Today I am excited to welcome Alanna Bastin-Byrne to the TWH Sisterhood and let you know more about the amazing work she has been creating. Alanna is the co-founder of Femeconomy, community builder and a globetrotting nomad.
Alanna, along with her sister-in-law Jade Collins, created Femeconomy to make a better world for their daughters. Femeconomy is proudly a for profit social enterprise, role modelling female leadership and entrepreneurship. Alanna and Jade believe that if you see it, you can be it.
Together, they want women to shop brands with female leaders to create gender equality. Over 2000 brands are listed on the website and over 700 of these meet Femeconomy’s approval criteria of at least 50% female owned or 30% of women on the Board of Directors.
You are an incredibly talented lady; tell us a bit more about yourself and your story so far…
I grew up in Central Queensland living with my parents who were publicans. They taught me hard-work, how to be your authentic self and to love a challenge. After University and working for 16 years leading marketing, communications and community development teams throughout Australia and London, I now live in Northern New South Wales with my own family. I am proving that you can work remotely, flexibly and regionally and change the world.
My Co-Founder and sister-in-law, Jade Collins had the brainwave for Femeconomy in January 2016. The four key elements influenced the formation of Femeconomy are:
- That women make 85% of purchase decisions
- Gender equality won’t be achieved in Australia for another 170 years. Australia is 46th on the global scale in 2016. Rwanda, Nicaragua and The Philippines are all in the top 10
- Countries with higher rates of gender equality have lower rates of domestic violence
- We both have daughters and don’t want doors to be closed to them because of their gender
What is Femeconomy?
We want you to shop brands with female leaders to create gender equality. Women make 85% of consumer purchase decisions. You are the female economy. In Australia alone during 2016 women spent $198.9 billion. That is a huge economic lever we can use to advance gender equality.
The reason we want you to care about brands with female leaders is because culture is lead from the top. Companies with female leaders are more likely to have work flexibility, less of a gender and superannuation pay gap and they’re more profitable, which means more opportunities for everyone.
Research from the Peterson Institute of International Economics showed that going from having no women on the Board of Directors to a 30% share is associated with a 15% profit increase for a typical firm. That means more opportunities at work for women and men. Gender equality benefits everyone, we just believe the female economy can move us towards an equal future faster.
Can you tell me more about Femeconomy’s approval criteria?
At least 30% women on the Board of Directors or 50% female ownership. The reason we request 30% women on the Board of Directors is because we have chosen to align our target with the Australian Institute of Company Directors goal to have 30% women on Boards by 2018.
We have researched over 2000 brands and so far, over 700 meet our approval criteria. The reason we list non-approved brands on the site, is to help you choose brands who are Femeconomy approved. So, next time you are shopping choose Sorbent not Kleenex, Country Road not Seed and Woolworths or Coles, not ALDI. Each brand can be substituted.
I love your vision: To make it more equal for women of the world. What has been your proudest moment in creating this company with such a great vision?
I would say it’s a series of proudest moments. On a daily basis, it is seeing our network collaborating because it is an extension of the women supporting women ethos.
It’s receiving feedback that people have had gender equality discussions at home or at work because of our community engagement. That engagement manifests itself in different ways, whether it’s asking a husband to share the care, asking for a pay rise at work, or asking their male colleague not to call them ‘girl.’
Then there are the bigger moments like meeting the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, being announced as Women2Watch in Retail Disruption or being profiled by Women’s Agenda.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration?
My Nana. It’s unbelievable to me that you can have seven children, be a single parent, run a pub and still have a sense of humour!
What has been the most rewarding thing that has come from running your own business?
Making decisions daily and being accountable for those decisions. I have never been scared to try new things, in fact it is the opposite, I am addicted to new things. It is difficult to mirror this level of adaptability in large organisations. I like seeing what works, what doesn’t, receiving feedback from customers and changing what we’re doing as a result. Coupled with this is the frankness of the discussions with my Co-Founder and sister-in-law, Jade Collins.
Do you have any advice for women who are struggling to follow their dreams?
Sometimes it can be a long road to follow your dreams and you must be prepared to trek. You need inspiration and perspiration.
I also think you need to determine what your boundaries are financially, emotionally and socially. Once you have a goal and parameters in place, each day is about making another decision to advance your plan. Don’t worry if you make a wrong decision, just make another decision to fix it.
Work hard and play hard. When you’re at work give it your all and consistently step outside of your comfort zone to learn. It’s also important to reflect and think about your customers’ needs or how you can be more efficient. In terms of play hard, it means when I am with my friends and family I like to have a great time and be in the moment. I also love sharing new experiences with loved ones to create memories to cherish forever.
What does the future hold for Alanna?
Our goal is to map every company with female leaders in Australia, US and UK. Femeconomy is trademarked in each of these regions. Did you know female consumers in the US spent $39.45 trillion over the last year? Companies who meet our criteria can submit their company to us to be listed.
You don’t have to look very far to see that female lead companies often give back to those in need, prioritise sustainability, have less cases of fraud and manage risk well. Imagine a world where more ethical companies dominated the corporate landscape and home businesses were thriving to help people enjoy the work/life blend… I would like take part in creating that world.
To find out more about Alanna or Femeconomy head on over to the website here: https://femeconomy.com/