For the month of October, we are celebrating Indigenous Business Month (IBM), this year’s theme is Actions Today. Impact Tomorrow. which is an excellent reminder that it is what we do today that matters. Whether that be making a conscious effort to shop with Indigenous business, committing to a RAP at work or getting out on Country and learn for the Traditional Custodian, affects our future both personally and as a nation.
To celebrate IBM we will be introducing you to some of the incredible Indigenous businesses we work. Whether in the shop or experiences we have incredible trailblazers, trendsetters, movers and shakers and ground breakers who share their creativity, time and experience to enrich and illuminate our lives. A simple way to support Indigenous Business Month is to Buy Blak when you buy a product or book an experience from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander business you are directly supporting the Indigenous economy, increasing jobs and positive economic outcomes for the whole community as well as encouraging new Indigenous business to emerge.
Trailblazers are incredible people, where there was no path they create one and they are not afraid to change long held ideas and beliefs. Breaking new ground and taking the spark of an idea and turning it into something incredible; whether it’s an artwork, experience or just something delicious to eat, trailblazer’s manifest tomorrows ideas and dreams into today’s reality!
Meet five First Nation trailblazers pushing forward across a variety of industries from creating unique contemporary art, changing g the way we eat or dress and shining a light on Indigenous culture through incredible experiences.
Ange Jeffery is a Northern Wiradjuri woman who currently lives and work on Gulidjan Country, where she is an artist and small business owner. Ange was inspired to start her business because “love making and creating and I wanted to move from a hobby to starting a small business and create an independent income for me and my family. I did extensive research and felt that I could make a go of it, making and creating unique fine art jewellery and wearable art.”
For Ange having her own business is “a dream come true. I have creative and economic independence and can contribute time and skills back into my community. It also gives me a platform to push boundaries and raise more awareness on what contemporary Aboriginal jewellery and wearable art is, and incorporating cultural aspects.”
Belinda Cox – Djirrily Dreaming
Belinda Cox is a Kaneang Bibbleman woman from the Noongar Nation, who is a passionate presenter of cultural Immersions. She runs Djirrily Dreaming and her strength and point of difference is her knowledge of bush plants and Noongar medicines. Experience Noongar Dreaming stories, songs, ancient tools, mouth-watering gourmet food and discover the story of ancient Aboriginal Australia and the Noongar Nation.
In discussing why she started her businesses Belinda explains “I took the opportunity to do my business full time because, I was getting more and more requests for what I do. Having this business, gives me the best opportunity to showcase my culture. Help to educate Non Aboriginal people about who Noongar people are, our ways and Connection to Country. While helping to pass on our ancient culture to our young ones. Hopefully to build strong cultural foundations and identity in our youth and empower them, maybe inspire them to have their own businesses as well. If I can do it, so can they.”
Delany Griffiths – Waringarri Art Centre
Waringarri is the first wholly Indigenous owned art centre established in the Kimberley region and one of the oldest continuously operating art centres in Australia supporting economic independence for artists and their community.
The centre operates artists’ studios and galleries and supports more than 100 artists as painters, printmakers, wood carvers, boab engravers, sculptors and textile artists. The art centre is a central point in the community and was created by the communities Elders to preserve culture. We spoke to Delany Griffiths a Miriwoong woman and one of the artists at Waringarri.
She says “The centre brings everyone together to maintain culture. I am an ochre painter and textile artist so I can make money here and gain some financial independence. We are all connected to this place because of the old people. I can learn from my grandmother here. This place also allows me to bring my kids here, it’s a safe place.”
Uncle Steve Kemp – Yarbun Creations
Yarbun Creations is a family run business from the Ghungalu lands of Central Queensland they make and Aboriginal artefacts, beauty and medicinal products. The idea behind the business came from Uncle Steve Kemp as “a way to share the knowledge to both our family and the wider community. The knowledge was passed down from my father Tim Kemp.”
Yarbun make are a mix of modern products combined with traditional Aboriginal knowledge. The business is also an opportunity to take family out on Country to collect resources and teach younger generations and keep culture alive.
“For our family it means we have an outlet to share Aboriginal culture and knowledge with the wider community which is something my family has done for many generations. We love what we do and we love working as a family. We hope to be able to grow the business and be able to hire more family and community in the future.”
Ashleigh Pengelly – Little Black Duck
The desire to combine helping the Aboriginal community and need to express her creativity is what drove Wiradjuri woman Ashleigh Pengelly to set up Little Black Duck. Ashleigh explains “I have always been creative and loved to find roles in my career that would allow me to fulfil my passion for community work as well as my creative side which is really where my business began! Originally, I was actually helping other Aboriginal creatives get their products retail-ready through a program I was curating, and then had an idea myself and it took off from there!”
Another reward for Ashleigh is what having her own business has meant financially to herself and her family. “I am my own boss, I am in control of my time and that sense of freedom is very rewarding. Having my own business has given me the means to build my first home (and studio!) and I am incredibly grateful for everyone that has and continues to support my business to allow me to do so. Being the first in my family to have a business and being able to be a role model for that and showing my son this new and different way of life is the biggest reward. Anything is possible!”