Awards recognise female entrepreneurs

Griffith business graduates Yiota and Thessy Kouzoukas have enjoyed international accolades, showcasing their Sabo Skirt label on the runway at New York Fashion Week and signing a deal with retail giant David Jones.

The achievements of a group of female Griffith University alumni were recognised in the prestigious Cosmopolitan 2017 Women of the Year Awards.

Announced in October, Sabo Skirt founders Yiota and Thessy Kouzoukas took out the Fashion Designer of the Year award, a huge honour for the Griffith business graduates.


Fellow Griffith Business School graduates Sarah Schoeller and Marissa Bowden, founders of the now-iconic The Village Markets at Burleigh Heads, were nominated in the category of Entrepreneur of the Year.

In speaking about the origins of the markets nine years ago, Sarah says: ‘Marissa and I worked together for a finance company in marketing and we used to talk about how the Gold Coast didn’t have a great fashion market.

“When we were made redundant (during the Global Financial Crisis), we had some time on our hands. We’d been to some great markets in London and Sydney, so we decided to put our own flair on it and focused on local designers, live music and street food.”

Since then, the markets have been a huge success in their own right, while designers among the earliest stallholders have also gone on to enjoy business success.

“Peony Swimwear sold their first bikini at The Village Markets and brands like F+H Jewellery are doing so well,” says Sarah.

Also nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year were Griffith University communications graduate Alanna Bastin-Byrne and her business partner, Jade Collins.

Alanna and Jade are founders of start-up company Femeconomy!, which showcases brands that have women in leadership roles, including on boards and as company owners.