Some years ago, at 40 something I read an interesting statistic that was the trigger for my personal reinvention. It was that “the average Australian woman at 50 years old today still has 42% of her life to live.”
At that time I was 100kgs, always working,always dressing in black, never making time for me.
But perhaps I should step back in time to 1999 when I was stressed out strategic marketer for the largest private hospital in the state. I never imagined that I would be earning a living making and marketing wooden rocking horses to baby boomers.
I had enjoyed nearly 3 years of managing events large and small for Specialists, GP’s, doctor’s secretaries and staff . However, the job was demanding more and more hours and I was newly single with a 4 year old son and there were 25 year olds with the qualifications and no children who would happily put in the hours. So I set about to find my replacement from among those ranks and did so by early 1999.
On a 5 acre property with busy Windsor Road frontage near to Windsor with two, fifty year old houses, a shed and a huge pool, my then partner and I lived in the smaller house, rented out the larger house and made rocking horses in the shed.
By the June of that same year we were making enough money from the rocking horses for me to risk resigning my job at the hospital. In the space of a week I had surrendered my title, my hard won salary and sold my BMW. After 6 weeks of adrenalin withdrawal migraines and a small identity crisis, I set out to make and market rocking horses full time.
After many years thinking I would never have another child, I had a beautiful daughter in October 2000. She turned out to be a copy book baby and child, who today loves many of the things her parents do—antiques, rural living, farm animals, all things French, people and making things.
Christmas 2000 in the workshop, she was 3 months old in a front baby pouch on my chest asleep while I was putting the finishing touches on Christmas rocking horse orders. To her the workshop was just another room of the house.
I was 12 weeks pregnant with her when we did our first 16-day Royal Easter Show. She was 6 months when we did our second Royal Show and 18 months when we did our last. She did the Adelaide Royal Show with us at 3 and has done many Timber and Working with Wood Shows.
To say she is socially adept and a pathological marketer would be an understatement. At one Timber Show in Canberra she boldly informed the Renapur Leather Dressing demonstrator polishing her shoes that she “could make a rocking horse at our place and stay at our B & B and have scrambled eggs, egg in the shell, omelette or flat eggs for breakfast.”
I have shown my porcelain doll and pram collection to many tour groups over the years and had my developed patter which rolled swiftly off my tongue without too much brain-effort. One day when she was about 6, I overheard her explaining the prams and dolls to a school friend – my patter verbatim!
It’s was good to know that when my marketing mouth got tired she could step into the breech.