Someone wise once said, "people are just people" and ain't that the truth!
If you have landed on this blog you probably completed an online survey about Indigenous Business that I was helping to create for someone very close to me.
To all the people who completed the survey, Thank you.
From the amazing response, we immediately saw that Australian's want to buy Indigenous Products.
Before I go into why we have now started Téa&Belle collective I want to give you a little back story so you can be informed when purchasing from our store.
In a previous life, i was a social worker who worked with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community. I was accepted into an Indigenous Community through the work I did in assisting the families to access services and advocated for their human rights. I didn't work in the softly, touchy-feely social work. I worked with boys and men in prison, families affected by Domestic violence, children who had experienced trauma. Even though many of these families were Indigenous, I never saw them as Indigenous I always saw them as people.
I adored each family I worked with, we laughed, we cried and we raged against some injustices but through all this, there was always hope, hope that our children would not experience this also.
So it is with this thought and the overwhelming response from the survey that the knowledge we have now gained that this business should be for all children.
After a traumatic death of a close and dear Indigenous boy whilst in custody I was compelled to assist this community. I became a kinship carer for that broader community. Over that time I have had 3 girls live with us. Belle has adored having sisters and they had added so much riches to our lives. I will not be discussing these girls after this blog as their story is not my story to tell.
To name a company after children have been a decision not taken lightly and we have thought through what would be the positive and negatives, and we came to the conclusion there will be more positives.
If we are going to undertake this business we need strong foundations, we do not want an individual to take a fall if processes fall over, we do not want this to be a Business that fails, Que the Devow family.
Dion Devow and I have been friends ever since I was a social worker and he was the Convenor of Circle Sentencing for Justice and Community Safety. We have watched one another grow, children being born and careers changes. It was because of one particular career change that has less us to this Business.
So a little about Dion Devow
For more than 20 years, Dion Devow worked at both a grassroots and consultative level to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ access to health, legal and education services.
In recent years, Dion has also been applying his interest and skills in design to establish his own business, Darkies Design (external website, new window). Collaborating with external artists and designers, Dion produces contemporary Aboriginal-themed apparel and print media for mainstream, sports and promotional use.
In 2013, Dion recognised that Darkies Design had the potential to become a full-time enterprise generating sufficient income to support his young family.
Dion’s commitment to investing himself fully in his business received a boost when Darkies Design won the 2014 ACT NAIDOC Indigenous Business of the Year Award and Dion won Indigenous Person of the year 2016 Naidoc awards.
Dion deliberately chose a potentially controversial name for his business in order to express his pride in his Aboriginal culture and heritage. That choice gives full expression to his transformation from a shy university student, reluctant to speak in the presence of his classmates, into a confident father, businessman and consultant.
Phew, pretty inspirational but more importantly has the capabilities to run this business.
So where does Téa&Belle come in? Téa is Dion's daughter and Belle is my daughter.
Together they are the collective face of a brand that helps many behind the scenes and gives us all hope that collective reconciliation will happen with their generation.