The secret is out about a local company making a scene with its range of natural products and traditional artworks. Cherie and Phil Thompson launched their business Native Secrets after having their first child three years ago. Since then, they have gone national, with both a new opportunity on the horizon and nomination for a unique award as well as having their second daughter just three months ago.
“I just found out that I am a finalist in the Ausmumpreneur product innovation category,” Cherie explained.
“It’s really exciting being able to share that with everyone.”
The awards recognise Australian mums achieving success in business excellence, product development, customer service and digital innovation and are designed to honour the growing number of women who balance both motherhood and business.
The news is proof that the Thompsons’ hard work building their business is beginning to pay off.
“Getting the exposure, sharing our story. We just want to make a difference and tell everyone about our rich heritage.”
Both Cherie and Phil are indigenous Australians and their wares really showcase their culture – using natural products, bush ingredients and the skills of local artisans to make a skincare range, essential oils, candles and homewares as well as highlighting various artists.
Their early beginnings make for an interesting yarn, with Cherie explaining that not only had their eldest daughter just been born, but that Phil was keen to get skincare products into the mining camps in his native Queensland.
At the time, Cherie was working in early childhood education and Phil had a labour hire business.
“We started our company because it was something we were both really passionate about,” Cherie says.
“My husband had a labour hire company and he was trying to break into mining, getting Aboriginal people jobs.
“He was always talking about creating a natural landscape and bush tucker in the mining environment. He also knows about medicinal plants.”
To get the ball rolling, the couple approached a manufacturing company in Sydney, choosing the Australian-owned Olive Oil Skincare Co.
“It was a really good fit,” Cherie said, particularly in terms of history and culture.
“Combining the two cultures, as the Italians have a rich culture too.”
While the mining company failed, it didn’t crush the dreams of the dedicated couple. Instead, they began running an art gallery in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast, which Cherie says was really successful.
A year later and Phil and Cherie returned to Dubbo with plenty of inspiration and ideas for the future of their venture.
“Phil had an opportunity to work with a mining group here,” Cherie explained.
When it comes to making all their products, Cherie admits that they used a combination of instinct and hard work.
“We had to learn it all on the job,” she says.
With so much happening now, the pair have a bright business future ahead, promoting their culture and preserving their heritage at the same time.
“If we don’t keep exposing our culture and bringing it to the front, then it will get lost. Ours is one of the oldest continuing cultures in the world.”
Offering advice to others in her situation, Cherie says you need to be patient when it comes to growing your business, adding that ‘overnight success’ takes many years of hard work.
“You need to continue to plant the seeds of success, and experience gratitude for what you have and where you are – here and now and have faith that the future is bright and shining!”
Cherie will attend the Ausmumpreneur awards in Sydney on August 25.