International Women's Day with Bone + Blanc

6 Mar 2023

International Women's Day #EmbraceEquity - Part 4/4

Celebrated annually on March 8, International Women’s Day brings attention to issues such as gender equality, particularly within the workplace. We spoke with four individual women in various roles within the design and built environment industry for their take on the importance of supporting and celebrating women, and how we can embrace equity.

Read on for our interview with Bone + Blanc's owners and Interior Designers, Courtney Atkinson and Marissa Hamling.

Embracing Equity with Courtney Atkinson and Marissa Hamling

Owners and Interior Designers of Bone + Blanc

Celebrated annually on March 8, International Women’s Day brings attention to issues such as gender equality, particularly within the workplace. This year's theme is #EmbraceEquity with an emphasis on the difference between equity and equality. This International Women's day aims to drive a worldwide understanding as to why equal opportunities are not enough. You find out more about the difference between equity and equality here.

Paving a pathway for current and future women in a traditionally male-dominated industry, are the owners of Interior Design Studio Bone + Blanc, Courtney Atkinson and Marissa Hamling.

We got in touch with Court and Riss to hear why International Women's Day is important to them and how we can continue support and embrace equity within the workplace.

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

We are Court and Riss, co-owners and designers of Bone and Blanc Interior Design Studio and BB Haus. Our company values education, community and living with purpose so International Women’s Day is very important to us!

Q: Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

It’s so important for us to celebrate Internal Women’s Day because it acknowledges the progress that has been made towards gender equality and helps inspire future generations of women to chase their dreams. Women are some of the most powerful forces in every industry and that should be celebrated!

Q: This year's International Women's day theme is #EmbraceEquity - what does that mean to you?

To us the theme #EmbraceEquity means creating a world where every individual has access to the same opportunities and resources. It means striving for fairness and justice and recognizing and valuing every individual for what they have to offer and how they can offer it. As a society we should be actively working towards a world where every person has the chance to succeed and reach their full potential.

Q: Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

Most women within the building industry can probably say that they have faced barriers within their career due to the bias towards men. Women are generally over looked in such a male dominant industry. All we can do is continue to stand our ground and show that we belong here just as much as they do.

Q: Are you taking any steps within Bone + Blanc to help improve equity for women?

Currently we do not have any staff other than ourselves. However, we have worked hard to create a culture around our company that supports and values other women in business. We also provide mentoring to other designers and give them the opportunity to build their dream business and pursue their dreams with the tools that we give them.

Q: How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in their career?

We can all encourage women to pursue big careers by giving them the resources to do so. Providing them with mentorships, education and flexible work arrangements. Being able to network and put women together in a room with other women who can inspire them to chase their dreams is definitely a starting point.

Q: How can our male colleagues help support women in the industry?

Males within the industry can help support women in the industry by challenging the gender bias and calling out sexist or discriminatory behaviour and language. They can also support women's ideas and contributions, and ensure that their voices are heard in meetings and discussions. When men and women collaborate (especially in the building industry) that is when the most innovative of spaces will be made!

Q: Is there a woman, or women, that inspire you in your career?

There probably isn’t one specifically that we can name. We truly find inspiration all around us from all the women we encounter in business. Any woman who is following their dreams despite what odds might be against them is inspiring to us!

Q: What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?

The most important piece of advice we have been given in business is to be adaptable and willing to learn. If you are able to adapt to change and learn from your experiences you will be very successful in business. The biggest thing that helps us grow is being open to new ideas and perspectives, and seeking out opportunities for growth and development.

Q: What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

The most important message we can send out to young women thinking about building their careers is to believe in yourself and your abilities. You have the skills, knowledge, and passion to achieve your goals and make a meaningful impact in your chosen field regardless of what anyone says.

It's important to remember that success doesn't come overnight and that setbacks and failures are a natural part of the journey. Embrace these challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, and never give up on your dreams.

It's important to seek out mentors and role models who can offer guidance and support along the way. Connect with other women in your field and build a supportive network that can help you navigate the challenges of building your career. 

Lastly, be true to yourself and follow your passions!!

BONUS Q: If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

This is a hard one! I think our top three would be: 

Oprah Winfrey – This one is a given. Imagine the conversations you could have with this woman!

Grace Beverley - Founder and CEO of TALA, a sustainable activewear brand. She is a 26-year-old Entrepeneur who is a self-made millionaire. It’s so interesting to pick someone's brain like this who is an everyday girl and who has done big things. If she can do it, all of us can do it.

Princess Diana – a true trailblazer who stood up for what she believed in and tried to bring awareness to the things many did not want to speak about. Having a conversation and being in the presence of someone who isn’t afraid to go against the grain and expectations of society is always refreshing and inspiring.

Read Our Other International Women's Day Interviews

IWD Interview with Manna Made's Lead Interior Designer, Nikki Chappell


IWD Interview with Architect & Founder of Litera Trotta, Bronwyn Litera.


IWD Interview with Havwoods APAC Managing Director, Megan Pyziakos.


Stay Connected

For more articles like this and to keep ahead of the curve, sign up to our fortnightly newsletter.