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Women to the Front

In honour of International Women’s Day 2021, we put the spotlight on our brands and the leading ladies that have helped make them the success they are.

Women to the Front
Despite having a tightly curated selection of homewares, furniture, objects and lighting, each of the brands that we represent at Marz has strong female leaders at the helm. While not deliberate, it should come as no surprise that behind our favourite design companies, are women carving their own path.
Here, we look at some of the women who are leading the brands we carry at Marz Wares, and how each is a shining example of leadership, creativity and innovation.


Cindy-Lee Davies (Lightly)


Founded in 2005 by Cindy-Lee Davies, Lightly is a design brand that fuses craftsmanship and technology. Metallic-spun vessels and tableware sit alongside furniture and lighting, all with a vision of making high-quality, Australian design more accessible.

Cindy-Lee shares her experiences of being a female founder.


How have you seen opportunities for women in the workforce change?

I think people are much more conscious of the inherent biases we, unfortunately, all carry – and do more to stop and think, ‘hang on, is this the best person for the job?’ I also believe there are a lot more positive conversation and acceptance about how varying personality types and leadership styles makes for a better workplace. Hence, women aren’t always stereotyped as ‘too something’ for significant roles. We still have a long way to go, but let’s say it’s been a long time since someone assumed my husband ran the business!


What does gender equity mean to you personally or to Lightly as a business?

To me personally and for Lightly, it means getting to prove yourself through your actual skill, ability, character and kindness. To be free of assumptions about those things, and instead be allowed to be evaluated based on who you are and what you’re capable of – nothing more and nothing less.


Regardless of gender, what does it mean to you to lead a team and lead a business?

I wouldn’t want to do anything else! It means getting to be a part of people’s lives – professionally and personally. You get to see people grow, change, learn, make mistakes, help others, all the fantastic things that makeup communities like the one Lightly is a part of. It’s something I’ll never take for granted.


Louise Olsen (Dinosaur Designs)

A true mainstay of Australian design culture, Louise Olsen, along with her life and business partner Stephen Ormandy, have created a brand that has received worldwide recognition in Dinosaur Designs.

In 2020, Louise hosted her very first solo exhibition – Pollination – as part of Art Month Sydney, which explored nature and the circle of life as central themes. Louise continues to experiment outside of designing for Dinosaur Designs, sharing on her website, “I have a fascination with balance and the relationship between being bold and the sensitivity of the delicate which translates in to all of my pieces having a hand-felt quality.”


Coco Reynolds (Marz Designs)


Coco founded her multi-disciplinary design practice Marz Designs in 2010, working across furniture, products and interiors. In 2019 she moved to Byron Bay to focus on her range of lighting products that reflect her passion for craft and industrial processes.

The brand has continued to evolve and in 2020 Marz Wares was born, which includes an immersive showroom space to bring her vision of design to life.

When commenting on her journey this far, Coco says: “My approach to business, much like my approach to design, is all about expressing authenticity and honesty. I work quite organically, it’s not forced, and I hope it shines through.”


Trine Andersen (Ferm Living)

Danish furniture and lifestyle brand Ferm Living is a firm favourite. Renowned for a striking combination of minimal Scandinavian aesthetics, mixed up with bolder, statement forms and colours, Ferm Living has built a loyal fanbase the world over.

The brand was founded by Trine Andersen in 2005 after searching for just the right wallpaper and coming up short. It’s no understatement to say that it has gone from strength to strength since then, now carrying hundreds of products to make a house a home. It’s a sentiment that Trine reiterates, “Our biggest ambition is, and has always been, to inspire people to create the kind of space that makes them feel comfortable, that allows them to be themselves in their own home. A home, after all, is much more than a collection of beautiful objects – it’s the place where life happens.”