Ever plotted your escape from the churn and burn(out) of a 9-5 job?
Perhaps you’ve thought it’s simply time for a change of workplace scenery. Or, like 87% of Australian women aged under 25, you’ve felt that sexist attitudes still exist in business. Maybe, similar to 72% of young Aussie women, you can see that there isn’t enough diversity in your industry.
You’ve always wanted to play a part in dismantling the patriarchy. To bolster inclusivity. To do the work. You know systemic changes need to be made within the organisation you work for, and you yearn for your voice and ideas to be heard.
But sometimes it can feel difficult to know where to start.
This is why we bow down to those who have set out to build something from the ground, up; it takes confidence, determination, flexibility and hard work (!) to strike out on your own and start a small business – one that operates on your time, your ideas and your values.
To spotlight, and celebrate, young trailblazers who have gone solo, Marie Claire Australia and Are Media partnered with Instagram as part of the tech platform’s inaugural search for 25 of Australia’s top up-and-coming female entrepreneurs under the age of 25.
Today, the results are in, and we are truly inspired by this group of business bosses, striving for their own interpretation of career supremacy. On their terms.
Introducing Instagram’s 25 Under 25 Top Female Entrepreneurs…
Esther Adeyinka, SHADIE BY EA, NSW
SHADIE BY EA is a Black woman-led brand that provides ethically made premium intimates and essentials for women of all skin tones and sizes. Despite not having any fashion experience, Esther started the label to help other women she knew couldn’t find intimates that suited their bodies.
Darian Brooker, We, Future Leaders, NSW
Growing up in foster care, We, Future Leaders’ founder Darian Brooker was frustrated by the lack of consistent support, stability and education she experienced as a child. So, she started a tutoring business to help create a world where kids are not only educated, but empowered to leave the world a better state than they found it.
Zarah Garbrah, Embrace Your Frizzique, VIC
Embrace Your Frizzique is a platform targeted at empowering and educating people of colour across Australia on the many ways they can love, nurture and reconnect with their natural hair. Zarah’s motto? “You are you, and that is your power.”
Angelique Wan, Consent Labs, NSW
Built by young people for young people, Consent Labs’ mission is to empower and educate their community to navigate consent respectfully, while raising much-need awareness for sexual harassment and assault.
Stephanie knew many people who’d experienced breast cancer, and heard from many of them that the breast prostheses used post treatment didn’t suit everyone. So, she decided to put her experience in product design to a new use, creating 3D-printed external breast prostheses for women who have had single or double mastectomies, using 100% Aussie materials.
Bridgette Sulicich, Oooh Mood, NSW
Oooh Mood is a feminist sexual wellness brand empowering young women to liberate themselves in the bedroom, and in life. Bridgette started Oooh Mood as an approachable, fun and friendly brand that seeks to change the conversation around female sexual pleasure.
Aimee Hill, Japanese with Aimee, QLD
After working as an international interpreter straight out of uni, Aimee decided she wanted to start her own business in the digital and creative field, and created her online Japanese course to help people learn the basics in 12 weeks.
Sarah Qian, Compassion Creamery, NSW
Sarah wanted to create a tasty vegan cream-cheese alternative, and worked with her university thesis advisor to create the world’s first oat cream cheese. It’s made using traditional dairy cheese making methods, and is currently available at cafes and restaurants.
Sapé Fashion is a Sydney-based label making customised African-flavoured power suits for everyone. After posting her designs on Instagram, people loved Philicia’s sharp lines and started requesting bespoke orders.
Brianna Cardamone, il Pietra, VIC
il Pietra creates natural stone pieces which each possess their own unique variations. Brianna wants to see businesses adopt a sustainable future, and so started selling marble offcuts to repurpose these materials as coasters, trays and other designs. The statement pieces have been picked-up by retailers across Australia.
Ellie Gall, elga Ceramics, NSW
Ellie became obsessed with pottery and started sharing her pieces to her Instagram page. Soon people asked Ellie if she would sell her pieces and Elga Ceramics was born. Ellie has based her entire business on Instagram and uses it as a fun way to share her latest work and share tips about pottery and running a small business.
Joanne Rahman, sent studio, NSW
Sent is the first candle brand in Australia to offer a customised candle service called The Candle Bar. Customers complete an online quiz to create their own one-of-a-kind scents that remind them of their most cherished memories. Joanne is also passionate about the environment and is adopting sustainable practices throughout her business.
Eliza Schwab, Glam Theory Cosmetics, VIC
Glam Theory Cosmetics offers high quality, gorgeous makeup tools at an affordable price point with easy guides to help people learn how to apply make-up like a pro. Founder Eliza works as a makeup artist and educator and pivoted during lockdown to keep herself busy.
Amanda Moncur, Moncur Collection, VIC
Moncur Collection is home to handmade earrings that Amanda carefully curates out of polymer clay, a medium that is so versatile to let her creativity flourish. Amanda has built a loyal following on Instagram and ships products all over the world.
Alexia Barsoum, Allora Curated, NSW
Allora Curated is a small jewellery business specialising in independent, handmade & thoughtfully curated pieces. Alexia started the brand in Sydney earlier this year with the idea of making jewellery that she could not find anywhere else on the internet.
Britt Fenton, Ligne Studio, QLD
Creative studio Ligne Studio specialises in brand designs, offering photography, fashion, art, graphic design and everything in between. Britt goes beyond the standard branding practices to give clients a fully customised and ready-to-launch brand.
Emily Turner, Lujuria Studio, VIC
With a mixture of Spray Tanning, education and a passion for helping beauty business owners, Lujuria Studio is a place with the dream of making the Spray Tan industry an educated, relevant and desired space. Emily has developed a product line based on all of the things she thought the industry lacked, and also developed training for both technicians and at home tanners to get the best spray tan.
Mikaela Swan, Artist and Musician, VIC
Mikaela works as an artist and musician across a number of mediums, and has built a loyal community on her Instagram account, where she sells her music and art to thousands of fans.
Alina Arkhipova, Alina Huck Nails, NSW
Alina has spent years perfecting her skills as a nail technology specialist. Over the years she’s worked in health, opened her own salon in the heart of Sydney’s CBD and now teaches others on her nail techniques online.
Rochelle Smith, BitsNBugz, VIC
BitsNBugz sells unique scrunchies and masks with novelty fabrics to help people stand out from the crowd. Roey started her own sewing business in early 2020, finding it as a great way to de-stress and relax from her job as a nurse.
Makayla Maree, Aviana the Label, VIC
Aviana the Label is a fashion-forward tights and legwear label designed to encourage women to embrace their femininity and sensuality. The brand was born in March 2021 after Makayla wanted to empower women to be more confident and fearless with their fashion choices.
Gabriela Rodriguez, Molina Suaz, NSW
The brand Molina Suaz is about embodying a quiet but strong confidence. Minimalist and sleek, Molina Suaz products are functional, durable and can be used for any occasion. Gabriela named her business after her biggest inspirations, her grandparents.
Maih Porfyriou, Hysteria Studios, QLD
Maih wanted to create a brand to uplift and empower people through an all inclusive clothing brand which was bright and fun. Originally known for its reflective festival outfits, Hysteria has expanded to also make activewear, loungewear and unisex clothes.
Molly Cochrane, Leni Swims, VIC
Swimwear label Leni Swims was founded in 2017 by sisters Lucy and Molly Cochrane with an aim to make a carefully curated collection of sustainably and ethically made swimwear. With a focus on styles that are made to last, all of their processes, colours, quality and designs have an emphasis on creating a bikini which sustainably and ethically considers all steps in a products life cycle.
Alex Nairn, Moose Cow Fish, VIC
Moose Cow Fish is an active streetwear brand, combining fashion and function. The brand was founded in 2020 by 20 year old Alex, who struggled to find activewear brands with stylish and groovy designs which were also durable enough to wear everyday without falling apart.