The Taste Makers

emma carla papas the merrymaker sisters 4 629x419Photo by: Rialba PhotographyCarla Papas from the Merrymaker Sisters graced the Canberra Wise Women at our launch event in December 2015. Then, Carla told us all about the business she created with her sister Emma, which focuses on real food for a real lifestyle. Their books, podcast, recipes and articles all support this sole
(and soul!) purpose. Back then, the sisters were full of energy, positivity and determination and,
clearly - nothing has changed.

Well, there has been one big change - the girls have left Canberra and relocated to the Gold Coast in pursuit of warmer climes. While Canberra misses the Merrymaker Sisters, we will, generously share the Merrymakers with the rest of Australia!

TMB 2As we become more motivated by health and wellbeing, the health food industry is reaping the rewards.

For Lisa Fischer from The Muesli Bar, business is booming after being inspired by her own preference for homemade muesli.

"I used to always make my own muesli and about seven years ago, I had the idea of setting up a website where anyone could pick what goes into their muesli, make up their own mixes and then have it delivered," says Lisa.

Like many start-up stories, Lisa's start in business was motivated by the struggle to find a job.

At her husband's suggestion, she decided to give her health food idea a go and started selling her muesli products at the Farmers Market at Exhibition Park in Canberra.

"The markets, especially those at EPIC, are incredible. The people that shop there are very supportive and passionate about the products sold," she says.

"We have been so fortunate with our loyal customers that things have developed naturally through the markets."

orana 189 1Over the last ten to twenty years interest in handmade and artisan products has been very high with consumers looking for ways to express their individuality. This coupled with education and past Government support for organisations such as the now defunded Craft Australia, has seen craft develop as a popular art form.

However, with recent funding cuts and the bundling together of various art forms, craft has lost its separate identify in the national conversation.

Despite these challenges, the artists and artisans have proved to be an agile group who have adapted to the changed environment, forming new partnerships and finding new avenues to sell their creations.

RASDairyLuncheonWho doesn't love a good story? Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in any business communication toolkit. Some of the most remarkable stories come from family businesses.

Sally Fairley from Country Valley, a family owned dairy farm based in Picton, knows how important their story has been in growing their business.

"My husband always says 'I don't sell milk, I sell a story", says Sally.

"In the beginning the story we told was all about the family and the farm and its history and this was a really successful marketing tool."

fettuchine1As the saying goes, it's not work if you love what you do! For local foodie Sue Kemenes, food is what she loves.

Five years ago, a close friend was opening a fruit shop and Sue jumped at the chance to sell her range of homemade pasta.

"I asked whether he would sell pastas in the store, and when he said yes, I went home and ordered a pasta machine to make pasta," says Sue.

"I bought a commercial pasta machine from Melbourne, purchased 25kg of durum flour and a box of 15 dozen eggs and went to work perfecting my pasta recipe."

PurePod Sean KelliThe skin is your biggest organ and while we have become increasingly conscious of what we put 'in' our bodies, we don't necessarily think about the harmful effects of what we put 'on' our bodies.

There's growing pressure to block imports of dangerous chemicals in clothing and while a number of developed countries have put in place measures to regulate chemicals in imported textiles, Australia lags far behind.

This has created a real niche for sustainable brand Pure Pod, a Canberra family business launched in 2007 by Kelli Donovan and her partner and lifestyle photographer Sean Watson.

Pure Pod is an Australian pioneer 'eco fashion' label creating contemporary clothing for women.



thecheeseproject maureenAt Lighthouse, we hear about great business ideas every day and many of these ideas originate from the things people are really passionate about.

Maureen House is just one such person, she started her business around something she really loves - cheese!

Cheese has always played a role in Maureen's life, particularly when she was younger.

"I've always liked cheese; I grew up on a family farm in Western Australian and we used to make our own cheese all the time."


Rose Headley Dutch DevineIt's always interesting to talk to our local food producers about Canberra taste trends and our foodie culture.

Local tastemaker, Rose Headley from Dutch Divine Canberra is a fortnightly regular at the Old Bus Depot Market, sells her treats to cafes, and has developed some unique insights into the Canberra palate since starting her business selling Dutch treats such as apple pie and stroopwafels – thin Dutch waffles with delicious caramel in between.

John Edna Marshall FrugiiIt's sweet and delicious, perfect for a summer's day and close to a $10.8 billion[1] dollar industry.

The global ice cream market is big business with some well known brands springing quickly to mind – Ben & Jerry's, Baskin Robbins and Häagen-Dazs to name a few.

The ice cream industry has been around forever, but continues to innovate with niche ice creameries and gelaterias increasing in popularity.

We spoke to John and Edna Marshall from Canberra favourite, Frugii, about how they got started in the ice cream business and plans for their new shop in Lonsdale Street, Braddon.