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Regionally Speaking

Join Phoebe Tully as she interviews some of Australia’s most impressive entrepreneurs, all of whom have chosen to run their business and live their lives outside of major capital cities. In season one, Phoebe talks with product designers in Dubbo, art dealers in the Hunter Valley, publishers in Byron Bay – all people who prove that it is possible to run a company and live where you want. We’ll be looking at the challenges and advantages of regional living and learning how these entrepreneurs got started. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode 1: Karen Barnett, Montville Coffee 

Karen Barnett is the co-founder of Montville Coffee, a specialty coffee roaster based in the Sunshine Coast hinterlands. In addition to winning awards for their blends, Montville Coffee was the first Fairtrade and Organic coffee roasters in Queensland, and became a certified B Corp in 2016.

But as Karen will tell you, being a regional social enterprise and husband-and-wife team has not been a simple or easy journey. In this episode, we talk about finding your people, applying for grants, developing new products, and transparency in business.

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Timestamps:

2:10 Primary school educator to business start-up
3:30 Why start a Fairtrade coffee roasting business.
5:05 The first steps to starting Montville Coffee, and risk being part of an entrepreneur’s DNA
7:30 Being a husband and wife team
12:00 to 13:20 The Montville Coffee experience
13:20 Developing new products with the support of the Food and Agribusiness Network, 
Grow Coastal and government grants
21:20 Advice for fellow regional entrepreneurs
25:00 Third Party Certifications, such as B Corp, Certified Fairtrade and Certified Organic
30:05 The early days of starting Montville Coffee
34:25 Leadership and managing

Episode 2: Julia Spicer, Engage & Create Consulting

Julia Spicer of Engage & Create Consulting has been named as one of Australia’s most influential women by the Australian Financial Review. Her business, based in Goondiwindi, has been profitable from day one, and Julia is a passionate advocate for rural communities, especially women in business.

If you’re wondering about building networks and community, this is essential listening. Julia is one of the most well-connected people I know, and she lays it all out in this episode.
 
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Episode 3: Jemima & Bede Aldridge, Saddler & Co

Jemima and Bede Aldridge founded Saddler & Co in Dubbo in 2014. Bede started his apprenticeship at the age of 14, opened his first workshop in 2010, making custom saddles from home until the business took a slight pivot. Jemima, who has a mind for a business and an eye for design, joined the business in 2014, and helped to grow Saddler & Co beyond the world of saddles and into a fully-fledged lifestyle brand.
 
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Episode 4: Anna Battle, Shiny Happy Art

Anna Battle started her business 20 years ago, and it has taken many twists and turns since then to become Shiny Happy Art. In this episode Anna shares specific tools she uses to run her online business, as well as lessons she’s learned about goal setting, managing finances and making things work when circumstances out of your control force a pivot.

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Episode 5: John Calabro, The View From Here

John Calabro owns The View From Here, a creative agency based in Traralgon in the LaTrobe Valley in the Gippsland region. John’s story will sound familiar to anyone who thought they’d never move back to their hometown… and then found that their priorities shifted, and they couldn’t imagine life differently. Building on a successful career as a graphic designer in Melbourne, John and his young family moved back to the Latrobe Valley to purchase their first home. As John started to build his roster of freelance clients, The View From Here was born and now employs eight full-time locals.

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Episode 6: Helen Shadforth, Cheese Therapy

Helen Shadforth and Sam Penny founded Cheese Therapy, their cheese subscription service, in 2015 from their base in Buderim on the Sunshine Coast. They steadily grew over the years, offering Australians international and domestic cheese they otherwise couldn’t access.
In this episode Helen tells us about scaling up and scaling down sustainably, and we deep dive into distribution centres and transport logistics. Helen was happy to answer my many, many questions and this is a must listen for all product-based businesses hoping to scale nationally.

 

Episode 7: Louise Bannister, Lunch Lady

Louise Bannister is co-founder and editor of Lunch Lady magazine. Previously, she has been responsible for several of Australia’s favourite magazines, including Frankie, which she co-founded and edited until 2014, as well as Smith Journal and interiors magazine SPACES.
In this episode, Louise spoke really honestly about her experience building and leaving a publishing empire, and the difficulty of then going on to build another one – while raising three small children!

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Episode 8: Michael Reid

Michael Reid is one of Australia’s leading art dealers. As well as owning bricks and mortar art galleries around the world, Michael also owns a slew of off-shoot and online businesses. He wrote a regular column for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, has published several books with Allen & Unwin and hosted TV and radio shows. In 2016, he was awarded an OAM. It’s perhaps needless to say that Michael is frequently named as one of the most influential people in Australian art.
Michael runs this empire from Murrurundi, a town of less than 1000 people in the upper Hunter Valley. In this episode we discuss art and business and the importance of self-awareness.

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Episode 9: Raquelle Pedler, Resound Music Academy

Today on the podcast is Raquelle Pedler of Resound Music Academy. Toowoomba born and bred, Raquelle had studied to become a full-time musician – and was fulfilling that dream. She then saw a gap in the market and decided to do some further study in education and start her own music school. As well as running Resound Music Academy, Raquelle remains a popular, booked out performer in her own right.

In this episode, she talks about the balance and how she chose to work in both fields. We talk about prioritising professional development, building and nurturing community and carving out a niche as an artist.

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Episode 10: Luke Anear, SafetyCulture

In this final episode of Season 1, I speak with Luke Anear, founder of SafetyCulture. SafetyCulture is best known for its app, iAuditor, which is used for more than 600 million health and safety checks per year. SafetyCulture became a unicorn in 2020 – that is, it is now valued at over a billion dollars!

In this episode, Luke talks about company culture, learning to lead, and how he almost started WWIII by banning Slack for a week.

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