I am at a point in my life where I feel extremely fortunate to have found my life’s purpose and that is to make a positive change in the world, bit by bit, through my business. Life has, for me, gone full circle. I began my working life in Department Store Retail Buying and Merchandising in the U.K. Fast forward 20 years later I am living in Sydney but back in retail buying, this time sourcing for my own online store Temples and Markets.

Much has happened in those 20 years – Travel, Motherhood, an Interior Design and Renovation business and Breast Cancer at aged 36 – to shape who I am today. Ten years on I live with the real possibility of a cancer recurrence but with life so short I am more conscious of a desire for fulfillment and to make a difference. 

A frequent traveller to South East Asia I have never failed to be awestruck by the resilience, strength and astounding creativity of the people I met along the way. In countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia, where recent history has caused great hardships, horror seems to have begat beauty.I wanted to expose the creative people I met to a market outside of the region and help trade those artisans and designers into a better life. 

I already knew there was a market for unique finds from my travels. After previous trips to Thailand or Vietnam I’d come back wearing a piece of jewellery or a bag and repeatedly be asked, “Where did you get that?” I’d watch the enquirer’s face drop when I told them “that comes from Thailand and isn’t available in Australia”. 

In November 2015 www.TemplesandMarkets.com went live. It was a year in the making – sourcing product, designing the website, product photography and copy writing which saw me working into the early hours for weeks on end in the run up to launch. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This was my baby and I felt immense pride in how it turned out and the positive feedback it received. 

The E-Store showcases gorgeous artisan made Fashion Accessories, Jewellery and Home Decor from Social Enterprises, Emerging Designers and Small Co-operatives based in the countries that have given me such joy over the years. I am part of the growing movement away from Fast Fashion and towards Ethical Shopping and am proud to support the work of organisations based in Cambodia and Vietnam who or are empowering women through training and fair work opportunities.

When a conscious consumer makes a purchase they are literally making a tangible difference to the life of the artisan who made it – that’s a win-win for everyone. The tagline for the store is “Every Product has a Story” – stories, photos and videos of the artisans are what sets the store apart and brings the customer closer to the source of their purchase. 

For the first time in my working life I feel fulfilled. There’s immense satisfaction knowing I’ve made a woman feel good about herself when she wears a beautiful piece of unique jewellery I’ve sourced, in turn that same woman can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing she has contributed to the increased prosperity of the talented woman who made it. In essence I am creating an ever-increasing circle of women who are affecting each other’s lives in a positive way through trade. 

My Tips

  1.  Follow your passion. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing that will always shine through and people will be drawn to you and to your business .
  2.  There’ll always be ups and downs in business particularly at the start. I’ve had high revenue weeks when I thought Temples and Markets had taken off and the next week it’s quiet. You have to ride with this and put as much effort as you can into Marketing and PR for sustained success. 
  3.  Surround yourself with positive people and that includes customers and suppliers. Walk away from customers who are in the “too hard” basket category and only work with suppliers who are aligned with you. 

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From those in Heels