Nadia Tucker"s Active Truth range. “To be honest, I had no idea that the business would take off like it did," she says. "We were growing so quickly, and I needed to be present to help my business partner manage the growth curve. I loved my job, and was really proud of what I did as a...
“To be honest, I had no idea that the business would take off like it did,” she says. “We were growing so quickly, and I needed to be present to help my business partner manage the growth curve. I loved my job, and was really proud of what I did as a lawyer, but I had to give it up to steer the ship with the business.”
The decision has paid off, with Active Truth’s turnover for this financial year predicted to be about $3 million.
“I’ve got no background in fashion or business, and no involvement in budgets and forecasting. We’re self-taught all the way. Google has been our best friend.”
Making the decision to walk away
Prue Gilbert also made the decision to walk away from a successful career in law.
She had worked in private practice, focused on the commercial property space. After five years working in Melbourne, she moved to Sydney to further her career.
Her role gave her the opportunity to delve deeper into sex discrimination culture and gender inequality in the workplace, which she reported back to company management, advising a better corporate approach.
It enabled her to drive change in the organisation, and she was getting a lot of support. “I created an opportunity for women to be heard, and developed a gender-inclusion strategy,” Gilbert says.
Her experience prompted her to start her own consultancy, Grace Papers. She picked up clients across the country on the back of the introduction of the Fair Work Act (2009).
“There’s an assumption that workplaces manage people’s careers, but that’s not the case. We give people the tools to manage their own careers,” she says.
“My vision for gender equality includes a world in which women can realise their full professional potential and care without experiencing discrimination, and where women and men are equally responsible for the most important decisions in our world. But my vision also includes a world where men can be vulnerable, care freely and express fear.”
The business is in the process of the next round of a capital-raising bid for $500,000 to fund its growth. Grace Papers has four staff and a number of facilitators around the country with Fairfax estimating turnover in the vicinity of $1 million.
Gilbert’s legal background has given her a “really strong” springboard into her own business. With a background in corporate strategy and finance, her husband joined her in the business three years ago.
Her legal experience gave her a curious mind and a strong focus on problem solving, plus a good sense of time management and setting priorities, she says.
‘Never my dream’
Jessica Jane Sammut trained as a lawyer in London, qualifying in commercial litigation and contractual disputes, which mostly played out in the High Court.
“I wanted a profession, so chased law. But it was never my dream. I worked very hard and long hours, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever,” she says.
She moved to Australia at 26, working for a small legal firm. “I loved writing case law and marketing. I was ready to have kids, and started working as a freelance journalist.”
A lack of educated and inspiring magazines in the market prompted her to launch her own glossy title, Mama Disrupt in December 2016. The 144-page magazine was an instant hit with her target audience, with a circulation of 60,000 and a number of high-profile women posing for the cover, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson.
I found law a little soulless. I didn’t want to look back on my life and think about it in billable six minute increments.
Jessica Jane Sammut
“The aim was to create a magazine that felt like the missing piece for mothers. A magazine that represented modern women, and motherhood. We’re very down to each and embrace beautiful things in life.”
She’s built a team of eight people who work remotely in the cloud to pull each quarterly edition together, each logging into the online office system when turning up to work.
“I love having my own business. I found law a little soulless. I didn’t want to look back on my life and think about it in billable six-minute increments.
“Now, I’ll always be able to look back on my life and feel as though I’ve been fulfilled.”
Morning & Afternoon Newsletter