Women With GRITT: Lady-Brains Founders, Caitlin Judd & Anna Mackenzie, On The Beauty Of Failing, The Power Of Conversation And The Importance Of Mentorship

“When we can invest back into female-founded businesses is when it will be a full-circle moment for us. They come to us initially for inspiration, mentorship and guidance and then we can invest in them to grow their baby. That feeling will be unparalleled.”

Welcome to Women with GRITT: a series where we interview the resilient, hardworking women who have kicked in the glass ceiling and inspire us to do the same.

Conversations. We have them everyday to varying degrees. Whether it’s simply chatting to our partners about whose turn it is to do the dishes or discussing–with great gusto–the political climate of Australia with our girlfriends, conversations are happening right now, as we speak (pun intended). But it takes a certain type of business prowess to identify the power in something as simple as a conversation. Caitlin Judd and Anna Mackenzie, co-founders of Lady-Brains, have said prowess.

Launching their now wildly successful podcast in 2017, Judd and Mackenzie saw the beauty in women discussing their business successes (and failures), their regrets and triumphs and how on earth they manage to do it all. And so, Lady-Brains was born.

Now a multi-pronged business that includes the podcast, their ‘Base Camp’ course which helps founders bring their business dream to fruition, their ‘Brains Trust’ program which is a mentorship program to help speed up success, their ‘Solid Gold’ workshop and more, Lady-Brains is going from strength-to-strength. 

In this interview, Judd and Mackenzie speak to Gritty Pretty about the beauty of failing, the power of great conversation, going into business as best friends and the importance of mentorship for business success.

Hi Anna and Caitin! Thank you so much for speaking with us today. Now, before we jump into the success of Lady-Brains, Caitlin, we’d love to know where you think you inherited your drive and passion from?

I inherited my drive and passion from the women in my family, my father and my teachers. My mum, her two sisters and my grandmother have helped shape the woman I am today, for sure. They are strong, independent, vibrant and loving people. They are all successful and comfortable in who they are. I always recall my mum saying to me, “I don’t mind what you do with your life Caitlin, so long as you do it well.” That is something that has always stuck with me. I always strive to do my best. I was also so fortunate throughout my schooling to have some incredible teachers that taught me learning is a lifelong process and to remain curious and open. I adopt a curious mindset which is often the fuel for drive and allows you to uncover different passions. 

 

Anna, before Lady-Brains you spent time working in the US, New York specifically. Here, you held roles at Uniqlo and Mecca. How did your experiences in the US lend themselves to your success now-a-days?

Working in the US was amazing because it is incredibly fast-paced which forces you to work harder and faster. It means you have to fail quickly, learn from your mistakes and move on–which are all really important business skills. In terms of practical skills, working for Uniqlo and Mecca was incredibly eye-opening in terms of the production and management side of these big businesses. I learned about sales, marketing, budgets and media but what I valued most was that feeling of capability. 

 

Sounds like those business experiences were vital to your success! Caitlin, you also spent time working and studying in Miami, Florida. What were your greatest takeaways from this time?

What I really took away from the experience of living and working overseas was the mindset. I felt like I had the power to design my life. Sometimes, you will have doors opened for you but sometimes you have to open them yourself or push really damn hard to get them to open. The opportunities are there but you have to be willing to put yourself out there and grab them. My time in Miami gave me the confidence to put myself out there and strive to be my best self.

 

Now to chat about Lady-Brains. Anna, where did the idea for your podcast come from initially?

I think a lot of brand founders probably say this but Lady-Brains came about really organically. Both Caitlin and myself had our fair share of failed business ideas between us and one day just decided to create and host a monthly invite-only supper-club for like-minded women who wanted to start their own businesses. It was almost like a bit of a round table for sharing ideas and inspiration. Pretty quickly we realised that these conversations were worth their weight in gold and that they should be shared on a much larger scale. That was when our side hustle turned into a business.

Caitlin, what were some of the initial challenges you faced?

Navigating launching a business is always more challenging when it’s your own. On top of the fact that it’s your name on it, you’re also liable financially if it fails. It can be a really scary thought. But I think when you have an idea that you believe in 100 per cent, those worries are so greatly outweighed. I think one of the biggest challenges was working out how we were going to work as partners. Both Anna and I have different strengths, so understanding how we could complement each other and still get all the important things done (who likes excel spreadsheets?) was a really significant learning curve initially. 

 

And, Anna, how do you see Lady-Brains evolving in the future?

We have so many big ideas for Lady-Brains. It is such an exciting space to work in–helping female founders and almost-founders realise their dreams of starting and scaling their businesses. We have just launched our Base Camp program which is our early stage founder program. It draws on the best lessons, tips and tools from not only our experience in business and growing Lady-Brains but also from our podcast guests and all the incredible lessons we’ve learned along the way. We’ll also be growing our media offering with behind-the-scenes chats with Caitlin and I on building our business as well as co-created content with some amazing brands. We’d also love to invest in female founded businesses that are part of our community. 

 

Wow! Big things are coming for Lady-Brains. So, to wrap up, Caitlin, what is your beauty philosophy?

Simple is best! My beauty philosophy is just to embrace your best features and show them off in the best way you can. Nothing is more beautiful than confidence.

Hi Anna and Caitin! Thank you so much for speaking with us today. Now, before we jump into the success of Lady-Brains, Caitlin, we’d love to know where you think you inherited your drive and passion from?

I inherited my drive and passion from the women in my family, my father and my teachers. My mum, her two sisters and my grandmother have helped shape the woman I am today, for sure. They are strong, independent, vibrant and loving people. They are all successful and comfortable in who they are. I always recall my mum saying to me, “I don’t mind what you do with your life Caitlin, so long as you do it well.” That is something that has always stuck with me. I always strive to do my best. I was also so fortunate throughout my schooling to have some incredible teachers that taught me learning is a lifelong process and to remain curious and open. I adopt a curious mindset which is often the fuel for drive and allows you to uncover different passions. 

 

Anna, before Lady-Brains you spent time working in the US, New York specifically. Here, you held roles at Uniqlo and Mecca. How did your experiences in the US lend themselves to your success now-a-days?

Working in the US was amazing because it is incredibly fast-paced which forces you to work harder and faster. It means you have to fail quickly, learn from your mistakes and move on–which are all really important business skills. In terms of practical skills, working for Uniqlo and Mecca was incredibly eye-opening in terms of the production and management side of these big businesses. I learned about sales, marketing, budgets and media but what I valued most was that feeling of capability. 

 

Sounds like those business experiences were vital to your success! Caitlin, you also spent time working and studying in Miami, Florida. What were your greatest takeaways from this time?

What I really took away from the experience of living and working overseas was the mindset. I felt like I had the power to design my life. Sometimes, you will have doors opened for you but sometimes you have to open them yourself or push really damn hard to get them to open. The opportunities are there but you have to be willing to put yourself out there and grab them. My time in Miami gave me the confidence to put myself out there and strive to be my best self.

 

Now to chat about Lady-Brains. Anna, where did the idea for your podcast come from initially?

I think a lot of brand founders probably say this but Lady-Brains came about really organically. Both Caitlin and myself had our fair share of failed business ideas between us and one day just decided to create and host a monthly invite-only supper-club for like-minded women who wanted to start their own businesses. It was almost like a bit of a round table for sharing ideas and inspiration. Pretty quickly we realised that these conversations were worth their weight in gold and that they should be shared on a much larger scale. That was when our side hustle turned into a business.

Caitlin, what were some of the initial challenges you faced?

Navigating launching a business is always more challenging when it’s your own. On top of the fact that it’s your name on it, you’re also liable financially if it fails. It can be a really scary thought. But I think when you have an idea that you believe in 100 per cent, those worries are so greatly outweighed. I think one of the biggest challenges was working out how we were going to work as partners. Both Anna and I have different strengths, so understanding how we could complement each other and still get all the important things done (who likes excel spreadsheets?) was a really significant learning curve initially. 

 

And, Anna, how do you see Lady-Brains evolving in the future?

We have so many big ideas for Lady-Brains. It is such an exciting space to work in–helping female founders and almost-founders realise their dreams of starting and scaling their businesses. We have just launched our Base Camp program which is our early stage founder program. It draws on the best lessons, tips and tools from not only our experience in business and growing Lady-Brains but also from our podcast guests and all the incredible lessons we’ve learned along the way. We’ll also be growing our media offering with behind-the-scenes chats with Caitlin and I on building our business as well as co-created content with some amazing brands. We’d also love to invest in female founded businesses that are part of our community. 

 

Wow! Big things are coming for Lady-Brains. So, to wrap up, Caitlin, what is your beauty philosophy?

Simple is best! My beauty philosophy is just to embrace your best features and show them off in the best way you can. Nothing is more beautiful than confidence.

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