A SOFTWARE designer, a fitness guru, a fashion retail whiz and an activewear retailer - they are just some of the professions that have created Australia's richest young women.

While it's easy to imagine the ladies with the biggest dollars are those on the world's catwalks and Hollywood movie sets, it's the names you may never have heard of that make up the list of young rich Australian women under 40, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Sitting on top is 37-year-old Cyan Ta'eed, the founder of ethical chocolate company Hey Tiger and co-founder of online design and photography hub Envato.

With co-founder and husband Collis, they have a combined net worth of $216 million.

In 2006, Cyan Ta’eed launched her start-up while living in her parent’s basement at the age of 24. Today she is one of Australia’s richest women.
In 2006, Cyan Ta’eed launched her start-up while living in her parent’s basement at the age of 24. Today she is one of Australia’s richest women.

After graduating with a graphic design degree and securing a great job at a boutique agency, Ms Ta'eed wanted more.

"Despite everything being 'right' with the job - great owners, great work, lovely colleagues - I couldn't stop taking on freelance projects," she tells BW Magazine.

"I loved creating something from scratch and having control over it. I quit that job three months in and started working for myself when I was just 23 … Many start-ups later, here I am."

Since launching Envato in her parent's garage in 2006, the Melbourne-based company has grown into an online community of more than eight million members.

Ms Ta'eed tells Vogue some of the most important things she has learnt are setting ambitious goals, not giving up, developing entrepreneurship skills over time, and being able to critically analyse your own strengths and weaknesses.

"I've been lucky enough to have met many of Australia's top entrepreneurs and the common theme is feeling constantly challenged and stretched by the work they're doing," she says.

"Most aren't certain they can do it and are just figuring it out as they go along."

As Envato was taking off, Ta'eed had a life changing experience which made her re-evaluate her perspective on business. After a freak health scare which impacted one of her eyes, she spent a whole month in total darkness. On venturing outside again, Ta'eed was inspired to start another company - this time one with a focus on having a social conscious.

"I came out of the other side of that experience and I thought 'you know what, I want to do something really different now,'" she told the crowd at Vogue Codes Live earlier this year. "For some reason I just kept coming back to chocolate," she continued, adding that she "kept coming back to this thing that brings me so much pleasure … but is responsible for a whole lot of pain and suffering in the world."

The distinctive packaging on the Hey Tiger chocolate bars.
The distinctive packaging on the Hey Tiger chocolate bars.

Aimed at changing the way the world produces ethical chocolate, Ta'eed launched Hey Tiger, which sees ethical and humanitarian production of high quality chocolate.

But what's it like being one of Australia's most successful businesswomen? As most founders would say, Ta'eed admits it wasn't easy.

"I generally think it's a really good idea not to think about things too much before you do them - I've always had impostor syndrome, quite a bit of it," she jokes, adding that taking the leap to start a new business was a mix between luck and hard work.

Who knew chocolate could be such a big earner.
Who knew chocolate could be such a big earner.

 

"I do think entrepreneurship is like a muscle, you've just got to flex it and learn," she says. "I am certainly not the smartest person in this room … there's nothing about me that's sensational in any way except that I decided to do something that everyone said was stupid."

AUSTRALIA'S OTHER RICHEST WOMEN UNDER 40

Closely behind Ta'eed is Melanie Perkins, who dreamt up the idea for graphic design tool Canva in 2007. The 31-year-old is now worth a combined $128 million.

If you've ever shown even just a passing interest in fitness, you will have heard of Kayla Itsines, who used social media to build her brand into a highly successful fitness business which boasts more than 10 million Instagram followers. She developed the fitness app SWEAT with partner Tobi Pearce, along with the popular Bikini Body Guide and between them are worth a cool $63 million.

 

Kayla Itsines, the Adelaide based Instagram-famous fitness trainer.
Kayla Itsines, the Adelaide based Instagram-famous fitness trainer.

There's also Gunnedah-raised Miranda Kerr who won the 1997 Dolly magazine modelling competition at 13 and went on to model for Tigerlily, Roxy and Billabong before becoming Australia's first Victoria's Secret angel in 2007. Now based in the US with her CEO husband Evan Spiegel the savvy businesswoman, whose empire includes Snapchat and skincare line KORA Organics, is worth $44 million.

 

Miranda Kerr.
Miranda Kerr.

 

And 32-year-old Jane Lu, who dropped out of a corporate finance job to start retailer Showpo in 2010, now heads a global fashion empire shipping to more than 80 countries and with a 3.5 million-strong cult following on social media. She's worth an estimated $32 million.

 

Showpo founder and CEO Jane Lu
Showpo founder and CEO Jane Lu

THE RICH LIST

Cyan Ta'eed, 37

Combined wealth of $216m

Founder of online creative community Envato

Melanie Perkins, 31

Combined wealth of $128m

Co-founder of software design company Canva

Kayla Itsines, 27

Combined wealth of $63m

Co-developed fitness app SWEAT

Miranda Kerr, 35

$44m

Model

Erin Deering, 33

$32m

Co-founder of swimwear label Triangl

Jane Lu, 32

$32m

Founded online retailer Showpo

Emily Skye, 33

$32m

Fitness expert

Julie Stevanjer, 38

$30m

Founded activewear retailer Stylerunner


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