Greetings from rural Australia,
In 1992, my partner, Victor Pleshev, an architect, and me, Carol Jones, an ex-pat New Yorker and a market research consultant, lose everything in Paul Keating's 'recession we had to have'.
Our induced state of poverty dictates we escape the city lights of gentrified inner Sydney Balmain.
Which has been our home for 22 years.
And where we can no longer afford to live.
For the much more affordable life in the Central Tablelands of rural NSW.
Which is a complete unknown to us.
We are entering uncharted waters.
In 1994, Victor designs The Fitz™ Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover for his mother, Margarita. To help her with her ironing when she is recovering from a stroke.
It is the 'light bulb moment' that changes our lives. It gives us the hook to hang our business hat on.
We travel 60,000 kilometres every year for 14 years, exhibiting our wares like gypsies at field days, home shows, agricultural shows and markets.
Anyplace we can set up shop and spruik.
We meet hundreds of thousands of people.
Listen to countless, woeful stories of the fruitless searches by men and women who hanker for a good ironing board cover.
And discover we have stumbled across a need in the market place that isn't being met.
We have the makings of a very good business!
The humble ironing board cover, that everyone hates, is the catalyst that drags us out of the darkness of despair.
And creates for us a cult following. In what is a very small, select market.
When the internet knocks on the door of our rural village in 2001, we go online.
And today, to our utter amazement, we have 300,000 customers around the world.
Secure in the knowledge we have very loyal customers who love their cover.
And our warm and friendly personal customer service.
So much so they want to return over and over again. And buy new products designed by Victor.
We make the decision to focus on the customers we already have.
And to acquire new customers by cultivating the art of word of mouth.
And investing time and energy in our online presence.
So in 2008 we hang up the car keys.
And the wheels of our car do a little jig!
As a high profile, stiletto wearing, designer dressed business woman in Sydney, I never give up my love for glamourous dressing.
I simply trade in my stilettoes for boots polished to a mirror shine.
Designer dresses for crisply pressed jeans and shirts and blazers.
And add an extensive wardrobe of Akubra hats.
And still start every day with make-up. Bling. Perfume.
An Ironing Diva is born!
Today I live a very tranquil, genteel life, working from my beautiful 54 hectare, remote rural property in the hills of the picturesque Central Tablelands of NSW Australia.
My little village is tucked between the hills of historic Bathurst and the sprawling vineyards of Mudgee NSW.
My dogsx3 get to run free in our 54 hectares of sloping paddocks.
And every morning, I become a 'Paddock Paparazzi' when I take my camera with me to take photos of my walk through the paddocks of my 'Wild Blue Yonder' at sunrise.
And post a photo on this Google+ page each morning to share with my friends all over the world.
My hectare of garden is a wildlife sanctuary.
100+ species of birds fly in and fly out during the year.
In 1996 we plant 110 trees to surround our farmhouse. They now shade us from the hot summer sun and many provide us with dazzling colour in autumn. Like shining jewels in the fading autumn light.
My 200+ old fashioned fragrant roses drape my fence line. Along with honeysuckle and star jasmine.
Thousands of fragrant shrubs and understory provide shelter for wildlife.
And the perfume that wafts throughout my garden all year long is intoxicating.
This is the hook I hang my heart on.
All the best,