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11 Perth Business Women to Watch in 2018

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by Jay Crisp Crow (subscribe)
I am a copywriter and cake eater with a funny name squeezing delight from life in the Perth Hills with two invigorating teenagers, a cyclone of a toddler, and some geese. You can get to know me at www.crispcrow.com.au
Published January 5th 2018
Be inspired to start a business, shop local, and eat cake
There's a wave of new smart, savvy business owners driving female owned and operated enterprise sky high in Australia.

And in Perth, for once, we're not getting left behind

It seems some of our best and brightest women are launching or up levelling their businesses in 2018. Their ideas have started with a spark, or a gap in the market, or simply a desire to live a life on their own terms. In an evolved societal push to support local, these 11 Perth women are making it easy for us to buy into their product and service-based businesses with excellent customer care, incredible product ideas, and a zest for enterprise.

Here are 11 Perth business owning women who you have to know about in 2018. (Yes, this article aimed to have only 10, but I just couldn't go past number 11!)

1. Mum and Daughter team Casey and Jillian are based in Stirling and co-own sun safe label Sunbella




Jillian is a Clinical Theatre Nurse who, whilst working at a hospital, heard firsthand from frustrated skin-cancer sufferers who avoided sun-safety because existing products compromised their style or gave them the dreaded 'hat-hair'. Their global search unearthed a gap in the market for a modern sun umbrella with UV protection, so Casey and Jillian set out to create one.

This mother/daughter team share the product design role; Jillian manages the finances and logistics and Casey looks after sales and marketing. In 2018, Sunbella aims to continue to influence women's attitudes towards fashion and sun protection - while ensuring women don't have to choose between the two.

To date, the Sunbella brand has been built in Casey's spare time, amongst being full-time mum to Isabelle (6) and James (3). Casey says this often looks like a failed juggling act - too many balls in the air, and often at least one on the floor; constant interruptions, late night emails, professional phone calls punctuated by a chorus of badly timed screams of "muuu-uuum"

During this chaotic period, Casey has managed to get her products in the hands of the likes of The Duchess of Cornwall and Nigella Lawson, won awards, achieved sales growth of 200% year on year and doubled their online conversion rate from 1.7% to 4% and grown the Sunbella brand into somewhat of a Perth icon.

In 2018, Casey's youngest child starts kindy. Imagine what this team can do with 2.5 days child-free!



2. Jessie Parker launched Borne Too after the birth of her first child left her without any clothing she liked, could breastfeed in, and still made her feel like 'her'



Borne Too is breastfeeding fashion with effortless style. Their mission statement promises: "Life has changed but your style doesn't have to. We want you to look and feel like you, beyond the mum."

Hooray for that!



Jessie is one to watch in 2018 because, a year after first launching, she has partnered with the Women and Infants Research Foundation - WIRF to donate dresses for care packages provided to vulnerable women. "As a small business, I didn't think I would have the capacity to help in such a big way so I am over the moon that this has all come together and is actually happening!"



3. mindyourstyle is a mobile business that provides services to men and women in the Perth Metro area run by Monika Vuksan-Cusa


Monika's European heritage instilled in her a love of fashion from an early age and inspired her to pursue a career in the industry. Monika is a professional Personal Stylist; she trained with the Australian Style Institute, whose stylist training is founded upon human behaviour and emotional intelligence principles.



Having also worked for many years in the corporate sector as an Economist and Policy Research Officer, and in the fashion retail sector, Monika has a strong understanding of the demands and stresses that work can place on men and women. She wanted to create a service that combined all of her knowledge and experience so she could help men and women not only dress in a way that made them feel great about how they looked on the outside, but also gave them mindful styling techniques (based on mindfulness) to help create calm and grow confidence from the inside. That is how the idea for mindyourstyle was born.



In 2018, mindyourstyle is set to blast into the stratosphere with mindful styling workshops launching mid-year. Keep an eye on Monika and her brand!

4. Jacqui Alder has had what she refers to as an accidental career (and subsequent business)

After dropping out of high school she walked a "curly career path", a result of taking opportunity as, and when, it presented. Along the way, she gathered international experience working for large corporates and a Master's degree in HR.

Several years ago, after being made redundant, Jacqui started her own HR consultancy. This led to work on high profile international projects, and as an executive coach. Over time, she also became a respected mentor and coach to women. Jacqui is committed to helping improve the status of all women which is why she is a member of UN Women, and 100 Women where she serves on the Grants Committee.



More recently, after feeling the impact of the mining downturn on her business, Jacqui took some time out to clear the mental clutter, look into her heart, and decide what to do next. She knew she loved to help others to flourish, particularly other women. So, she decided to focus her energy doing just that.

One question had long nagged at her; 'Why do so many women feel they aren't successful despite their achievements?' After some soul searching, conversations with other women, and research, Jacqui had her answer. They're trying to 'fix' themselves to fit into conflicting definitions of success which are imposed upon them, rather than created by them. You know the feeling: trying to live up to all the different expectations about how to be a successful woman, daughter, wife, mother, and businesswoman is exhausting.

What could she do to help as many women as possible? The answer came soon enough: work on the heart of the matter the definition of success.To help time-poor women free up their emotional energy and define success in their own terms, she's spent the past year creating a self-coaching journal. It's a beautiful, tangible resource, which doesn't come with a password but does come with e-mail support from Jacqui. She's included her support because she wants the women who buy it to use it, not to park it on the bookshelf next to all the other unused journals. (We all have some of those!)



Jacqui's put a lot of love into its making. The cover, the printing, the original illustrations, the paper, and the hand-stitched binding make you feel as if you're holding something truly precious.

In 2018, Jacqui will be taking her mission to help women define success in their own terms Australia wide. Expect to see her speaking, writing, and running workshops on the topic. After initially selling the journal exclusively to her clients and her networks, Jacqui has now made Clarity Simplicity Success - A Self Coaching Journal For Women is available for purchase online.




5. We couldn't create a 10 Perth business women to watch list without at least one talented 'handmaden'! Kel Lawrance is the owner of Shine On Creations




Kel was pregnant with her first baby and was on the hunt for all things loud and colourful. After returning home empty-handed from countless shopping trips she realised that if it was a rainbow she was after, she was going to have to chase it herself!

Kel loves colour, glitter, and glue and says she's 'happiest when combining all three'. She makes delightful things that light you and your home up and based in Beckenham, and her beautifully crafted products find homes all over Perth. Keep an eye on her in 2018 as, like many of our other fired up women in business, her little ones are about to hit full-time school, so Kel is about to hit full-time study and creating!



6. Karen Dennett is a high school business teacher, Founder of Engaging Education and mum to 3 children

Karen works to find opportunities to bridge the gap between classroom concepts and the real business world by organising events, conferences for students and teachers and producing resources that add value to their learning. These events aim to connect students with professionals, engage in the learning, broaden horizons and raise aspirations.



Karen's 2018 is going to be a great one. After a number of successful events and fantastic feedback in 2017, she is in the process of developing an exciting calendar of events through the year and will soon be kickstarting Endeavour - twelve 15-17 teens will have the opportunity to set up and run their own small business with business bank accounts from Commonwealth Bank, accounting software from MYOB, and support and expertise from a number of industry professionals. The young entrepreneurs will be working towards profit goals to fund a World Challenge trip to Cambodia.



7. Taryn Watson is a specialist Continence and Women's Health Physiotherapist who owns FitRight




Taryn is part of a rare breed of physios who deal with pelvic floor and bladder and bowel health in women. They can also perform internal examinations to help plan therapy for a range of common issues like prolapse (because approximately half of all women who have had children can suffer from prolapse!)



Taryn has a special interest in rehabilitation and exercise during and after pregnancy, as she believes so many of these common issues can be avoided if we only get the correct education and guidance in the early days after childbirth, rather than waiting for problems to occur and treating them years down the track.



In 2018, Taryn is taking her company - FitRight: physiotherapist-led small group exercise classes for pregnancy, early motherhood (with volunteers to mind babies and optional baby massage session included), and mothers with older babies, as well as education workshops for pregnant women to learn about safe exercise during and after pregnancy - to bigger and better things. She plans to work with more women by expanding her more than 20 physiotherapists all across Perth delivering pelvic floor friendly exercise.

Course 1 kicks off mid-January, so hop on Taryn's website to check out a location near you.



8. No list of kicking goals Perth women in business would be complete without Lacey Filipich from Money School and Maker Kids Club



Did you learn about personal finance at school? Nope, me neither. Money School and Maker Kids Club exist to close the financial education gap so that no one need learn about money the hard way, especially young people.

Lacey began Money School after a lifetime of tales of 'financial woe' - from her Dad going bankrupt to friends losing everything in divorce. Every time she heard another tale she'd think: "Why didn't they know how to avoid this happening?" Lacey says she was lucky to win the 'ovarian lottery' - her Mum had the knowledge and foresight to give Lacey a financial education that most don't get at home or at school. Meaning Lacey didn't have to learn the hard way.

During a second mini-retirement, living in the sleepy seaside town of Busselton, Lacey decided it was time to address this financial education gap. It began by writing and publishing a children's book about saving. Money School was born.



The business has evolved over the intervening seven years, through publishing to coaching and eventually an independent online education provider. It has since spawned a new venture, Maker Kids Club, through which Lacey teaches children about money and personal finance. The beauty of Maker Kids Club is the kids think it's just about learning how to run a business, but it's as close to what Lacey calls a "financial capability silver bullet" as Lacey has managed to find to date.

Lacey still takes her Mum's advice - Fran is the co-founder and business partner. In 2018, Lacey is set to shift the thinking of more families and change the way more children deal with their personal finances, and they're having fun doing it.



9. Melinda McQueen is the owner of Studio McQueen - an interior design enterprise with a twist




Melinda works with busy families to select sustainable and non-toxic materials, products, and furniture for new home designs and renovations.

Melinda's business idea came about mid-renovation of her Geraldton home. The family temporarily relocated to her Dad's rental property while the renos were happening - the property had just been re-painted with new vinyl floors throughout. After a week of living there, Melinda became ill - headaches, lethargy and generally not feeling like her bubbly self. She tried doctors, naturopaths, the lot. But it wasn't until the family visited Perth for the weekend she started to feel better and connected the dots.



Melinda began to research the effects of VOCs and began to look into natural-based materials, solvents, and paints to use in her own home renovation. Now, her designs emphasise the importance of not only designing a home sustainably but also making sure she's specifying as natural and low/non-toxic as possible for her clients' health and well-being.

In 2018, Melinda is launching e-design packages for those that need guidance but wish to implement the project themselves. Watch out for her - she's a game changer!



10. Demelza Leonard runs DL Social - a Social Media, Marketing and Publicity consultancy for Perth businesses and is about to launch something new and dynamic right here in Perth



Boss Mode Radio is an innovative 24/7 Online Radio Station designed to motivate, educate and entertain empire builders, girl bosses, CEOs, and goal achievers and it's set to launch in March 2018. It will feature informative programmes covering a wide range of topics including Business and Marketing, Tips for Mumpreneurs, Student Programming and more. The radio station will also give businesses the opportunity to promote their brands through special feature hours and sponsorship packages. Their teaser campaign is about to go live on Monday 8th January, so keep an eye out on the DL Social socials to find out more.



11. Sarah Valette wasn't always a fantasy cake decorator and gourmet producer




The 30 year old newly converted Perthian was a police officer in France for 6 years, before taking a break in 2014, travelling around Australia, and falling in love.

She discovered a zest for cake design the year before leaving France and made cakes for friends. Since settling in Perth, she's opened a home business with the fantastical name of Fantaizicake. It's a mix between "Fantaisie" (Fantasy), Zic (Sarah's nickname), and... well...cake!



Her cakes follow the traditional French recipes and her new gourmet range is going gangbusters. Everything is made from scratch in small batches and by hand in Doubleview. In just a year, she's branched out from home business, to first retailer, and is now stocked in 20 stores and independent hamper companies purchase her products for their gourmet ranges. In 2018. she's working on new recipes and expanding her wedding cake offerings. She's also looking for new interstate retailers though we're pretty lucky to have her right here in Perth.



If this list of incredible Perth business women doesn't make you want to invest locally, start a business, or...hungry... well, I can't imagine why.

Keep an eye on all these talented women for bigger and brighter things in 2018.

** All images supplied by list participants.
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Why? To showcase incredible Perth businesses
Where: Perth
Your Comment
Thanks for the article Jay. It's great to see small business showcased and encouraged and these brilliant women should be heralded for waht they are doing.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|6160) 337 days ago
Another wonderful - inspiring article. So awesome that so many women are living their dreams and supporting their families whilst doing it.
by tracy (score: 0|3) 337 days ago
Wow thanks so much for including me in the list Jay! Im so over the moon...So many talented creatives in Perth too, such a great article. I feel so proud to be a Perth biz gal ;)
by Melin (score: 0|2) 337 days ago
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