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Soda Celebrates International Women’s Day

Soda Celebrates International Women’s Day

This year we celebrate International Women’s Day speaking to some incredible female brand founders on their very own businesses, sharing their advice and words of wisdom.

1) What made you start your own business? Was there one moment?

Leah Johnsen: Starting a business of some calibre was always on the cards for me. Having my own business which allowed me to be creative yet organised and structured with something I found quite fascinating and useful. I first started my business during lockdown. I found that was a huge gap with offering a particular beauty product to be done at home. I really enjoyed doing my own beauty treatments, as I am quite particular with how I like to look, so having the option of a Home Kit is really important to me. There were some similar products on the market. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the quality. Therefore I needed to seek my own development and be satisfied with what I wanted to use on myself. 

Georgie Saggers: On SODA, There wasn’t a single moment in time but more a gap in the market which we wanted to fill. I’m a firm believer that there’s something out there for everyone and also that brands can co-exist so knowing that we had the capabilities to fill the gap and create something that would bring people joy was a pivotal moment.
The Dylan Alcott Foundation was started to ensure Dylan could fulfil his purpose to empower young Australians living with disability to achieve their goals & dreams. Being the GM of a non for profit is the most rewarding job out there.

Tully Humphrey: After battling an eating disorder and depression in my teens I wanted to create a fashion forward activewear brand to inspire women to live healthier and happier lives by working out and looking after themselves. 

Priscilla Hajiantoni: Before starting Bangn Body my skin and I were not good friends. I was mentally and emotionally impacted by my skin throughout my teenage and early adult years suffering with hormornal acne and eczema which runs in my family. My skin has always been super sensitive and temperamental. After many years of trying to find solutions, my mum encourage me to focus on what I had learnt about my skin and what I would want in a skincare product. My mum encouraged me to follow my heart and help mine and so many other people heal their skin! 

Gemma Watts: I spent time working as an editor for two different companies, across fashion and beauty. I moved into the fashion space permanently and, unfortunately, realised that beauty was my real passion. I picked up some freelance beauty copywriting work and found myself counting down for work to be over each day so I could race home to my freelance clients- that’s when I knew it was time to do my own thing. 

Samantha Brett: I’ve always been very creative, extremely passionate about skincare and as a mum, always thinking about sun protection for my family. When the idea for Naked Sundays was born, I knew it was time to start thinking about having my own business. I had no idea what was really involved with creating your own brand, or selling a product. But I knew there was a gap in the market for an SPF product that you could use to top up over makeup, and I knew that this was my time to do it. It was something that needed to be done and I decided it was my moment to at least give it a try. What’s the worse that could happen! 

2) Advice for a young woman wanting to start her own business? 

Gemma Watts: Know your worth and set clear boundaries. There were a number of factors that led to me starting my own business, and being treated pretty poorly in the workplace was one of them. It took me a while to work up the courage to stand up for myself, and if I hadn’t said anything I’d probably still be there. I took the same attitude into my own business- I’m upfront with clients about what I can and cannot do for them, and they respect that! Setting boundaries is what allows me to produce work I’m proud of. 

Michelle Hu: Stop putting it off!!! I would say 90% of the women I speak to always have an idea brewing at the back of their mind that they’d love to start. Most of the time, it’s self-doubt that hinders them. My advice would be to find a tribe of other women who have just started or are in the process of launching – by watching, hearing and seeing what they’re doing, you’re more likely to succeed. 

Morgan Tait Timberlake: Just go for it! There will never be the ‘right’ time, so the time is now! Also, ask questions, knowledge is power and asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness it’s market research and taking on learnings of other peoples lessons before you!

Georgie Saggers: Don’t overthink it. These days we put so much pressure on ourselves to have the business in a perfect form before we launch it. It’s got to have branding. It’s got to have product. It’s got to have ambassadors.
In fact, it doesn’t. A business is an extension of an idea or a fix to a problem and just because we have connecting platforms like social media it doesn’t mean everyone’s looking. I like to tell my clients & friends with businesses in the kindest but blunt way – do what you want because at the beginning no one cares / no one’s watching. And even when it does grow, such a small portion of your audience sees your latest IG post or EDM, be kinder to yourself and take risks.

Kat Moses: Don’t waste too much time on the small details. The launch is not meant to be perfect. Ask for help & take advice but more importantly, trust your gut and back yourself. 

Tahlia Iustini: Just start. You don’t always need everything to be perfect, you could have the best business plan and you’ll find you still make mistakes. As long as you have a clear vision, passion and drive you’ll learn, you’ll make it work and you’ll succeed. 

3) Where does your biggest inspiration come from?

Tori Bowman: People who “do” inspire me. People who fail and then “do” again, inspire me more. I’d say my energy comes from the people in my life who are game enough to just try. I think those people are wildy fabulous!

Katie Martin: My inspiration comes from those that I help every day with my work. Seeing someone make a healthier food choice, move their body a little better, have a better relationship with what they see in the mirror etc. I’m constantly inspired by people around me wanting to better themselves.

Michelle Battersby: To know that Sunroom serves women and non binary creators and allows them to make a living on Sunroom is an extremely motivating force. Our creators are ultimately the inspiration. 

See Also

Georgia Geminder: My biggest inspiration comes from our customers! Spending time learning what people want more of and what products they need added in their routine is everything. I am guided by our growing Gem community all the time!

Michelle Hu: I’ve just recently moved to New York to launch ETOILE over here and this city is incredibly inspirational in itself! Every person I meet is on their own unique path, so many people have side hustles, and there are cool pop-ups every weekend. Not a moment is dull.

4) Fondest memory working with another woman in business?

Phoebe Simmonds: It was pretty extraordinary for me and my team of hair stylists to meet Julia Gillard, who visits us for Blow Drys when she’s in Melbourne. It signals to me that our message is resonating.

Tahlia Iustini: I’m fortunate enough that I am regularly working around many strong women in business and I love it. I don’t have one particular memory but I do know how it makes me feel and every time I leave an environment run predominantly by women it makes me so happy and motivated seeing them confidently thriving in doing what they love, it only encourages me to push harder and to aim higher.

Samantha Brett: My team is all women and I absolutely adore working this way. We are so supportive of each other and no task is too big or small. We listen to each other and heed each others advice, and we have so much fun along the way. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Michelle Battersby: Our Sunroom launch was pretty special but I think my experience at bumble will always remain top of mind. It was the first time I felt like everyone around me wanted nothing but success for each other. Genuine support & friendship, no egos.

Tully Humphrey: Getting to work beside my best girlfriend and Business partner, Sarah every single day.

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