In honour of International Women’s Day today, we thought we’d take the opportunity to celebrate women who are a little more home-grown and who have worked hard to be their own bosses. These women have put their passions and skills to the test to create a business that’s uniquely them, and they’ve come to completely change and influence their respective industries.
Who are these women, you ask? Well, we’re throwing it back to our amazing Inspire 18 event to bring to you all of the incredible female speakers who have lived up to the name and inspired us. So sit back, relax, and scroll through to see the boss ladies of Australia.
Happy International Women’s Day!
The ultimate Bondi beach babe and girl boss, Elle Ferguson is the owner and creative director of the Australian beauty brand, Elle Effect. With a commitment to stay true to her core value system, including the belief that beauty comes from within, Elle approaches projects and days with a kind spirit, inner confidence, and courage to learn, grow, and contribute in every way she knows.
Taryn Williams is the smart, vivacious and magnetically personable CEO and founder of The Right Fit and WINK Models. With over fifteen years of experience in the world of modelling, advertising and media, she has proven herself to be a game changer and one not to shy from pressing the disrupt button. Taryn is one of Australia’s most prolific entrepreneurs in the tech start-up and media industries. She launched The Right Fit in 2016, a two-sided marketplace for creative talent, making it easy, efficient and cost-effective for brands to book campaigns, from TVCs, print campaigns, events and social media executions.
Business innovator, beauty insider and supporter of successful women everywhere, Bahar Etminan is an ideas woman. Having previously been a CEO, the general manager of luxury importer BMI and the youngest ever general manager at Bobbi Brown and Origins Australia, she then set her sights on launching Australia’s first distributor owned beauty e-tailer, rescu.com.au, and that she did. Since its launch in 2005, Bahar has evolved Rescu into a publishing powerhouse, with her main focus being on putting brilliant ideas together with top-notch people.
For a little bit of inspiration straight from Bahar herself, check out the podcast she did with Victoria Jones here.
Wendy El-Khoury is one of the world’s leading Digital and Social Media pioneers in weddings and has presented at a number of local and internationally renowned conferences. She is a wedding marketing and content expert, having appeared on and been interviewed by news.com.au, Daily Mail, Cosmo Bride, Mornings 9, Studio 10 and 2GB radio, just to name a few. Wendy is often credited with the elevation and reinvigoration fo the wedding industry in Australia. She understands and nurtures the power of PR and networks and connects expertly with influencers, bloggers, suppliers and wedding experts alike.
Renowned for her talent, drive, and passion as a hair artist, Natalie Anne is a pioneer of the digital beauty age, having transformed her work into online inspiration. Through the use of social media platforms and marketing, she has developed an empire, transforming a single hair station in her parent’s garage, to an internationally recognised brand. Her brand includes an amazing salon with 10 staff members, a bridal hair department, an education department, and her very own hair care line.
Daniella is a successful small business owner, entrepreneur, brand ambassador and media personality. In 2012, she founded Buttercreme Lane, a creative and custom design celebration cake company. Since then, Daniella has delivered over 10,000 custom celebration cake creations, she’s crafted celebration cakes for hundreds of celebrities, politicians, sports people, and is a frequent guest on Studio Ten, The Today Show and Radio 2GB programs.
In 2014, when she was just 21 years old, Alison Egan left her training as a registered nurse and founded Sparkling White Smile, a mobile teeth whitening service. With her dedicated staff and loyal clientele, she’s managed to expand her Cosmetic Teeth Whitening Empire to offer her exclusive and bespoke services Australia wide. Alison’s hard-working ethic and dedication have earned her a highly respected place in the industry, as well as high praise from magazines, newspapers and celebrities; both nationally and internationally.
Credited for revolutionising the planning, styling and concept design of luxury weddings and events in Australia, Diane is regularly sought after by celebrities and socialites alike. With a passion for glamorous detail and an appreciation for unique floral displays, her weddings stand out as masterpieces – easily spotted and loved throughout Instagram feeds. Through her work, Diane continues to catapult the definition of celebrating love in luxury in Australia.
A highly regarded stylist and fashion influencer, Lana Wilkinson’s talent for identifying emerging trends and creating iconic looks for celebrity clientele, television and fashion editorial as helped her quickly progress into a career in fashion styling. Her professionalism and industry knowledge has made her the go-to for the likes of Ruby Rose, Rebecca Judd, The Veronicas, Nadia Bartel, and so many more. She is also a regular fashion commentator for Melbourne’s The Herald Sun, Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph, Myer and a number of online fashion blogs.
Elena is the Senior Brand Experience Manager of Scentre Group and the owner and operator of Westfield in Australia and New Zealand. In a career that is spanning 16 years in corporate marketing, Elena has been responsible for the delivery of key high-profile celebrity appearances within the Westfield portfolio like the likes of Kim Kardashian, the Jenner sisters, Nicole Richie and multiple performing artists, all while establishing bespoke events and repositioning strategies, as well as initiatives such as Westfield Women in Conversation and the Edible Fashion collaboration.
Launching her label in 2006, Viktoria Novak personally hand created luxury handmade crowns and headpieces. As an acclaimed milliner, Viktoria is renowned in the bridal and fashion industry for her exquisite millinery talent and excellent craftsmanship. She has won multiple “Accessories Designer of the Year” awards and is dedicated and diligent in achieving optimum brilliance. The timeless and contemporary hairpieces are regularly featured throughout high-end fashion publications such as VOGUE, Marie Claire, Harpers Bazaar, ELLE, Instyle Australia, Cosmopolitan Australia and Bride, and many more.
Rebecca Lau Marsh
Rebecca is the founder and General Manager of White Runway, a leading Australian bridal and occasion wear brand. Being the force behind the brand’s success, Rebecca founded the fashion boutique in 2011, after recognising a gap in the market for affordable and stylish bridesmaid and occasion wear. With over 10,000 luxurious dress options available online, White Runway is fast becoming the number one destination for designer fashion, proving Rebecca is a force to be reckoned with.
Empowering women to look and feel their best, Melissa Sassine is a passionate entrepreneur, multi-award-winning makeup artist, educator, and the creator of Melissa Sassine Cosmetics. With over 18 years of industry experience, she has become one of Australia’s most in-demand bridal makeup artists, makeup educators and social media influencers. Boasting millions of followers across her social media platforms, Melissa is a cult icon of the beauty world. Now, women worldwide are experiencing the magic of Melissa Sassine with her namesake makeup range, which is fast becoming as covetable as Melissa’s trademark makeup looks.
Executing the editorial direction across global and award-winning women’s websites – POPSUGAR, Who What Wear, Byrdie and MyDomaine, Amanda Bardas is passionate about bringing together style and substance, and empowering women to define themselves and their purpose. Amanda is trained in everything from storytelling, to conceptualising, image research, backend coding, shoot production, styling, and social strategy. In order to constantly push her to develop her sense of self Amanda enjoys digging deep into trends and delivering a fresh perspective to her readers.
In 2014, Alyce, along with co-founder Tania Liu launched their accessories line as a passion project on the side of being corporate lawyers. Their brand, The Daily Edited has become an international success, with stores across Australia, Singapore and the US.
Cover photo by: @georgejohnphotography