Here's to the women who help to build our business world – International Women's Day 2019 #BalanceForBetter

Odette Barry Odette & Co team shot

This year's International Women's Day is shining a big ol' spotlight on the theme 'balance for better' – something we're keen to champion by shining our own spotlight on the women who make our present – and our future – more exciting, more soul-fulfilling and more dream-come-true-worthy than we could ever imagine. So here's to women everywhere striving to build a gender-balanced world.

Being a business owner is next-level tough. Each and every day you find yourself pulled in a million different directions and, ultimately, end up feeling like you’re doing everything really, really badly.

But, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt during my time as a small business owner, it’s that you don’t have to go it alone. I consider myself downright lucky to have met some truly incredible women on this here journey so far – women who are out there doing their own fabulous things. It’s these connections that feed my soul and inspire me daily.

And thanks to ye olde internet, I have formed equally wonderful connections with people who live bloody miles away. They have become some of my dearest friends – I chat with them daily, I DM them when I’m sad, broken and down and together we celebrate wins, share laughs, GIFs and some pretty terrible jokes about cheese.

But I digress…

As a great leader once said (Pru Chapman of Owners Collective… I’m looking at you)… “now is an absolute golden age for small business. We are going to look back on this time like our folks talk about Woodstock, it’s the absolute golden era for small business owners.”

And I can’t disagree. With the internet, direct messaging and Facebook groups, I’m more connected than I could want to be, with humans that light my fire and teach me on the daily.

I have a fierce and strong local community in Byron who I am SO lucky to meet with fortnightly, I have an industry niche tight knit group of pals who TOTALLY understand and nourish the journey I’m on and I have the broader digital community who I connect with via Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn who support and celebrate the wins and stories we share.

These are just some of the talented women in my community and you need to know about them – they are fiercely talented, loyal, lady legends and O&C love every bit of them.  


Jess RuhfusCollabosaurus

This girl – she’s an all-round collaboration ninja. She’s the bravest, fastest mover and shaker going round. She also eats way too much cheese for someone who is lactose intolerant. That aside, she launched her biz when she was just 22 years old (oh-my-gawd) and has grown it from the ground up. Today, the collaborating platform – best described as ‘Tinder for business’ – has more than 4000 brand partnerships.

And after one conversation with her I knew exactly why she’s been so successful. Jess is a creative thinker, a strategic problem solver, all the while talking at a million miles an hour and making me laugh so hard my belly aches. She is so amazingly generous with her time, energy and ideas…all while building an empire. As for her ability to transform businesses through her tech solution – game changing.


Cherie Clonan – The Digital Picnic

Speaking of generous, this woman ramps it up a notch. Cherie pours her heart and soul out on socials daily, all to the benefit of other business owners who are quietly sat on the other side of the screen, killing themselves to survive in business. She spouts non-stop wisdom and knowledge and is next-level when it comes to articulating and talking to our problems. It’s her magic.

But, she doesn’t stop there. Cherie offers so much support and empathy about ze biz struggles and juggles via DM late into the night…or in a taxi… at an airport lounge… or on the couch. And despite the closeness of our business offering, she consistently shares her golden-nugget learnings with me, and for that I am forever grateful. It’s thanks to Cherie I’m currently traipsing halfway round the word to SxSW to soak up all the worldly tech/social nerdery goodness.

Cherie is transforming the landscape of social for small business owners, while also straddling CHANGING THE INDUSTRY standards through incredibly thoughtful and accommodating business practices that support flexibility, reasonable working hours, kick arse opportunities within the four walls of her business.

Talk about standards, hers are high and she OVER delivers.


Frankie Ratford – The Design Kids

This lady fell out of the sky and deep into my life. A recent fabulous close addition to the business BFF category, Frankie is beyond sunshine. She radiates nuggets of gold, non-stop. We go ‘running’ (I use the term loosely) every Tuesday and Thursday morning and while stomping through Byron’s sun-soaked streets we talk shop. Believe me when I say it’s just about the best business therapy you could ever ask for.

Frankie’s been around the block in biz, but she is refreshingly real when it comes to her success…she’s fought bloody hard for it and it didn’t come easy (although her Insta tiles tell a different story). She has hustled her way across the globe and read the best business library you can imagine. This woman is inspiring, funny as all get out and generous, oh so generous.


Nat Woods – The Corner Palm and Clean Coast Collective

This girl is sweeter than you can imagine. Slow and gentle in her touch on the earth and the people around her, Nat is building several empires that are changing the planet. She cares and she takes action – something that I aspire to do more of. Each day in her business community she is so generous and supportive, kind and an incredible listener. But she’s always ready to dish up a healthy does of real talk too, something that earths my crazy brain. Nat has been such a massive supporter of this little business and has referred some superstar people into our family – for that I am so incredibly grateful.

Kirsten Kore – Designerex

Kirsten is one half of a very bright, shiny thing known as Designerex and they’re truly the dream client. Together with her husband Costa, these guys are transforming the face of fast fashion – moving high fashion lovers from high churn, low value fashion, towards a sharing economy for fashion lovers. And since fashion is one of the biggest pollutants to our environment, this good thing they’ve got going on is truly game changing. And soon they’ll launching into the US market – all with their lil 18-month old lady Maddison in tow. Clearly, there’s no slowing these two down and while they’re tech talent and entrepreneurial starlets, they’re also incredibly kind and grateful humans. Every time we talk they basically ooze goodness. They raise us up as their biggest supporters and, as a result, I can feel us thriving and growing together – and that’s a wonderful thing.


Becky Searles – Family Garden Life

This here lady legend is changing the world from her garden. An unsuspecting hero, Becky is a quiet, no fuss achiever and she’s incredibly strategic, thoughtful and hard working. She’s been an O&C champion from day dot and is here for the long run. From her own vege patch, Becky is educating families on how to grow their own veges and feed the family organic, pesticide-free food that they can all grow together. Super cool, right? And she’s so very humble about… she’s supportive, hilarious and always good for a chat about the challenges (and joys) of business. She has a knack for community building and just seems to ‘get it’ in business – and that right there is a unique talent friends. She’s one of the few business owners I know who intimately understands the drivers of her business and how to get from a to b. Becky is an inspiring little pocket rocket.


Morag Gamble / Permaculture Education Institute – Our Permaculture Life

Admission: this lady has my utmost respect. My cousin is an absolute rock star for the environment. The earth, I’m pretty sure, is god damn grateful that she was born. Morag is reducing her footprint on the daily, growing her own kitchen permaculture garden from her idyllic commune, all the while chatting online daily with her digital community about how to live a better life on this earth. Her permaculture online course is one of the best in the world – she’s worked with the most renowned figures in environmental issues and permaculture and is constantly, generously giving EVERYTHING she knows away, for free, to help more people make less harmful choices for the earth. Now that’s what I call inspiring.


Lucy Mullo – Mullo Studio

This little woman came into my life through The Well and I haven’t looked back. Her friendship across our businesses and through our personal lives is so very real, and so very valuable. Lucy is a heartfelt, bloody awesome compliment giver but no, that’s not the only reason she’s a woman that everyone should know. She’s so deeply thoughtful about her design work. She digs deep into her client briefs, she’s attentive, careful and empathetic to their needs and it’s a joy to watch both her clients and her own studio, Mullo, flourish on her business journey. On top of talent like that, Lucy is kind, seriously funny, incredibly thoughtful, respectful and truly an inspiring woman to be around.  


Jody Vassallo – The Yogic Kitchen / Farmer cookbook

Jody has just launched her 29835983405th book this week, The Yogic Kitchen, all while single-handedly managing the launch of Farmer cookbook, which has managed to raise $60k for the Aussie farming community. That right there is the stuff legends are made of. Jodes is so connected to the industry she works in. She moves gently, but with a fierce determination and generosity – she’s a sight to behold. She has incredibly high standards, so high, but for good reason. It’s because she knows talented people who can deliver. She has this way of wrangling together the biggest and brightest team of volunteers, and she does it because people see her as an active role model. She gives so much of herself. Too much, perhaps. But she changes lives with her generosity. She opens people’s hearts, and her cookbooks transform the way people feel about food, and the way they nourish their bodies.


Team O&C – Odette & Co

And finally, I couldn’t have a business if it wasn’t for the next-level talent that my success is built upon. These are the word wizards, the thinkers, the number cruncher, designers and the all round super star gems I’m lucky enough to work with daily. Each woman brings a kindness, a deepness and a love of their craft that makes my heart sing and our business thrive. Here’s to Steph, Em, Kel, Kirin, Jacquie and Tess…the women beneath O&C’s wings.

Odette Barry