International Women’s Day – The Women Behind Iconic Aussie Beauty Brands

woman laying down with unique makeup

Celebrate International Women’s Day by throwing your support behind these female-founded Australian beauty brands. 

It’s International Women’s Day, so it’s time to show a little more support than usual by admiring these beauty brands (that are probably in your drawer right now) from Australian women. 

The beauty industry can be a competitive field, with a growing demand for the ‘perfect formula’, life-changing products that are both ethical and sustainable and a never-ending cycle of scandalous conflicts from beauty guru’s all over the world. 

However, through all the rough patches, women continue to push against barriers and build flourishing brands and products. 

These amazing Aussie women have successfully achieved the latter, embracing women empowerment:

Hillary Wilcox: Maaemo

Image of Hillary Wilcox
Founder of Maaemo

Naturopath and Founder of ‘Maaemo’, at just twenty-five years old, Hillary Wilcox has managed to create unique, certified organic skin care that has power to protect and nourish the skin. 

Young and successful, Hillary studied to become a Naturopath, understanding the physiology of the skin and which ingredients work for different skin conditions. 

Her in-depth knowledge of skincare, combined with her interest in the healing effects of herbs and botanicals eventually lead to the birth of her business ‘Maeemo’ in 2017. 

In 2020, Maeemo, achieved over a million dollars in sales and brought in Influencer, The Block star and model, Elyse Knowles to take the brand to its next journey. 

“I hope that my actions and achievements in business can give other women the encouragement and confidence to go out and chase their goals too”.  

“As women, we are strong, brave and smart. There is no limit to what we can achieve,” Hillary said. 

Michelle Hu: Etoile Collective 

Image of Michelle Hu
Founder of Étoile Collective

Growing up watching beauty influencers, Michelle was inspired (and still admires) a number of women in the beauty industry: 

“Emily Weiss, Jo Horgan, Jane Lu, Kate Morris, just to name a few -these women have shattered glass ceilings and inspired a generation of younger founders like myself. I recall spending my career’s formative years admiring, reading up and following these women’s journey and have no doubt that they have expanded what I thought was possible with Etoile. They made me dream bigger”, she said. 

Michelle studied commerce but never let go of her love of beauty. So, she combined her love for both and started ‘Étoile Collective’, which had a turnover of over five million dollars. 

Her company specialises in a wide selection of luxurious vanity mirrors, chic furniture staples, acrylic make-up organisers and large and small make-up bags, offering style and comfort for any beauty lover. 

She hopes she can inspire younger girls, like the women who influenced her to dream big. 

“As Étoile grows and our platform widens, I hope that by outwardly sharing my personal journey on Tik Tok, that I too can inspire future generations of females”, she said. 

Priscilla Hajiantoni: Bangn Body 

Image of Priscilla Hajiantoni
Founder of Bangn Beauty

In under two years in business, Priscilla Hajiantoni’s beauty brand, ‘Bangn Body’, became notable in the industry by selling their popular product, the ‘Yellow Tube of Goodness’, every two minutes globally reaching 3,000 units in just twelve weeks. 

Priscilla grew up around the beauty industry, thanks to her Mother and Auntie, and their popular chain of beauty and hair salons.  

Priscilla quickly understood what women needed for their skin and paired with an Associate Degree in Business and a Diploma in Project Management, Human Resource Management and Social Media Marketing, she continued the beauty business line in her family by launching ‘Bangn Body’. 

Her company is an all Australian, natural and vegan-friendly firming and anti-ageing beauty range, which made thirty-thousand dollars within the first three months.

“To be a successful female in a competitive industry means challenging the status quo and leading with purpose as this will become your identity to create positive change,” Priscilla said. 

Sammy Leonard: Breeze Balm 

Image of Sammy Leonard
Founder of Breeze Balm

As the founder and CEO of Australian-made, cruelty-free and sustainably produced lip balms, Sammy Leonard managed to sell 13,747 balms in just twenty-four hours post launch. 

By using a secret family formula from her grandfather who was a pharmacist, Sammy creates and stocks six unique lip balms that are flexible for the face and body – the balm can be used on dry noses, irritated skin, cracked heels… basically anywhere. 

Sammy believes that it’s important for women to break through the barriers that have been set throughout history for women to gain success in the entrepreneurial world. 

“In 2021, women have much stronger voices, are lawyers, are fire fighters, are builders and can do whatever they set their mind to”. 

“There is still a stigma around women in the workplace, but there is something to be said for being a woman who owns her own business. She is proud, successful, strong and loud. She can do whatever she sets her mind to,” she said. 

Madison Rapa: Tanzee 

Image of Madison Rapa
Founder of Tanzee

In 2015, Madison Rapa solved the overlooked problem of fake tan stains on bed sheets by creating ‘Tanzee’ – self tan bed-sheet protector. 

Her genius invention got the attention of many A-list stars including Tash Oakley, Huda Kattan, Chloe Morello, Tammin Sursok, and Real Housewives of New York’s Sonja Morgan, and more.

However, Madison’s true success story stems from her battle with Lymes Disease, running the business whilst in and out of the hospital since starting Tanzee in 2015,  

With celebrities like Yolanda and Bella Hadid and Avril Lavigne speaking out about the disease, Madi is hopeful everyday voices will start to be heard too. 

“To me female empowerment means trying to support other women as well as yourself, being kind and humble while also celebrating your success and being proud of your accomplishments.”

Her persistence in running ‘Tanzee’ paid off, as she then created the multi-purpose Fairy Dust Self Tan Drying Powder, a product that helps the tan or makeup dry in seconds with a shimmery glow. 

Czelene Villanueva


Czelene is an aspiring journalist who wants to enter into the field of news, film and television. She loves being with her friends and family and can never resist going out to eat, especially Korean bbq. Czelene has also been lucky enough to travel and has visited multiple countries including Japan, Switzerland and France- Iceland is next on her bucket list as she prefers the freezing cold than the scorching Australian heat.

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