IWD 2023: FABULOUS FEMALE FOUNDER SERIES, BLOG 2
Today, Wednesday the 8th of March, 2023 is International Women’s Day. This International Women’s Day, the theme put forward by the United Nations and UN Women is DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.
From the earliest days of computing to the present age of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, women have made untold contributions to the digital world in which we increasingly live. Their accomplishments have been against all odds, in a field that has historically neither welcomed nor appreciated them.
In honour of this year’s International Women’s Day, in collaboration with Sans Beast and five other female founded brands, we’re celebrating women by sharing the stories of seven female founded Australian businesses over two blog posts.
Read more about the final five fabulous women we’re featuring, and how they built their brands below:
JESS & STEPH DADON – Founders of TWOOBS
We’re Jess and Stef Dadon, and we founded vegan and environmentally focused footwear brand TWOOBS in 2016. 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 company 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.
On running our own business
We get to do things completely differently, rather than doing things the way they've always been done. Being a women-led team, we like to bring curiosity and a fresh-eyed approach to absolutely everything we do; from how we make our shoes (aka from better materials) to how we run our team (with feelings shared and a four day work week).
“We describe TWOOBS as a kinder business, which to us means we're considering the ethics and kindness of everything we do.”
ERIKA GERAERTS – Founder of Fluff
Established: Fluff launched in 2018 with the idea that the future of beauty was so much more than makeup.
Our makeup products are vegan, refillable, and plastic free. But more than this, our brand is committed to discussing what the future of beauty is with our community. Five years in, we're realising that perhaps makeup is actually so much more than beauty: instead it's art, a memory, a sign of the times, and a sign of our values.
Favourite element of running your own show
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.
The idea of embracing equity has meant understanding and accepting my circumstances, and then seeking the support and resources I need. It takes a village and it's my job to build and maintain it. In addition, to offer similar support to those around me.
FRANKIE LAYTON – Founder of The Dirt Company
Purpose: 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.
My passion for sustainability came early, seeing the waste in remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean while Stewardessing on Super Yachts. Following university and a 7 year career in Strategic Consulting, I had the idea to tackle this waste by redesigning a packaging system for household products.
My passion for sustainability was sparked when I was stewardessing in remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean. At the front of the boat, a pod of 200 dolphins bow riding. At the back of the boat, the deckhand throwing rubbish overboard. This was 2010 and totally legal - I realised we were treating the earth like a trash can. Fast forward seven years, to when I had finished university, established a career path, and felt 'set up' enough to take a risk - I decided it was time to tackle that small problem of global waste.
The idea for The Dirt Company was about so much more than waste elimination. It was about testing a new product design, one that I felt brought the cleaning aisle up and into the decade we were living in; it was 2017 at the time.
The best part about the business has been the freedom that we have had to adapt and grow over the years, from learning how to process returns to learning how to recycle them completely; I have loved the ability to iterate toward 'what feels right'.
HAYLEY WORLEY - Founder of Sheet Society
Established: We launched in Feb 2017, so we've just celebrated our 6th birthday. The first few years were just myself figuring things out, so I feel we're more like a 3 year old business. It's all quite a blur!
Purpose/vision of business
I’m from a fashion background, and when I was shopping for sheets as a wedding gift I couldn’t understand why the experience was so different to shopping for clothes.
With a new dress for example, you could literally take what you wanted to buy into a room and try it on before you bought it, but the sheets I bought were wrapped up tightly and sealed in a little plastic block. It was only when I got it home and unwrapped it that I realised I hated them.
I knew it was an industry that needed shaking up. I wanted people to be able to see what they were buying and have the freedom to mix and match different colours and styles. I used my skills in product design to reimagine the way people shop for bed sheets and bring the Sheet Society brand to life.
Our mission is to Make The Bed Better - make it feel more like your personal style, make it as easy as possible to change with a quality and sustainable product. Staying true to our mission means that we’ll only ever make products for the bed - because as a business and brand we believe is better to do one thing really well rather than diversify into too many different areas.
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.
There’s also something really special about creating and nurturing a brand. I owe Cath, and Sans Beast a lot for teaching me about building a brand, rather than just selling a product.
Don’t miss out on entering our social giveaway with Sans Beast. For your chance to win $1300 in gift cards from:
Sheet Society @sheetsociety
Soleil Soleil @_soleilsoleil
Dirt Laundry @thedirtcompany
Sans Beast @sans.beast
Simply head to @sans.beast on Instagram and:
1. Follow each amazing brand
2. Tag your favourite power woman.
3. Extra love if you share on your stories.
Giveaway is international.
Winner will be announced 6pm AEDT on March 8th, International Women’s Day 2023.