. Lucas Loves Cars is currently based in Melbourne.

Zoe Lamont

Zoe Lamont is the founder of Petal Post. Zoe turned her love affair with flowers into a booming small business. She created Petal Post to deliver fresh flowers with a personal touch to people that shared her passion. After taking a break to raise her young family, Zoe was ambitious to get back into the workforce. But the traditional 9am to 5pm day didn’t suit her young family. So the idea of Petal Post was born. Zoe runs her business from a workshop at home in the inner western suburbs of Sydney.

Cassie White

Cassie White is a Sydney-based personal trainer, yoga coach and health journalist. Working as a full time journalist, Cassie wanted to take the leap into personal training. And that’s what she did. She quit her full time job and trained as a full time personal trainer. Wanting a complete change in life, Cassie turned her life around and started her own business. She works out of Fitness First in Sydney but runs her own show.

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