I enjoy following business women on Instagram who may or may not be well-known on a national platform, but who are doing their bit in the community and are clearly proud of, and empowered by, their unique small businesses … just like me, Carol Haffke, owner of niche Brisbane business, The Shoe Garden and author of In My Shoes: What it’s really like to start your own business.
I love opening a beautiful, crisp, new journal for the first time! I also love inspiring quotes and messages. Put these together and you have a fabulous sustainable print and stationery social enterprise founded by Lauren Shuttleworth. Her notebooks, journals and planners are fabulous, but even more fabulous is that every handy product helps to fund education projects for women and girls in developing countries. Lauren has a target to fund 500,000 education days by the end of 2016. Here’s hoping she realises her impressive goal!
My fascination with this account started with a cup of spinach, a frozen banana, some strawberries and a cup of almond milk. Yes, it was the wonders of green smoothies that first introduced me to smoothie advocates and SWIISH.com founders, sisters Sally Obermeder and Maha Koraiem. They are both powerhouses dedicated to wellness, feeling good and looking great. Style and purpose: unbeatable.
Proudly owned by former Olympic and Commonwealth Games champion swimmer Hayley Lewis, Coming Up Roses is a divine homewares haven just down the road from The Shoe Garden. I admire Hayley so much: she never had a part-time job like many of us did growing up, as she was too busy training and representing her country around the world. In fact, her first job was to open her own swim school after she retired from swimming. Now, that’s brave. She describes her journey in her book, “Dream, Believe, Create: A Woman’s Guide to Small Business”, a book I particularly enjoyed reading in the early days of my own business.
Not only is she a wonderful musician, actor and now radio presenter, Clare Bowditch also started Big Hearted Business, which is all about inspiring people to make a living by doing what they love and giving back in a meaningful way. In my humble opinion, that should be everyone’s mantra and especially so when you’re in business.
I adore Amanda after she captured my darling Maltese, CC, so perfectly in a commissioned painting that now hangs at The Shoe Garden. This Sunshine Coast artist has a huge and dedicated social media following and is excellent at showcasing and promoting her amazingly colourful and makes-you-happy-just-looking-at-it artwork. She clearly has a head for business and a heart for art.
When the wonderful Caroline McCulloch, a physiotherapist and podiatrist, got tired of hearing her clients complain that there were no orthotic-friendly shoes that looked fashionable, she decided to do something about it. I think some of the best business people are those who look around, see a niche and cater for it. Caroline has done just that and provides fashion and comfort in her beautiful shoes. She also gets extra brownie points from me for “going long” and ensuring all her divine creations go to a size 13.
I have a Curly Girl canvas in the shop that reads: ‘She packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a cute pair of shoes and headed out to change a few things’. I burst into tears when I first read that, as it captured my own journey so perfectly. I love words used well and Curly Girl Design offers amazing, heartfelt, quirky and sometimes hilarious views on life printed on an amazing range of products. I especially love founder and artist Leigh Standley’s views on Shop Small and Live Big. Totally agree!
I remember seeing Kate Johansson on TV pitching her business with enormous passion and enthusiasm. She was and is clearly dedicated to wellness and wholefoods. With passion, anything is impossible and I love seeing Koja Health pop up on my Instagram account. Although it usually makes me hungry!
I always enjoy hearing how people follow their dreams and that’s what Kathryn Tyrrell did when she left behind a corporate marketing career and started her own sleepwear label with no fashion industry experience. I get that; I so get that! But no experience is no matter when you have lots of heart and a dream to make a difference. The Goodnight Society use only organic cotton and manufacture their fun range using factories that care for their workers. On top of that, they raise money for education projects in South Africa. I especially admire when businesses, especially relatively new ones like this, give back right from the start.
Reading books, real books, is one of my favourite things to do. I guess it’s no surprise then that I’m a huge fan of independent book shops and won’t buy my books from anywhere else. I’m so lucky that Riverbend Books is just down the road from me and I enjoy following owner Suzy Wilson and her team on Instagram. Through their account, I get to learn about new releases and new and established authors. I especially love that Suzy has founded and champions The Indigenous Literacy Foundation, which aims to reduce the disadvantage experienced by children in very remote Indigenous communities through the magic of books and reading.
Ahead of International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on November 19th, Kochie’s Business Builders is celebrating amazing women in business by bringing you featured content on incredible women entrepreneurs. Keep an eye out this week on the site for more interviews, advice and stories.