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Celebrating International Women’s Day with Concept Labs

Concept Labs is an Australian family-owned and operated manufacturing company that is the epitome of a successful female-led business that empowers women!
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Today is International Women’s Day! Celebrated across the globe every year on March 8, this iconic day gives us an opportunity to reflect on what women have achieved to date, admire the bravado of those ladies who changed the course of history and support those who continue to push for greater things, like gender equality. Originating from labour movements in Europe and North America at the start of the twentieth century, International Women’s Day has grown in strength and stature to become a focal point in the women’s rights movement worldwide. As if we needed one, International Women’s Day also makes a good excuse to share the inspiring stories of amazing women we know in the workplace or community, who have made – and continue to do so – a positive difference.

We think our esteemed supply partners at Concept Labs deserve a shout-out: an Australian family-owned and operated manufacturing company located on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast that is the epitome of a successful female-led business that empowers women!  Dynamic mother and daughter duo, Sue Jackson and Naomi Elliott, are in fact the driving force behind Concept Labs, which, since it was established in 1998, has grown from a small-scale manufacturer to an award-winning industry leader, celebrating a quarter of a century of success. Sue Jackson is the Co-Founder of Concept Labs and since taking the role of General Manager over a decade ago, Naomi Elliott supports her mother in the day to day operations and has helped contribute much to the company’s recent achievements. Environmentally-committed Concept Labs partners with established brands and start-ups to develop an extensive range of high-quality skin care and cleaning products meeting the highest global manufacturing standards and sustainable approach. They joined forces with COS to create Power Fresh, a range of commercial-grade cleaning products and Hospital Grade formulas that launched in 2019 as an exclusive COS-owned signature brand and private label.  

Bucking the trend in a male-dominated industry

With two women at the helm, it’s not surprising that Concept Labs are passionate in their mission to support women in an industry that traditionally has been male-dominated. Of the 900,000 workers or so employed in manufacturing in Australia, amazingly, just one in four are women! Sue and her daughter Naomi are not only proud to be a successful female-led SME (small to medium-sized enterprise) in the nation’s manufacturing industry, but also proud that the majority of their staff are women: 15 out of the entire workforce of 24 and a total of seven female managers. As Naomi points out, they may be a small management team, but they still achieve great things!

Women in conference

In her role as Co-Founder, Sue is committed to having a team comprised of the best people for the job; however, she explains, “It wasn’t however so much a conscious decision to build a workforce that is majority female, it just so happened that we came to have so many talented women working at Concept Labs!” She’s proud to have built a company that provides a safe and nurturing environment for women and is able to support, in her words, “All our wonderful and talented female staff” – from young school-leavers and university graduates to mums returning to the workforce. Although supportive of all their staff, Concept Labs are notably supportive of women in the workplace; flexible with staff work hours ensuring that their female employees can be at their child’s school and have time to attend extra-curricular activities, so those special moments aren’t missed. They also support women returning to the workplace after family responsibilities, helping to provide training and certifications to increase and update their work life knowledge and importantly, self-confidence!

Empowering women on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

Concept Labs support of women extends well beyond their innovative manufacturing facility. “Our female staff continually motivate and drive me to work towards growing a sustainable, innovative business that supports and improves our community here on the Sunshine Coast,” confirms Sue. In their corporate responsibility commitments, Concept Labs works alongside charities, organisations and events that support the Sunshine Coast and the wider community in Queensland. “Essentially, we partner with groups, which are supporting and empowering our community and provide assistance to a range of varied support programs,” reveals Naomi.

Naturally, one of their key areas of commitments is women’s empowerment. Naomi sits on the Executive Committee for the Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network (SCBWN), which aims to help empower, educate and support women succeed in business. “I love to be able to give back to the Sunshine Coast community and help deliver amazing programs for the wider Sunshine Coast Business Women community,” Naomi admits. SCBWN’s Women Empowerment Program helps women on a personalised, face to face basis and puts team members – including from Concept Labs –  through Leadership Programs (Lionhearted Foundation Leadership Series) and Strength-based workshops (Gallup Institute, Clifton Strengths), which are especially geared to women and their  individual career needs.

Just one inspiring story of most likely, many more, of women’s workplace achievements and how they, in their own unique way, are helping to empower others, that we can all celebrate on International Women’s Day!

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