Leaders

Cyan Ta’eed Stands In The Arena

She's the serial founder making her debut on Australia's Rich List. Here, Cyan Ta'eed talks about her latest venture, impostor syndrome and the power of getting back up again.

By Emily J. Brooks

Leaders

She's the serial founder making her debut on Australia's Rich List. Here, Cyan Ta'eed talks about her latest venture, impostor syndrome and the power of getting back up again.

By Emily J. Brooks

When Cyan Ta’eed debuted on The Australian Financial Review’s Rich List this year, no one said a word to her except her best friend. They have been friends since they were seven, and this year, when Ta’eed ranked 94 on the list with her husband and a predicted $974 million worth, her accolade spoke her best friend’s language. She works in finance, you see. She congratulated Ta’eed. Nothing else changed. Not her car, a 10-year-old Golf. Not her day-to-day, running three businesses she has founded in Melbourne. Nothing changed, except her mail. “I started getting a lot of brochures for super yachts and jets, and that’s it,” she said. “But I spend my money on launching chocolate, not on a yacht.” And if that doesn’t sum up Cyan Ta’eed for you, I don’t know what will.

There are three things you should know about Cyan Ta’eed. Firstly, she is the co-founder of Envato, an online marketplace for digital assets ranging from WordPress templates to business card designs which she created in 2006 with her husband at just 26-years-old. Secondly, following the global success of this business, she has founded two more on her own; Hey Tiger, an ethical chocolate brand, and Milkshake; an Instagram website maker. Thirdly and finally, Cyan Ta’eed is terrible at elevator pitches. That’s not an observation. That’s something she openly admits. But there is good reason for Cyan Ta’eed openly admitting she is terrible at elevator pitches. 

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Four years after the Ta’eed’s established Envato in Melbourne, Emily Weiss, a Vogue fashion assistant-turned-beauty-entrepreneur founded Glossier, a direct-to-consumer beauty company focussed on skincare first, makeup second. Weiss has said countless times, she wanted to create “a brand whose sweatshirt you wanted to wear” and after the company reached unicorn status last year, there is no doubt this brand-first strategy worked. So when Ta’eed decided in 2017 to launch Hey Tiger, an ethical chocolate brand partnering with The Hunger Project to help communities in West Africa, Weiss’ philosophy stuck with her. (Ironically, as she tells me this she is wearing a t-shirt with a tiger on it. Not Hey Tiger, though. Gucci.)

“I knew that was the goal, so we created this packaging which was very brand-first. What ended up happening, organically, was these unboxing experiences. Occasionally, people would be sharing these unboxing experiences [on social media] and talking about the product and talking about the feel of the paper and which design they liked best and all these sorts of things and you’d see these incredible spikes,” Ta’eed says. 

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