Bass Coast Women Celebrate
Bass Coast Shire Council celebrated International Women’s Day celebrated International Women’s Day with an inspirational luncheon focusing on dreaming big and achieving goals.
With the theme ‘Dream Big: Make Your Passion Your Purpose’, around 140 women from across Bass Coast and neighbouring shires attended the sold out event to enjoy a two-course lunch at The Cape Kitchen in Newhaven, and hear from guest speaker, founder of boutique chocolate and dessert company Nectar and Stone, Caroline Khoo.
After having her first son, Caroline’s role in the medical industry didn't offer a part-time position. Caroline then made the decision to stay at home and have another child.
During these years at home, Caroline wanted to ensure that her skill sets in business strategy, marketing and creative product development were maintained and showcased.
Caroline said it was through this journey that Nectar and Stone was born; but Caroline said she did give herself a time limit to set up her new business.
“I gave myself one year to start Nectar and Stone and if it wasn’t successful, I would finish it up,” Caroline said.
“You have to give it everything you’ve got; you have to invest yourself in it, be happy and don’t have any regrets.
“If it’s not working, you let it go and go onto something else. I would have been more than happy to let it go and move into a different career.”
Caroline said the key to starting a successful business is working out what sets you apart from others in the industry.
“If you’re an entrepreneur or wanting to start a business, you have to work out what your competitive edge is in the industry,” Caroline said.
“I actually didn’t do this intentionally; for me, Nectar and Stone is just about what I love, what colours I love and how I see things.
“I realised my competitive advantage is my ability to be original and continue to reinvent.”
The audience also received plenty of advice and encouragement from the entrepreneur, who encouraged them to look to other women to support their dreams and ideas.
“Starting a successful business will involve a high degree of sacrifice, disciple and pressure, but you are rewarded with fulfilment of being your own boss, working your own hours, being accountable to yourself and seeing something develop out of nothing,” Caroline said.
“Being passionate about what you’re doing, believing in yourself, a willingness to put yourself out there; you need to accept that the financial payback may not be immediate.
“Some people think success is overnight, but it’s not. You need to work long hours and you’ll keep getting rejected, but keep preserving, stay disciplined, stay true to who you are always keep your style.
“Most importantly, you need a backbone. Mine is my mum and my husband Nick.
“You need a strong network of women who are there to reinforce your passions, remind you about your struggles but your achievements as well.
“It really hits home that there are people in your life that support your dreams and can make it happen. It’s a reminder that we can do; we can encourage each other’s dreams, and we can support each other.
We are a network; use it to your advantage. Learn that you are your own person; you can make your own decisions, you can achieve, you can believe, you can dream.”
Caroline’s full speech is available to listen to below.