Founded by Mikayla Barnes in 2019, Innovators in Heels is a platform for modern-day women to come together, engage in conversation and meet other like-minded women.
The business’ aim is to enhance a woman’s healthy lifestyle, this being through friendships, career progression, fitness and mindfulness. All women of all backgrounds are invited to stand together and share their individual personalities, interests and successes. At Innovators in Heels, there is no competition or stereotypes and inclusiveness is the main objective.
How did Innovators in Heels come about?
It all started when I moved to the campus for university five weeks later than everyone else. By that time, everyone had made their friends and I found it hard to meet anyone – let alone girls. I was always more the type of girl who played soccer with the boys. I was never typically a ‘girl's girl’. I was sitting with a friend on the moon chairs in the student accommodation (I remember it so clearly) and I opened up to her and said that my best friend in high school left me due to my personality.
Since then, I haven’t ‘clicked’ with a girl best friend the same. She said that she went through something similar and also struggled to make girl friends. At the ripe age of 18, I started Innovators in Heels and since then I have connected with over 2500 women through social media and events.
Many would say you are a very young entrepreneur. How did your strong work ethic blossom at a young age?
My mum raised me with the help of my grandparents after my dad passed away when I was four. Because she had to work, I spent most of my time with my grandparents. My grandfather was a self-made businessman who finished his career as managing director of a large Australian company. I grew up hearing business stories around the breakfast table and read the newspaper everyday with them. They encouraged me and told me that if I want something I should go after it. I believe business is about networks and determination and that is something I have learnt from my entire family.
How would you describe your style of business?
I like to break it down into three categories: Mental health (mindfulness), physical health (fitness) and personal/career progression. Our services are based on community, need and assistance. Our product is love, positivity and the desire to change lives.
What types of events have you hosted?
Mainly coffee meet-ups, walks and drinks with nibbles. It's very people-focused, so everyone is talking and getting to know one another.
How have you been hosting events during COVID–19?
Over Zoom conference and lives. I think it is so important for people to stay connected during this time.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
Honestly, I think it has made me go into survival mode. It has forced me to be productive and innovative. I have stayed to fight and I am glad I did because the businesses that can adapt to change are the ones that will stay.
What other services do you have on offer?
Well, I would say we are well-rounded. We assist with resume writing workshops, workouts, recipes, self-care tips, networking and mentoring. It’s a strong mix!
What is the main challenge of being your own boss?
Tunnel vision, for sure. I find it difficult not having someone to bounce ideas with and I have made mistakes because of that. However, I always have people I can go to when I am unsure.
What are your plans with Innovators in Heels this year?
SO MANY PLANS. Follow us to find out! (Instagram: @innovatorsinheels)
If Innovators in Heels was a ….., it would be a …….:
Flower: A Rose. They’re pretty and elegant, but if you pick it the wrong way you will get a thorn.
TV show/film: Underbelly: Razor. It is based back in 1927 and two of the most powerful women ruled Sydney during that time – which was unusual. They knew what they wanted and knew what to do to get it.
Iconic woman: Agrippina the Younger. She was an ancient empress and she was one of the first women of her time to ever rule in Rome.
Colour: Gold. It’s bold and stands out.
Dessert: Dark Chocolate. It’s sweet but has a bite to it.
Song: Man! I feel like a Woman by Shania Twain
Cocktail: Pink Gin Fizz. It’s Sweet, pretty and very bubbly.