Australians are a humble bunch, not often known for shouting about our successes from the rooftops. But that doesn’t mean numerous entrepreneurs, bright sparks, and creatives aren’t getting noticed on the world stage (or on stage here in Australia during the iconic Melbourne Fashion week this October 10-16).


Whether it’s the arts, technology, or simply spotting a niche, based on our comparatively small populations (across both Australia and New Zealand), we continue to punch well above our weight when it comes to getting noticed globally. Here, we want to celebrate just a handful of our greatest exports.



When we look at the digital and tech space, many entrepreneurs hailing from Australia have completely changed the game. Here are a few of the most notable:


  • Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht – Canva

Canva is Australia’s most valuable privately owned technology company, with an estimated value of USD 40 billion. With humble beginnings in Perth, Canva quickly emerged as one of the world’s most popular and fastest-growing software tools – it now boasts more than 60 million monthly users.


  • Nick Molnar – AfterPay

Founded in Sydney in 2014 by neighbours Nick Molnar and Anthony Eisen, AfterPay has taken the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) sector to the next level thanks to the huge, COVID-driven growth in online shopping. The company made Australian corporate history through its recent merger with Square – a transaction estimated at around AUD 39 billion.


Man sitting in chair working on laptop



Shifting our focus to the arts, the Australian fashion industry is known for its unique flair and influence on the global fashion industry. Our local fashion events have proven to be the perfect launchpad for the world stage. Dion Lee is a prime example – having debuted at the 2009 Australian Fashion Week, Dion Lee went on to present collections in London before relocating to New York, becoming a permanent fixture on seasonal fashion shows, and now being sold globally in over 40 of the world’s most exclusive retailers.

With Melbourne Fashion Week just around the corner, plenty of fresh new talent will feature on the catwalk – here are the ones to watch:


  • Alix Higgins

Hailing from the small town of Otford, New South Wales, Alix is an up-and-coming designer known for his technicolour prints and sporadically placed, poetic text. Higgins’ name has already risen in the global fashion space, with celebrities Rita Ora and Hunter Schafer spotted wearing his unique garments.


  • Moss Tunstall by Ajay Jennings

Having spent the last ten years as an avid painter, fashion is a relatively new creative outlet for Ajay Jennings, but Ajay’s newly established label ‘Moss Tunstall’ is one to watch. With a penchant for imaginative, enchanting, and magical fashion, the collection promises to be a fantastical short story rather than a traditional fashion lookbook.


  • Aaizél

South Korean-born designer Minnie Jo brings a unique blend of Eastern and Western artistry to head-turning designs made right here in Melbourne. Minnie strives to make pieces out of seasonless, long-lasting fabrics, further reinforcing her desire to create slow fashion.


Fashion entrepreneur sketching



Spotting an opportunity and jumping on it gives many entrepreneurs a real thrill. And while there’s often a lot of trial and error along the way, all it takes is for one idea to fly. Here are a few of those success stories; backyard businesses that are now well on their way to global domination:


  • Troy Douglas and Drew Bilbe – Nexba

Noticing an abundance of reduced sugar or iced tea-type drinks on a 2010 trip to Mexico, Drew Bilbe thought there could be a gap in the market back home in Australia and founded Nexba with brother-in-law Troy. Within a year, the pair started selling their drinks from the back of a van on Bondi Beach. Now, the natural, sugar-free range of drinks is found on the shelves of the biggest retailers here in Australia, has cracked the UK market, and recently launched in South Korea.


  • David Fogarty – The Oodie

Having now turned over more than $400 million in revenue, South Australian entrepreneur David Fogarty created what has been coined the ultimate lockdown accessory through some quick thinking, the right idea and good digital marketing. This wearable blanket took the internet by storm, creating almost overnight success for the 26-year-old serial entrepreneur, proving that all you need is one winning idea!


  • Donielle Brooke – Designer Wardrobe

At age 25, New Zealander Donielle was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which left her mostly bedridden for a year. To pay her bills, she started selling her designer clothing online – creating a Facebook page (Designer Wardrobe) which quickly grew to hundreds of members selling and buying designer goods virtually. The Facebook page has now migrated to a website of the same name, which attracts over a million views each month.


  • Bianca and Bridgett Roccisano – Booby Tape

Founded by a sister duo from Melbourne, Booby Tape was created as a solution to their very own problem. Sick of using gaffer tape to tape her boobs for events and ripping off skin in the process, Bridgett noticed the product she needed didn’t exist – so she set about creating it with her sister. What started as an adhesive breast lifting tape is now a multi-million-dollar business found in over 40 countries worldwide and over 2,000 stockists.


  • The Mowbray siblings – Zuru

Starting with humble beginnings in a shed on a farm in Waikato, New Zealand, Zuru is now one of the biggest toy producers in the world, worth about $1 billion and hiring over 5,000 staff. This family-owned business, known for producing low-cost toys like Bunch O Balloons, is now stocked in 120 countries and every major U.S. retailer. Zuru has now expanded into consumer goods, and construction as these successful siblings further capitalise on their winning formula!


Young female fashion entrepreneur working on tablet


Could you be the next success story?
Success as an entrepreneur takes belief in yourself, motivation, and commitment. And to take your business to the next level, you’ll need a presence in your local area or a dedicated space for your art studio, office, or production facility to grow. First National Real Estate can help you find your budding business the perfect home – contact your local office today.


The above advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.