I grew up in Hall's Gap in The Grampians. Life was pretty sweet as a kid growing up with Mum, Dad and two older brothers. My fondest memories were hanging out with my pack of chick mates ( we are still all friends to this day, hi y'all!) riding bikes, having picnics ( potato salad was my specialty),climbing mountains and spending our summer days at the local pool getting burnt to a crisp whilst listening to Bananarama. We didn't have a proper bath growing up, just a little square at the base of the shower which you could fill up about 50cm but I loved sitting in there!

I had a massive soap collection as a kid, which often were given to me as pressies but I bought a lot myself from the newsagents. They came in all shapes, sizes and scents; roses, ducks, shoes, bouquets, ballet shoes... the list goes on! In all I think I had about 80 in the collection. About 10 years ago I found them all at Mum and Dad's place shoved in a bag all sticky & rancid so I had to let them go. I did save one though which was wrapped in paper and given to me from a friend of Mum's, Grosvenor Of London it has on the label. As a kid it was such a fancy gift!

My favourite scent as a teenager growing up in the late 80s was of course The Body Shop's White Musk. Was there any other?

These days I can't stand the smell of cheap synthetic fragrance. Actually, walking through any department store perfume hall gives me an instant headache!

I couldn't wait to finish my VCE and hot foot it out of town. After all that was done and dusted I upped and moved to Ballarat where I studied Performing Arts at SMB. Then I moved to the big smoke to become a famous actor yet ended up working in retail ( as you do). I did however get paid to do a bit of singing in a folk trio at weddings, festivals, cafes, bookshops.. wherever we could, even if we were paid in coffee and a sandwich! I also danced in The Australian Irish Dance Company for many years ( Riverdance style! ) 

I studied to become a massage therapist after living overseas for 3 years. I thought I'd better get my shit together and actually have some kind of profession. I worked really hard as a therapist for 10 years ( in day spas then on my own in a shared clinic in Carlton) I became a qualified aromatherapist in 2010 but after having a baby and moving to Castlemaine I decided to give up massage and concentrate on making products and enjoying time with my son.

I started formulating Mimosa Botanicals in my head about 3 years ago when I was working with my friend Michelle from Sow 'n Sow here in Castlemaine. Working for Michelle gave me an insight into running a small business and the confidence to do it! I launched Mimosa a year after. The first product I formulated was the French Lavender & Oat Milk bath soak blend. A soothing, relaxing blend that is still one of my faves. My first stockist was Moss & Burrows in Daylesford ( they are longer in business unfortunately). I had set up my Instagram page and was giving little teasers of what was to come when they contacted me. I hadn't even officially launched yet! I was so excited and grateful.

The interest in my products continued, mainly through Instagram ( it's such a great business tool!) and stockists kept approaching me which was absolutely amazing. I think in that first year I contacted 1 or 2 stores but the rest came to me. I now have about 35 stockists, including florists, home ware stores and online gift box stores; from Perth to Brisbane and lots of places in between.

Locally, you can purchase Mimosa Botanicals  at Castlemaine Floristry, Tribeand  Follikel Hair Salon in Castlemaine, Manteau Noir in Daylesford, Much Ado in Maldon and Flop House in Kyneton. I also pop up at the Castlemaine Artists Market occasionally.

There are many challenges running a small business, the main one is switching off as it can be all consuming. I have been working from home for the past 2 years so can get easily distracted doing things around the house. Fortunately I am just about to get a new work space at The Mill so that should help keep me focused ( and tidier). I really did dive into this head first so am learning so many things along the way. I am not afraid to ask for help when I need it and outsource things that I can't do; my hubby Nick handles the paperwork and accounts and my friend Shani photographs the products.  I am also on a couple of Women in Business Facebook forums that can be amazingly helpful. 

I work mainly on Mimosa during the week and work every second weekend at Daylesford Aromatherapy. I also help out on Thursdays at The Food Garden here in Castlemaine. If you've ever ordered a vegie box from them, I have most likely fondled your brassicas.

When formulating a new blend I think about the mood I am trying to create. I choose 2 to 3 key words e.g calming, uplifting, comforting, feminine, then choose essential oils that evoke that mood. Then I just start playing and blending until I get it right ( I have to have heaps of baths to test of course). Then it's about finding the botanicals and little extras that complement and enhance the experience.

I try to use as many organic ingredients as possible ( essential oils can be hard as sometimes they are either not available or too expensive but I use quite a few) and Australian ingredients. I use Australian oats, clays and sea salt as well as Australian orange, lemon, mandarin, sandalwood and eucalyptus essential oils. 

I probably get to have a bath twice a week and rotate the blends depending on how I am feeling. French Lavender and Oat Milk gets a good run as I am usually knackered having a bath at the end of the day. I don't do much  else to pamper myself (the odd massage or facial here and there) but I find relaxation in just going for a walk or sitting in a café having a cuppa.

I was in North Carlton before moving to Castlemaine nearly 5 years ago. My hubby and I were living above a laundrette on Nicholson St, which was great except for the trams barrelling  down the road shaking the windows! We loved living in that community but after our son was born the urge to flee grew stronger and stronger so flee we did. I had a friend living here which we had visited a few times and knew that we would love it here so when a rental came up on Hargraves St, we applied for it. It was a relief to get out of the city. 

We loved Castlemaine the minute we moved. I remember the morning after moving walking down to Run Rabbit Run for brekky and thinking we have fresh air, space & great cafes. There is also so much to do in the surrounding areas. I find it an exciting but peaceful place to be.

Tips for women thinking of starting their own business: Seek help if you need it and outsource anything that you don't have the time or expertise to do yourself. Find something that you are passionate about and get enjoyment from and just give it a crack. If your business is product-based, back your product up with great design and packaging.

Fave things to do in the area: Bush walking with my family in the Chewton bush lands. Coffee at Fig or Saffs or The Dove or Origini. Walking around the botanical gardens. Visiting the markets and eating all the food! Johnny Baker's lentil pies, Golden Takeaway's laksa, Ice Cream Social's Emo Kid ice cream. Sunday drives ( always towards a bakery... do you see a pattern forming here?) Tap dancing with Miss Evie.

Tips for people thinking of moving out here: If you are thinking about it, just do it. Then get out there and meet people, form connections and immerse yourself in the beauty of the area.


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