IWD 2023: Fabulous Female Founder Series, Blog 1

Wednesday the 8th of March, 2023 is International Women’s Day. This International Women’s Day, the theme put forward by the United Nations and UN Women is DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality. 

From the earliest days of computing to the present age of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, women have made untold contributions to the digital world in which we increasingly live. Their accomplishments have been against all odds, in a field that has historically neither welcomed nor appreciated them.   

In honour of this year’s International Women’s Day, in collaboration with Sans Beast and five other female founded brands, we’re celebrating women by sharing the stories of seven female founded Australian businesses over two blog posts. 

Read more about the first four fabulous women we’re featuring, and how they built their brands below: 

MELISSA PAIN – Founder of MoveActive

Established: 2009 

“I started MoveActive while I was on maternity leave with my second child in 2009, after realising that there was a gap in the market for stylish and functional Pilates and yoga accessories. 

I juggled motherhood and working on the business part-time over the next five years (until my kids made it to primary school), then was able to really jump into it full time in 2014.” 

Purpose/vision of business?   

My vision for MoveActive was to create Pilates and yoga accessories which are fun, functional and stylish, while also ensuring we are a company driven by sustainability.  Since the beginning of starting my business, I’ve had incredible women working alongside me, from marketing students in the early days, to driven, young, successful women now. MoveActive started with an idea but came to fruition with the help and support of the people around me. Balancing motherhood and being a founder wouldn’t have been possible without my team. 

Favourite element of running your own show?   

In the early days, as a mum, I enjoyed the flexibility of being able to work around my family’s schedule and ensure I wasn’t missing pivotal moments as my kids were growing up. Now, what I enjoy most, is the creative side - having a vision and being able to bring it to life. 

“I have always believed in embracing diversity and giving back to those who are less fortunate to impact positive change. This was the foundation for building my business, and a big part of why I partnered with i=Change from early on in my business journey.” 


CATHRYN WILLS – Founder of Sans Beast

Established: May 2017 


The road that brought me to Sans Beast is long.  After working for many years in the fashion retail space, I slowly woke up to the fact I had a blinkered view of the pain and suffering of industrially farmed animals, and I was using the skins, fibres and feathers of these animals to build my career.  Cue existential crisis.  I went vegetarian in 2015, then vegan in 2017 and decided that instead of continuing to build business for others and ignore my values, it was time to back myself and follow my own path and vision.  It’s been the hardest, yet the most fulfilling role I’ve had to date.    

Best thing about business ownership 

The constant learning, creativity and mind twisting challenge of building something from nothing.  I’m so grateful for this chapter in my life and excited to share it with a growing team of strong women.  

“Women are often underestimated in business.  I’ve been seen as a creative and therefore lacking commercial acumen for most of my career – despite holding commercial leadership roles.  I encourage the women in our team and anyone I mentor, to recognise that commercial acumen is not gendered, and they can do anything they set their mind to”. 


EMMA & ISABEL – Founders of Soleil Soleil

Established: December, 2020 

Purpose:  Soleil Soleil is our baby, and it truly does take a village. Although it’s just us two behind the scenes here, every part of our business has been supported by our girlfriends, sisters, mums and mentors. We couldn’t do this without them, and we are continuously empowered by the women in our life and the women we aspire to be. 

Favourite element of running your own show?   

We consider it an amazing privilege to work in such a female dominated industry that has given us the opportunity to be inspired by and learn from, SO many incredible women. 


Stay tuned for the second blog of this series, dropping on International Women’s Day on March 8th. 

Don’t miss out on entering our social giveaway with Sans Beast. For your chance to win $1300 in gift cards from: 
Fluff @itsall.fluff 
Sheet Society @sheetsociety 
MoveActive @moveactive 
TWOOBS @twoobs 
Soleil Soleil @_soleilsoleil 
Dirt Laundry @thedirtcompany 
Sans Beast @sans.beast 
Simply head to @sans.beast on Instagram and: 
1. Follow each amazing brand 
2. Tag your favourite power woman. 
3. Extra love if you share on your stories. 
Giveaway is international.
Winner will be announced 6pm AEDT on March 8th, International Women’s Day 2023.