To be honest, I consider myself a reluctant entrepreneur. I say this because I never really wanted to run my own business.
While growing up, I watched my migrant parents make a life for themselves by working extremely long hours running a small milk bar business. The shop was opened seven days a week and it seemed like I virtually spent my childhood in those four walls.
It was indoctrinated in me that I didn’t need much being a girl, I’d find a rich man to take care of me (the norm in the late 60s) and all I needed to know was how to cook and clean. My brother was sent to a private school and I was sent to the local school for convenience.
Listen: Shark Tank’s Naomi Simson shares the reality of starting a small business from home.
I remember making a decision as an eight-year-old that I wanted to travel and never work that hard. But then life happens, doesn’t it?
Fast forward 26 years and there I was at the end of a destructive marriage with two daughters under the age of seven, and I had to look at life differently.
Fortunately, I have an innate ability to be resourceful. Nowadays we know it as ‘hustling’, but when you’re a single parent, it’s called survival. I left the relationship with only a carload of clothes and the girls and I moved from Melbourne to the Victorian coast for a sea change and cheaper rent.
I look back at those days fondly living across from Victoria’s Jan Juc beach in a holiday shack near Torquay for $160 per week. My daughters and I formed an unbreakable bond. We created our simple life with love on a shoestring budget. We spent four amazing years there where I juggled a number of small jobs including working in retail, running knitting workshops and cleaning the local pub at 6am to get back home in time to drop the girls off at school.
Before long the small town life became claustrophobic and when my eldest won a scholarship to a Melbourne private school, we packed our bags and returned to the city.
It was then that I decide that I needed to gain some skills to be able to support my family. I went back to school at age 42 to study nutrition. It was a massive challenge for someone who had never written an academic assignment let alone sat an exam.
I’m proud to say that I got through it and it was during that period studying to be a nutritionist that I had my first light bulb moment for a business idea.
My youngest daughter, Lana, at 13 was going through a stage of very fussy eating. She skipped breakfast regularly and hardly ate lunch. By the time she got home from school, she was exhausted and cranky. I recognised the signs of malnutrition from my studies and knew I had to do something about it.