Starting a business and working from home is simultaneously exhausting and rewarding, and for these five companies, the rewards have been extensive.

Most of these inspirational women are mums and juggle work and family, just as we all do. But they took a chance, starting a business and working from home and it paid off.

From health foods to swimwear, these companies have become hugely successful thanks to a combination of hard work, determination, incredible smarts and a sprinkle of good timing. Get inspired by these motivating startup stories. You never know, your home business could be next!

1. Carman’s

Today, Carman’s exports its delicious muesli and health food products to over 20 countries in the Middle East and Asia Pacific region, but it all started in 1992 when a uni student saw a hole in the market. Carolyn Creswell was 18 when she heard the local Melbourne-based muesli bar business where she worked was being sold for $1000.

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“I immediately thought, ‘You could buy this little business! You love the muesli and you make it already!’ My offer of $1,000 was eventually accepted and Carman’s was born,” said Cresswell.

2. TJ Swim

23-year-old Sydney-sider Tara Jane’s bikinis have been spotted on Rose Huntington-Whitely, Kourtney Kardashian and countless other celebrities, but it all started from her parent’s laundry. Tara used the $10,000 she had saved for an overseas holiday, and instead invested it into a swimwear business centered around enhancing feminine curves with sleek quality fabrics.

“For the first year I was answering emails and packing orders from my laundry,” said Tara.

Now, TJ Swim has over 240,000 Instagram followers and ships worldwide from her own warehouse and office space.

3. Social Playground

Annabelle Davidson started Social Playground after seeing the popularity of Hashtag printers while working in New York. Now, the mother of two works to combine real-time experiences with social media sharing through her seven-figure business. Davidson’s unique ideas, plus her passion, helped her business reach $1 million profit in just 12 months!

“People don’t want to go home with samples anymore, they want something to remind them of the great time they had, and our hashtag camera photos and social GIF booths do exactly that,” said Davidson.

4. Zimmermann

Zimmermann started with Nicky Zimmermann selling her handmade designer at a stall in Sydney’s Paddington market. When one of her besties wore her embroidered collared shirt to work at Vogue Australia, the shirt was included in a two-page feature in the magazine.

“That was a significant moment because I suddenly started to receive orders from boutiques around Australia and I could feel some real momentum. Soon after that, I opened a small store in Darlinghurst,” said Nicky.

Now, sisters Nicky and Simone have an internationally beloved brand and have won a huge number of fashion awards, two of which are the Australian Fashion Laureate and Best Swim Designer – Prix de Marie Claire.

5. Emma and Toms

Emma and Toms juices are everywhere, but it all started from a home office after friends Emma Welsh and Tom Griffith quit their corporate jobs to pursue their business dream.

“We started from absolute scratch,” Griffith explains. “We were working from home; there was no point blowing money on an office for just the two of us.”

Passionate about the motto “look after yourself,” Emma and Toms products were available before the health and wellness trend, offering juices and teas with no added sugar, to help customers live better. Now, the brand is sold in over 5,000 outlets in Australia and exports to China, Jordan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Working from home can seem like a lonely, exhausting mission, but these incredible stories show it can work out if you keep working hard, refine your brand, fill a need, and have a little bit of luck with timing in the market.

Do you work from home or would like to? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Good on them, I’m sure a lot of blood sweat and tears have gone into the businesses and success is well deserved


  • People such as the ones mentioned are megastars. It takes guts, dedication and determination to take an idea and turn it into a thriving business. I run my own business and I know how hard it is to manage this around family life, but to do it on an international scale is mind boggling.


  • Wonderful achievements. Could only afford their swimsuits back in the day. Looked at the Zimmerman website after reading this and nearly fell off my chair at the prices. Lovely, but sadly even for a special occasion, wildly out of my budget. Well done to them all on their success.


  • How wonderful for these start ups! Sometimes I wonder though, it takes guts, money and luck to make a business successful.


  • I’d love to work from home but in my job it’s not possible


  • Wow I had no idea those brands started like that. I’d love to work from home!


  • Great success stories! Having just relocated States, I am trying to get work from home (preferably full time) or at least until I find a full time job. It’s not easy and very time consuming, but there’s stories have inspired to continue searching for my niche in the market!


  • I would love to work from home!
    But the crafts I’ve tried to sell on Etsy are very time consuming and hard to finish with a baby.


  • Fantastic stories of people with unique ideas. Pity Zimmerman’s has gone bust Christmas time. Afraid I never had the worthwhile idea to do something similar, but for those out there with an idea – just do it. Thanks for sharing.


  • It helps if you have a real talent or unique idea.


  • I’ve tried selling crafts but it’s very time consuming with little ones


  • I don’t have the motivation or the head for doing this kind of thing


  • I love carmans muesli. I would love to be able to work from home.


  • So good how these people followed their dream and gained such success !


  • I’d love to work from home


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