International Women's Day 2024

This International Women’s Day we celebrate women in business and look no further than our founder & creative director Natalie Dabscheck, and her sister Michelle Mikelsen.

For Natalie & Michelle, founder of childrenswear brand Marlo you could say it wasn’t so much their choice as their destiny to follow the footsteps of their parents in the fashion industry. Hailing from their mother who created the brand Dolly Dolly in the 70's, both Natalie & her sister grew up in the industry they work in today.

They are a close family, all living in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and have found the unwavering support of their mum crucial in the success of launching, growing & nurturing their brands MOS & Marlo.
This #IWD we chat to Natalie and her family about how it all started, being a woman in business through the years and how staying true to your values has led them to where they are today.

How did Dolly Dolly start?

In the 1970s, I arrived in Australia with nothing but determination and minimal English skills, fuelled by a vision to establish my own brand.

Enrolling in evening classes in East Sydney to study fashion, I worked during the day to provide for my family.

Despite the challenges, I designed, produced, and successfully sold my inaugural collection. This humble beginning blossomed into a network of 40 stores spanning Australia, with my designs gracing the shelves of esteemed department stores nationwide.

Michelle, can you tell us about your brand Marlo and how it started?

Marlo was launched in 2016 just after I had my daughter and originally began as an online business from home. As a mother, it was my vision to create pieces that can be enjoyed for generations to come and cherished as magical memories.

We produce high quality, luxurious clothing, from our embroidered fabrications to our exclusive floral prints, the intricacies of our details are what makes our pieces truly special. Our sizes range for 3-6 months for babies all the way through to 15-16 years. Marlo has grown quickly over the years and is now stocked globally in department stores and selected boutiques


What values did your mum share with you to bring into business?

Natalie - Our hard work ethic & drive are inherited from our mother. Our parents emigrated to Australia as non-English speakers with not a cent to their name and were determined to build a life for themselves and their family. They worked day and night to create their busiess. Our mother created Dolly Dolly from nothing, the stores were called Mirror Mirror and I grew up in the industry I work in today.

Michelle - My mother instilled in me the importance of honesty, integrity, and hard work. She taught me to always strive for excellence in everything I do, and most importantly believe in yourself.

Also embrace the journey, as it's bound to have its highs and lows!

How has the landscape of women in business changed from when you started Dolly Dolly to now?

The landscape of women in business has undergone remarkable transformations since the inception of Dolly Dolly in the 1970s. Back then, women faced many barriers to entry and advancement in the business world.

Gender discrimination and societal expectations often limited women's opportunities. However, over the decades, there has been a significant shift towards greater inclusion and recognition of women in business.

One notable change is the increased support and resources available to women, providing crucial support for female entrepreneurs.


What is the most rewarding part about being a woman in business?

Natalie - The opportunity to challenge stereotypes,
break barriers, and inspire others. As a woman in business, we can pave the way for future generations of women wanting to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and achieve their goals. Women bring unique experiences, insights, and approaches to the table, enriching the business environment and driving positive change.

Michelle - That we as women can do it all, motherhood, entrepreneurship, and managing a household! Also, the ability to make a meaningful impact and empower other women to pursue their ambitions is incredibly fulfilling.

Michelle, for future generations, what advice would you give to young women in business?

Surround yourself with mentors, advisors, and a supportive community! Success is a personal journey, define what success means to you, both personally and professionally, and strive for it on your terms.