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Supporting Women in Business

Posted on February 17 2023, By: Maddie Turney

Supporting Women in Business

Photographer: Ben Honey

Name:Renee Honey

Age: 36

Business Name: Stable Coffee Kitchen & Cornerstone Stores

Employees: 18 (Stable) & 9 tenants (Cornerstone)

About your business: Cornerstone is a community driven brick and mortar building filled with Cafe, Boutique retail, Pilates, Beauty & Hair Salon. Stable is a Licensed Cafe, serving ethical meats, on a heavy plant based menu. Using local produce and serving specialty coffee.

What motivated you to start or go out into your Business? The Idea for Cornerstone, started from brainstorming ideas, we wanted to do something to (quite selfishly haha) improve our direct Community and the suburbs we love and grew up in.. (Currumbin / Tugun). We wanted to create something unique, somewhere for small businesses and like minded people in a community environment space. Taking on Stable was definitely an after thought, but we knew we needed a great Cafe to really anchor the whole complex.

What are or have been your biggest challenges in business? Problem solving. There are always problems arising, so we need to be a constant problem solvers of all things, at any hour. And no boundaries. Also, juggling this life with a 3 and a 5 year old child. Two tiny children and always trying to get that work / life balance right. It’s hard to get my mind off work life and onto other things in life.. but I’m getting better!

Any advice for other Women who are looking at starting their own business? Do it! Dive in! Ask for advice, take it or don’t.. but soak in whatever you can and turn it into your own knowledge. Also, set some boundaries, not that I’ve been great at this, but I hear it’s helpful!


Photographer: Jenna Agius

Name: Bec Conforti

Age: 28

Business Name: Prae Store

Employees: 7 (2 x stores)

About your Business: Prae offers a thoughtfully curated selection of beauty, wellness, active and lifestyle products from some of Australia’s best designed brands who produce luxurious and high-end products designed for well-being, whilst also having non-toxic, eco-friendly and sustainable values. With a beautiful range of skincare and makeup products, on-trend activewear, a library of self-care books, scents for your home and gifting– at Prae you’ll find everything you need to feel beautifully balanced.

What motivated you to start or go out into your business? I’ve always had such a strong passion for natural and sustainable products and design, along with a fire in the belly to step into the entrepreneurship world. When I realised there was a niche in the market and the opportunity arose, my passion for doing what I love was all the motivation I needed to run with my idea of starting Prae.

What are / or have been your biggest challenges in business? My biggest challenges in business so far is growing at a quicker pace than I had planned for. Our staff numbers grew very fast, so I had to learn to adapt as a boss and leader very quickly. I’ve also made a lot of mistakes which can be really tough financially, but I’m grateful for all the lessons along the way.

Any advice for other Women who are looking at starting their own business? Be prepared to do the work - it’s been some of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, but if you choose to start something that you love, it’s all worth it. I’m so proud of what I have achieved.  I wouldn’t change all the late nights, no weekends and tears for the world.


Photographer: Hayley Williamson photography

Name: Gemma Bennett

Age: 33

Business Name: Earth Essence Beauty

Employees: 3

About your Business: A wholistic natural beauty salon offering exceptional treatments and products in a soulful space without the toxic load and health damage to our clients ourselves and our planet.

What motivated you to start or go out into your business? A had always lived a more natural lifestyle outside of work and was raised using nature to heal and feed the body and soul, so after having my second child and suffering medical issues of my own i no longer wanted to work in an environment that did not align with my beliefs. I identified a new demographic of people who care deeply about what they use on themselves and their footprint on the planet and i wanted to offer these people an exceptional salon experience that fits with these beliefs.

What are or have been your biggest challenges in business? Being a mum and a business owner is always going to be a balancing act, and i would definitely say that this is the biggest challenge as you want to give your business the energy it needs to ensure it has the integrity and standards you want for your clients but at the end of the day family comes first and i want my kids to see that they are the most important thing to me and even the hard things can be so rewarding and your life can look how YOU choose not somebody else.

Any advice for other Women who are looking at starting their own business? Know your strengths and employ the help of those with strengths you do not possess ( i love my accountant and book keeper). If your just doing it for the money that is not enough! Without a higher reason to bring joy or give service your business will always feel empty. Be grateful :)

 Photographer: Ben Honey

Name: Nicole Chadbone

Age: 33

Business Name: Little Loves

Employees: 3

About your business: Curated collection of kids clothing and accessories & some mummah goods!

Motivation to start business? A passion for fashion and to be the “something different“ in the industry.

What are or have been your biggest challenges in business? My biggest challenges I feel I have faced would be time juggling with kids, life, dreams, reality. Oh and not wanting to buy everything I see and love, realising buying for a shop isn’t purely based on my views.

Any advice for other Women who are looking at starting their own business? Sounds so corny and cliche, but my only advice would be to always follow your dreams and desires. if you get given a chance to do something you love, do it!


Photographer: Hayley Williamson

Your Name: Kerri Brydon

Age: 37

Business Name: Zanzi

Employees: 3

About your business: Holistic, Sustainable, Plant Based Hairdressing.

What motivated you to start or go out into your business: Having worked in the hair industry for over 2 decades I decided it was time for change. After implementing a number of changes in my personal life in order to live more consciously, I realised there was a huge gap in the market with little to no genuine sustainable salons in my area. The community needed choice and more importantly needed options out there so they could make the right choice.

What are / or have been your biggest challenges in business? t’s rare to find a creative that is also creative at business! For me, I’ve spent my whole career learning my craft but have never learned how to be a business owner! It’s hard for me to step away from working on the floor because I don’t have a business partner to run the business side of things, so that has been quite challenging!

Any advice for other Women who are looking at starting their own business? Just stay in your own lane. Don’t compare your business to anyone else’s, there will always be others that seem to be so successful and sure take advice and be inspired but also stay original. Your own ideas are what will make your business grow, not someone else’s. Never forget your “why” and if you ever lose track or sight of where you are going just come back to the “why”- why you started, why you chose this and your ethos.


Name: Kasey Attard

Age: 29

Business Name: Kind Curations

Staff Members: Tané Meiring, Montana Purchase, Natalie Owens.

About your business: A curated boutique offering an assortment of women's and men's clothing and accessories, homewares and books; with a focus on responsibly and locally made goods.

What motivated you to start or go out into your business? The idea of putting all my passion, time and effort into something that was uniquely mine was truly what motivated me to quit my previous job and start the Kind Curations adventure. I always had the strong desire to have my own business, and when we noticed Cornerstone under construction all the pieces kind of just fell into place from there.

What are/or have been your biggest challenges in business? The biggest challenge has been managing cash flow. You need money to keep going and growing, so planning and making sure we've been able to do this (and also survive financially) has been the greatest learning curve! The other big challenge that I wasn't quite prepared for was the zero days off! I seem to work every day and even if I'm not, my mind is still thinking about the business.

Any advice for other women who are looking at starting their own business? Do your research. Make well-informed decisions. Trust your instincts. Think long-term and be aware of potential changes in your chosen industry. A good friend once told me to find a mentor too. I'm yet to find one but I think it's great advice.



Photographer: @_anniekelly_

Your Name: Tess Willcox

Age: 37

Business Name: World Resorts of Distinction

Staff Members: 6

About your business: A Resort Marketing Agency that specialises in the sustainable luxury space aka travel with a purpose.

What motivated you to start or go out into your business? I worked for the company for 15 years before I took it over, and I saw a huge gap in the market for an agency focused on my personal passions, travel and sustainability. So once I took over control of the company, I rebranded and refocused. The core pillars of the business always were and will continue to be what motivates me. Plus, we get paid to travel the world, so there’s that!

What are / or have been your biggest challenges in business? As most entrepreneurs will probably tell you, getting lost working in the business as opposed to on the business is my biggest challenge. The day to day grind and the ‘technician’ jobs that you get caught up doing as opposed to strategising and forecasting. I’m lucky enough to have a tribe of women working with me that are 15/10 in every aspect, so I am quickly moving towards the goal of removing myself from the day to day – which I also still love.

Any advice for other Women who are looking at starting their own business? Have mentors. It’s so important to have people in your life you can discuss challenges, decisions, ideas and the like with. Qualified people who have walked the walk and are in a position to give advice on how to navigate your way through business. It’s also really important not to get caught up in the ‘planning’ of the business at the start. Stop planning, start doing. It’s a wild ride but it’s definitely worth it.

 Photographer Credit: Hayley Williamson Photography

Your Name: Sarah Callaham

Age: 34

Business Name: The Body Method

Instructors: 21, plus 2 practitioners (2 studios)

About your business: The Body Method Studios are about functional movements which are combined with corrective training. We encourage a balance of musculature strength and flexibility with minimal joint stress, working those little stabilising muscles you never knew existed. Technical movement and bio-mechanics form the basis of all our sessions; they have a heavy influence on our bottom line – quality over quantity. At The Body Method we’re focused on doing things right, and building on our foundations.

What motivated you to start or go out into your business? Since I started teaching Pilates 10 years ago, my goal has always been to combine my two passions - human rights and movement. Through my academic studies as well as my movement based ones, I have seen the incredible benefits movement and mindfulness have on the mind/body/spirit compound; especially in marginalised individuals, and in particular those who struggle with strength - mental and physical-  focus, resilience, and the ability to believe in oneself. When the opportunity presented itself to buy The Body Method, I saw this as the perfect moment to finally put my dreams into action. Not only by being able to provide the community with quality classes and workshops from our already incredible family of TBM instructors where one can truly integrate the mind/body/spirit, but also as a platform launch the women's empowerment programs I have been developing for the last decade.

What are / or have been your biggest challenges in business? In some ways the learning curve of taking over an already thriving business is a bit steeper than growing with one you started on your own, but thankfully with the help of my amazing partner/fiance, Kelly, and the previous owners, I have managed to settle in quite nicely. The biggest lesson I have learned in these last 6 months though, is to trust my instincts in every which way. They have never failed me, it's only been me failing them a time or two.

Any advice for other Women who are looking at starting their own business? There will never be a perfect time, a prefect place, or a perfect situation. For me I realised that if I didn't start pursuing my dreams, it wouldn't matter where I lived, who I was with, or how much money I ever made; I would always be unhappy. And it was then that I decided it was time to finally put into practice all the things I had been talking about for so, so many years. If you want it, you have to make it happen yourself; no one else is in charge of your life and every decision you make or don't make, is ultimately still a choice you've made.

Your Name: Kath Conforti

Age: 62 …. It’s just a number :-)

Business Name: Quince Fromagerie

About your business: The love of euro wines & cheeses was the initial motivation for a one-stop celebration shop! All the taste testing necessary ensured an adventurous & oft-envied planning process. Choosing Raf - the perfect fit as my business partner - made the journey even easier. Premium, quality products (that sell themselves) along with customer service and satisfaction are our priorities

Biggest challenges in business? Keeping up with trends and also customer needs has been part of our continuous business learning curve….. along with learning it is not necessary to drink a whole bottle of wine or wheel of cheese to do a thorough taste testing :-)))

Advice for other women in business? Being a woman means less to me than me being an individual. I’m not known for stereotyping and in our world of gender equality, I’m totally supportive of simply choosing the best person for the job. What I have learned is to remain true to myself and to keep my individuality - respect is earned and not to be expected automatically - and that “leading by example” is how I (mostly try to) live my life. Learning from failures, grasping opportunities presented & smiling at life are my simple philosophies for self-fulfilment, integrity and honesty. Similarly, Raf and I have worked on ensuring we have a close relationship which allows a transparent transition and understanding of our business and its continuous improvement.