Women entrepreneurs shape village network
AN increasing number of Adelaide co-working spaces offering short-term office rates are helping build a strong homebased female entrepreneur community, says interior designer Sue Hennessey.
Ms Hennessey runs her own interior design business from Millswood, but recently also hooked up with entrepreneurs Kim Buggins in Hong Kong and Jenny Richardson in Adelaide to produce a range of homewares and jewellery.
She said improving technology and work flexibility led to the three holding two highly successful “Love Friday” bazaars at Ms Hennessy’s home, where they sold their products, sourced mainly from Hong Kong where Ms Buggins runs one of the city’s largest homeware stores, Mirth.
“That idea started because I’m sick to death of sending my clients to the same old shops and they are extremely expensive, and clients want to find new boutique products,” Ms Hennessy said.
“We started a trial concept with a line of clothing, cushions, jewellery and accessories. At our first event we sold out of clothing and accessories in the first half-hour.”
Both Ms Hennessy and corporate communications specialist Stephanie Dumas have seen their businesses grow as they find increasing networking opportunities and improved technology to reach clients.
Ms Dumas previously worked in corporate communications in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide before establishing her own home-based business, POD Communications.
“The first week in my business I was working with a graphic designer in Mumbai, putting together material for a freelance journalist based in Uganda, followed by a Skype meeting with a client in San Francisco – and most of these people were working from home, hotels or cafes,” she said.
The trend is leading to the profusion of new co-working spaces opening across the city, offering access to flexible office space, meeting rooms or coworking set-ups.
Tuxedo Cat in Hyde St is in the midst of creating a new coworking space for creative businesses and Majoran has been successfully operating for tech start-ups since 2012 in Grenfell St.
That Space co-working in Norwood offers freelancers packages from $150 a month, and organisations like the Aus- tralian Institute of Architects give members the use of rooms for client meetings.
Ms Dumas has noticed a growing demand from clients wanting more boutique services and she believes women, particularly with children, have more opportunities to be more entrepreneurial without the constraints of traditional work hours or traditional office space costs.
“It’s a chance in their lives to be creative and explore this with the freedom of what they want to do. In a traditional corporate atmosphere that creative approach is often lost,” she said.
Their experience was backed by federal Small Business Minister Bruce Billson this year, who said labour force data suggested the number of women business owners was increasing and women accounted for around a third of our nation’s business operators.
Last month the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, said more than half of small businesses in Australia were now started by women.
Ms Dumas believes the changing work trend is “leading to the return of a village lifestyle, with many people operating knowledge-based businesses from home, working with other closely located businesses – meeting clients in their local cafe or catching up in a collaborative working space as required.”
It’s a chance in their lives to be creative and explore . . . what
they want to do