This International Women’s Day, we are celebrating female small business owners on Amazon Australia who have overcome hurdles and biases to achieve what is all too often unexpected of them as women— thriving as entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Read the inspiring stories of four female entrepreneurs on Amazon Australia who are driving change through initiative and ingenuity.
Addtionally, watch a conversation below between Perth-based business, 123 Nourish Me, and India based seller, Shumee Toys.
Alisa Latto and Danni Crews, Co-founders of 123 Nourish Me
‘Mum knows best’ is an expression that Perth-based friends, Alisa Latto and Danni Crews, know all too well. When the busy mothers couldn’t find the perfect products for their own children – products that were made with natural and organic ingredients with no chemicals– they took it upon themselves to create their own.
Launching 123 Nourish Me five years ago, with a philosophy of enhancing the health and wellbeing of little ones, the pioneering pair made sure from the outset that their operations would be female-focused. And this International Women’s Day they’re taking stock of both their burgeoning business, and the other women who have helped them on their pathway to success.
“We juggle a huge amount as women”, they say. “From running an international company and single parenting our five combined children — all while trying to make a positive difference in the world.”
“International Women’s Day is a chance for guys to celebrate our achievements, and the other women who we work with.”
The business employs an all-female team of eight and has a focus on supporting mums in the workplace, often by offering flexible working options. And though the pair have created a structure that nurtures and supports their employees, their journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
“We’ve faced huge obstacles running our company over the past five years”, they admit. “Firstly being across all parts of our business — we realised we had weaknesses in some areas, and had to learn on the job very quickly.”
“Learning the balance between running a successful company and prioritising children is also something we’re still working on mastering. Saying that, the beauty of being a two-woman partnership is that we’re able to support one other with the challenge of raising kids and running our own company.”
Thankfully, there have been way more ups than downs, and when reflecting on their decision to strike out on their own, the dynamic duo have no regrets.
“It hasn’t been easy, but we’re so proud of what we’ve created. We’re poof to other women that you can — and should — follow your dreams.”
Maree Gregory, Founder of Aussie Man Hands
At 58-years-old, Maree Gregory was at a time in her life when starting a business wasn’t even a blip on the radar. However, when her tradie son came close to having his arm amputated due to a skin infection, fate stepped in and opened her eyes to a start-up potential.
Having failed to find a skincare product on the market that both delivered results for daily wear and tear on hands, and was male-friendly, she decided to make her own. Working with a pharmacist to derive the perfect formula, six months later, Aussie Man Hands was born.
“Being a female entrepreneur in 2022 means I'm part of a rapidly growing movement that allows our passion, our expertise, our life experiences and our own unique personalities to shine through via our small businesses.”
For Maree, International Women’s Day is a timely reminder of the work that still needs to be done to address this imbalance, alongside the importance of community and support.
“To me, International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate and support all women around the globe, regardless of race, religion, and political preference.”
Personally, the entrepreneur has serviced this support from other business women both through joining a peer support group and working with a mentor one-on-one.
“Without a doubt my e-commerce coach and mentor Lisa Jones, is one of my biggest inspirations”, she says. “She has a vision and genuine passion for women in business, particularly for women just starting out on their business journey as it can be a very lonely space. She's an absolute powerhouse who will stop at nothing to see women succeed.”
Kate Curry, Founder of InChargeBox
Many parents face the dilemma of making sure that their kids only have access to age-appropriate material online. However, being on guard 24/7 is tricky and you can’t watch over their shoulders all the time. It’s a concern that led Sydney-based mum, Kate Curry, to a full-time business venture.
Seeing the amount of time her neighbour’s kids spent on screens, Kate decided to take action and to create a solution for herself and other concerned mums: InChargeBox. A lockable steel box big enough to hold phones, iPads, eReaders, and USB charging ports.
Though safeguarding her children’s welfare was the seed for her career change, Kate’s desire to be her own boss had been a long-held one.
“I started out in some conservative corporate environments in the 1990s as a PA where all the directors were men, and all the assistants were women”, she explains. “I always knew I wanted to be my own boss — there were only so many times I could have someone in a suit hovering over me telling me what to do!”
Now living and working on her own terms, the business owner believes strongly that it’s through adversity that women innovate — and International Women’s Day is a reminder of this.
“For me, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on the wonderful women I have met through running my own business who have been a huge support”, she says. “And To acknowledge everything that women before us have been through, and to not take this for granted. We must continue to be brave, and to speak up for freedom and to celebrate our uniqueness.”
Just as she herself is inspired by fellow female entrepreneurs, Kate also wants to inspire the next generation to follow their dreams.
“I love that my two children have grown up being part of the birth and growth of the business”, she enthuses. “It’s is so important for them to know that dreams can come true and that you really can do what you want to do, provided you put in the time, effort, and persistence — no matter what your gender.”
Karyn Sutton, Co-founder of Sourdough Flakes
When Karyn Sutton’s baker husband faced a move overseas, he was flummoxed as to how to transport his beloved sourdough starter and so an ingenious idea was spawned: dehydrated starter strips.
But while the genius for their business, Sourdough Flakes, came via this conundrum, the passion for baking paired with the nous for business was already in Karyn’s blood.
“In our family, bread is life”, says the Queensland-based entrepreneur. “My Grandmother was a talented cake decorator who forged her own small baking business. Even at 82-years’ old she was still making icing flowers from her hospital bed, just days before she passed away.”
“And whist she may not have made millions of dollars, I do know she died doing what she loved, making people happy, and never really worked a day in her life.”
Previously holding leadership roles and director positions in some of the world’s largest companies, Karyn says that working in the male-dominated corporate world wasn’t always easy. “I often felt uncomfortable taking my seat at the boardroom table”, she remembers.
But running her own business is a different kettle of fish entirely.
“Being a female small business owner is a drive like no other”, she says. “It gives me an innate confidence and self-assurance.”
“There’s no greater feeling of determination and freedom than being in charge and accountable for the decision making behind your own business success.”
For Karyn the proof is (quite literally in her case) in the pudding: her product — all made with flakes aged and dried in her own kitchen — and the Insta-worthy loaves it helps create have gone global.
Reflecting on the women in business who inspire her, the savvy baker doesn’t need to look far.
“My greatest female inspirations stem from my own family and friends”, she says, warmly. “Like Deb, who’s an engineer, a business owner, and a mum-of-two who can juggle a billion things at once, make the best decisions, and still cook a delicious lamb roast on a Wednesday night! And of course my Grandma Ruby — she’s the original female entrepreneur in my family and an inspiration to this day.”
“International Women’s Day for me, is a celebration of women like these who believe in their natural talents, take a chance on themselves, and are not afraid to share their experiences and wisdom. It’s a day that fuels me to celebrate those contributions and achievements, and motivates me to be a better role model for my own daughter and nieces.”
Shop women-owned small businesses
Amazon Launchpad helps elevate small brands with a place for customers to discover unique gift ideas, innovative prodcuts, and inspiring stories.