Today we are meeting Sara, the small business owner of Ocher Bee, who sells natural ochre products and runs events to teach the cultural knowledge her elders have passed down to her.
Sara is from the Gumbayngirr Mob and her small business, Orcher Bee, is a way for her to offer healing self-care products and services. She runs different types of healing, creative and educational events that are tailored to all sorts of audiences; from corporate packages to intimate, couple blessings and painting pregnant women’s tummies. Additionally, Sara sells ochre art and self-care, take-home products.
“Even when there are different restrictions from COVID-19 ,the support from Ross might look different, but it is always there. Ross will always check in but has a real insight into whether I need to be pushed or whether I just need to step back for a while.”
Read more about Sara and Ocher Bee.
The business is called Ocher Bee. The intention is to create a safe space to be ourselves using mother nature and our culture. We offer grounded cultural products and cultural experiences. We particularly work with ochre, which is grounded earth and is our traditional paint. We have been officially running since 2019.
I have a diploma in youth work and counselling. I moved towards the education space and was an Indigenous Liaison Officer in two schools on the Sunshine Coast. One school was very culturally aware, and the other wasn’t. I had a hard time trying to work in that school. I felt exhausted. My family saw this frustration in me and so stepping away was a form of self-care for me. I started a cleaning business which did well, but it was not what I wanted to do.
Deciding to go into Business
I started a cleaning a business, and it really started to become successful, which scared me. I have done a lot of cleaning over the years, but it wasn’t what I wanted to. In a conversation with a customer, we came across the idea of my business and my heart felt full. It was around NAIDOC Week and so I quickly got some work at some childcare centres.
I’m from the Gumbayngirr Mob, and live on Gubbi Gubbi country, and my family has been really connected to the Gubbi Gubbi people for about 20 years. This is something that is important to me, I really take it to heart.
We create art and self-care products by grounding the ochre and sell moon bathed refined ochres. This is a way to connect to the earth. I find the ochre myself, but sometimes I purchase the red ochre because it is very rare. I am very careful and respectful about how much I take of each type of ochre in different areas. We also use clap sticks in my events and learn about the cultural knowledge my elders have taught me.
My services and events are open to everyone. We utilise those products and create a healing and grounding space. Playing in the dirt grounds everyone quickly! Everyone connects in their own way. It goes from a healing connection space to an education and creation space.
There are a few events that happen monthly, such as the mother and child group and a dawn grounding group; we go to their spaces and hire halls. Sometimes we go to our local park and utilise local country. I will work at childcare centres right through to age care and tourists. We also have a community package and a corporate training package where we really go into what meaningful and confident acknowledgement of countries look like. I also have had a few couples that have asked for blessings and for me to decorate pregnant bellies.
Working with Many Rivers
My business coach, Ross has been amazing. He really has insight into the essence and the intention of my business. The patience he has is incredible.
Although we have struggled and really plotted along, I feel very empowered. Even when there are different restrictions from COVID-19, the support from Ross might look different, but it is always there. Ross will always check in but has a real insight into whether I need to be pushed or whether I just need to step back for a while.
Possibly the encouragement to go online and offer delivered packages was the most useful support that Ross gave me. I was hesitant to do this because I feel that my quirky energy is what makes the products. During NAIDOC week, families were able to purchase packages. It was in the back of my mind, but the encouragement from Ross to step into this to really survive through COVID-19 was very important. That was one thing that really stood out to me. If I didn’t have Ross cheering me on, I think that is one thing that I would not have delivered as confidently.
I received a loan from Many Rivers for a vehicle. It was the first time that I have ever paid a loan off, which was financially empowering. It is an affordable but nice car that is still running smoothly.
Just me, although very unofficially if we get a big order my home is full of products and my family will step in to help me get it done. It has been empowering as a family, growing this business.
If I am honest, COVID-19 and the restrictions has been tough for me. I try and stay positive and creating those packages have been a plus side. Now the stock is very measurable whereas in the in-person events hard to keep track of.
The biggest success has been being able to initiate a project – my ochre interactive, energetic, activation wall. I paint walls with raw ochre, and we invite our visitors to interact with the wall by adding their own etchings their own designs into the wall. I catch the ochre that falls off the wall, and then I use it for the next wall mural. I believe we are connected through energy, through earth and through story.
This business has empowered business ideas for other members of my family. It is inspiring the rest of the family to do projects they love and bring them to life. For employment, my daughter has started her own little photography business and my son is looking at an installation business.
I would really work on selling more corporate packages and secure consistent corporate contracts. Soon, I would love my have own physical space too hold my events in too.
Thanks Sara for sharing the story of Ocher Bee with us. We can’t wait to support you on this journey to achieving your business goals. If you would like to stay updated with Sara and her journey as a small business owner, follow Orcher Bee on Facebook or Instagram.
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