MANAGING IT TOGETHER
THE BEGINNING OF A SERIES OF INSPIRING BUSINESSWOMEN AND HOW THEIR RELATIONSHIPS SUPPORT THEIR SUCCESS
November and December bring an awfully fun frenzy along with varied stressful pressures like no other time of the year. For this reason, I’ve researched a series of admirable trail-blazing couples on the Sunshine Coast to inspire us with how they manage to stay cohesive and, most importantly, sane.
I’m particularly interested in revealing whether their relationship or marriage helps or hinders their success. Our changing times feature more entrepreneurial businesswomen than ever before. Some are the primary income earner and rely on their partner for caring for the children.
Do our current work arrangements cater to this? Despite equally contributing to a business, do these couples integrate the more traditional gender specific roles or stray from the norm?
I know you’ll love their behind the scenes stories, challenges and sage advice. The first features Rebecca Domorev and husband Alexei. Enjoy my interesting chat with them:
How did your lives collide?
We met in St Petersburg, Russia, one fateful afternoon in September 2001 after church among mutual friends. I had been studying abroad (singing and Russian language) at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory of Music for several months and made close friends with Alexei’s friends while he was undertaking an internship in London. Three months later we were engaged and then married in May 2003 in a fairytale Russian marriage palace on the river Neva in St Petersburg. We have been married for 16 years.
Tell us about Tielka and your role in the business.
Rebecca: Tielka is a boutique organic tea company that is passionate about a lifestyle of rest and joy through the beautiful ceremony of teatime. I am at the forefront of the business, taking responsibility for the day-to-day operations, from sales, customer service, warehouse management, book-keeping, marketing etc, you name it – I’m doing it.
What are your business connections to the Sunshine Coast?
Rebecca: I sometimes call Tielka the adopted child of the Sunshine Coast Food and Agribusiness Network – we were one of 13 food businesses that was selected to take part in Sunshine Coast’s GrowCoastal food accelerator program earlier this year and are building our biggest presence on the Sunshine Coast with the support of FAN.
Rebecca, describe your journey to success in your current role in the business.
I think the journey to success is never a completed process, I still feel like I am on that long road full of ups and downs. There have absolutely been successes along the road, and it has been off the back of raw determination, persistence and grit.
Rebecca, are you content with where the business is at right now? Why or why not?
Of course not. As a perpetual entrepreneur with forever evolving ideas and goals, I don’t think I will ever be content with where the business is at. It’s both a curse and a blessing, forever frustrating and driving me on. Naturally I would like to see our turnover and shelf / cafe presence grow in Australia and then beyond Australia into export. I would also love to see the inspiration behind Tielka, a life marked by rest and joy, be embedded deeper into our identity and communicated more heavily to those we want to reach.
Alexei, what is your role in Tielka?
When we started Tielka, I was in the middle of my MBA at Melbourne Business School. It was a very exciting time, because I was able to apply newly acquired knowledge in business strategy, marketing, consumer behaviour and research straight to our business. One of those lessons that stood out to me was from the brand management class taught by a renowned professor of marketing, Mark Ritson. The best brand managers build their brands in the background, letting the founder take the spotlight. That is why I am quite OK with being at the Tielka’s background, helping Rebecca with strategic direction, marketing and design. I tend to stay away from the operational part of it as I had to learn the delicate balance between being right and being happy.
Read next week’s column for more on Alexei and Rebecca’s story.