Flourishing Woman: Elise Petty
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Flourishing Woman: Elise Petty
What’s her story?
Elise Petty and her husband Steve run The Bangle Business - an online jewellery store, from their home base in Kununurra. They have a client base from all over the world and they sell beautiful hand crafted jewellery made by talented artisans across India. For Elise and Steve, the product and the purchase are much more than a retail transaction. Each piece comes with a story and a commitment to ethical sourcing and production in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Elise sources the jewellery direct and for her, the love of the jewellery is as much about the people who create it as the pieces themselves.
Each piece tells a story and for Elise, she loves that their business connects people with the product. This is an anchoring element that has seen Elise travel far and wide for these artisans who are profiled on her website and online shop- thebanglebusiness.com.
Elise and Steve love that they can combine their desire to bring beautiful handmade jewellery from Indian artisans and the love of WA’s North West by living in Kununurra whilst selling their products predominantly through an online store and also through some boutique stockists.
Elise’s work background is completely different to what she does now. She started working in the features department at the Armidale Express Newspaper in NSW. Then worked in sales and marketing with Ruddweigh Scales and later joined Telstra. She started in sales and then worked her way up to be General Manager for Telstra Countrywide, looking after everything to do with Telstra for the entire North West NSW region. She was the youngest General Manager in Telstra’s history and that time and only third female out of 35 other GMs.
Elise has a family of four children – three adult step-daughters and her son Stirling, who is just six years old.
Elise grew up on a cattle station in North Queensland and her Mum taught her at home until Year 7 through Primary Correspondence and School of the Air.
Elise moved to Kununurra in 2008 after she was visiting the area doing the outdoor component of the Australian Rural Leadership Program there. She fell in love with the beauty of the place and the people and has not looked back.
What inspired you to pursue your business/dream/direction?
The Bangle Business is wholly WA owned and run and showcases Elise’s love of and involvement with the people of India. Since 2008 when she first visited the country and returned in 2010 it was a deep inspiration from the plight of the people in their struggle to survive but also an eye opener into the talent, creativity and cultural aspects of the artisans.
Elise was instantly struck by the vibrant colours of the women’s saris and jewellery, the enterprise and activity of the small businesses and diversity of the vast country. For Elise, she just knew immediately people in Australia would love it as much as she does and to be able connect these amazing business people in India with the Australian marketplace is what makes it all worthwhile for her.
Was there a perfect time to do it or did a set of circumstances help Elise to make the decision?
See Above. It was her trip in 2008 when the idea was born and in 2010 the timing seemed right. Her young family was a little bit older, so she had the time to be able to invest in a new business
What obstacles did she overcome?
For Elise, the challenge was just knowing where to get started and prioritising her big ideas in establishing her business.
Sourcing artisans from afar and short listing them before having even met them face to face was also a challenge. It was important that the products sourced were ethically made and of a high quality.
How did family/spouse/friends react? Did they support or obstruct Elise?
Elise’s husband Steve has been her biggest support in the business. He shares her passion and the businesses goals.
What is the biggest challenge that she faces?
In the beginning, coordinating the website – which was her shop front – was the biggest challenge. There were so many different players she had on board to help her that all had different focuses and achieving the balance was hard. For example her Graphic Designer was focused on the artistic elements of the website, whereas her developer on the workability of it, whilst she also needed to be focused on sales achievement.
Now, having enough hours in the day to put all her ideas in action is the biggest challenge. And also finding and working with reliable freight companies has also had its challenges along the way.
How does Elise keep her mind and body fit?
Elise does at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week most weeks! Swimming, walking and bike riding.
For Elise, exercising helps clear her mind.
She also reads and ensures she has a balance between work and life and has quality time with her family.
Elise also loves getting outdoors and enjoys exploring the incredible part of Australia that she calls home.
What are the future plans for Elise and her business?
Elise’s plan is to focus on developing her network of boutique stockists around Australia – to grow to a target of around 100 in Australia in the next five years. She also is keen to solidify and develop retail sales through the website and to finally expand their focus on penetrating the New Zealand market as well.
What top 3 tips would Elise give our Flourish readers if they were looking to make a significant change in their life?
Elise actually has only one and it was something that inspired her to totally change the direction of her life. She saw this on the back of a Surf Club door!
Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets.
So love the people who treat you right, forget about the one’s who don’t, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.
Find out more about Elise and The Bangle Business at www.thebanglebusiness.com.
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