Teaching a 4 year old about the value of money and generosity, became a 'from the mouths of babes' moment for Sue, the business owner we meet today and from this, French Affair was born.
This small business birth happened in such a beautiful 'serendipity' kind of way, it just had to be in this Blog series.
Lets start with a fun fact. Sue is not French and hated learning French at school. She told me that nothing about the language or country resonated with her at that time. Let's face it, she was in high school...we are, for the most part, on another planet at that age right?
She picked up the language again later in life when a friend wanted to learn French, the friend asking Sue to come along to classes for support. Like a good friend, she joined but memories of how immune she was to the language's charm back at school, meant she was quite reluctant. 'Grown up' French classes with her friend started. The friend dropped out but Sue was hooked. All the while still thinking she would never visit France let lone start a French business in Australia.
the love affair began with the language
A 'by chance' trip to France
Ironically (or serendipity-like) Sue's first trip to France was also 'by chance', attending a conference that just happened to be held in Paris. Being able to use those high school and French class language skills in France, meant that the language 'came alive' to Sue on that trip. Her love affair was soon operating at full velocity. During this blossoming love affair, Sue was busy being a business woman with her 'other business' in the entertainment industry. She spent more and more time trying to work in a trip to France at every opportunity. Just when she thought she could take a break from work and fly to France, it was blocked. Didn't happen. Work was hectic and time and opportunity to get overseas to fulfil more of her French dream was fading fast.... Not one to be discouraged by a few obstacles..She finally got to France and later visiting the French speaking New Caledonia all the while perfecting her French and falling more in love. Sitting on the plane on her return trip from France... Sue decided to make plans to ensure France would be a part of her life from that point forward.
"Why not just Buy the chicken here...."
Sue's 4 year old nephew whilst learning the value of the dollar, was busy dividing up his pocket money. His Mum was talking him through why some of his pocket money was to be allocated to a charity and not just to spend on himself. The charity was the share of a Dairy Cow gift donations, to make a difference to world hunger and donate to an overseas family or community. The money goes towards helping them to purchase a cow for producing milk and this becomes an income generating source as well (great charity). This little 4 year old, trying to get his head around using his pocket money to buy a cow for those less fortunate overseas said, "why do we buy a cow there, when we can buy a chicken here?"
When Sue heard this story, something was born from the mouths of babes for Sue right at that moment.
'Why not bring what you want here?' She thought.
'If I can't be there (France)... why not just bring the France dream here?'
Introducing 'Mission France' and Sue's French Dream Board.
The Vision Board of French Dreams
I only knew the very basics of the dream board or the Vision Board concept when I interviewed Sue, all I knew was that it involved mapping out one's goals on a board with images, words, magazine clippings anything you can pin or clip or glue to the board that reflects your personal goals. In Sue's case she developed her French Dream Board. How Can I bring France into every aspect of my life in these eight areas'
Step 1. Buy a house in France
Owning a French house was next on Sue's Dream board and part of the 're-theming' of her life.
The main goal? To import as much of France into her life, as possible.
"My very own French holiday house" she thought, "and then rent it out when not holidaying in it" what a great idea! Sue had obtained all she needed for this venture, she had started a website and even had the ABN for the business of owning a French holiday house. Sue had the french loan, the french renovators lined up and she waited not so patiently through the 3 month French settlement term. The sale fell through. No settlement. No French chalet. Sue was devastated. So with no chalet and still with an ever growing love for France, Sue decided to make the best of the situation and started selling French products hitting local markets and using the (rental) website for the purpose of the retail venture.
The business dream back then, is not the business that it is today. The intention was never to have French business in Australia. The rental was supposed to be the business. However, it was October 2008 and the global financial crisis was then in full force... not a great time to have a double mortgage...was the sale falling through a blessing in disguise?? As it turned out, the business structure underpinning the plan to operate the holiday house became French Affair as it is today. I love hearing stories about people who hit a barrier or speed hump and their plans seem thwarted but they realise a lot in life is out of one's control. Move on, get over it, move forward, make the best of the situation. Sometimes this change in direction leads you to where you were actually meant to be, or maybe you end up on a better path!
I admire Sue's passion, vision and determination and the love she has for this business is inspiring and contagious. I did want to travel to France one day before meeting Sue, now I need to make it happen sooner than I anticipated and I too have started my own Vision Board. France is on it.
There is a celebration of everything French on her website (online store) stocked full of French soaps, body care products, market baskets, gifts, stationery and homewares and more .. you can contact Sue to learn about French and there are events like the upcoming Central Coast Market (exact date tbc) keep your eye on the markets calendar for 2016 dates. Pop in and tell Sue Bee sent you!
Sue attends regular markets so keep an eye on her website and Facebook for other upcoming markets in Sydney and even in QLD.
If you already do, or want to share Sue's passion for France... click your way to Sue's French Affair at www.frenchaffair.com.au
To share in the French Affair mission (to bring joy to Francophiles allowing them to indulge in their love of France) you can find a range of products and everything French at the website French Affair or find Sue on Facebook or Pinterest
The French Affair story doesn't end here, which is why I will be writing a Part II on Sue's affair! The French Expo part of her story is simply inspiring and I will be sharing more about that in a future post.
Watch this space!
Read Part II here How Sue shook the plum tree. The re-birthing of Australia's French Festival.
Please leave a comment here on the blog (below) or share this post with your friends and continue dreaming of France.
Post by Deb Aitchison, Owner/Operator, Bee Free Virtual Business Solutions
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