This week’s Girl Bosses, Kristal Brown and Helena Duncan, have been running events business The Holistic Project since 2014. With a background in sales management and communications, it wasn’t until they became mothers that Kristal and Helena started their individual businesses. Helena runs Helena Event Design & Styling, while Kristal is the owner of online inspirational store Positive Peeps.
The self-proclaimed “big idea buffs” say that they had the idea to “combine our passions, energy and love of helping people to create purposeful events” during one of their regular brainstorming chats. From this idea, The Holistic Project was born.
Noticing a lack of wellness education in the corporate sector, Kristal and Helena initially set out to create programs for businesspeople but quickly discovered the idea was much bigger than that.
“Upon launching, we realised that the internal call for us to bring our passion for creating positive experiences, as well as the demand for purposeful events, was much greater than what we had anticipated,” they say.
Kristal and Helena radiate creativity and positivity and are passionate about living the best lives they can. Striving to uphold this mantra, their aim is to inspire others to lead positive, healthy and fulfilling lives.
With four daughters between them, the pair admits that juggling a full schedule can be difficult at times. Their advice on staying grounded? “Get outdoors! Yoga, meditation, affirmations, little holidays, dance with the kids, motivate each other, eat lots, deep breaths!”
This positive and fun outlook on life was perhaps the underlying current towards the success of The Holistic Project. They admit it took them more than 12 months to create balance with family life, work and extracurricular activities. While they haven’t quite mastered it, these days their routines seem to flow well.
“We manage everything ourselves, from event conceptualisation to marketing, social media, website and speaker liaison, right through to the event design, styling, set-up and goodness bag-sourcing and packing.”
However, this demanding role never takes precedence over their families. “We are active mothers and each day we enjoy outdoor play together, and activities such as craft and painting, and the girls have weekly commitments such as dancing, swimming and kindy.”
In light of International Women’s Day, Kristal and Helena shared with us some important female figures in their lives.
“For me,” Kristal says, “my biggest inspirations are writer Elizabeth Gilbert, and my mentor, sacred women’s business coach Lisa Fitzpatrick.
“To me, these women represent what it means to live from the heart, take risks in the pursuit of happiness, own your awesome, and be fully responsible for all sides of yourself.”
“I look up to many female figures in my life,” says Helena. “So it's hard to point out just one. However, from my experience, what always inspires me is that – with women in particular – no matter what challenges or adversity they face, they always strive for a positive outcome and essentially happiness. This determination and courage is what empowers me; those are some of the things I admire in women everywhere.
“From a creative perspective, some of my female entrepreneurial muses include Kara Rosenlund, Anna Spiro and Sibella Court.”
The pair says the most positive thing about being successful women in business is “seeing how people have consciously and positively changed the path of their lives following our events".
One of the biggest struggles Kristal and Helena have faced is accepting that not all people will understand what you're trying to achieve or come on your journey with you.
Entrepreneurship comes with its own hardships; the pair says that it’s about following the path of your soul, and the discourse around that can be foreign and scary to some people.
“As long as you stay true to your calling, keep your goals in sight, and keep your intentions high, then what you’ll attract will far outweigh any negativity you leave behind.”
While juggling their many roles, Kristal and Helena aim to be present as much as they can. Whether they’re playing with the kids, working or spending time with friends and family, they are focused on that moment and that moment alone.
“We are still learning every day,” they say, “However, we do believe your version of ‘having it all’ can exist. It’s just about prioritising what’s most important in your life – what makes you happiest – and making space for that, and identifying what doesn’t serve you well, and omitting that.”
Kristal and Helena’s advice for young women in business:
- Stay true to what you are doing – only you can do YOU best!
- Invest in yourself. Whether it’s courses, coaching, books or investing in your health, you are your best asset.
- Be open, honest and respectful in all of your business dealings.
- Have a balance between head and heart. Listen to your intuition or gut feelings, but keep a business mindset at the same time.
- Be confident – you’ve got this!
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