Jumbled-The Huddle-Orange-Paloooooooza !!!

Jumbled-The Huddle-Orange-Paloooooooza !!!

Picture this: pregnant girl on crutches who is terrified of flying in small planes gets invited to the most incredible women in biz event in Orange, a regional town that has long been on her must-visit list. 

Now, picture this: pregnant girl on crutches flies to Orange on a teeny tiny plane to go to said kick-ass women biz event and ends up in Orange hospital, but still manages to have THE most memorable weekend that makes her want to return to explore Orange more.

As many of you will already know, I was invited to attend Jumbled’s inaugural kick-ass-women-in-biz event, The Huddle as a guest speaker/mentor. Once I regained my composure from falling off my chair, (no, that’s not actually how I ended up on crutches by the way…more on that later!) I most graciously accepted Pip’s invitation and got to planning which and how many hats I could fit in my suitcase. As a kick-ass biz woman myself who attends these kind of events VERY regularly (cough cough) I am highly trained to know EXACTLY what to focus my energies on. Clearly. ;-) 

Photo credit: Clancy Paine

Here’s a rundown on the 3-day whirlwind trip that was ORANGE-PALOOZA:

Remember how I asked you to picture that girl on crutches who was terrified of flying on a small plane? Well, imagine said girl about to fly on said plane but with another lady who is EVEN MORE terrified than she is at flying. Who is this lady? Well none other than the flying hypocondriac herself, Julia Green from Greenhouse Interiors.Now I’m not sure whether it was the valium (for Julia), or the fact we made up a story about chartering the plane ourselves (to ease our nerves) but the flight was SO fine and almost-relaxing!…. And, on a side note - regional flying is the bomb (ok, maybe not the right word to use in this context, but you get me?!): no lines, no security, no baggage carousel anxiety. It’s just you and your bags straight on the plane. Easy.
So from one easy mode of transport to another: after we landed in Orange we were picked up by the snazziest, most space-age looking transfer vehicle, a Tesla from the good eggs over at Eco-luxe Transfers. They made us feel like the celebrities we most definitely are not. Thanks guys xNow I was already flying HIGH on the fact that a) I’d arrived alive and b) I felt like a celebrity, but then my day got EVEN better when I arrived at Byng St Hotel. It is the funkiest, boutique style hotel that had WAY more to it than first met the eye. It was all serious historic business at the front, and total interior designed modern goodness at the back. I was absolutely enthralled by the unexpected colour combos they’d worked with.On paper, none of it should’ve worked but somehow it all came together in SUCH a good way.  I adore staying in smaller hotels, you truly get a better guest experience than staying in a bigger type of hotel. The owners were only a text message away and truly went the extra mile… they even took care of me when I was sick (more on that later).After settling in to my swanky hotel, I headed along to the beautiful winery,  Borrodell for a romantic sunset dinner with my fellow mentors. 

The food was top notch, and the company even better. I was initially a little nervous and before the event started getting that pointless thing called Imposter Syndrome. But after meeting all the mentors, that all washed away. Everyone was lovely, welcoming and most likely feeling the same.DAY TWO

After a good night’s rest I bounded (well as much as you can bound on crutches - did I mention I am pregnant and experiencing some painful hip problems as a consequence? Fun times) to Jumbled Online for a sticky beak.Now, we have been wholesale partners with Jumbled for over 5 years now and I have had ants in my freakin’ pants to visit their store in person for most of the last 5 years. Lemme’ tell you: it was worth the wait. If you thought that store looked THE BEES KNESS online, well let me tell you - you ain’t seen nothing!

I have to be honest here, before I visited in person I thought maybe Jumbled was an incredible store ‘for a regional town’. But, I soon realised us capital city folks have GOT NOTHING like Orange has in terms of a full service lifestyle concept store. Not only do you have Jumbled who stock homewares, art etc but there is also a cafe and marvellous clothing store, Iglou (sorry credit card).

I was already a big fan girl of what Pip (and her hubby, who together reno’ed this old Masonic Hall) had developed, but my appreciation for her as a biz lady skyrocketed after seeing her store in person. Cudos to you Pip.

Photo credit: Clancy Paine

With my belly rumbling, I headed off to the special Mentors Lunch at Printhie Wines. Not only did they style up their historic packing shed to a totally Insta-worthy status, but the owners made us all feel so special, comfortable and endeared to the business they had built as they told us about the history of the area and the winery. And would you check out THAT ceiling installation by Banging Hangins, and not to mention THAT tablescape by Pip's own Mum, Kezz Brett! I see where you get your creative genes from Pip.....

They are passionate people, and their enthusiasm was almost as infectious as the sparkling wine they served us all. I could’ve eaten about 5 more serves of everything Groundstone Cafe and Agrestic Grocer served, but I had my best behaviour (and manners!) on :-).

Photo credit: Clancy Paine

I also had to save room for the Gelato from the Spiltmilk gelato van I spied earlier….so many interesting flavours were on offer, and I chose…… Chocolate (insert face plant here....).

Photo credit: Clancy Paine

And to top off this inspiring lunch, while we were there it started raining. As you all know, the drought has been a persistent threat to these towns so to hear the rain on the roof was a bittersweet reminder of the tough times our regional areas are going through. But without anyone having to say anything, you could feel the rain brought a welcome sense of optimism to not only the locals in the room, but also us visitors.

Photo credit: Clancy Paine

I woke up early this morning not feeling the best. At all. Fortunately, the beautiful Rach from the Jumbed gang got me to Orange Hospital for some medical attention, particularly because I was due on stage THAT AFTERNOON for the main event!! Now, let me tell you: our ‘big-city-all-the-facilities’ hospitals had nothing on this gem of a hospital. The staff were attentive, warm and caring and best of all, they pumped me full of fluids and ALL the best (and safe - of course) anti-nausea drugs that allowed me to get outta there and get on stage to do what I’d been invited to do.
Photo credit: Clancy Paine

I was disappointed I didn’t get to listen to the earlier speakers at The Huddle (as a result of me being a patient at hospital), but I was OH-SO fortunate to hear Jane from Birdsnest speak.

Photo credit: Clancy Paine

Now, apparently I’ve been living under some kinda rock boulder type thing because I’d never heard of this online clothing store until this event…. Birdsnest is a huge e-commerce business and Jane, the owner was right there at the beginning of the e-commerce boom and has really capitalised on it by creating a $25million dollar business!! I felt very inspired after listening to this 1:1 interview she did with Pip and took away lots of little learnings I want to bring back to my biz (and also check out her website after I remove that boulder!).

Photo credit: Clancy Paine

I managed to hobble up on stage and speak as part of my panel, 'Product Perfect'. I was joined on stage with the most fabulous bunch of women: Julia from Greenhouse Interiors, Briony of Briony Marsh fashion label and Kate from Rolla Bottle .  The uber talented Edwina Bartholomew facilitated our panel and did a terrific job of keeping the convo flowing. We had a fantastic chat about all things product: how to create a unique product, collabs and the 'real' behind the scenes stuff. Spoiler: business ain't always pretty. There were so many fab questions from the enthusiastic crowd too and although I was feeling pretty lousy, the energy from the room really helped me to push through it and enjoy the event.

But, it's fair to say my body was telling me it was time to fly home and get some rest. As I made the journey home I reflected on the weekend and amongst the many things that stood out (the food! jumbled store! how good anti-nausea drugs are!), the main thing that stood out in my mind was the heartwarming feeling you get from being in a large group of women who were all there to really do one thing: support each other.Photo credit: Clancy Paine

It sounds simple, but in these modern times where we seem to be constantly portrayed as always pitting ourselves against each other, it was really encouraging to see the antithesis to this being played out in real life. It was evident that no matter what end of the business scale we were at, one scale we all had in common was the life challenges we faced: mum guilt, self-doubt, fear of failing, lack of support etc. No one is an island, and no one was made to feel they should be. THAT is the real joy of attending events like these, a sense of connection, a feeling of ‘I’m not alone in this’.

Photo credit: Clancy Paine

It's fair to say, 'I'm gonna' be back Orange'. Next time I'll bring Chris and Jude with me and continue to explore this surprise packet of a region. It really had it all: quality food, stunning landscape, down-to-earth people; the town really has it's finger on the pulse. Can.not.wait to explore again.

Until next time Orange (hopefully crutches and hospital-free), xx Pheebs

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