If you are considering starting a business, I encourage you to do so.
Get started, accept that you're going to make mistakes, own those mistakes humbly and then use them as your best teachers.
At some stage, you'll want to start minimising your mistakes. When you're ready to learn from professionals, start asking them. They're not hard to find and most of them love sharing their knowledge and success/failure stories.
If you can't find anyone within your community to mentor you, head to Masterclass online and learn from the personal experience and stories of the world's best leaders in today's industries.
Final advice - don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't make a difference. That is the biggest and most expensive lie you could ever buy. Make sure you own your power to change the world and do so responsibly.
Then turn around and help the next one in line.
Brave, Creative and Local
When I buy something, I like knowing I can look the business owner in the eye.
I like hearing their startup stories - what inspired them to start, what drives them to keep going, how they treat their suppliers and customers.
I also like sharing a good company when I find one. So here they are - the best of the best from my experiences within my community...
Refillery (Thanks Lauren)
My nickname "Shiney" came from my 1st Aussie job and obsession with cleaning luxury yachts. I worked with a lot of heavy chemical products without thinking anything of it.
Two years and a COVID later, I found myself back on the boats with a bit more confidence and selectiveness - I was on the lookout for better cleaning products.
Fresh off the boat and strolling through the Warriewood Friday Markets, the Refillery booth caught my eye.
First off, they use glass bottles (hallelujah) with convenient refilling stations available every other week.
The cleaning products use all-natural ingredients sourced locally - ticking even more boxes.
And the aromas ... heavenly ... are more than enough to suit the particularly fine taste of our high-end clients.
Check out their website, or better yet, meet them in person at the Friday markets and sniff out your favourites.
Fibre for Good (Thanks Carl)
This amazing brands sells responsibly sourced cotton clothing for babes. They leave it untouched - no dyes, no chemicals - and use 90% less water than commercially manufactured clothing.
Hop on their website or spot them at the markets. I met Carl and heard his story at the Sunday markets behind Pittwater RSL.
Luckily, I have a massive family of cousins so there's always a baby around to reap the benefits of my addiction to this brand.
Hampers from the Hood (Thanks Tash)
This girl has the right vibe for the tribe. Her hampers are collections of eco-friendly products sourced from local small business owners.
I found this gem accidentally (my favourite kind of find) through a conversation with a friendly face. She shared how she never would have started a business had it not been for COVID - I'm adding this to the list of Silver Lining from 2020.
Next time you have no idea what to get someone, browse her website and try not to buy something for yourself as well.
Jack and Hilda's Tea & Scone Co.
Spilling the tea on this one. They took the brave leap of faith and opened shop in Narrabeen during COVID. In a country where coffee is the known favourite, Jack and Hilda's challenged the scene with a refreshing cafe specialising in English style, high-tea, garden vibes.
My all time favourite story from Jack and Hilda's is how they handled minor setbacks.
Although they had to close shop, they did it with dignity, giving thanks to their customers, focusing on the lessons learned and promising to bounce back with a greater comeback down the road.
That's the kind of positivity I want served in my cup.
So sip it in - they offer loose leaf teas on their website (and more recently, now available at the Pottery Cafe in Collaroy - worth a visit).