The Collective Wisdom of Women

If someone asks you what you do – do you have a one word answer “farmer”, or do you spend the next 20 minutes telling them about the variety of animals you grow, where you farm, and how many generations its been in the family? Do their eyes glaze over? Do they ask for more information?

We have been teaching the skill of saying it simply in Seedlab. Saying it Simply means summing up the thing you do in less than 5 words, in a way that captures your unique proposition, at the same time as what it means to the people who value, and pay for, what you have and do. And it is especially good if saying it simply leads to a questions like “tell me more?”

In Seedlab Tasmania, our mission, our purpose, and our passion is to “make dreams real”. Seedlab Tasmania helps people with a passion and a purpose to create an income for their family and community by doing what they love, but who don’t know what they don’t know, and don’t know where to go for trusted advice. We  provide a proven program of training and support provided by trusted industry experts, and access to a statewide community of support, to help people identify what they don’t know, and fill those gaps with knowledge and support. Seedlab helps people make their business dreams real.

Last Friday, a group of 25 or so entrepreneurial women from all over Tasmania, met at a special morning workshop at Guide Falls Farm, North-West Tasmania with Seedlab Sisters Cradle Coast to learn how to “Say it Simply”. This was a half-day Workshop run by Seedlab Tasmania as part of the Seedlab Sisters Cradle Coast project.

Rachel Jacka (Bootcamp and Cultivate 1) established her café, butchery and kitchen at Guide Falls Farm at the same time as doing Tas Leaders, the Seedlab Accelerator Cultivate program, and living through COVID lockdown. Rachel shared her story with the group, as well as providing a delicious lunch made from the bounty of regenerative agriculture food produced on-site.

Amanda Hinds, Seedlab team, ran an excellent warm up session where participants had to meet and write down the names of 15 other women, who had each done a specific thing, like sing in front of an audience. This was great ground breaker, which Carol Bracken, North-West based project manager particularly liked for its ability to build connections between attendees.

Amanda says: “Supporting women develop a cohesive, connected community doesn’t just happen by chance. This event highlighted for me the fact that women come to learning opportunities like this with huge vulnerability, optimism and trust. By providing activities which break down barriers in a fun way and focus on commonalities, we aimed to create an environment which enabled deep learning to occur. Watching the Seedlab Sisters support and encourage each other, laugh together and explore their business ideas together was watching women develop a supportive community. It was a deeply gratifying experience”.

The ‘Saying it Simply’ Workshop activity was facilitated by the Seedlab team and led by Sally Fairless, a business strategist based in Manly, NSW. Sally has helped retail, agriculture, pharmaceutical and sustainability businesses clarify their business proposition in a way that resonates with the customer. During the workshop, each participant learned a simple technique to develop a brand tagline that will win the customer’s heart, mind and wallet.

“Every brand owner knows their brand and product intimately, better than anyone else. We simply help them unlock gold nuggets through a proven framework and craft their message in a way that engages their customer. It was exciting to see them come in with nervous anticipation and leave confident with new forged friendships”, said Sally.

Sarah Packwood-Hollings from Alchymia Distillery at Table Cape (Bootcamp and Cultivate 3) said “Thank you team for another amazing session: I got a new tag line!! ‘Release Your Inner Spirit’ to describe the unique experience at Alchymia Distillery where you can be involved in making your own whisky and naming it when it is ‘released’.

Bronwyn Douglas, a recent graduate of the Seedlab Sisters Bootcamp Program, who is developing a new agri-tourism venture in the North-West said “This workshop rocketed me to spend all weekend on my business proposal. I have more clarity and a clear direction forward”.

Lesley Richards from Little Things Farm, Quamby Brook, which specialises in support and education for people wanting to own miniature animals, said “My first Seedlab experience, and I would say to anyone who is thinking about joining or attending one of the workshops: just do it!  Such a welcoming, fun, creative bunch who have helped get my focus and mojo back on track for our business venture. Little Things Farm has so many upcoming components to it, I needed to focus on just one. With our hopes that Education and our Miniature Livestock Courses will play such an integral part of our future, I focused on what our Education Centre aims to offer. With the help from some amazing Tasmanian businesswomen we came up with “Little Farm – Big Support”. I think it says it all, Little Things Farm can’t wait to offer Big Support to all on their ‘Little’ Farming Journeys”.

The Seedlab Sisters program is to enable women who are curious about what their business dreams could become, to feel more confident and empowered within themselves. Specifically, the program seeks to inspire entrepreneurial women interested in agri-food industries in North-West and West Tasmania, and equip them with confidence, skills and networks to develop their ventures. Women do not need to have a business already, they may be at any life stage and simply interested in finding out more about how to develop a business, or want to learn new business skills. The program is funded by the Tasmanian Government Department of Communities ‘Supporting Women to Succeed’ Grant Program, and the partners are Seedlab Tasmania, the Cradle Coast Authority and Swinburne University’s Centre for Social Impact RegionxLink Office.

Sarah Jones of the Uni of Tasmania said “I think the team did an amazing job creating a clear example to help people contextualise what they needed to do and, importantly, creating a space where people felt safe and valued to participate. My A-Ha was distilling things down to 3-5 words, as the session name says: ‘Saying it Simply’, but with such meaning behind it. The approach has given me more tools to think about how I go about things”.

Sally McCreath of Shelduck Farm, Deloraine, (Bootcamp and Cultivate 3) said “The Seedlab Sisters workshop was yet another example of what can be achieved and what can happen when women support women! Seedlab Sisters has set up a wonderfully supportive group of women, with excellent mentors, to help get ideas out of heads and in motion”.

Netty Schrammeyer (Seedlab Sisters Team) said “It was exciting watching the women coming into the workshop. Some were nervous, most were excited, gathering in anticipation of strengthening their dreams and plans for creating an agri-food business. At the end of the workshop we watched them going home with a T-shirt statement in their hands and heads! What a fantastic opportunity to further your dream, network and make great friends and mentors!”

Deanna Hutchinson, Cradle Coast Authority and PhD student is evaluating the project, she said “Dedicated spaces for women to learn about starting and growing a business are crucial. I see participants’ confidence and excitement grow as they work on their business ideas throughout the workshop, and it’s a sense of togetherness. I know this project will make a real difference in terms of the number of women starting businesses on the Coast, and also women who understand the value of local support networks and leading their creation”. There is a repeat of the Saying it Simply Workshop on King Island on the 5th of August at both the King Island Brewhouse (10am-1pm) and the King Island Hotel (4.30-7.30pm). On the 4th of August the Seedlab Sisters will be workshopping Unlocking the Power Within You and Your Team at both the King Island Brewhouse (10am-1pm) and the King Island Hotel (4.30-7.30pm). Come join us! Register via the website.