CEO + Founder / ENJO Australia
Barb de Corti is one of Australia’s most formidable businesswomen. Her business ENJO Australia turns over millions of dollars annually, but it hasn’t always been a squeaky clean ride.
Growing up in a small village in Austria of just 1000, a community-minded spirit was ingrained in Barb from a young age. In this interview, Barb takes us on a journey that was always propelled by her unwavering “hustling” nature. From internships to bookkeeping, to even working as an aerobics instructor, this #careerstory has it all.
Barb’s business was built on solving a problem for her family and thousands of families across Australia, but it has grown from her community orientated nature and her willingness to give it her all. That’s the ENJO story.
I think there is no greater lesson then finding a truly remarkable, resilient woman, and sucking the lessons, knowledge, advice, and tips from her brain – thank you for allowing me to go there Barb.
Let’s dive in…
Hi Barb, I am so grateful that you could join us today and share your career journey with girls all over Australia. Let’s start at the very beginning. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a family of 8 in a small village called Eibiswald in Austria. It was an incredibly loving family but we were poor. I, therefore, learned early on to do more with less. Education became important to me and so was hustling. I learned that if I wanted something, whether it be for my family or myself I had to work out ways in which I could achieve it. I used to collect eggs from our chicken huts and sell them for pocket money at the age of 7.
It seems like the entrepreneurial spirit was well and truly running through your veins at an early age. Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
My high school was located in the village where I grew up. There were around 36 students in my class and our school was co-ed. I loved school, I found it a rewarding experience as I loved to learn. I wanted to be the best that I could be, so school provided me with the foundations to do this.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
Not as such, but my love of numbers, my love for the written word and reading were developed there so it was definitely a contributor.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
I worked as a shop assistant and quickly realised it wasn’t the role for me. I have to say that is one of the best parts of any work experience – sometimes the best work experience is to go through something that you thought you would love to do, but then when you experience it you may realise that it’s not the path for you.
Couldn’t agree with you more barb. Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
As I had a love for numbers I decided to study Bookkeeping at College.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
Aside from my time as a bookkeeper, I have only ever really worked for myself. I started this when I was 21. I was an independent aerobics instructor, I ran a newsagency with a post office and did a little fashion on the side in the form of creating baby clothes and then gym attire. Then ENJO came along after my son was constantly ill from asthma, and I realised that when he wasn’t exposed to cleaning chemicals his asthma was a lot better.
How did you discover ENJO and why did you deside to bring it to Australia?
I discovered ENJO through my mother in law. My son suffered badly from Asthma and when I was on a trip back to Austria we would stay at my mother in laws house. I noticed straight away from staying there that my son’s asthma would ease. She introduced me to a chemical-free way to clean. I realized that there was nothing like this in Australia so decided to launch the product.
What is the hardest part of running your own business?
The biggest challenge I face is running a company for 50 people.
You feel a responsibility to make sure your employees have the job satisfaction they require, this helps you get the best out of the people that work with you to make the company the success it is.
What does a typical business day look like for you at ENJO?
I start work every day at 8am with a coffee (I actually wake up at 5am and go for a 10km run to clear my mind before a busy day ahead)!
I make sure I say hello to every staff member when I get into the office. The rest of the day is filled with strategy work, planning, and meetings.
There is always something new and something exciting we are working on. I travel a lot for work, we are based in Perth but I travel to Sydney often and I’m overseas quite a lot visiting ENJO HQ in Austria to ensure I’m well across the business and upcoming launches and projects.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
The greatest inspiration was probably my past.
Growing up in my village, I realised I wanted a different life than what it had to offer, so my drive and determination came down to making that happen.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
Have a passion, find a purpose and a willingness to work hard and you will go far. Having your own business isn’t a 9-5 job, you need to be present and drive and motivate your staff constantly.
What are your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration?
- Favourite Websites: Too many to mention them all but I love Business Insider, Body+Soul and Net-A-Porter for some late night retail therapy!
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: ENJO Australia and Sante by ENJO.
- Favourite Podcast: Jo Elvin & James Williams – Is It Just Me Podcast, its one from the UK but my current favourite.
- Favourite Netflix Series: The Crown
- Favourite all-time book/s: Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
- People: My son Mark, granddaughters (twins) Georgia & Grace and my family and friends.
- Others: Running – it clears my mind and keeps me fit! I love to run and try to run 10kms most days!