Interview and feature image by Emma Horner
Bachelor of Business (Design and Marketing)
I enrolled in Business Management, but I’m changing it up next year to do Business, Design and Marketing. It’s a business degree… with… brackets. Basically, I realised that dedicating my career so far to hospitality hasn’t really paid off, and I—in I trying to get out of hospitality and move into a sales-based job, or repping, something like that, trying to move into the 9-5 life—I found that I just wasn’t even getting a look-in with my resume, despite having a lot of experience. Twenty years of experience at management level hospitality, you know I was going up against people with degrees and, ‘sales experience,’ and I mean you can argue that hospitality is sales, but unfortunately, hospitality doesn’t really have much validity in other people’s eyes outside of hospo, which is really frustrating.
So yeah, I made the leap. If I don’t do this now I pretty much will be stuck in hospitality forever. I’d always aspired to own my own business but you know, seeing a number of businesses that I was on board with through the opening and whatnot I realised what a struggle it is, how much is involved and how much money you actually need behind you to do it. I didn’t have any money behind me. I’ve had debt. So, I thought ‘put that on the back burner and try to get a degree.’
I think, there is still that kind of desire to create a space and an offering and an experience within hospitality, but I think I need to step out of hospitality for a bit and look at doing it potentially later when I’m in a better financial position or when I’ve established myself in another career path.
I think at the moment I’d just be doubling down—putting everything in on trying to start up a business now, if I was to continue down that path… it’s kind of all or nothing, you know what I mean? It’s too much of a gamble to take right now. Despite everything that’s happened with COVID, I’ve only ever done one thing, and I feel like I’ve done it well but now I’ve got an opportunity to kind of diversify and try and step into other fields and gain some other knowledge and things like that, which will all, in turn, help me in the long run if I do decide to come back to starting my own business. I’ve actually got a pretty clear goal as to what I want to achieve at the end of it. I think the real reason I’ve always wanted to have my own business is to create something, create a space and a name and a brand, an environment, an offering that people can come and enjoy, but it’s never really been about me wanting to wait tables and carry plates and scrub dishes and all that stuff seven days a week. Through some past experiences, when I was on board to set up a venue for someone else, I’ve had the opportunity to oversee the fit-out and the branding and you know, establishing some of the initial processes and whatnot involved in opening up a hospitality venue and I loved that, and I made some connections through doing that which I hope I can tap into, and I’d like to build a career out of doing that for other people.
The other parts of my personality?! Um, I don’t know… music is a big thing, are we just talking personal stuff? Okay. Like, music is massive for me, and that’s also another reason I wanted to have my own space, so I can just crank the music that I like, you know? One of the best parts of when I was, well essentially the general manager of Mimasu, I had total autonomy of how I ran that business and I used to play my music in there and customers would comment all the time and it gave me such a thrill to know that people were digging my music. I’ve been collecting records for a couple of years now hoping one day maybe I’ll be a DJ but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen… just at home, living room DJ…
I think I’ve chosen hospitality, and stuck with it so long, because I’m a people person. I like interacting with people, I like meeting people, you know? I’ve been able to build good relationships and good rapports with people over the years who have only ever just been customers. You know, customers who come into the cafes or restaurants that I’ve worked at and for some reason they remember me, and when they see me somewhere else they recognise me and say hello. Walking down the street in Adelaide, everywhere I go I bump into someone that I know somewhere and most of the time it’s because I’ve served them somewhere. I guess I’ve taken a lot of pride in that, that I’ve been able to build those relationships, and you know it kind of made sense for me to ‘capitalise’ on that if you want to talk in those terms. When I thought about having my own business and being the face of something… you know I feel like I’ve built up something over the years. I’m a recognisable character to a lot of people. If I could be the face of something I thought that might give me an advantage. I don’t know. I guess I kind of like the attention! I like being recognised by people, I like people! I also like recognising people. I’ll always stop and have a chat with someone in the street, that’s just, that’s who I am I guess.
This piece was originally published in Edition 35 of Verse. View it in its original PDF form via ISSUU.