The #purebosslady series is all about inspiring and helping women improve their businesses and giving them the courage to take the plunge into life as a mum-entrepreneur. Today’s Pure Boss Lady is Sophia Giumelli of Double Handful.
Now, I may be a bit biased because Sophia & Mick are good friends of mine, but these two really are incredible and their achievements in the last month prove this :: Runner-up Dairy Farmers of the Year 2015!! And Double Handleful's Chocolate Desire Gelato won GOLD in its category at the Perth Royal Show Dairy Awards, with three other flavours winning SILVER. Seriously guys, this gelato is freaking amazing!!
Tell us about yourself and your business…
I am Sophia, one half of Double Handful Premium Gelato. I run our small, artisan style gelato business with my husband, Michael. Our gelato business is a sideline to our Dairy Business. Michael and I run this together also, managing the business and turnover of 1.5million per annum and employing 2 full-time and 1 part-time staff member. Our main job is raising our three young children, Jackson (4), Penelope (2) and Juliet (1).
Double Handful Premium Gelato is a small, artisan style premium gelataria located on our dairy farm. We use authentic Italian machinery and specially selected ingredients to make small batches of gelato, using the non-homogenised milk from our own cows. Currently, we are purely wholesale to fine food establishments such as café’s, restaurants, breweries and gourmet produce stores.
Before having Jackson in June 2011, I worked full-time as a Registered Nurse in paediatrics and child health. I am still working casually when time permits.
I am very much a family person and love nothing more than spending the weekend with my husband and kids. I feel so fortunate and am very grateful for the life I have and the opportunities which my husband and I have received and been able to create for ourselves and the children.
How did Double Handful come to exist?
The dairy industry has recently been through some really tough years in terms of rising costs and milk prices. While we absolutely love the lifestyle that farming allows our children, it has been, at times, hard to see a future in dairying with ongoing financial pressure.
One day we decided it was time to stop complaining about what we can’t control, decided we definitely wanted our future to be in dairying and our kids to grow up on the farm and so looked to value add the product we had on hand, milk!
We researched lots of different markets and making gelato was an attractive option in that we could start off small, it was a product which could store once produced, and with a family café/ restaurant set to open, we knew finding an outlet to get us into the market would be simpler than had we had no contacts to start.
Give us a glimpse into a ‘day in the life’ of Sophia Giumelli.
My day starts, I am presuming, much the same as anyone with young children! I prefer to work late than get up early (especially in winter) so generally I get up when the first child wakes (usually this is my cow loving 2 year old who I swear will be the dairy farmer of the family).
My days vary depending on whether Jackson is at Kindy for the day and whether or not I am nursing or making gelato.
I like to plan for the following day the night before, by making sure the kids clothes are laid out and my bag is ready to go, if we’re heading out first thing. If I’ve got a big day I’ll also write a list of everything I need to get done; phone calls, emails, food shopping (Woolies home delivery is a saviour for me!), accounts which need immediate attention, list of things I need to pick up in town etc.
I do my best to decide on dinner for that night in the morning, my pet loathe is getting to 4pm and not having any idea what we’ll have for dinner! In saying that, my kids have eggs on toast more than I care to admit. Unfortunately this won’t float with my hungry dairy farmer.
Owning and managing a small business is hard work and takes up a lot of time. How do you stay encouraged to keep going in your business?
Ultimately, everything we do is to create a secure and happy future for ourselves and for our children. This is my number one motivation on the days I really don’t want to go down to the dairy to churn gelato, dive head first into a mountain of accounts or embark on a late night date with Xero.
As I mentioned previously, raising the children on the farm is a of great importance to Michael and I so ensuring we can provide that lifestyle, plus anything extra they might be interested in, to our children is a key motivator for us.
Of course, coffee and wine are a great help too, when all else fails!
What is your sanity saver for running a business and family? How do you balance the craziness of family, business and relaxation?
We had 3 children in less than 3 years. Our oldest started Kindergarten this year and youngest has just turned 1. Naturally, with three young kids in the house, chaos is a constant.
Finding the balance between work and the kids is an ongoing battle. I try to designate work time and children time and remain present in whichever one I am doing. Inevitably, the two cross over.
My husband has every second weekend off from milking (he’ll generally still do some farm work though), so we always try to spend at least part of one of those days just hanging out as a family. We are fortunate to live close to both our families and are so appreciative of the unwavering support we receive from them.
My Grandfather often reminds me, ‘put in the tough yards in the early years and you’ll reap the rewards later on in life’. I try to remember this when I’m feeling like the house-work, accounts, lack of food in the house etc is getting on top of me.
I definitely don’t get the balance right all the time, but that’s just how it goes sometimes!
What advice do you have for other women who are looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
Be prepared to work hard. There is no way around it.
Be open for change while you’re in the planning stage. Have a clear vision and identify what you want the business to achieve. Know your marketing vehicles and utilise these to get exposure for your business. Marketing, be it Facebook, word-of-mouth or other means, is the heart of your business success and it’s important to allow time to get this right from the beginning. I am still very much learning how much time this actually takes-up.
Also be prepared for how fantastic it is to be ‘your own boss’ and allow yourself the freedom and flexibility to not have to miss out on important milestones with the children that perhaps you would if you were working elsewhere. Delight in the example that you are setting for your children regarding work and work ethic. There are many challenges about being a ‘work at home mum’ or (a term I’ve recently heard) ‘mumpreneur’, but there are so many more positives to this lifestyle.
3 products you are absolutely loving at the moment?
1 :: The Collective Hub Magazine :: This is such an awesome publication. I’ve recently subscribed to it I love it that much. It’s full of so many awesome articles from so many inspirational people. I’d definitely recommend you get your hand on the latest issue, you won’t be disappointed!
2 :: I am totally obsessed with Nobody Denim… but please don’t tell my husband! If he realises how much those 3 pairs of jeans hanging in my wardrobe total, I’ll be a goner!
3 :: George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire, series :: We are definitely on the Game of Thrones HBO Series bandwagon also, but the books are so much better! I am half way through book 5 and am devastated that they’ve just announced that it’s unlikely that book 6 will be finished this year… how will I survive!?