An abundance of snakes, flies and mosquitoes alongside drought and flooding rains might seem less than appealing, but for high-school sweethearts and property managers, Kodey and Gina, the New South Wales Central West village of Quambone is the wide brown land for them! So much so, that despite the daily inconveniences of regular and unplanned power outages, touch and go internet and a seven hour round trip for groceries, they cannot imagine living anywhere else.
Raised in regional Tamworth by parents who owned the local farm machinery dealership, Goodwin Kenny, Gina already had a wonderful sense of country living before she met Quambone born and bred, Kodey at high school. Since their engagement in 2012, they have lived on various properties across the Quambone district ensuring they’re very well versed in the area’s appeal. Like tranquil scenes from a postcard, Quambone offers breathtaking sunrises, bold sunsets and black night skies offset with twinkling stars. Beyond the peacefulness, their deep-rooted love of the area stems from the sense of local community. “Community spirits are high and our local community sticks together through thick and thin! It’s going to be a great place to raise a family. The freedom of the wide open spaces allows a family to dream big, while the daily realities build resilience.”
Resilience coupled with ingenuity makes for a formidable combination and the dynamic duo are thriving in spite of their remote location. When you’re faced with a seven hour round trip to Dubbo to access shops, you either go without or try your hand at making it yourself, especially if it saves time and a dime. Handy Kodey has made some lovely furniture pieces for the house, and has also delved into the art of blacksmithing, making various knives. While Gina’s vigorous vegetable garden helps with the grocery store savings and according to Gina, “nothing beats the taste of a home grown vegetable, even if it doesn’t look as good as those off the supermarket shelf!” Who are we to disagree!
While both are committed to the agricultural industry and work on the property, entrepreneurial Gina seized an opportunity to make use of her sewing skills and launched her online handmade business, Walandella Designs. Quickly becoming a favourite choice because of the quality, durability and modern, fun, fresh fabrics, Gina prides herself on creating unique handmade accessories and clothing items for the little loves of your life. Bibs, teething rings, bloomers, skirts, hairclips and sock savers are just some of the products that are lovingly created in Gina’s dedicated sewing room. When it rains, it’s heaven sent, but there’s not much that can be done farm wise so Gina relishes the opportunity to create. Gina admits the business can take up as little or as much of her time as she allows. ‘”The joys of marketing tools such as Instagram and Facebook allow me to connect with the ‘outside’ world and allow me to control the flow of orders by how much I post and interact with my audience.” Read our interview below to see how remote living is no barrier to business.
What led you to start your own business? I’ve always had a passion for sewing and being creative. I just didn’t know what it was that I wanted to concentrate on making. I started with bibs for a family friend and it all grew from there.
In three words, describe the Walandella style. Unique. Handcrafted. Heirloom.
Running a small business is increasingly multi-faceted. Which component of business do you find most difficult and how do you overcome the challenge? For me, I find marketing the hardest part of running this little business. While I may be able to piece different fabrics together and sew fairly easy, designing and wording adverts does not come naturally to me! I’ve never been good with words; I’d much rather show my talent and emotion through something physical and creative!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.
You make a wide variety of beautiful children’s clothes and accessories. What is your signature item? I don’t think I could narrow it down to one signature item. We believe we were the first to do two-tone bibs like ours. However, our best seller is definitely our bloomers.
If you could only sew using one type of fabric in the future, which print would you choose? Anything cotton with a touch of country! We love Gingham, and it seems so do our customers!
What is your most hated chore? Washing the car! It generally gets fairly neglected as I just loath doing it.
What is one item of clothing you couldn’t live without? A round the house shift dress or jeans - you can’t go past a good pair of jeans!
If you could time travel would you go the past or the future? I think I’d go back to the past. I lost my father at 17. If I’d known I was going to lose him so soon, I would have made more of an effort to spend time with him and create ever lasting memories.
Name two inspirational women you admire and why.
- My grandmother, Joy Lillyman - a mother of four, grandmother of five who is a selfless person with a kind and loving heart.
- Kirsty McCormack - a high school peer from Ag class. I’m inspired by her love and effortless regard for the future of the beef sector and agriculture as a whole.
How do you define business success? Business success is not only monetary reward, but also having a positive impact on others. I love being able to create unique pieces for little ones around the world. Being environmentally conscious is also high on the priority list for our brand so every scrap I can reuse and every package sent out without plastic means success.
What’s next in the pipeline for your small business? There are so many plans scrambled in my head and written down on bits of paper floating around the place. Ultimately, quilting is high on the list. It’s a craft I’ve always wanted to master, and something I think could encompass country life to our customers. The long term goal is to be the go to handmade boutique for baby/kids and lifestyle products!