International Women's Day - Paola & Joy

Even in 2023, female founders continue to face challenges in accessing opportunities and funding. For instance, across Europe as a whole, female founders have secured just 1.3 per cent of all venture capital funding available since 2017.

Outfund provides non-dilutive funding to founders across the globe, and our data-driven approach removes the bias from traditional decision-making. Since 2020, we’ve strived to democratise access to funding and, to date, we’ve provided over £10m to women-led businesses.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re sharing the stories of some of our female founders to help inspire the next wave of great businesses.

Paola & Joy is a Melbourne based homeware brand who Outfund have supported since 2022. We’re thrilled to introduce the founder, Paola to share her story…

The inception of Paola and Joy formed through a desire to pursue an entrepreneurial journey. I was a digital marketer and ads specialist by trade, when I started getting into interiors and grew to love being at home. I saw an opportunity to democratise interiors and produce pieces that were beautiful and affordable without the pressure of being a designer. The business has been around for just over 2 years now; it’s been a journey that I've loved seeing myself grow through.

We bootstrapped for that initial stage of traction. From the beginning we've always been in a cycle of save and spend however this is quite a slow process to grow. As we scaled, we needed to spend more to order more, and it left us no budget to experiment in marketing and produce new collections. The cycle meant we were only left with a budget for replenishment, instead of growth.

Cash flow and operations is always going to be a challenge, and one that we'll face as we keep growing. With a hybrid model of wholesale and DTC, and having limited historical data to forecast our inventory, we do need to be quite agile with where our spending goes. Outfund has been a great solution for this challenge.

We've tried out other non-equity capital solutions but Outfund has been the one to support us and see the potential of our business growth. Other solutions seemed to judge the infancy of our business but Outfund can see the opportunity and supported us through that.

I'm really proud of the growth we've achieved in just two years. We've secured 100+ stockists across Australia. Our customer base has grown immensely and we've built a relationship with a community of home lovers that truly paves how our business proceeds with new collections and keeps us growing.

From here, we are hoping to keep diversifying our sales channels and looking to expand outside of Australia and New Zealand in the future. We're very excited to see where the brand could go!