17 Female-Founded Businesses to Support This International Women’s Day and Beyond


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While writing this article, I felt truly overjoyed by the sheer amount of female leadership that’s all around us. Australia has no shortage of incredible female founders popping up with ideas that have meaning and show their endless creativity.

With International Women’s Day on March 8, it only felt natural to celebrate some of those locally-grown female founders. From a woman who started mental health-inspired skincare, to another who opened a heartwarming venue and yet another who started a business selling same-day florals — the women featured in this article never fail to inspire us.

Even if you’re simply looking for some more inspiring content on your Instagram feed, these female founders will bring that to your every day — and then some. Ahead are 16 female-founded companies to support this IWD and beyond.

Amanda Bardas & Kate Mitchell, CREMME

Amanda Bardas (left) and Kate Mitchell (left), co-founders of CREMME

CREMME is all about seriously good basics. Founded by ex-fashion editors and best friends, Amanda Bardas and Kate Mitchell, CREMME was born out of a love (and need) for a good basic tee to wear for any and every occasion.

“We first met over 10 years ago at work, and it was our dream to work together again one day, so we decided to put fate into our own hands and build a brand together,” Amanda Bardas tells POPSUGAR Australia. “We wanted to create our perfect closet of seriously good basics, so CREMME was born.”

Still in the very early stages — launching three months ago — CREMME is making a name for itself through its signature tee, available in six colourways.

“We’ve started small with the perfect classic tee and cap, and we’re expanding into other pieces later this year so watch this space.”

Shop CREMME online here.

Maeva Heim, Bread Beauty

Maeva Heim, founder of Bread Beauty

Bread Beauty is all about “haircare basics for not so basic hair”. Founded and owned by Maeva Heim, this beauty brand aims to make haircare fun for the babes with curls, fuzz, frizzy bits, bangs, braids, bantu, other bits.

“Part of the reason I started my business is because I was becoming fed up with the fact that 90% of beauty purchases are made by women, but most of the major beauty conglomerates in the world are run by men” Heim tells POPSUGAR Australia.

“I wanted to see more women in leadership and ownership positions in beauty, because we should be more actively financially involved in an industry that we built with the dollars we spend.”

As a female leader and founder in beauty, Heim is set on using her power.

“We have the power to change the things we don’t like about the industry — and to give back along the way.

“For me, that means opening doors to women who are coming along behind me, so we can all see greater success together.”

Courtney Ray, Daily Blooms

Courtney Ray, founder of Daily Blooms

Melbourne-based Daily Blooms is exactly what it sounds like: a same-day flower delivery service. With curated bunches for every occasion, including collabs with local booze companies, personalised cards and an array of different floral options, it provides a great last-minute, but thoughtful gift.

“When I dreamt up Daily Blooms in 2014, all I wanted to do was spread delight by creating beautiful bespoke bouquets,” founder Courtney Ray tells POPSUGAR Australia. “It was a simple mission, born out of my passion for flowers and the rush you get when you’re handed a surprise bunch of blooms from someone you love.”

“I started out with a few buckets of blooms, a workbench, and a laptop – in a teeny, tiny storage shed.  Our operating costs were minimal; there was one florist — me!”

She taught herself to build a website, hand wrote every gift card and her product range consisted of just one petite, colourful bouquet.

“Since then, the business has evolved (and dare I say improved!) — we have invested in a brilliant team, an inspiring range of products and rebuilt our website from the ground up.”

Daily Blooms is a 95%+ female work powerhouse, founded by women, run by women and supporting women every day.

“International Women’s Day always is a really important day for us and the reason we create a unique bouquet to celebrate Women and IWD theme every year.”

You can pick up a gorgeous bouquet for the special women in your life online here.

Zoe Rubino, Poodle and Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca

Zoe Rubino, co-owner of Poodle and Rocco’s

Zoe Rubino, owner and founder of two iconic Melbourne venues — Poodle and Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca — is a powerhouse mum and business owner. She fell in love with restaurants while working in them in her first year of uni, and knew then that she eventually wanted to curate a space of her own.

“After managing other people’s venues for the better part of a decade I was keen to open my own and work for myself,” Rubino tells POPSUGAR Australia. “Poodle was conceived as a welcoming space you could spend all day in. We wanted to be able to curate a different experience for our guests depending on their mood and where they were in the venue and also create a work culture we were proud of.”

I can confirm first-hand, you can certainly lose track of time in either venue. The music, the ambiance, the wine list, cocktail offerings and accessible-but-fancy menus are truly *chefs kiss*.

“I’ve always wanted to start my own business. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I knew my future never involved heading to the office and being part of a daily grind,” she says.

“Founding my own business for me means I was able to build the flexible work environment I needed to start a family but also remain part of the hospitality industry. Having never worked in a female-founded business before I wanted to create a work culture that was empathetic and relaxed where people were happy to come to work.”

You can book a spot at Poodle here and/or Rocco’s here.

Busi Faulkner, Home Care Nurses Australia

Busi Faulkner, founder of Home Care Nurses Australia

Founder and Managing Director of Home Care Nurses Australia, Busi Faulkner, has a compelling story to tell of hardship and triumph to inspire the next generation of multicultural leaders in Australia.

“Women are shapeshifters, we can really have it all, ” Faulkner tells POPSUGAR Australia. “I always say that I have three versions of myself, the mother, the wife and the CEO.”

After arriving in Australia from Zimbabwe as a registered nurse on a skilled migrant Visa, Busi Faulkner suffered a shock heart attack at just 33 years old. She struggled to accept that she had to rely on the help of support workers, given how young she was. She felt like an outcast, she says.

“At the start, I faced stigma not only from Australians but even from my own culture. It is not the normal way to be a working woman in my culture, the males are meant to be the main source of income. I am constantly fighting,” she says.

“On the chain, it is the white man, the white woman, the black man and then the black woman but I never let this get in my way, I didn’t take it personally and instead, I embraced it. It doesn’t matter what you look like, as long as you believe in yourself.”

After continuous bad experiences with carers coming into her home, she was determined to start her own home care business once she got better.

And that’s how Home Care Nurses Australia was born. Focusing on the outcasts of Australian society — how she once felt — Home Care Nurses Australia now employs over 200 care workers and is Australia’s leading home care provider.

“Overall, I just really want to be a role model for young girls, especially young girls of colour to prove to them that they can do anything. I do this to represent them and empower them to believe in their dreams too.”

Find the compassionate help you or your loved one may need here.

Tori Clapham, Peaches Pilates

Tori Clapham, founder of Peaches Pilates

Tori Clapham always felt that Pilates studios were intimidating spaces, filled with scantily clad attendees doing headstands for Instagram and cold instructors who’d prefer to scroll on their phones rather than strike up a conversation.

“Bondi was lacking a Pilates studio for everybody,” Clapham tells POPSUGAR Australia.

“I wished there was a studio that you could rock up to no matter what your state, and feel like it was home. To have the instructor know your name and enclose you in a cuddle as you walked through the door. For the team to care about your injuries, your private life, your dog’s upcoming vet appointment…”

“So I built it!”

Clapham wanted to create a warm and loving space for the over-trained and the under-inspired.

“I wanted young women to know they didn’t have to ram their joints day in, day out, with high impact movements (and high injury rates) to get results,” she says.

Peaches Pilates now has six studios Australia-wide, spanning NSW and VIC. Clampham says she never could have imagined that her little heartfelt concept would grow into what it is today.

“The Peaches Pilates family is made up of integral team players in this ever-evolving project and I am so proud to say that my company employs well over 50 incredible young women,” she says. “I’ll be forever grateful that my path has crossed with so many intelligent and driven humans, and that our passion for doing REAL work — improving the lives of others and having a good time while you’re at it — led us to band together. I can’t wait for what’s to come.”

Book a session online here.

Natalie Thomas, November Tango

Natalie Thomas, founder of November Tango

November Tango is the brainchild of Sydney-based graphic designer and illustrator, Natalie Thomas, who turns her cute drawings into prints for everything from microfibre towels and oven mitts, to phone cases.

With a focus on celebrating bodies and snacks — my personal favourites are the ‘oven tits’ double mits — her colourful drawings of vulvas, dicks, toasties and vanilla slices come together in really clever and conceptual ways.

“I started November Tango as a way to create and share my designs without the restrictions of a brief,” Thomas tells POPSUGAR Australia.

“It’s liberating to be a female business owner and not having to consult anyone or ask for permission before making any decisions and creating new work. Plus, being a new mum, it provides me with the flexibility to work to my own schedule and fit my work into my life rather than fit my life into my work.”

Shop the current range here.

Sophie Kovic, Seed & Sprout

Sophie Kovic, founder of Seed & Sprout.

After enrolling her son into a local school that had an amazing no-disposables policy, Sophie Kovic struggled to find any non-plastic lunch containers that suited her needs (no matter the cost). This struggle sparked the initial idea for Seed & Sprout, which has now turned into a super successful vegan-friendly skincare and essentials brand.

“It all started with a plastic-free lunchbox, but today, we offer a range of ethical and sustainable products from back-to-school supplies, personal care, composting solutions,” Kovic tells POPSUGAR Australia.

Being a female founder has allowed Kovic to build out a life for herself and her son, on their own terms.

“We currently spend our days building a completely off-grid tiny house and learning how to live in alignment with the environment,” she says. “While I still spend a lot of time working, I also have the luxury of spending time in nature and using my platform to spread awareness around a sustainable lifestyle.”

You can shop all this cruelty-free, vegan and sustainable online here.

Eloise O’Sullivan and Eloise McCullough, FIGR

Eloise O’Sullivan and Eloise McCullough,founders of FIGR

The Eloises (yes, plural) met at a corporate job in 2016 and immediately formed a connection. Whether it was their passion for sex positivity or the fact that they shared a name — it’s hard to know.

FIGR — an all-natural and beautiful lube — was born out of the recognition that there was a veil of shame tainting the real purpose of lubricant — to make moments of intimacy more pleasurable.

With sex-positive conversations on the rise, they decided that it was time for a lube that no one is ashamed of. No more glow-in-the-dark lube in the bottom of your sock drawer collecting dust (and giving you yeast infections). No more dreading that sticky sensation of weird smelling-gunk being lathered onto your parts in an embarassed and hurried fashion.

“FIGR was started from a product we both required and wasn’t on the market,” Eloise O’Sullivan tells POPSUGAR Australia. “We could either wait for someone else to do this or we could try.”

Determined to stamp out the stigma associated with the purchasing of lube and the misconceptions around the slippery stuff, they launched FIGR.

“50 years ago, women weren’t able to get credit cards in their own names so being female founders is not something we take for granted,” O’Sullivan says. “Women and non-binary people should be at the forefront of business’ — their ideas and experience matters. We feel very proud that we have not only started a business, but a business in sex which is a predominantly male dominated space.”

You can shop the best lube in the biz here.

Elena Téa, Studio Sogni

Elena Tea, Founder of Studio Sogni

Print and design studio Studio Sogni was born during lockdowns, with its founder Elena Téa inspired by her summers spent in Italy.

“My Italian heritage and affinity for romanticising the everyday led me to create this space where I can share and cultivate the things that inspire me most,” founder Elena Téa tells POPSUGAR Australia. “I love connecting with people and giving them their own little slice of Italian summer for their homes!”

Téa is inspired by her late mum, in everything she creates, which includes vintage Italian-inspired prints, and ceramics coming soon.

“She taught me that being a woman in business is powerful and magical. I carry with me her strength, creativity and passion every day,” she says.

Shop her darling prints here.

Tahlia Crinis, Boss Media PR

At a time when the PR industry was in a bit of a rut, Tahlia Crinis was keen to prove that she could do things differently as her own boss.

“I was stuck on the 9-5 hamster wheel (well, it was more like 9 – 9) of long hours being chained to my desk to prove that I was ‘doing my job properly’,” Crinis tells POPSUGAR Australia.

“This, paired with feeling creatively stifled, was the catalyst to taking the leap. Today, I feel grateful that I followed my instincts to build my dream work life, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy (it took a lot of hard work)!”

Her Sydney-based PR agency, BOSS MEDIA, celebrates women in fashion, beauty and lifestyle, championing sustainability and female-led companies, such as Biologi, Bed Threads and Lysn.

“I feel lucky to be a female founder because there were women before me who never got that chance. While there is debate about why we even need to say ‘female’, (why we can’t just say ‘founder’?), it’s important to celebrate that we are doing something that was traditionally out of bounds for women,” Crinis says.

“Ultimately, I am proud to wear the label ‘female founder’ and feel a sense of responsibility to support other women whenever I can.”

Find out more about BOSS MEDIA here.

Lauren Nicholls, Stable

Lauren Nicholls, founder of Stable

Lauren Nicholls dropped out of uni when she realised that her part-time retail job was more than just a job — it was a passion. This saw her become an internation fashion buyer from age 22 and start her own retail business — Stable — at 25.

A store in Melbourne’s Albert Park, Stable aims to be more than just a shop. Importing designers from all over the world, with a focus on inclusivity, colour and bringing out individual creativity through fashion, the store offers a shopping experience that feels reminiscent of the way things used to be.

“Stable’s demographic is super diverse, and it’s one thing that we pride ourselves on,” Nicholls tells POPSUGAR Australia. “We feel like our edit is stylish rather than age-targeted – it’s a style, not an age group. They come to us for our brand mix, our buy – it is so different to anyone else’s.”

“Every day is something new, inspiring and challenging. I love interacting with the customers, that heart-pounding feeling when you find something new and exciting and can bring that to our clientele.”

If you’re looking for an unparalleled retail experience, you should give Stable a visit (or at least a follow).

Annabel Hay, CLUTCH Glue

Annabel Hay, founder of CLUTCH Glue

When Annabel Hay realised just how little innovation had been done in the fashion tape market, she took it upon herself to make a product that was effective and sustainable. Like many female successful founders, she figured that if she were having these issues with fashion tape, then others must be too.

Enter: CLUTCH Glue, a water-soluble, hypoallergenic, vegan, sweat-resistant clothing adhesive that is made with 100 per cent recycled and recyclable packaging. 

“I didn’t just make CLUTCH to fill a gap in the market,” Hay says. “I saw a very real need for an effective clothing adhesive, because the reality is — clothes aren’t made for everyone. If CLUTCH can empower one person to wear something they might have once shied away from, then I feel like she’s been successful.”

The draw to starting her own business was to have complete autonomy over her workload, business decisions and brand values. It’s been a massive learning curve, but she’s been able to build a brand that doesn’t just have an interesting product, but also stands for something. It’s demonstrated to her that she has the capabilities to get a business off the ground and to trust their gut.

“Being a founder who happens to be a woman and very young, I’ve faced bias in my journey so far, needing to push extra hard to be taken seriously, field questions about her “little business” and convince people that CLUTCH isn’t just a hobby.”

But, she’s not giving up anytime soon.

You can shop CLUTCH Glue here

Gabrielle Pearson, Majella Productions

Gabriella Pearson, founder of Majella Productions

Gabrielle Pearson is super passionate about appealing to the queer, feminine/GNC and POC communities through her production company, Majella.

Having just made the move to LA, Pearson plans on expanding her ever-growing diversity-championing production company beyond Melbourne and Sydney. She’s recently worked with the likes of Mecca and THE ICONIC, so we’d say she’s doing pretty damn well.

” I don’t want to tokenise anyone, but celebrate everyone,” she tells POPSUGAR Australia. “Inclusive and diverse spaces push us to be aware of ourselves, each other and beyond that, check ourselves and our privilege and know that we’re not competing but we should be collaborating together.”

She wants to inspire the older generations to get involved in the Gen Z and Millennial energy that is pushing diversity and inclusivity. She wants to make it accessible and able to be appreciated by everyone.

You can follow all her amazing content here.

Carmen Tal, Moroccanoil

Carmen Tal, co-founder of Morrocanoil

15 years ago, Carmen Tal found herself away from home with dry, colour-damaged hair when she discovered the amazing benefits of argan oil for her hair. 

Inspired by the Mediterranean landscape, sea and culture, her goal has been to share the transformative powers of argan oil-infused products with women across the world to help them feel empowered.

“I think female business leaders today have an important responsibility to lead and inspire others by example,” she tells POPSUGAR Australia. “To me, inspiration is the vehicle for empowerment to pursue one’s dreams, and when you empower women, the sky’s the limit.

“It truly only takes one moment of inspiration to ignite positive change – the Moroccanoil brand was created from an inspired moment! Additionally, it’s so important for women to support one other – together, we can make an even more profound impact on the world around us.”

You can shop Moroccanoil here and have the happiest hair in no time.

Sophie McIntyre, Club Sup

Sophie McIntyre, founder of Club Sup

During the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns in Melbourne, Sophie McIntyre started to feel an overwhelming sense of community from her friends, also in their twenties. Understandably, she didn’t want that to end when the lockdowns did.

So, Club Sup was born.

“The club is a way to connect with new people in a safe space around a table with a meal and some wine,” McIntyre tells POPSUGAR Australia. “We host out of both Melbourne and Sydney every month bringing together strangers. We’ve had people become really great friends and even some people meet a romantic partner!”

Basically, it’s a beautiful dinner party, hosted by McIntyre, aiming to connect strangers. Expect delicious food, yummy wine, a beautiful, homely table setting and most importantly — a fresh sense of community. It’ll get you out of your comfort zone in the best way and encourage you to come out of your shell in this post-pandemic world.

“Being a female founder is so important for all the other women out there doing something they believe in. I hope it encourages others to not doubt themselves, or get stuck picking a job that supports a conventional lifestyle.”

See upcoming Club Sup dates here.

Lolly Heaney, Et Toi skincare

Lolly Heaney, founder of et toi

Lolly Heaney hopes to forge a space for people to feel inspired to nourish their mental-wellbeing through skin, mind and body therapies, with her skincare brand Et Toi.

Meaning “and you” in French, she’s all about using her brand to spread an important message: self-care matters.

“Self-care is central to mental health maintenance, and I believe it should be something we all take time for,” Heaney tells POPSUGAR Australia.

“Self-care isn’t a selfish over-indulgence. It simply means taking time to remind yourself that you care, how ever that looks for you. I truly think that having a regular self-care practice makes for a better human, which makes for a better collective.”

“Being a woman in business, especially in the skincare industry, feels particularly rewarding because so many recently launched e-commerce beauty brands are owned by men who often don’t actually use skincare themselves,” she says.

“They’ve leveraged the fact that there’s a huge market for skincare, made up of mostly women. And yes, while it’s good business, it does kind of sting. I like that I own a skincare brand because it’s a product I use and love, as opposed to a bloke making a quick buck from a predominantly female demographic, without having any real interest in the product.”

You can shop her range – made from botanical products – here.

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