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  • Meet the Powerhouse Women Revolutionising Australia’s Beauty and Lifestyle Landscape

Meet the Powerhouse Women Revolutionising Australia’s Beauty and Lifestyle Landscape

This International Women's Day, we're celebrating the bold vision, success and brilliance of some of our favourite female-founders in fashion, beauty and lifestyle.

by Charlotte

With International Women's Day just around the corner, we're spotlighting the trailblazing female founders shaping the future of Australian beauty, health, fashion and lifestyle

Seeing gaps in the market and drawing on their own experiences (and at times, frustrations), these women are redefining the narrative of entrepreneurship and have successfully transformed their dreams into reality. 

From supplements and skincare using little-known (but powerful) ingredients and jewellery that encourages self-reflection, to mineral makeup helping users glow from the inside out, these women are conquering the challenges of the business world and leaving their unmistakable mark on the world.

Sitchu caught up with some of the brilliant minds behind some of our favourite brands to find out their inspiration, self-care essentials and of course, their must-have products.

Imogen Van Haagen & Courtney Thornton - Mud Organics

Mud Organics

Already colleagues in the health and wellness space, Imogen Van Haagen and Courtney Thornton were hit hard when COVID lockdowns began.

"Courtney and I were also at the time dealing with some chronic health issues ourselves and taking a particular ingredient called fulvic acid," Imogen tells Sitchu

"I always used products on myself before I'd recommend them to my customers, and they started reaping some really incredible benefits around digestion and IBS and hormonal issues."

When the duo realised there was no Australian company selling the product, and with the world still reeling from the pandemic, they decided to turn it into a business, and Mud Organics was born.

"I believe in this particular ingredient so much, so [we thought] let's do that together!" Imogen says. 

The next few months were filled with research and development, with the pair realising the powerful connection between inner and outer health - and stumbling across a unique and powerful ingredient in Sea Buckthorn. 

"If you take care of your gut health and your inner beauty, that has a knock-on effect on your hair and your skin and your nails," they say. 

"If you want to live a long, healthy, happy life and have beautiful skin, you have to take care of your guts because that's where the majority of your hormones are products."

While starting a business was a steep learning curve for them both, Courtney and Imogen say they're thankful for any mistakes they've made along the way.

"The mistakes and failures that we've had, we don't sit there and go like, 'How did this happen?' We say, 'How can we fix this?' and 'What can we learn from this? What can we do differently?" they say. 

With the ethos of helping customers "live optimally" - aka living their best life and enjoying everything it has to offer - at the centre of all their products,  there's more big news on the way in 2024.

Fans can expect more skincare products - featuring Mud Organics' signature Sea Buckthorn as the hero ingredient - coming in the second half of the year. 

"It's'll see a lot more [from us]," the girls hint. 

Mud Organics

Mud Organics Sea Buckthorn Serum, $74.95

Using a rare super fruit, this luxurious serum hydrates and nourishes the skin. Vegan and cruelty-free, this "magic" product is formulated with vitamin E, omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9, amino acids and antioxidants to help skin hydrate at a cellular level and repair the effects of fine lines, sun damage and pigmentation.

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Mud Organics

Mud Organics 30 Day Supplement Powder, $65.95

The brand's best-selling product, this 30 Day Supplement Power combines Fulvic Acid and Omegia Powder (Sea Buckthorn) to optimise your body from the inside out. Just mix into a glass of water and get ready for renewed energy, a healthier immune system and improved gut health.

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Charlotte Blakeney - by Charlotte

by Charlotte

After two decades working as a fashion and celebrity makeup artist, it was while surrounded by lotus flowers in the mountains of Ubud in Bali that the idea for by Charlotte was born. 

"I was always passionate about making women feel beautiful and empowered...I was struck by the beautiful transformation of the lotus [and] I wanted to create a wearable reminder that beauty can emerge from even the darkest of places," by Charlotte founder Charlotte Blakeney tells Sitchu

"The lotus begins as a small seed at the bottom of a dark pond, and rises through the murky water to bloom in the sunlight and a beautiful blossom emerges above the surface and floats effortlessly through calm and storm.

"This mirrors the journey of so many women I know and is a lasting reminder that, through adversity, the most beautiful transformations can happen."

The iconic Lotus Necklace has become a signature piece, and with each new collection, the brand builds on sharing the magic of love, peace and joy through meaningful jewellery. 

After opening by Charlotte's flagship boutique in Sydney in 2019, last year the brand celebrated another milestone by introducing a Piercing Studio. 

"We also launched our first lab-grown diamond collection, marking a new chapter in our commitment to sustainability," says Charlotte. 

But the growth isn't stopping there. This year, fans of the brand can expect more boutiques around the country, as well as pop-ups featuring experiential touchpoints so customers can truly immerse themselves in the by Charlotte magic.

With so much on the cards, Charlotte remains committed to her own self-care rituals to help her unwind after a busy day. 

"Between motherhood and running a business, these quiet moments to myself are so important," she says.

by Charlotte

by Charlotte 14k Solid Gold Everything You Are Is Enough Necklace, $599

"My favourite mantra, 'everything you are is enough', resonates with me so deeply that I wanted to incorporate it into the brand wherever I could," says Charlotte. 

"Any piece inspired by, or engraved with, these words is very close to my heart. I particularly love the Everything You Are Is Enough Necklace, which we recently reimagined as a locket for our Kindred collection."

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Stacey Hollands - Lust Minerals

Lust Minerals

For Lust Minerals founder Stacey Hollands, the loss of her Dad while working as a dermal therapist inspired her to think bigger. 

"It really made me realise that life is short, and there are no second chances," she tells Sitchu

"I'd suffered breakouts [growing up], which as a teenage girl, make me very self-conscious. Being in the industry, I found so many women were just like me and coming into the salon asking for help with their skin.

"A lot of them were using conventional makeup products which was often really only worsening the problem. While there were plenty of natural-based products out there, few married 'clean' and 'high-performance' to deliver real results."

Stacey also noticed that many mineral foundations were expensive.

"I remember thinking, 'Why should mineral makeup only be accessible for those who could afford to pay $90 for foundation?' I wanted to fix that," she says. 

In 2014, Lust Minerals was launched and has since become an instant favourite among customers (their cult Pro Finish Liquid Foundation sells one every two minutes!). Feeling like a small fish in the big beauty sea only inspired Stacey to work harder to succeed, with 2024 shaping up to be the brand's biggest and best yet.

"We are focusing on our plans to refine our existing product portfolio and to continue to educate on the power of clean beauty - we've launched the Beauty School to empower and inspire customers," Stacey shares.

"We are continuing to heavily invest in developing new products, and reformulating existing products to ensure we are pioneering the most effective clean beauty products on the market."

Stacey's self-care must-haves? Sticking to her rituals as much as possible, although she admits there are some days when things don't go to plan.

"No one's perfect!" she adds, although she'll never miss her morning and nighttime skincare routine to give her some rare moments to herself, with facial massage and meditation also factoring in to her weekly schedule.

Lust Minerals

Lust Minerals AHA Exfoliating Lotion, $58

Stacey counts this as one of her "holy grail" skincare products.

"The AHA Exfoliation Solution helps to break down any dead or dry skin, and leaves my skin looking hydrated and glowy," she says.

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Lust Minerals

Lust Minerals Mineral Pressed Powder Foundation, $68

"For makeup, I cannot live without my Pro Finish Liquid Foundation paired with the Powder Foundation as this gives me the best coverage, whilst being so lightweight," Stacey says.

"I also couldn’t live without my Bronzer as it adds the perfect amount of definition and warmth to the face and it doubles as an eyeshadow too."

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Belinda Everingham - Bondi Wash

Bondi Wash

When Belinda Everingham started reacting to synthetic chemicals in household and body products, she started thinking about the ingredients in the products she was using. 

Looking for safer, non-toxic alternatives, it was a trip to Far North Queensland that sparked inspiration for Bondi Wash

"We were surrounded by Australian native plants that I’d never heard of – many I discovered later are beautifully aromatic and have powerful properties," she tells Sitchu

"I’d always had a love for fragrance, and it struck me that Australia could create something special from their native plants."

Ten years on, and Bondi Wash now has over 40 different products, offering everything from Bench Spray to Body Wash and even a range for pets, and 11 natural scents, all combining the power and fragrance of Australian botanicals, with a luxurious mix of essential oils and natural ingredients.

The biggest lesson Belinda has learnt so far? It's all about perseverance. 

"Hurdles will come your way daily, and it comes down to how you solve them and whether you have the determination to keep going," she says.

Her other secret? "Surround yourself with people you enjoy being with...and have fun with it."

As far as what's next for Bondi Wash, Belinda says it's all about pushing the boundaries and exploring new things. Having recently launched their own botanical alcohol to mark the business' 10-year anniversary, new retail stores (both in Australia and overseas), new scents and ingredients and even a skincare line are all on the cards in the coming months. 

As busy as she sounds, there's one thing Belinda has learnt to embrace as she juggles work, self-care and parenting: lazy days. 

"I never beat myself up anymore if I have a slow day," she says. 

"I recognise they feed the mind and soul so you are ready for the buzzy, creative or challenging days."

Bondi Wash

Bondi Wash After Sun Mist, $25

Enriched with aloe vera and Kakadu plum, this After Sun Mist soothes and hydrates the skin after time spend in the sun. 

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Bondi Wash

Bondi Wash Swim & Sport Wash, $28

Designed to remove odours and refresh swimwear and sportswear, this 100% plant-based wash is fragranced in Sydney Peppermint and Rosemary for an uplifting and energising scent.

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Bondi Wash

Bondi Wash Dry Dog Wash, $20

A simple, convenient way to refresh your furry friend, this gentle, all-natural formulation is designed for a dog's sensitive skin and system. Plus, it contains Australian banksia seed oil to leave your fur baby's coast glossy and shiny.

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Alexandra Pappas - No. 22 Home

No.22 Home

When No.22 Home founder Alexandra Pappas realised her Instagram feed predominately featured architecture, interiors and decor, she thought perhaps her love of homewares and design could be more than just a hobby. 

"While travelling, I would constantly seek out unique items, prompting my husband to suggest turning this interest into a business," Pappas tells Sitchu

"I launched the brand in 2019 alongside a full-time job where I would store the products in our apartment and pack orders on weekends. The venture gradually grew, prompting me to leave my job and focus on No. 22 Home after two years."

And the gamble paid off: last year, the brand launched its Paris Collection, which had a waitlist of more than 5,000 and sold out quicker than Alexandra ever anticipated. The collection is just about to be restocked for the third time.

Her ethos of designing products made for creating memories clearly resonates with customers.

"Whether for entertaining or daily use, our products are designed to evoke positive emotions, ensuring that our customers cherish the moments associated with them," she says. 

"From intimate meals to gatherings with friends, our aim is to be a part of those special memories."

There's a lot to look forward to in 2024: from a twist to the much-loved and best-selling Capri plates and bowls, there are also collaborations and updates to flagship collections on the cards.

So how does Alexandra stay grounded and focused through the chaos of running her own business?

"The highlight and most treasured ritual is the weekly Saturday walk with my husband, three kids and two dogs where where we go to the local farmers market to buy produce and fresh flowers," she says. 

"It allows us to spend quality time as a family and adds a touch of beauty to our home with fresh blooms."

No. 22 Home

No. 22 Home Capri Collection, from $33

Inspired by the charming island of Capri, this collection invites a touch of Mediterranean to your dining table, featuring the delicate motifs inspired by designs that make the island so iconic. 

The collection is just about to undergo a revamp, with the new pieces among Alexandra's "current obsessions". 

"Our family have been using them daily and we love the fun and vibrant new designs," she says.

"I think they are going to be even more popular than our current Capri products, so stay tuned for their release!"

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Sandy Ronalds - Nat’v Basics

Nat'v Basics

When Sandy Ronalds couldn't find the eco-friendly underwear she was searching for, she knew what she had to do. Two years later, Nat'V Basics was born with the mission to provide meticulously crafted underwear that prioritises sustainability and ethical practices. 

"While we strive to uphold the highest standards of sustainability, it's important to acknowledge that achieving absolute perfection in this realm is a continuous journey," Sandy tells Sitchu

"Despite this, we remain steadfast in our commitment to minimising our environmental impact and promoting ethical manufacturing processes."

It's a mission that's sparked a dedicated fan base, of both business leaders and customers alike. Just last year, Nat'V Basics was awarded the Gold Coast Business Award in the Micro and Emerging category, with the team growing from a single-person operation to a crew of six in just three years. 

The secret? "Mastering the dance of cash flow, knowing your brand 'why' and building an unbreakable bond between customer and product," she says. 

"These aren't just bullet points in a business manual; they're the pulse points of survival and success in the ever-evolving arena of entrepreneurship. Understanding the ebbs and flows of finances, and crafting products that resonate deeply with our audience, are the cornerstone lessons that continue to shape our path forward."

For Sandy, the best feedback to receive from Nat'V Basics customers is for them to describe wearing her pieces as like "wearing nothing at all". 

"We take immense pride in providing garments that not only meet but exceed the expectations of our customers in terms of both comfort and performance," she says - something she hints customers can expect even more of in 2024.

Nat'v Basics

Nat'V ChiChi G String, $21

"When it comes to exercising, I swear by our ChiChi G," says Sandy.

"It's the ideal companion for wearing under activewear, offering both support and comfort."

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Nat'v Basics

Nat'V Classic Brief, $24

"For those cozy nights of sleep or long travels, nothing beats our Classic Brief. With its oversized vintage style reminiscent of Nana's knickers, the comfort it provides is truly unmatched."

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Nat'v Basics

Nat'v Chill Lounge Singlet ($29) & Short ($49)

"Let's not forget about our Chill Lounge set – it's like wrapping yourself in a cloud. Crafted from 95% Lenzing Modal, it's the epitome of softness and relaxation."

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Rachael Wilde - tbh Skincare

tbh Skincare

tbh Skincare is the brand founder Rachael Wilde was searching for during her teenage years.

Having suffered a 13-year-long battle with acne, stumbling upon the technology that's now in the brand's hero product while working in the medical devices industry was a breakthrough for her confidence and creativity. 

"I ended up trialling the product out of the lab on my own skin, and this is really where the spark for tbh Skincare was born," she tells Sitchu

Realising the massive opportunity that lay in bringing the product to market, Rachael also wanted to breathe innovation, fun and human connection back into the category. 

"The link between experiencing acne and the prevalence of mental health conditions such as depression is pretty well researched, and it is something that I lived out first-hand," she shares.

"There wasn't anyone in the category talking about this, it was all super clinical, white bottles, a whole bunch of jargon and definitely no fun! Acne is shrouded in a lot of shame and I really wanted to challenge this with the brand and bring something fresh into the space.

"That's why the packaging is bright and playful, the naming of the products is cheeky and we always talk about skin and acne in a way that normalises it and never puts it in a negative or shameful light."

It's a strategy that's won tbh Skincare a multitude of loyal fans - and last year, just four years in, they launched into Priceline and Coles.

"We went from having no retail shelf space to being stocked in over 1,200 doors in the space of nine months," she says. 

The brand's mission, however, has stayed the same: to make customers feel "that little bit braver to be their true selves". 

"It's confidence, but it's [also] knowing who you are and feeling like you can show up anywhere as that true and full version of yourself. When you're dealing with acne, this is so much harder to do," Rachael says. 

tbh Skincare

tbh Skincare Anti-Bacterial Cleanser, $24.95

"I am absolutely loving our latest launch, but I also can’t live without our anti-bacterial cleanser," says Rachael.

"This is my number one product that keeps my flare-ups at bay and I use it twice a day every day - I literally never miss it. We also have a few new products in the pipeline that I am testing and trialing which is also very exciting."

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Kellie Collis - Salt by Hendrix


While trying to find products and ingredients to help her son's battle with eczema (and her own skin sensitivities), Kellie Collis realised there was a gap in the market. 

"Once I started doing a deep dive into the products, the industry and ingredients, I was utterly confused," she tells Sitchu.

"[I] thought there has to be a simpler way to achieve that elusive goal of healthy, radiant skin."

Kellie created SALT BY HENDRIX, a name inspired by her son's happiness, honesty and brilliance and the philosophy of simplicity, new beginnings and evolution.

With hydrated, healthy, barrier-supported skin at the forefront in every formulation, Kellie has realised that when it comes to skincare, sometimes less is more. 

"While customers often enquire about percentages, the truth is that a higher number doesn't necessarily equate to efficacy," she says. 

"This realisation has fuelled our pride in aligning with data from clinical studies to substantiate the effectiveness of our active ingredients. By relying on scientific studies and aligning with these results, we not only provide our customers with value for their money but also ensure that our products deliver optimal performance."

Among Kellie's biggest "pinch-me" moments since launching SALT BY HENDRIX are partnering with retailers like The Iconic and Adore Beauty, as well as hearing how much her products have influenced her customer's lives for the better. 

"Every time a customer tells us a product has changed their skin and, in some cases, their lives, is such an incredible moment because it means we are having a positive impact on someone’s day," she says.

"In such a noisy, saturated market, having stand-out, life-changing products absolutely is why we are continually innovating and improving."

Running a busy business, Kellie still finds time to take a moment to herself, collect her thoughts and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. 

"My beauty routine is more to me than simply putting on products," she says. 

"I pay close attention to the foaming of the wash, how my face feels after cleansing and what it needs in addition to my regular routine, those simple reflections feel like the small ways I can centre myself and slow my mind.

"In a world of chaos, noise and so many things happening, this is the moment I savour for myself and absolutely look forward to it every day."


SALT BY HENDRIX Aurora Cloud Crème, $59.95

"Aurora Cloud Crème is the product I cannot skip in my routine," says Kellie.

"Over the years I have tried so many moisturisers that, whether it be summer or winter, they never could satisfy my skin not feeling tight and dry. We set out to formulate a cream that did everything that we couldn’t find and this is it; heavily hydrating, light texture, long-lasting without any slip or slide and doesn’t inhibit makeup application."

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SALT BY HENDRIX Glow Town Face Oil, $59.95

"I am also wild about our newly formulated Glow Town Oil because it gives that glow that we are known for, yet at the same time is uniquely formulated with a peptide and lipid complex that is so great for barrier-compromised skin. Food or the weather can easily irritate my skin and this is an incredible product for bringing down my redness and sensitivities."

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SALT BY HENDRIX Daily Vitamins - Hyaluronic Body Serum, $49.95

"I don’t love a heavy body product and cannot stand the feeling of heavy, residue-rich body products so I adore our Daily Vitamins – Hyaluronic and use our Daily Lipids Body Lotion to follow as it has a supple, velvet finish that leaves my skin hydrated without needing dry down time. Absolutely a bottle of golden goodness."

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Loving this insight into the lives of our fave female founders? Check out the female chefs in Sydney you have to add to follow, or read our guide to the best International Women's Day events in Sydney or Melbourne.

Our Sitchu editors work hard to deliver you the best products, events and venues that we hope you will love and each one is selected independently. Sitchu may receive an affiliate commission when you follow some links.

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