How many identities do you both have?
1. Mother of 2, a girl who is 4 and a boy who just turned 1
3. Business Owner (Glamour Nail Bar, Clawlicious and Divine Bali Wedding Planners)
1. Business Owner (Glamour Nail Bar, Clawlicious and Divine Bali Wedding Planners)
2. Teacher – Education Support and Special Needs
3. Mother of two sons 25 and 33
4. Nonna of 11 yr old grandson and two granddaughters 4 and 2
5. Budding creator of vegan spa products
Tell us a bit about your story and how you’ve got to where you are now?
Before being a business owner and Mum, I used to be a Chaplain and I met Chrissie when she was working with Indigenous Students at risk. We became good friends and realised we had a lot in common, including our event planning skills and drive to succeed. This lead to us starting our own Wedding and Event Planning Business - Divine Wedding and Event Planners back in 2008. We saw great success out of this business and did it while still working in the school, it was nice to plan lots of beautiful things when we also worked in a school with really awful and tough situations. We also expanded to doing Bali Weddings which we still do now but have dropped the Perth weddings and events due to being too busy with Glamour Nail Bar (Who doesn’t love a free trip to Bali haha?). So we now have Divine Bali Wedding Planners.
Speaking of being busy, back in about 2012 we used to want to be able to catch up and have some pamper time together when we weren’t working. We would get sick of going to these nail bars where we never got to sit together, always got rushed through, never got the nails we really wanted or the service. I remember saying “I wish there was somewhere we could go and sit back and have a pedicure with a glass of champagne and relax” and the rest is history! We then decided to open our own Nail Salon that actually cared about the health of peoples nails, that had a friendly service, talented nail technicians and of course pedicures with a glass of champagne! So we opened Glamour Nail Bar back in 2014 in Cockburn Central, along with my husband as a partner as well. We have seen such huge success, Perth really wanted a high end nail bar like we did! So then in 2016 we opened another one in Subiaco. We now have plans to open more in the future, possibly in other states around Aus. We have had international celebrities in as well as loyal “Perthlebrity” clients that come and see us every fortnight. We have launched our own gel polish and just recently we have launched (still launching actually) our cruelty free, 10 free Clawlicious Luxury Nail Lacquer (another business in itself) So we have actually used this already for all the runways at Telstra Perth Fashion Festival and also on the Myer Runway Series all across Australia without actually even doing a proper launch yet so we are really excited to see where this new business venture goes and we will be launching other cruelty free products as well.
Jani and I met 10 years ago working in a high school fraught with socio economic issues where Jani was the Chaplain and Youth Worker, and I was the Program Coordinator of an educational program supporting aspirant Indigenous teenagers working towards attending university.
I began my teaching life as a drama teacher at PLC before moving to the Northern Territory town of Katherine where I worked with Aboriginal students in town, and out on the communities. I took a number of these teenagers in a convoy of 4wheel drive vehicles up through the centre of Australia to Nhulunbuy where they competed in the Croc Fest dance competition in the heart of Yothu Yindi dreaming land. From there I moved back to WA, choosing the most challenging schools that would have me, in order to work with the most highly disadvantaged teens out there - I have seen children overcome incredible diversity to get to school every day, and I believe they deserve to have a teacher in their classroom who genuinely loves and respects them.
Through our friendship Jani and I discovered a mutual love of event planning and styling (making the world more beautiful was definitely the yin to the yang of our other jobs) and we built Divine Wedding and Event Planners which we ran as a very successful business in both Perth and Bali. Never, however, forgetting the realities of life for many others in the world, we regularly hosted fundraisers for breast cancer research and orphanages in Bali.
We opened Glamour Nail Bar as there was a niche for an ethical nail bar where nail health and customer service were foremost. As the business has grown I gave up my teaching permanency to concentrate on Glamour however, through relief teaching I have found a new passion in working with special education and high needs children; so they have my teaching focus and I have just completed an intensive five day course working with cerebral palsy children.
When I’m not teaching or coordinating Glamour’s involvement with events such as TPFF, Swim and Resorts Series Runway, Myer SS19 Runway events across five capital cities; I’m working on our own range of cruelty free, vegan, pure spa products for in-house use and retail at Glamour.
What has been your most challenging moment in life thus far?
When we opened our first Salon in Cockburn, I had my first baby and she was only 3 months old. I learnt that things don’t always go to plan, especially in business. In my mind, Glamour was going to be open and humming along by the time I had a baby; I would have some fabulous maternity leave and be earning money while at home with my newborn. Boy was I wrong! It was a crazy time with a 3 month old and a brand new business. Rewind to the 2 months or so before that, and it was even crazier, running around trying to get everything set up for a new business while you are just getting the hang of being a new Mum and trying to look after another human who has come along and turned your whole world upside down!
In the early days, I would be at the salon with her, trying to breastfeed while filling up a pedicure chair or putting a payment through. People thought I was crazy ... maybe I was? People used to (and still do) ask me “How did you do it?" and I honestly can’t say I know but you just make it work!
At 58 I’ve seen a lot of life and experienced a range of challenging situations, however the most life changing that comes to mind is the rebuilding of my life after a hard relationship breakup 11 years ago at a time when you think your life may have become settled. After the initial shock and heartbreak, I wiped my tears, gave myself a good talking to, and forged ahead. I became a sole mortgage payer, single breadwinner, single mother. I started my work in Aboriginal Education and began to see how I could change the lives of many of the teens I worked with in the community. I met Jani and we created Divine simply for fun and some spending money; and we loved the creativity of setting up and running weddings, and running a business. I fell in love, fell out of love, had lovers, had parties, travelled, renovated my house myself and became a Nonna. When we created Glamour I learnt I have a sharp business brain, and that I am fearless and confident in myself. I learnt that besties can go into business when the stakes are high, and that honesty, ethics and belief in self and each other creates a strong basis for success.
11 years later I’m in my little house listening to the sound of the ocean, hand mixing our range of vegan spa products, pondering what to wear to an occasion, planning weekends with my grandson, or trips overseas to see my granddaughters. When I look ahead to 2019 I’ll dance at Coachella, hang out in LA, swim in Croatia and over eat in Italy. When I sit with Jani and Dane and plan the launch of Clawlicious; and our own nail tech teaching course, and the ramping up of our international online presence - I realise that everything that had come before has strengthened me and taken me to a life I may not have had the opportunity to explore – and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
How do you feel stereotypes have affected women in business so far?
I think it has been very difficult for women in business in the past and we are still forging ahead now. But we are in an era right now where there are more women in business than ever before. Women that want to make their own decisions and choices on when they work and working out the family/work/life juggle. With that always still comes judgement and stereotypes. There are still people that believe the old school ways, that a woman should be at home looking after her children and that be her only focus. I’m all for that, if that is what you want to do and you are fulfilled in that. But there are women, like myself who want to be a Mum and be a Boss and I don’t see any reason why we cant do both. The juggle is never easy, everything comes with its challenges but I love that I can earn money for my family, create jobs for other Mums and also be there for my children when I need to be and I think a lot of Mums are feeling the same way which is why we are now seeing a rise in women owning their own businesses.
Being an older woman going into business at this stage of life when many women are considering retirement plans, allows me the opportunity to break some of the stereotypes that if you’re not young and making it successfully in your chosen field, then it’s too late. Young woman these days are often under tremendous pressure to be successful, beautifully groomed, have delightful instagrammable children, perfect relationships and incredibly themed birthday parties. One of the wonderful things about being older is that – apart from having seen Queen play while Freddie Mercury was still alive - I know that what is really important is being the best person you can, being kind to others, the earth and animals; in learning that beauty is unique and relationships can be hard, and that birthday parties in any form are a blessing because it meant you had another year with your child. Every year we have on this earth is a blessing, and age is certainly no barrier in creating dreams, memories and businesses.
What do you do to switch off?
I do love a nice wine in the sunshine haha! To switch off, I really do like to go somewhere and have a nice lunch or dinner or do something fun with my family like a trip down to the beach.
I’m with Jani – wine in the sunshine! I just get to drink more than her because I don’t have kids to worry about these days. I also like to walk to the beach and sit on my own by the ocean, recharge in my courtyard with ginger tea, binge Netflix or read on my bed and cuddle my three rescue cats as often as they will let me.
What has been your biggest achievement in life?
Having my two children would top anything in this world I think. We have so many great business achievements that I could list but when I look at my two babies, they are truly my greatest achievement.
Raising my two sons on my own and knowing that I have sent two good, decent, hardworking, respectful men into the world who will change it for the better in their own ways.
What would you say to all the women out there who want to start a business but don’t know where to start?
First and foremost, have 100% confidence in yourself and your ability. It is so easy to let self doubt creep in and think you can’t do it or you’re not good enough and I think so many people who have had amazing ideas just have not had the confidence to give it a go. People always say to me “Your so brave” in what you have achieved. I have never seen it that way. I’ve always just believed in myself and backed myself all the way . Make a good business plan, know your strengths and weaknesses (And source out to help with the weaknesses) do your market research and find the niche in the market. Be the point of difference for your target market. And lastly, get around some good people who can mentor you and help you go in the right direction.
Firstly, you need to love what you do, because there are no millions to be made overnight, so while you’re hoping the bank won’t take your house, or you’re juggling full time work and opening the business; when you can’t think straight because there’s so much to do, and another staff member calls in sick … you need to love what you do.
Then find the niche that needs filling (with Glamour we knew no one else was offering the old fashioned customer service, hygiene and care, conversations and top shelf products like we do), have a focused business plan, choose carefully your trusted advisors (maybe a business coach) or business partners (with a rock solid shareholders agreement), and never, ever waiver from believing in yourself and your business.