In light of this year's International Women's Day campaign theme #BalanceforBetter, we hope to inspire women to live and chase their dreams. Being a female-founded business, we want to highlight the importance of balance in the world. We need each other, regardless of our gender, to make the world a better place.

We asked three inspiring women close to our heart a few questions about life & womanhood. This is what they had to say. 

Q&A with Claire Mitchell
ECO. Modern essentials Founder & CEO

What inspired you to start ECO. Modern essentials?

I am a qualified accountant and have worked as Chief Financial Officer for high-grade tech companies. My vision was to transfer my business skills and passion for growing businesses to my own venture - developing a product range that’s true to me and that I love.

I purchased The Natalie Group in 2009 before launching ECO. Modern Essentials, with the aim of exporting a high quality Australian ‘eco’ brand to the rest of the world.

We’re proud to be an Australian company and proud to live on the Gold Coast. We carry out some manufacturing and supply at Varsity Lakes, alongside a specialist production facility in Melbourne. 

What experiences lead to the values you have instilled in your company?

To me, the concept of an ‘eco’ brand encompasses lifestyle. Our team is very passionate about the environment, including the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches, and try to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. 

Essential oils have been around for a long time and their benefits have been well-documented. We are passionate about educating our customers and ‘simplifying’ the use of oils – including the way we package and present them.

What does a fulfilled life look like to you?

To me being fulfilled is being challenged, learning constantly, being happy with your business and family, being active and feeling like you are making a contribution to the world and people around you. I love growing a brand like ECO and seeing what a positive impact it has on our customers, our ECO team and our community.

Q&A with Ashley Freeman
PT, Health Coach & Yoga Instructor

What does gender equality mean to you?
To me it’s not so much about gender or even about species. Simply put, I just believe that every living being on this planet deserves to be treated equally. That is everyone’s right, and it shouldn’t need to be granted by others. 

What is your greatest achievement?
My group of girlfriends whom I’ve had for over 20 years. We’ve all moved away lead different lives, but we all put in the effort to make sure our friendships are nourished and put first. I’m so blessed to have them, and we’re only growing stronger with the years.

What is your advice to help inspire and support women in their life journey? 
I think that we need to stop searching for ‘motivation’ or ‘inspiration’ so much from outside sources. All of our journeys are unique and we all have completely different hopes, dreams, aspirations and desires. It’s important to learn that we are the only authors/designers of our lives, and to remember that every day we hold the powerful tool of choice. Choice to change, grow and become whoever we want, at any moment. Our lives just come down to a series of choices, and then our attitude towards them. Always find a lesson, things happen FOR us, not TO us. Learn to ask for help and learn to say no. Women are the strongest creatures on the planet. But we don’t have to do it all alone. 

Q&A with Laura Wells
Presenter, Model & Environmentalist

What does gender equality mean to you?

To me gender equality is compassion- seeing each and every person as a human. We are all the same species regardless of how we describe ourselves, how we live, our wealth, status or education. 

I don’t necessarily believe in 50/50 equal representation on everything. Jobs or roles should be awarded based off ability. However equal pay for different sexes in the same role should just be the norm.

We all have inherent physiological differences which allows our bodies to adapt and perform in certain circumstances differently. However if a person has the ability to reach the same bench mark as another, no matter what sex they are, they should be given the same opportunity as another.

We shouldn’t have a patriarchal or matriarchal society, it should just be society, where everyone is equal as a homo sapien. 

What is your greatest achievement?

Learning to love my body just the way it is- with all its quirks, lines, wrinkles, scars, cellulite- the normal things that should never be called ‘flaws’. The ability to accept my body for how it looks, what it does and how it allows me to accomplish my goals is extremely powerful. It allows me to devote more time to the things I love, what I believe in and how I want the future to look. 

If I spent time worrying about how I looked I would never have the time to help others and create a healthier environment. 

What is your advice to help inspire and support women in their life journey?

Be you. Ignore the fears and expectations of others. Trying to please everyone and live up to someone else’s perception of what happiness or success or beauty is, is ultimately toxic and you can’t be yourself is you are busy being someone else.

Be adventurous, try new things, step outside of your comfort zone every single day. You will soon find that there is so much in the world you never knew about, you will meet people and have experiences you could never dream of and you will feed your soul, creating your own life, writing your own story. 

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