What is your connection with the inner-west?
I started my business around three years ago and made the decision to base it in Footscray. I have strong family ties with the area as my family settled in Yarraville and built the family home there when they arrived from Italy in the 1950s. My dad didn’t speak English when he arrived, but was gifted a Bulldogs guernsey from a neighbour and a few years later sold footy records at the Yarraville footy ground.
What do you love most about the area?
I love the history and sense of community. We’re a Bulldogs family, so seeing the area come alive last September really was magical. I’ve been very proud to support the women’s team with my business She Will Shine as a foundation ambassador.
Do you have a favourite local place or places to spend time?
While it doesn’t happen as often as I would like, when the sun is shining I do love walking along the Maribyrnong River. It’s so peaceful on the grass behind the Footscray Community Arts Centre, away from the hustle and bustle.
How did She Will Shine come about?
The idea came from a graphic design business I created and ran from home to have flexibility around my children. I experienced first-hand how, when women support each other, amazing things really do happen. It was through this experience that I created She Will Shine, a network for female business owners to be able to connect, to support each other and to provide them with the business education needed to take their business to the next level. I also opened Melbourne’s very first all-female co-working space here in Footscray.
What do you like most about helping other women find their way in business?
I love seeing women who have connected through She Will Shine celebrating each other’s wins as if they were their own. It’s such a special connection between these women and it has been built on a mutual understanding of what they are wanting to achieve, not just in business, but in life as well. My very simple motto is that if we help each other, we can all do well. And I get to see it in action every day.
What’s your first piece of advice to someone dipping their toe in the small business world?
It would definitely be to go out and build a trusted support network. Creating a small business can be a tough and lonely journey, but if you have people to turn to that understand, it’s so much easier and far more enjoyable. Coming up in August is the Small Business Festival – there are loads of great events, especially those being run in the City of Maribyrnong, where you can meet these people.
She Will Shine is co-hosting Project Start-Up: The Ultimate Guide for Women as part of the Small Business Festival (August 1-31). Visit www.maribyrnong.vic.gov.au/Business