Article by: Tatjana Padjen
Over the last 50 years, there has been much development and progress in the number of women employed in a professional role and who run their own business. This was a different story back in the 60s. As we know, women’s roles were characterised by their biological abilities. Men were expected to be the breadwinners of society, and women, the stay-at-home mums. We all know the story. In 1978, more and more women entered the workforce, but times were tough. Women accounted for only 35% of Australia’s workforce, according to ABS data. The issue was that many employers didn’t provide assistance to families that wanted to work and raise children. Childcare was rare and part-time work non-existent, forcing many women to abandon their job to raise their families. It wasn’t until 1999 that Australians received entitlements to personal carer’s leave, maternity and paternity leave, and the big one, equal pay (well, nearly). With a more equal system of rights for men and women, the workplace has become a more inclusive environment for women. However, there are roles that are still dominated by one sex. In 2016, the healthcare industry was the top pick for women with 6.6% of employed women working in this industry. The sales assistant's (7.1%) role was most common for women, followed by nursing. For men, the computer systems design industry was most common. Popular roles included sales, truck drivers, electricians, and carpenters. There has been much growth and change; however, some gender roles and expectations take a little longer to shed. One role, however, that women have been making significant strides towards is business ownership. Why work for a boss when you can be your own? Both Australia and the UK have shown an increase in women who are self-employed. According to statistics from the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, currently in 2019, 12.1% of the population’s 5.9 million employed women are their own boss. That’s actually not too far behind men who sit as 19.8% of the population. Over the last 12 months, there’s been a 2% increase, and who knows, maybe with a little inspiration (maybe from this article…), there could be more. At this point in time, two-thirds of small businesses are run by women. This has cultivated a booming environment of networking groups, blogs, podcasts, and social network buzz to pave the way for future female entrepreneurs. The business and marketing sphere is littered with smart, hardworking and innovative women that have risen to success through passion, drive and tenacity. Though Australia is filled with many, many creative and successful women who deserve recognition, we tried to narrow it down to just a few. So, here are a few top chicks that have gained a list of considerable achievements. In no particular order, here is our list of accomplished Aussie women in the marketing and business field.
Top Chicks in The Field
Any women reading this can surely relate to the struggle of applying winged eyeliner. You first draw it on too thin, go to fix it, and make it too thick. You do the same thing (or try) on each eye and you’ve got one wing pointing to the heavens, and the other is laying flat like a tipped traffic cone. Thankfully, a solution has been made. At just the tender age of 21, Iris Smit invented the ideal tool for women who are on-the-go but still want to be ‘glam’. Iris is the founder of the Quick Flick, a stamp-on winged eyeliner applicator. Over the last three years, Iris has grown her business to a net worth of about $10 million. Clearly, a lot of women have been struggling with winged liner for years. To get her business where it is, Iris also dabbled in influencer marketing and ran social media campaigns. She was also generously offered a Shark Tank investment to build her business. Andrew Banks, businessman and investor, offered Iris $300,000 for 27.5% of her company. However, in a turn of events, she eventually turned the offer down due to the rapid success of her product. Over the last year, another blast of inspiration has hit Iris and she has developed another equally unique product for the beauty market: the Beauty Fridge. After noticing many products work best or keep better refrigerated (particularly in muggy Brisbane weather), she developed a mini-fridge perfectly suited for makeup and skincare, and of course, she made it look cute (very important).
For someone that’s barely left their 20’s, Holly has accomplished a lot in her short life. She’s been named one of Australia’s top 100 influential people by the financial review, she’s delivered a peace charter to the Dalai Lama, she’s interviewed Barack Obama and has even been nominated as Sir Richard Branson’s pick for the ‘Smart List’ in Wired Magazine. Just to drop a few names. This year, she was also awarded the Australian State Award for Excellence in Women’s Leadership. On top of that, she’s running her own company, Emergent, a consultancy that specialises in disruptive strategy. Her experience makes her a widely recognised keynote speaker who shares her expertise in content curation, thought-leadership, and social media strategy. So, how did Holly make such huge strides so quickly? Well, it didn’t just all fall into her lap, that’s for sure. It took drive and tenacity. In an interview with Engaging Women, Holly revealed she emailed and door knocked to meet most of the leaders of Australia and made the time to learn from their experiences. She also utilised Twitter to get in touch with prominent people she followed. Ultimately, she took the initiative to go and get what she wanted. Her conviction is something we can all learn from and apply to our own endeavours.
Stevie is an ex-lawyer turned blogger and social media marketer. Doing what many dream, Stevie went from your standard 9-5 run-of-the-mill job to running her own social media company, Stevie Says Social. As Stevie puts it, “I was more hooked on myspace than I was preparing court documents.” Stevie truly stands as a prime example of what you can achieve with a bit of passion and determination. Upon her transition into the marketing world, Stevie got to finesse her skills working with major clients like Red Bull, Queensland Reds, and top brands in real estate. Over her 10 years in marketing, she saw the power of the then-niche trend of social media marketing. She also saw many small businesses getting it wrong, which is why she developed her own company in response. Stevie Says Social helps service-based businesses launch and grow using social media. Despite running her own business, Stevie still finds time to write articles and produce a podcast on all topics related to social media. Some of her work has even been published in notable online magazines from Social Media Examiner, Smart Company, League of Extraordinary Women, Business Chicks, and her podcast is regularly placed among iTunes’ top 10 business podcasts. Recently she’s been working on a new project that is sure to keep her hands full for some time - she’s expecting her first baby anytime now! Despite her success and accomplishments, Stevie remains a typical Aussie girl who loves to hang by the beach at the Sunny Coast (and post photos that will also make you want to drop your day job). So, of course, it makes sense why she’s one of our top business and marketing chicks!
Sarah’s success story is something many emerging boutiques have tried to emulate. Starting out in 2008, after an eye-opening trip to Paris, Sarah began selling designer products through pop-ups and a website platform. However, after some trial and error, Sarah worked out that fast fashion is what her clientele was really looking for, and she ran with it. Since then, her business, Beginning Boutique, has grown immensely. Her multimillion-dollar company is reported to earn $4 million a year. Focusing on her marketing efforts, Sarah took the avenue of email marketing early on to keep customers on board. However, her social media efforts undoubtedly created the right kind of image and drew in her target clientele. Clearly, Sarah is one woman that knows content strategy and the power of influencer marketing. She also knows how to indulge her brand’s ambassadors with brand trips to Coachella, Splendour, and Mykonos that make us want to sell all of our belongings and hop on the first plane. Maybe someday…
There are many titles that Emma has worked her way towards in her prosperous life: Business woman, global CEO, founder, keynote speaker, writer, and mother. For many, she is also an inspiration. Emma is the founder of Business Chicks, Australia’s largest community for business women, and has held that title since she was only 26 years. Over the years, Emma has grown the company into a household name and has even begun expanding into the American market. Business Chicks stands for empowering women and helping them grow their businesses by giving them the right tools. From humble beginnings of only 250 members, the company now supports thousands of Australian women in their entrepreneurial pursuits. Undoubtedly, though, Business Chicks is known for their lavish events that host some of the world’s most iconic business people and celebrities, including Arianna Huffington, Jamie Oliver, Nicole Kidman, Julia Gillard, Gloria Steinam and more!In addition to helping Aussie women reach their full potential, Emma caters to her five children, all under seven years of age. It goes without saying, this lady knows time management. Along with raising her children as proud feminists, Emma has also found some time to write her first novel - Winging It - and is currently in the midst of writing her second. The name of her novel is very much representative of the way Emma has led her life thus far and is a great reminder for all women that it’s ok to not have a life plan - you just have to go with what feels right and jump at opportunities when they present themselves. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up spearheading your own global company? Why not dream big?