To my Beautiful, talented warrior princess, as your Dad, I have watched you grow and I am constantly amazed by you and your sister, Sienna.
You have wanted to be a part of dad’s business since you were little, sitting beside me at the computer, coming with me rain, hail or shine to markets across Australia, asking me question after question about my various products. There you were always beside me, my buddy and partner. When the opportunity for you and your friend Belle to start your own business because you wanted to promote positive messages of reconciliation I started writing this letter because I was scared for you, proud of you and amazed by you.
I have finally finished this letter on the eve of the second collection of Téa&Belle and I have rewritten this letter many times and at first I wanted it to just for you but after all the positivity and support for Téa&Belle and the momentum that you and Belle have achieved in such a short time through being fearless, I wanted to write this as an open letter for other dads to read and other girls to know that you can dream and achieve.
Téa this letter is from my heart to yours. This is what you have taught your Dad
Fearlessness: Growing up as an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander it was a constant challenge to overcome visible and Invisible barriers and it was hard to overcome these, but I did and I do but always with a little fear in the pit of my stomach. What if all that I achieved was taken away from me, what if I could not provide for my family and how do I make my ancestors proud. Téa I am constantly in awe of your fearlessness and I am learning from you to be fearless. Growing up the word entrepreneur was never mentioned, it wasn’t “our lot” and I would never have thought I would be an entrepreneur, but that is what you and I are! Your fearlessness has taught me to be fearless and you have shown me to respect the past but run with an open and fearless heart into what the future holds.
Fierceness: Being an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Man from a race that has much sorrow and a lot of anger, marrying into a non-Indigenous family, working in a Corporate environment and having three children who compete for my time is hard. I don’t think many men especially Indigenous men ever say how hard this is. Competing priorities & being pulled in various directions has been hard for me.
You taught me about Fierceness, the way you protect your brother and sister, the way you want Téa&Belle to be an international brand, your fierceness in how you want people to know about our culture has made me think “What is my fierceness” “What do I want to protect and uphold?”. You have taught me that fierceness doesn’t have to be antagonistic, or overt but it can be a steadfast, resolute and respectful. Keep your fierceness, it will help you change the world.
You, Téa are an old soul, you don’t collect friends. I have sat and watched who you surround yourself with. These kids and adults you go on to form deep connections with and they are all varied and Interesting people. These friends are supporting, fun and love you for who you are, that is seriously special. I have had friendships that have endured and some that have not. Téa, watching you and your friends value one another brings home to me that you are the sum of the people you hang around and that can work in both a positive and negative way. You have taught me to form and maintain friendships that make me feel good about myself. Thank you Téa
Téa&Belle has been a big undertaking for all involved. Late nights, travel and extra work for all but you and Belle have not viewed this as work you have viewed it as FUN. oh, how have you opened my eye, Business, Fun? Who would have thought? Your sense of fun, your infectious giggle and at times your sassiness makes me realize I need to have more fun in what I do in business and life. You have my promise that dad will try to become more fun.
Whoa, working with four strong and passionate women has highlighted to me you girls are fighting the fight for women's equality. I see you daily in your own small way paying forward women's rights. You have shown me I need to be a male champion of change and advocate and promote feminism.
To be honest I didn’t think that you and Belle would keep going with Téa&Belle, that it would get too hard & you would get bored. I am so proud of you and how you have continued to be committed to the vision of Téa&Belle. At times business gets hard, I get frustrated, I get complacent: you have taught me to follow through, to remember my vision as to why I started my company and look at the end game.
Family is so important to you, of course it is and it is to me too. Sometimes you, Senna and Dante have had to compete with my time, sometimes I am present but not present. What you have taught me from starting Téa&Belle is you just want your dad to be involved with things that are important to you. I don’t have to be at everything you are involved in, just the things that are important to you. You have taught me to get involved with what is important you just because I may not understand it. Our family has a better dad because of just hanging with you. Your mum, Dante, You and Seanna are the most important people in the world to me.
So, my little warrior princess I want to say how proud I am of you. The student is teaching the elder and I am embracing it.
Always remember you a direct descendent of the oldest living peoples on earth, be fearless, be fierce, have fun, be the change you want to see, go for your dreams and remember i will always be by your side, cheering you on.
Lots of love