Building a business, any business, is no easy task. It takes passion, determination and a vision that often no one except for you can see. But if you stick it out, stick to your guns and push through, the results can be incredible.

Just ask these 4 amazing women, who through passion and hard work created 3 incredible businesses that are going from strength to strength.

Founded in Sydney by Lisa a mum of 2, Ace + Jet is a brand built from humble beginnings. The name was inspired by her 2 gorgeous sons and was created with a vision to create functional, classic and affordable handmade pieces that couldn’t be found in Australia. From here Ace + Jet was born. With so many fashion pieces these days being churned out of a factory and machine made on a huge scale with a lack of soul, with Ace + Jet the focus instead is on creating beautiful pieces that are hand made with skill and passion.

Third Boi is the creation of Melbourne designer Bianca Latorre. “I wanted to go out on my own, but this time I would pursue my first love….Fashion! I basically grew up in my Nonna’s sewing room.  She and my mum would cut and sew everything from bedsheets to evening dresses.  That’s where my appreciation for fabric and dressmaking started; they taught me everything I know.  So I decided to get working on a range that would fulfill my new dress code as a working from home mum with run around duties and daily coffee runs”

Sophie Van Den Akker and Kate Benden are the powerhouse duo behind activewear brand Vault Active. “We had a dream and we took the chance; we hope you do too. Creating our baby Vault Active has been the biggest workout of all but by far the most satisfying. We aim to embody confidence starting in young women and following all the way through to our mothers the wise ones. Sustainability is one of our key focuses, we are passionate about reducing unnecessary waste and creating a new future for the way people view activewear.”

As we celebrate International Women’s Day it was so exciting for me to have a chance to speak to these amazing ladies and discuss all things business, balance and bringing their dreams into a reality.

Happy International Women’s Day to you all – I hope you are spending it in full celebration mode. What does this day mean to each of you?

BIANCA LATORRE – THIRD BOI: It’s a good reminder to step back and celebrate all our wins, small or large, as women in business.

SOPHIE VAN DEN AKKER & KATE BENDEN – VAULT ACTIVE: We love this day it is a celebration of Women and all our accomplishments whether they be big or small. Celebrating women in all their glory and supporting each other is what it’s is all about and doing it as a team.

LISA POTTER – ACE + JET: This day is all about women supporting other women. We need to view each other as teammates and not competitors. The theme of international women’s day this year is ‘Each for equal’ As a mother of two beautiful boys I feel a great responsibility to teach my sons about gender equality.

Hopefully they will see through all my hard work that women are just as capable as men and that we deserve to be treated as equals in a business setting.

As businesswomen, what have been some of your biggest challenges and triumphs?

BIANCA LATORRE – THIRD BOI: In business, you cross paths with many people in different capacities. Realising that not everybody is going to share and support as willingly as you do, does open your eyes…. this can be challenging and sometimes deflating.

But on the flip side, you also uncover a world of amazing people, often perfect strangers, who are more than happy to do what they can to help and cheer you on. I’d like to name a few such people but I am lucky enough to have a list that is too long!

SOPHIE VAN DEN AKKER & KATE BENDEN – VAULT ACTIVE: As businesswomen, we like celebrating all triumphs to put the fun in business and to acknowledge the wins along the way, there have been many learning curves along the way and we don’t get to a higher position without learning from our mistakes, our mistakes have taught us much more than our achievements.

LISA POTTER – ACE + JET: One of the biggest challenges I have had to face has been inventory management. It has been so hard to predict the popularity of certain items and I have found myself in many out of stock situations.

This is not ideal when you begin to build momentum and then boom out of stock! I now have a system whereby I place orders the minute a product gets below a certain number. It’s not a perfect system and I am forever trying to improve it but before I was flying blind with no system at all.

You are all Mamas, which no doubt comes with an abundance of joy – but requires phenomenal juggling skills. What do you think is the secret to balancing work/life as a working parent?

BIANCA LATORRE – THIRD BOI: Lists, Lists, Lists …. make a note of what you have to do or guaranteed, you will forget to do it!  As far as balance goes, it’s tricky but we all need to step away from our phones.

SOPHIE VAN DEN AKKER & KATE BENDEN – VAULT ACTIVE: Time management plays a huge role in our day to day tasks we find Waking up before the kids planning our day and setting ourself upright for a powerful start, coffee plays a big part.

LISA POTTER – ACE + JET: One of the biggest challenges of running a business is juggling work life, with home life and most importantly mum life. At times it can feel very overwhelming and I feel I’m not giving 100% to any aspect of my life.

I’ve managed to overcome this however with being very careful with how I manage my time. I set specific time frames to complete a work task and if it’s not done within that time frame I walk away and finish it later. It takes incredible discipline.

That way work time doesn’t interfere with home time and the time that should be spent with my family. I also make sure not to look at my emails before the kids are at school. I want to give them my full attention and not be stressing about my inbox

If a young girl starting out in business was to come to you for advice, what would be the 3 biggest pieces of advice on running a business?

BIANCA LATORRE – THIRD BOI:

  • Find a mentor if you can, one who has been in the ring themselves.
  • Do digital marketing course and get very savvy about social media
  • Go with your gut (but don’t beat yourself up if your gut tells you completely the wrong thing).

SOPHIE VAN DEN AKKER & KATE BENDEN – VAULT ACTIVE: What does your ideal day look like for you? Is the question we would ask because the response we received outlays the goals that need to be out in place. Don’t let anyone influence you, it’s your dream, follow your goals and take each step as it comes.

LISA POTTER – ACE + JET: There will be good days and there will be hard days but don’t give up. Ride the rollercoaster cause it’s all part of the fun.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Don’t allow your own thoughts to get the better of you. Tell yourself over and over I can and I will!

You will make mistakes and that’s okay we all do. Use them to learn and to improve your business and yourself.  Make a list of the takeaways and what you can do to ensure they don’t happen again. Try not to bog yourself down with negative self-talk over them.

If you were to meet one inspirational woman – past or present – who would you want to meet and what would you ask her?

BIANCA LATORRE – THIRD BOI: If I can name a few, I’d love to meet founders of my all-time favourite Australian labels…. Margie Woods from Viktoria and Woods and Deborah Sams and Mary Lou Ryan from Bassike and ask them how long it was before they felt they had hit their stride and found some consistent success with their businesses?

SOPHIE VAN DEN AKKER & KATE BENDEN – VAULT ACTIVE: Angelina Jolie would be my go-to. She has accomplished so much and has given back with her knowledge she has learned along her journey.  I feel as though this is so important and beautiful to see in a world that so many people can get lost within the industry and lose themselves. We feel as though she still shines.

LISA POTTER – ACE + JET: This is a question that I find tough to answer. There are so many inspirational women that it is hard to pick just one. I would have to say Michelle Obama is up there for me. I would ask her how on earth did she manage it all? Mum life, being the first lady and doing it all with such beauty and grace in the spotlight. She is such an amazingly calm human.