Carrie Harman

Local Women in Business Series

meet ten inspiring
auckland women
rocking business ownership

Auckland is a region of New Zealand known for its diversity, and exciting urban atmosphere filled with opportunities. It should therefore come as no surprise that Auckland is also home to a wide array of women business owners who are savvy and successful in their industries. Being a woman in business is more than just a job title. It takes an extreme amount of dedication, confidence, and networking knowhow to blossom into a success story. We’ve compiled a list of ten women who exemplify what it means to be a member of the Auckland Women in Business Community

Sarah Davies from

Sweet Spot Business Coaching

Sarah Davies - Sweet Spot Business Coaching Blog Image + logo

What does your business do? I work with service businesses who need help to Get Booked! I help them go from frustrated and despondent to confident and motivated by helping them build a consistent flow of clients through setting up their foundational marketing, helping them navigate sales conversations and package up their offers so they are appealing. 

Why did you start your business? I started my business because I wanted to help smaller businesses who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to get the expertise they needed to help move them to get ‘unstuck’.

Who is your dream client? Service business owners who are passionate about their businesses. They may be ex- corporates transitioning to consulting, well established service businesses who need a fresh perspective or start-ups wanting to get clients through the door easily so they can focus on the work they love. 

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? Oh gosh this is hard. I’m going to say an owl as I like to think I give wise advice as well as being a good listening ear and I take my clients under my wing and really care for them and look after them. 

Why should someone do business with you? Because I can help them create the business they want and get clients consistently coming  through the door. 

What is the first place you’re going to go once you get out of lockdown? Go to the tennis courts and smash some balls.

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? Make sure you ALWAYS follow up. So much money is left on the table by service businesses  not bothering to following up. – the absolute worst that will happen is that the prospect will say no- and that’s ok, you’ll survive. 

Tamara Liebman from Calibrate legal

What does your business do? I am a commercial law specialist working with small businesses.

Why did you start your business? I wanted to work for myself, and I wanted to serve small businesses, who are often unable to access specialist business law advice for an affordable price.

Who is your dream client? A self-employed person or owner of a small business, who can see the value specialist advice can add to their business. I get a kick out of getting to know my clients and their businesses, so my ideal client is someone who is interested in forming a relationship with me as a trusted advisor.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? Calibrate Legal is a hummingbird – small, quick, responsive and colourful.  Calibrate Legal is also partial to sweet treats!

Why should someone do business with you?  I am friendly, approachable and have a knack for explaining legal matters and drafting documents in plain English.

What is the first place you’re going to go once you get out of lockdown? The cinema!  I love the big screen experience, there’s nothing like it.

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? Build a team of supporters and advisors around yourself and your business.  Don’t try to do it all yourself!

Caitlin taylor from chasing cait

What does your business do? I’m an everyday personal stylist and style coach

Why did you start your business? I LOVE clothes, but I also really love helping people to feel good about themselves (I studied psychology) and my mum actually suggested I put the two together, and who knew – 10 years later, I’m still going!

Who is your dream client? Someone who just really wants to harness the power of personal style, who is struggling with confidence, and showing people who they really are. Someone who is ready to step into their authentic self and really show their own amazing and unique personality through style.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? A swan…. it might look smooth and put together on top, but underneath I’m paddling like hell to keep everything going haha!

Why should someone do business with you? I’m fun, I’m an expert in my field and I treat my clients the way I treat my friends and family – with care and respect. You’re putting something quite personal and vulnerable in my hands, your confidence and style, so I’m going to be gentle, and positive and make it a great experience for you, all whilst giving YOU what you need (and not just making you look like me, which is often a barrier I come up against)

What is the first place you’re going to go once you get out of lockdown? ummm is this ever a question? To the shops! haha, no really, it’s probably daycare.

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? Every now and then, just take a moment to stop, look back and see how far you’ve come. We’re always too busy looking forward, trying to reach the next thing, and we’re never really satisfied. But if we take a moment to look back, we can reflect on how much we’ve already achieved! it can be really motivating – in life, and in business. Oh, and my other piece of advice (in life AND business)  is leggings are not pants…. haha.

Sarah hilyard from 

sweet axe throwing co.

What does your business do? We give people unforgettable experiences! We host unique events from birthdays to corporate team building days, teaching groups how to throw axes. Once they know the basics and are throwing confidently, we’ll get stuck into a competition to crown an axe throwing champion!

Why did you start your business? My partner and I were both looking for something more in life. When we were working for other people we each cared so much about delivering the best service we could in our job, and were really driven to grow someone else’s business. After a while, in the types of work environment that seem quite common (top-down, profit driven businesses) it became really taxing and unmotivating. I felt like I almost cared more than anyone else around me and that the metrics most businesses measure success by didn’t match my values! It was never enough for me to simply clock in, clock out. 

I came across axe throwing and I was really taken with how accessible and inclusive it is. It doesn’t fit in a neat little box, it breaks stereotypes, and excites people in a way very few things do! 

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, fueled by doing things differently. So it felt like a really easy choice to completely uproot our lives, move country and start a business in a place where we knew only one other person! There were a lot of people who thought we’d fail but we always knew we’d be okay. 

Who is your dream client? Everyone! Maybe that seems like a vague answer but I really believe in creating a space that’s accessible, with options that suit lots of different needs. For example, the majority of our business comes from workplaces looking to reward their staff or impress clients, but we also host events for individuals and even an axe throwing league which is connected to a massive world-wide axe throwing community! We’re even on the amputee association’s event schedule for their conference next year. 

That said, my favourite client is the person who didn’t want to be here, who doesn’t think of themselves as sporty or co-ordinated or strong or maybe the person who’s a little scared about throwing an axe! They’re the reason I love what I do – the transformation that we see in these customers is amazing. I’ve had people have breakthroughs, cry with happiness, hug me, kiss me, cheer, we make people feel incredible. 

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? Unpopular opinion: I think it’s an ant! But maybe like a fun aunt-ant? We’re community-driven and ambitious- we’re building something big! We’ve brought a whole sport to New Zealand, and really we’re just two normal people who have never done anything like this before- it’s wild!

Why should someone do business with you? I’m passionate, logical & love building connections & I’ve created a business that lives and breathes its’ values; Inclusivity, Community & Fun. If these are ideals that resonate with you, you should definitely give it a crack! 

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? 

A a piece of business advice, think about your business as a mini version of the world, its ecosystems, its politics, its currency, its hierarchy. What type of world do you want to live in? For me, it’s a place that is value driven, one that doesn’t give a crap what you look like, what gender you are, whether you’re religious or rich or educated. It’s a place that doesn’t give a platform to hate or ignorance. It values the environment, it supports local businesses & creators and our community is queen. But that’s just me, what does your world look like? I figure that once you understand that, you’ll not only have a business with purpose, but you’ll also feel unapologetically you there. 

In life, there are so many people and opportunities, and jobs, so many options that if something really doesn’t fit right, maybe make a plan or at least keep your eyes open for something that resonates with you. I spent a lot of years feeling like I needed to work harder to make something fit right. I had a lot of self-doubt when it came to my career, where I am now, I have very few doubts. I’ve always believed in what we’re doing and because of that I’ve always known it will be a success. 

What is the first place you’re going to go once you get out of lockdown? Churly’s on Dominion Road – They do nose to tail butchery & big hitting beers!

Sarah - Sweet Axe Throwing Co Blog Image+logo

Carrie harman from

carrie harman creativE

What does your business do? Tell stories about local businesses doing amazing things.  I create captivating content that local businesses use to attract the clients they want to work with. My speciality is visual content, particularly video, but also other visual content such as attention-grabbing social media posts and documentary style photography. 

Why did you start your business? To help local businesses tell their stories, and attract the clients or customers that they WANT to work with, without burning out and losing their passion for what they do. I love storytelling, I love shining the light on those passionate about making a difference, and I love connecting people and creating communities. There are so many local businesses doing amazing things, but they either don’t realise they are amazing, don’t know how to tell their stories in an engaging way, or don’t have the confidence to do so. That’s where I help them. 

Who is your dream client? Purpose-driven businesses who are ready to share their stories, inject some personality into their online content, and attract their dream clients . Often these are service-based professionals where relationship building is important, but it’s very hard to stand out from their competitors. I give these professionals a point of difference and make their audience feel like they already know them before even meeting them in-person. 

Or local businesses that need help getting the foundations of their content marketing sorted, so that when they attract their ideal clients all the information about how to do business with them is easily visible and hence the journey from interested lead, to loyal customer is as easy as possible. 

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? An Eagle. By soaring above the eagle looks at things from a different perspective, as I do when looking for businesses’ stories. The Eagle also sees the bigger picture, which is the type of thinker I am. I help businesses with their vision, and guide and support them on the path to achieve that through the use of great content.  

Why should someone do business with you? Because I genuinely care about the success of people that I work with and will do my utmost to come up with solutions that are achievable, affordable and sustainable. I only work with people and businesses that I believe in and would back myself so you can trust me to have your best interests in mind. Plus I can meet you wherever you are at, whether you are looking for someone to brainstorm ideas with, some coaching or training to upskill yourself, or someone to outsource it all to so you can get on with doing what you are great at and what you went into business to do in the first place.

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? Don’t be afraid to have a go at something that you want to try even if others have doubt you can do it. I am a bit stubborn and some of my best adventures and achievements in life have come from being determined to do something others said I couldn’t.

What is the first place you’re going to go once you get out of lockdown? The forest. For a walk. By myself. With no children in tow! I might take the dog though as she is good company but doesn’t constantly talk at me!

catherine watson from boldly

What does your business do? Logo Design, Website Design and Graphic Design for service-based businesses.

Why did you start your business? Originally, so I could stay at home with my young children, then be around for school holidays and school events. My eldest child was a huge sleeper, so I had time, skills and knowledge to share with other mums starting a business. Now I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.

Who is your dream client? Other mums running service-based businesses who want stand-out graphic design and are ready to show the world that they are the expert they know they are. Mums in business understand what it’s like juggling children, holidays, lockdowns, illnesses while wearing all the hats in a small business. I love to support them and vice versa.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? A bold tigress protecting her tiger cubs, aka clients, from bad design and ensuring brand consistency and effective design solutions for their business.

Why should someone do business with you? Running a small business can be overwhelming and it can be hard to decide what direction to take with branding and graphic design. For over 20 years I’ve been helping business owners be bold with strategic visual marketing and attract the clients they want to work with. With my extensive experience, I can help you move forward with visual marketing that makes a statement. There is more to graphic design than just making something pretty, it also needs to be functional and purposeful while enticing your target audience and I can balance all these in your design work.

What is the first place you’re going to go once you get out of lockdown? I’m throwing the kids in the car and we’re heading to the mountain.

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? Things are hardly ever as bad as you think they are going to be. Eg cleaning up the messy kitchen won’t be that bad, once you start.

Rebecca GRIEVE from craving cupcakes

What does your business do? Makes gifting solutions easy with hand-made decadent cupcakes.

Why did you start your business? I started my business as a creative outlet that makes people smile while being able to be there for my two children.

Who is your dream client? My ideal client is someone who wants a gifting service and of course loves cupcakes.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? It would be a Doe Deer. She’s beautiful and liked by all. She makes you smile. She does her own thing. She has a form of determination and softness and breaks through whatever obstacles that come her way- she is stronger than she seems. 

Why should someone do business with you? Who doesn’t love cupcakes? I think it’s a great opportunity to support a local mum who’s supporting her kids doing something that also brings joy not only to those who give and receive them but also for me…. I love making them. 

What is the first place you’re going to go once you get out of lockdown? I can’t wait to meet a friend for a coffee at a coffee shop.

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? Break the big tasks down to smaller pieces so they are more manageable and not so daunting. 

Sarah tohill from 

extension marketing

What does your business do? We’re a small marketing agency helping businesses to communicate and grow online through digital tools and a combination of consulting and outsourced services.

Why did you start your business? My parents ran their own business so I grew up around that and have always wanted to run a business of my own one day. However making the decision to leave a well paid corporate job to embark on the unknown always seemed like too big of a leap. I eventually made the switch when I was offered voluntary redundancy after returning to work after the birth of my first child and wanting to have more flexibility.   

Who is your ideal client? Any small business that is struggling to find clarity with their marketing focus and direction.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? I would say maybe a dog as I am supportive and loyal. I’m there every step of the way cheering or guiding the business owners I work with along their pathway to success.

Why should someone do business with you? I’m extremely adaptable and will work with each business owner as little or as much as they need. What I do and how I work with one business owner might be completely different to what I do with the next. My whole business philosophy is to make good marketing affordable and manageable for all, so we figure out a plan that will work for their business budget, their capabilities and time.

What is the first place you’re going to go once you get out of lockdown? I’m really looking forward to getting back to my tap dancing classes. I only tried tap about 3 years ago and love it. For me it’s pure escapism as I completely switch off and clear my head of all else while I am doing it. It’s great and I love the feeling I get when I manage to nail a new step or rhythm.

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? Taking a day or a few hours off when you work for yourself is not playing hooky! It’s the beauty! I have to remind myself that sometimes when I have a lot on. Make sure you schedule that time for whatever you need by popping it in your diary like any other regular meeting. Flexibility is a big factor for many when starting a business but sometimes we forget to make use of it.

Melanie Medland FROM

beautiful conversations

Why did you start your business? In 2018 my eldest daughter went through what can be best described as a severe teenage crisis. During her last year at college she went from being a highly organised, high achieving, social and sporty student to an adolescent who wasn’t able to leave her room. Self-harm and panic attacks became our new normal, and at her worst she experienced suicidal levels of anxiety and depression. We were supervised by the medical system and she received regular counselling support and ever increasing doses of medication as part of her treatment. Guiding her through this time took courage, strength and the support of a life coach for me. She is now a young adult and living her very best young adult life that involves a wide range of friends and interests and a job she loves. If anyone had described the life she is living now to her three years ago, she would have looked at them with disbelief.

Who is your dream client? Parents who are wanting to add extra parenting tools to their toolkits once their children get older and life becomes more challenging. When our children are little we are quick to invest in parenting courses and support and there are plenty of experts available to help us. As our children get older, the experts available to us are often for when there’s a time of crisis, and their services aren’t there for the proactive parents who are wanting to upskill.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why?  A turtle. Under every tough teen exterior is a soft, tender and unprotected heart that is easily wounded. Our adolescents may not act as if they need us, when they really do. They need an adult who will be their sounding board, their guide and the person who knows them best. Anxiety and depression are thieves and liars. They promise our kids they are keeping them safe, when all they do is keep them small, and ashamed. The less we talk with our kids about how they’re feeling and the challenges they’re facing, the less we are able to help them grow into the adults they are capable of becoming. So many of our young people are being lost to low self-esteem, a lack of confidence, anxiety, depression and suicide. It’s heart breaking. It’s tragic. And it’s preventable.

 Why should someone do business with you? I had been primary teaching and I retrained as a NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) coach after she got better. I got started in 2019 juggling part-time Life Coach with relief teaching. By the time lockdown version one was finished, I was fulltime in my new coaching role – offering one-to-one coaching for parents of teenagers experiencing anxiety and/or depression. This year I invested in a Transforming Communication qualification and expanded to add in group coaching and online courses for parents who are wanting to open up the lines of communication with their tweens, teens and adolescents.

What is the first place you’re going to go once you get out of lockdown? Once we’re out of lockdown the kids and I will be heading down to the beach. And I expect we’ll be picking up fish and chips on the way.

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? My biggest piece of advice I would offer any parent of a tween, teen or adolescent is, “Hope is not a strategy. Don’t leave your precious teens to the challenges of life and hope they’ll be ok. What you do and say does make a difference.”

The name for my business came from one of my daughters who said to me after a heart-to-heart, “Thanks mum. That was a beautiful conversation.” She was right, it had been a beautiful conversation. And her comment got me thinking, how many other parents get to experience such a close and robust relationship with their young adults?

michelle keenan from 

michelle keenan yoga &wellness 

What does your business do?  I have two core services – I help busy people move from stressed and anxious to calm and resilient, with online yoga, meditation and education; and I work with businesses and organisations at a company-wide level to support them in caring for the health and wellbeing of their key asset – their people!

Why did you start your business?  It’s a short answer – yoga and meditation have helped me profoundly in managing stress and anxiety, and feeling calmer and happier, and I want to help more people get out of that out-of-control feeling and move into a greater sense of joy and ease in their lives.

Who is your dream client? I have two – the first is people who are ready to do something to manage their stress and overwhelm, and support their mental health, but who think they don’t have time, or don’t know where to start. The second is organisations who value their people and the contribution they make, and recognise that they have a responsibility to look after their staff and support them with the tools they need to manage workplace stress and be happy and healthy.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? Oh my gosh, that’s a tough one haha! The first thing to come to mind was a unicorn, for two reasons! 1. Everyone loves unicorns, and everyone can love yoga and meditation, if they learn how to do it, and see how great they feel. And 2. Yoga helps you be more empathetic, accepting, and kinder to yourself and others – and I’m pretty sure unicorns are kind and accepting of everyone! 

Why should someone do business with you? So many people think they can’t do yoga or meditate – they think they’re not flexible enough, or their mind is too busy, or they think  you need to do hours each week to make a difference, and they simply don’t have time. I teach these practices in an accessible, achievable way so that everyone can get the benefits – feeling calmer and less anxious; sleeping better; having more patience; improving focus and creativity; having less aches and pains. 

What is the first place you’re going to go once you get out of lockdown? I’ll be heading to the beach!

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? In a field full of horses, be a unicorn!  Anthony Hopkins famously said “What other people think of me is none of my business”. There will always be people who don’t like you, or the way you do things, or what you stand for, so it’s pointless trying to fit in with the crowd, or to try to be anything or anyone other than yourself. Be who you are, do things your way, even (especially!) if it’s unique and different, and trust that the Universe has your back.

Seeing so many successful local female entrepreneurs is inspirational and empowering. It sends a message of hope for all young women out there and lends itself to be a reminder that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Sometimes the road less travelled is the one that bears the most fruit. Industry leaders, such as these women, are the exact type of role model that enables future entrepreneurs to go along their own path as well.   

This feature was co-written by:

Carrie Harman

Carrie Harman

Always a keen storyteller, Carrie specialises in shining the light on local business owners doing awesome things. Carrie is the founder of Carrie Harman Creative.



A unique soul with a one of kind spirit, Amy is a unicorn indeed. She specialises in Business Development and building up small business from their foundations.




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