Chapter 1 – Life Makes Sense
I was raised on a recipe of self belief, imagination, determination and creativity. There was no doubt that this little redheaded girl who loved to climb and sit peacefully in the willow tree in the front garden was always going to be a dreamer. Having a very vivid imagination meant I was always going to visualize my dreams ahead of their time and the quiet times in my life have always been the most creative, however nowadays a 50-year-old lady sitting up in the branches of a willow tree may cause some people to question her mental state.
The very ﬁrst sign of a desire to be stylish came when I was only 5 years old. I had just received a role in the local Theatre Company Production and I needed a new dress to wear as my costume, Mum took me shopping and we put a dress on Lay-by. I was SO excited, I remember having to go to bed early every night so I could quickly go to sleep and dream about my beautiful new dress that was coming. The very ﬁrst sign of my desire for design came when I started to draw I was obsessed with girls dresses and accessories, and the coloring they had to be just right along with the choice of color ʻwellʼ that was seriously important. I know this is going to sound a bit weird (Hey, but that’s OK, isn’t it?). I also had a sketchbook full of house ﬂoor plans.
Yes, thats right! I loved drawing and designing ﬂoor plans for houses. I even gave each design a name. I think I was about 8 years old. As the years went by and I started to spend more time on stage performing, I found myself in a position where my career was my passion. Being styled well for stage also created that same need in my every-day life as well, its only natural really. It was important to dress appropriately for every occasion, event, day, weather / and possible situation.
So this little redheaded girl is still little in her mind and has lived to tell the story. This is my journey towards my biggest creation so far.
Chapter 2 – Never Giving Up
I have always been a dreamer, it’s just a part of who I am. But standing up there right alongside of that has been ʻdeterminationʼ. I was 13 when I decided I was going to be an entertainer and work on stage professionally. And frankly, there was never a moment that I thought “I can’t do this.”. Whenever I found myself on stage in front of an audience the feeling was so incredible, exhilarating and empowering. I was hooked!
So began the relentless singing, drama and dance lessons a constant drive to achieve my dream. Once I had accomplished a career on stage for many years, a change of environment was needed. I remember watching a cruise ship sailing out of the bay and I thought “That’s it! That’s where Iʼll go!“. So I picked up the phone and asked the operator what’s the name of the Australian-based Cruise Company?“. Yet, another page turned and I found myself sailing the South Pacific and once again entertaining the masses.
As time went on and seaʼs were crossed, it was time to come home and be still for a while. Then once again, I found myself in a quiet time, like that little girl sitting in the branches of the Willow tree, dreaming. While I quietly dreamed, I decided to teach what I had learned and I found myself in a world of wonder, with children looking at me with those same dreams as I had and me teaching them to believe that anything is possible. Once again years have passed and teaching children to sing and perform has been incredible and in a strange way it all made sense. But now as I step into the world of design, I can take all my past experiences with me and know that with determination dreams come true.
… So never ever give up your dreams!
Chapter 3 – The Idea Arrives
So Im having a party this particular evening when a friend askʼs me if I have a wheat bag because he is suffering from back pain, which is a common complaint for a Musician + Roadie of his vintage. The party kicks off and the volume turns up, however unbeknown to me, my friend has positioned my ʻpoorʼ humble wheat bag into the back of his trousers ! So he could still move around and socialize while relieving his back pain.
The following morning, I awoke to find a vast and somewhat interesting trail of wheat from one end of the house to the other. The idea seed was planted.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Why isnʼt there a fashionable and versatile style of Wheat Heat Therapy? Why!? Then, weeks later. I sat up in bed at around 3am, grabbed a pen and paper and write down the word ʻOctopusʼ. Then, I went to sleep. The next morning I got up, grabbed some old newspapers and collected some cups, saucers and plates (anything round). I started to trace a long chain of circles, they looked just like the sucker rings along the arm of an octopus. As the morning went on, everything was falling into place, it was all making sense.
The arm of an Octopus attaches itself naturally to its environment, and allows freedom of movement. The wheat grain is shaped like a torpedo and moves effortlessly around in a circular motion. I remember jumping up from my sewing machine at the end of the day with the very first MyOki prototype in my hands, saying to myself:
“Oh my God! This is going to be huge!” ( Then I did a little dance around the kitchen table.)
That was 5 years ago now (And Iʼm still dancing!). And in that 5 years, my MyOki has completely changed and challenged all my personal strengths and beliefs in so many ways. Who would ever have thought a retired old showgirl could ever do something like this? Welcome to the world of Miss MyOki!
Chapter 4 – Making It Happen
The first thing I needed to do was find someone to make the MyOkiʼs ? Sounds easy right? ..ha.. So I started talking to people about my idea and then as one thing leads to another I found myself flying to Sydney to meet Lisa Goodhand at China Blueprint a consulting agency for China. I showed Lisa my prototype and the MyOki journey began. Months go by, many emails, ideaʼs and designs bounce back and forth from Australia to China and finally the first shipment arrives. The excitement and thrill of watching a truck pull up at your home with something you had created was very emotional… and suddenly ʻrealʼ.
I formed a small team and we started to fill the MyOkiʼs with wheat, friends designed and made websites for me, I created a Market Stall to get MyOkiʼs out and about. The wheels were in motion and sales were being made. What a buzz! Even just talking to different people about MyOki was so much fun!
To be honest I didn’t know what I was doing in regard to creating a business. I suppose like everything else Iʼd done in life, it meant the same thing, just do something, try anything and never say “no”.
In the past 5 years I have created a business that imports from China, sells online throughout Australia and now exports back to China selling through a fully translated Chinese website.
My agent, Lisa Goodhand is still by my side and now manages my social media page in China and is a driving force full of projects and positivity. I have also learnt so much about my strengths and weaknesses.
I have learnt how to overcome the word “no” with “Iʼll just try another way” or another door. I have learnt to take the shock and confusion of setbacks calmly and to let time clear your mind (sit up in the branches of a Willow Tree) and the answers will always come. I have learnt to be decisive, to take chances and be brave. But above all, that when you truly believe with all your heart then the words “Give up, it’s all too hard” can never cross your mind.
The little redheaded girl from a small town in Victoria, Australia has just turned another page and this new chapter is going to be GREAT FUN!
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