Yvette Chegwidden: Tell us about your background in theatre.
Jac Bowie: I was a theatre producer for almost 10 years, mostly working in burlesque. In the beginning, I would create and promote shows, but towards the end I would buy established shows from overseas and bring them to Australia.
YC: What is the format of a BIH event?
JB: We don’t believe in expensive memberships. It’s pay as you go. All events are around $30-$40 for entry and that’s it. There’s champagne and canapés on arrival and fantastic goodie bags. Each branch has an event once a month, usually on a Monday or Tuesday night from 7-9 pm in a funky bar. We always have a speaker and try to be non-traditional in our choices. We might have a sexologist or a nutritionist. It’s never a typical businessperson.
YC: How is BIH different from other networking events?
JB: It’s a social event first and foremost. Women love coming along and having fun. It’s very relaxed and there are no name badges. It’s about bringing the right women to the right space and letting them do what they do, which sometimes is just getting full of champagne and talking. We also put a cap on attendees at 100 so that it stays intimate.
YC: What sort of relationships have you noticed emerge from BIH?
JB: There are so many! A woman in Melbourne had a business idea to put a sex-toy box into hotels. I introduced her to a woman in New York I had spoken to about a similar thing. Now, they’re in business together. There were also three women who each sold their houses to each other.
YC: Business in Heels is a franchise. How do people get involved?
JB: The franchising took off really quickly. It started with one of my former burlesque contacts in Melbourne, which made me wonder if anyone else would be interested. So I put it on my Facebook and LinkedIn and I had 15 branches in three weeks. Right now, I’m sitting on 200 applications… It’s $2300 to buy a franchise and the fees are only $99 a month so it’s really affordable.
YC: You have two children. How do you juggle your business commitments with being a single mum?
JB: It’s a lot easier now that my youngest is in primary school, but I would be lying if I said I did everything perfectly. Of course I don’t. I just try and do my best and try to be really good at time management. When they were younger I would schedule calls around when they were asleep, and if I could afford to have a nanny for a day, that would be my meeting day. You just make it work.