Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Mamas Mean Business: Jane Anderson

As many regular readers know, I am running a series on mums who have set up their own businesses.

Today we're talking to Jane Anderson who, as well as a mum of five and a part-time swimming coach, has acted on her interest in skincare and set up her own business. While many mums start their business from scratch, many more also work through a parent company, which is what Jane has done. Here she tells Baysidemama what it's like to run a business that way. Here's Jane....

Tell us about yourself:

I am a mother of 5 children (3 of my own and 2 step children) aged between 16 and 4. I am also a part-time swimming teacher. Prior to starting a family, I worked in the recruiting industry as an administration manager, running a busy office, payroll and basic accounts.

How did the skincare business come about?

I became a Grace Consultant in July 2007. Grace Cosmetics is an Aloe Vera based skin care that is natural and botanical with no chemicals. Grace Cosmetics are 100% Australian with the Aloe all organically grown in Queensland.

I have been using Grace products on and off since I was 19 (I am now 40). I have tried the more expensive, commercial products, but always come back to the Grace Products as they work and are very gentle on my sensitive skin.

I suffered from acne Rosesea. I had taken six months of antibiotics and rubbed in antibiotic creams, but they didn’t work. Grace brought out a new range of masks and I tried the Purifying Clay Mask with Manuka Honey and after a month I realized that my skin had markedly improved and now the Rosesea has gone.

In July 2007, my Grace distributor asked me if I would like to sign up so I could get the products at a discount price. I was skeptical at first as I am not really a sales person and I thought I would have monthly sales targets to reach and minimum orders, but was assured that there was no pressure and no minimum orders, you could put one in every six months if you wanted to. So I signed up.

At first I thought I would just buy for myself at a discounted price, but after giving my close friends facials with the product I realized that I loved doing this and really believed in the product. I could make a business out of this.

How does your business work?

I invite friends, friends of friends over for a facial to try the products. The products speak for themselves, people are amazed how nourished their skin feels after their treatment. I now have a great business with a good re-order rate.

Some people run their business as party-plan, but I found that was way out of my comfort zone. I prefer to work one-on-one so I can answer questions and explain each product to my client. My aim every month is to do at least four facials and try to re-service every week. As I get more confident and more product knowledge I may try party plan again, but for now the one-on-one is working for me.

The parent company, Pro-ma Systems, offer a great support network and monthly training which I attend. It offers business basics, motivation and product information. The commission structure is one of the best in the industry with 50% discount on the products at the highest level and generous commissions on your team’s performance.

What's the best thing about running your own show?

The best thing is that you run your business at your own pace. It is up to you whether you make hundreds/thousands of dollars a month or just buy for yourself.

Pro-ma also have a charity arm, which I have become involved in. Light of Hope offers assistance to children in countries like Papua New Guinea, India. They provide schooling, housing, clothes, etc.

Jane has a special offer for readers of Baysidemama. A complimentary facial for you and a friend valued at $80. If you'd like more info, email Jane for more information at:

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Home magazine and my column

Phillip Island - coastal growth, originally uploaded by Baysidemama.

Yesterday was a busy day in the Herald Sun's Home magazine. MyGreenhouse column was looking at how to help your kids appreciate and learn about nature. Some of the ideas included setting up simple nature tables, something we do from time to time here at the home of Baysidemama and they are always popular - both the collecting bit and setting out our little finds.

Then there was a feature on nursery design and included was the lovely botanical inspired design by Leanne who runs the delightful blog house-n-baby. Go and take a look at Leanne's post on the matter and her Flickr pics - she has used really simple materials to create a gorgeous nursery which steers away from being over-cute and instead is a room little boys could grow happily in for many years.....

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

School vegie gardens

Backyard Cabbage, originally uploaded by LollyKnit.

Lots of parents in Bayside are talking about the fabulous kitchen garden which has been developed at Cheltenham Primary School. As far as I understand it, each class gets a vegie plot so the kids can learn to plant and harvest seasonal vegies and then there is a classroom cooking program so that the children can get involved in understanding - and enjoying - how that produce goes from the plot to the table.

Funny thing is, people talk about it as such a creative standout feature, but really, shouldn't all schools be doing this as a natural part of early education?

A vegie garden doesn't require much space but in this day and age when food is so removed from nature in the eyes of many children, it seems such an obvious thing to be doing at primary age.

Acclaimed food writer Stephanie Alexander has done amazing things with her kitchen garden program in Australia but this is also something many schools can develop themselves.

Monday, 21 July 2008

A big night out....

My children seem to think a trip to the doctor's is a big night out. God knows they go there often enough. You can pretty much guarantee that no matter how unwell and deflated they are, mention of the local medical clinic seems to rouse them from their illness and into their coats before dear old mum has even managed to brush her locks. I think it is that toy box in the middle of the waiting room that holds special appeal.

So this week they've had a few big nights there. Let's see. In the space of just over a week we've managed to deal with:
one chest infection;
one case of bronchitis;
one nasty asthma attack (requiring side trip to local hospital emergency);
one case of conjunctivitis and now, after this evening, a lovely little case of his 'n hers ear infections. Simply grand.

The chemist just told me to take a good lie down. I think we've reached the beyond sleep point in the story.

Can I help you?

I've noticed that a lot of Baysidemama readers are people who have moved to Australia or are thinking about doing so. So, I thought I would ask if there is any info that would be helpful to you guys that you would like me to include - any new categories of listings, things like that. If so, just put a message in the comments or email me at:

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Winter time

Magical*, originally uploaded by imapix.

OK, Melbourne doesn't quite look like this in the winter - more a cold, damp dark look to it rather than glistening snow. But it sort of captures the mood for this week. With half the household very sick, I've hit my limitation on embracing the season. Roll on spring. This pic was shot in Quebec City, where I have been and it is as magical a place as the picture suggests. I went there in the depths of winter and marvelled at locals skiing cross country to work - for an Australian, that's quite a sight. It's also the place I decided to get brave on the ski slopes and immediately headed straight into a tree - no major harm done though, just an embarassing rescue on one of those motorised ski machines.

Also, take a look at the link to the Flickr page by this photographer - amazing nature images.

Monday, 14 July 2008

backyard chooks

Ursula and Mimma, originally uploaded by BruceTurner. Picture: Courtesy Flickr.

Talk around here of late has been about chooks. Backyard chooks to be exact. We've been toying with the idea - although the depths of a cold wet Melbourne winter doesn't seem like the best time to start. I've researched the idea of keeping chickens quite a bit and they sound like great household additions.

Apparently a breed called the Pekin is great for suburban dwellers and they are also fluffy and pretty social.

One site I found useful is a Melbourne enterprise called Book A Chook. You can 'lease' a couple of chickens for a few weeks or months to see if you really are going to like the idea. They come complete with housing. If you do - and most clients apparently love the idea - then you can get your own permanent brood.

The site is:

Monday, 7 July 2008

Can you help with craft for the animals?

I help out with the Keysborough Animal Shelter, which is a large shelter servicing the south-east and southern parts of Melbourne. It receives no government support and yet shelters and rehomes thousands of cats, dogs, rabbits, even goats roosters and even sheep each year.

Our main fundraising event each year is a Christmas fete and this is where we need your help.
For those creative bloggers and readers out there, I propose this. This year at the fete we will be running a special handmade crafts stall - with all money going to the animals. Are you in a position to donate something you've made? It could be a handmade toy, craft item, handmade children's or adults clothes. Or even a nice bag of crafty/sewing scraps that someone would find useful. It could even be a voucher if you have a shop.

Of course your contribution will be accompanied with info on who donated it and your business details.

If you would like to, email me at: and we'll talk.

Oh, and the shelter's online here, if you'd like to take a look at the four-legged lovelies that this fundraising supports.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

I've long been one of those people very interested and cautious about the source and contents of food - especially the processed stuff. You know what I mean - all those preservatives, additives and things. This used to be a view which was regarded as a little left of centre. These days, it seems to be pretty mainstream as more and more is written about the impact this can have on health. I've also long been fascinated by the cultural role of food - especially how the types of food we eat can - or not - reflect our social and political views. The issue of meat is a good example.

But on top of all that, what's been on my mind - and most people's - of late is the cost of fruit and veg. Every time I pay for a basket at my local fruit and veg store at the moment, I almost hyperventilate at the cost and how much it has gone up. So what to do? I'm currently researching other supply options. If anyone has any good sources in Melbourne, please feel free to share them in the comments section. And for a number of reasons, I'm looking to plant my first vegie garden this spring.

One place I have visited before which has great fresh produce is Kingston Farmers' Market. It's held on the 1st Saturday of each month (except January) from 8am to 12:30pm at Sir William Fry Reserve, cnr Nepean Highway and Bay Rd, Highett (Opposite Southland, Melways: 77-G11).

Stalls include breads, cheeses, meats, dips, fruit and vegies, free-range eggs, pasta and much more. Entrance is a $2 charity donation. I didn't find it especially cheap, but at least the produce was fantastic quality and straight from the grower to you. There was also a good range of organic goods.