KICK ASS BIZ MAMA #20 – LISA MINETT, MY MAMA SAID

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Dear Ladies,

Today we are in the presence of movement, dance and theatre greatness, with Lisa Minett, former Head of Movement and Dance for NIDA, who now runs an amazing studio in Seddon. Combining the best of barre, pilates, yoga and dance to help women stay strong and healthy, Lisa is a powerhouse of inspiration and energy.

I wish my mama had told me about this before!

Collette

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Tell us about your business – when did you start it and what is it all about?

My Mama Said opened doors on July 13, 2015. I’ve spent my life as an actor, dancer and choreographer. I’ve seen the benefits that having a strong connection to your physical presence can do for people professionally and personally. Unfortunately, most of the training out there cares little about your progress and is uncertain about how to nurture the unique beauty that lies in each of us. I wanted to offer a safe group fitness alternative where you can train in all styles of mind/body workouts.

What inspired you to start your business?

I had been working with actors as a University lecturer for the past 6 years and was tired, burnout and frustrated. I wanted to share all that I knew about movement with people in an environment that was more fun and friendly. I grew up in Williamstown and have always wanted to return and open up my own studios so i can share all of my knowledge with the people in my community.

What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?

Focus in on the product – which for me was to deliver quality classes.

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What was the most difficult part about starting your business?

Finding out I was 8 weeks pregnant a week before I opened!!!! Probably keeping it small to start. Not trying to do the bigger plan stright off. Let the business build.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned about running your business?

There are so many extra little costs that you simply forget about. Also, people will ask what seems like ridiculous requests to you. If you can accommodate them, then just do it. You are providing a service to them, not to yourself.

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting your business?

My husband and two year old daughter. I work a lot at night and that means less dinner and down time with them.

What is one thing you wish you had of known before you started your business?

That it will all work out in the end and you will never stop working to drum up business.

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What has been your biggest success so far?

The clients who have been with me since day one are inspiring and gorgeous human beings and i would never have met them if I didn’t open the studio. Watching them grow and glow is so rewarding.

After a long day/night/week what do you do to unwind?

I have a massage whenever I can. I’m also partial to a little flutter on a Saturday!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Still helping people discover the amazing abilities that lie within the mind and body.

Raw Avocado & Cacao Mousse

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Dear Ladies,

Today’s healthy recipe was given to me by the lovely ladies at About Life in Port Melbourne, after I tried this yummy dessert treat at their recent opening. Simple to make, tasty to eat, and you completely sugar and guilt-free.

What more could you want every afternoon?!

Collette

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AYLA-Maternity-Blog-Raw-Avocado-Cacao-Mousse-Ingredients

What you need:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder (I use organic, and even Coles has it these days)
  • 1⁄2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (white, black or whatever mix you have)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or maple syrup or rice malt if you don’t like it too sweet)
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoons coconut flakes (quickly pan fry it for extra crunch!)
  • 6 raspberries

 

What you do:

  1. Combine the avocado, cacao powder, coconut milk, chia seeds, agave and water in a blender and blitz until smooth.
  2. Divide the mousse into four small bowls.
  3. Top with the raspberries and sprinkle with coconut flakes.

KICK ASS BIZ MAMA #19 – BRONWYN HOWELL, RETROBUB

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Dear Ladies,

Today’s amazing business woman is so modest about her achievements, it makes me cry out in pain! For over 20 years she has been designing and producing a range of the cutest baby wear clothing, when most other people in the fashion industry have chosen to get someone else to do it for them, or have gone off-shore.

My hat goes off to you Bronwyn – it is so rare to find someone else ‘crazy’ enough to make all their own designs – you are massive inspiration to me. Thank you!

Collette

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AYLA-Maternity-Blog-Kick-Ass-Biz-Mama-Bronwyn Howell-Retrobub-Products

Tell us about your business – when did you start it and what is it all about?

I started 20 years ago – can you believe it ! I make childrens wear with a focus on baby wear – under the label Retrobub.

What inspired you to start your business?

I was inspired after the birth of my daughter. I had a background in fashion design and was appaulled by how boring childrens wear, and babywear in particular, was. So I set out to produce a range of babywear that was fun and fashionable. I quickly found that people where looking for baby clothes that where cute enough to give as a gift to people expecting, but they didn’t know the gender of the baby, so I started with a range of gender-neutral babywear to fulfill this need.

What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?

It wasn’t when I was just starting off, but a few years in, my accountant gave me a talking to about paying myself properly. It is very easy to not include every hour you work into your pricing, but in the end you are just exploiting yourself. If something is too expensive, then you have to find a way to make it cheaper (less detail, cheaper materials, made in a more time efficent way) – you can’t just make the price lower and rip yourself off. And if you can’t get the price down, then its not a profitable product and maybe you should scrap it and concentrate on an item you can make more profit on.

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What was the most difficult part about starting your business?

All the business stuff. I am a designer and creative and I find that side is my strength, but all the things that make up the other aspects of running a business are very difficult.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned about running your business?

To listen to customers, but to take their comments with a grain of salt. Customers and people are always giving you advice, but they do so very flippantly. I have learnt the hard way that customers that like your product just buy it, they don’t need to talk about it. But people who give you lots of advice, saying “you should make this…”, don’t actually share your vision, and are not the best people to listen too. Listen to your sales, and work on the things that are selling.

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting your business? 

Time and weekends !! Always working weekends selling at markets has affected my social life, and people think I am crazy when I ask if they want to do something on a Monday which is my day off.

Also business can be good but it can be slow at times too and cash flow can be a real problem.

What is one thing you wish you had of known before you started your business?

How hard it is, but if i did I never would of started! As I said before, my strength is the design and creative aspects, and in hindsight, I would of tried to find a partner for the business that had strengths in the other areas of admistration.

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What has been your biggest success so far?

I don’t think I have had any success (Collette’s note: Bronwyn is WAY too modest, go and check out the quality of her work every third Sunday of the month, at the Shirt & Skirt Market at the Abbotsford Convent)  – it is a work in process.

After a long day/night/week what do you do to unwind?

I like to spend time with friends and family, at the beach and dining out.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to see the online store to grow.

Raw Kale Pesto

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Dear Ladies,

The other week, I was lucky enough to attend the opening of a new store in Port Melbourne – About Life. It is jam packed with a range of healthy, organic, locally made food, and we were able to sample lots of their pre-made food, including this amazing Raw Kale Pesto. I use it as a dip, but you can add it to salads, pasta, rice, whatever you like – just add more or less water to suit.

Enjoy!

Collette

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Raw Kale Pesto

AYLA-Maternity-Blog-Kale-Pesto-Dip-Ingredients

What you need:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews
  • 1 cup of filtered water (or more if you like it more runny)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan salt (or whatever one you have!)
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh kale leaves
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

What you do:

  • Chop kale into strips, removing stalks.
  • Soak chopped kale in apple cider vinegar and a little bit of warm water for 5 minutes.
  • Drain kale and add to blender with the rest of ingredients.
  • Blitz it until it is smooth.
  • Serve with crackers, vegetables or whatever you like!

DIY Dishwashing Liquid

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Dear Ladies,

Now, I will admit it, I do like to clean. But about a year or so ago I realised that I was using too much liquid soap after I drank out of a glass that hadn’t been rinsed properly, and ruined a glass of good wine with a frothy head. Even though I was using the ‘environmentally-friendly’ dishwashing liquid that doesn’t cost that much, it also got me thinking that there had to be a better way – using less soap and also less plastic. So here goes!

Collette

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AYLA-Maternity-Blog-DIY-Washing-Liquid-Finished-Product

What you need:

  • 6 tablespoons of castille soap
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable glycerin
  • empty glass bottle (I actually threw out the bottle too and started using a spray to use less soap – it coats the dirt evenly rather than your hands in the water!)
  • 2 cups of cold water (I add a little more when I use it in the spray bottle)
  • 5 drops of your favourite essential oil – optional, but oh-so-lovely!

How to make it:

  • Combine all ingredients in bottle.
  • Shake to mix, then pump and use!

BUMP STYLE: 3 WINTER ESSENTIALS

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Dear Ladies,

It can be a pretty overwhelming thing, shopping for clothes when you are pregnant and when your body is growing in all sorts of weird ways. And if you don’t know what to look for, it can end up costing you a lot of money! But just to make it easy, we have narrowed it down to three easy, wear-with-anything pieces you can be sure will last with you over the winter months and beyond!

Collette

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  1. The Draped Cardigan – great for softening your curves, hiding those extra bits bits and keeping you warm! Choose cardigans that have cascade fronts or interesting details to steer peoples eyes away from your bump.

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  1. The Ruched Top – tuck it in or leave it out, this stretchy staple should allow you to keep growing, with its rushed sides. These little wrinkles across your body will also provide a flattering distraction that will help prevent the fully-inflated ‘basketball’ bump affect.

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  1. The Stretchy Legging – our top seller, with good reason! You can dress them up, down or just wear them to bed. They will replace every other pair of pants, shorts or skirt in your wardrobe, so make sure they have at least 10% stretch so they can grown with you. And look for natural fibres like our modal, bamboo or tencel.

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STORE REVIEW – About Life, Port Melbourne

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Name of store: About Life

Where is it located:  Port Melbourne, Victoria (with other stores in Sydney and NSW)

What did you like about it: It is full of healthy, organic, ethical and sustainable food options, plus a juice bar and lots of other take away food options.

Would you recommend it to friends/family and why:

Yes, definitely! In fact, I have already visited its sister store in Surry Hills. I love all their homemade dips, meals and jams (especially the Chia & Raspberry one), plus their nut butter range.

Who do you think would like to use it: Anyone looking for healthy, conscious food, that is sick of the lack of choice at other supermarkets for real food.

What three words would you use to describe it:  Healthy, Creative, Delicious!

Want to try it for yourself? Check out the About Life website for locations.

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ABOUT THE REVIEWER: 

(in the essence of full disclosure, we list this so you know where they come from!)

Name: Collette Swindells (AYLA Maternity Founder & Designer)

How do you spend your days? Working many different roles within AYLA Maternity – designer, writer, stylist, accountant, manager, the list goes on!

How do you spend your weekends? Sleeping in, catching up with friends and at the occasional market, selling AYLA Maternity‘s clothing.

If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be and why? My favourite architect – Oscar Niemeyer. He worked almost until he passed away, aged 105 and is a great inspiration in life and design to me.