Life & Style
The Junction

The Junction Fair

Hear from the women behind the businesses at Junction Fair

Ahead of International Women’s Day this year, happening on 8 March 2022, we caught up with a handful of incredible women who are the brains behind some of our most cherished local businesses situated inside Junction Fair.

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This year, International Women’s Day is promoting the theme to Break The Bias, we chatted to the many women who are a part of the businesses here at Junction Fair to find out what it means to be a woman, what International Women’s Day means to them, and how they’re going to Break The Bias this year.

Anna Farthing – Owner of Doughheads

Since its inception in 2014, the divine creations from Doughheads have been keeping the sweet tooths of both Newcastle locals and visitors alike more than happy. Brought to us by Newcastle born and bred self-confessed Doughnut lover, Anna Farthing, Doughheads has become a foodie haven and a bit of an institution for Newcastle.

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What was the catalyst to starting your business?

I wanted to create a brand that was relatable and fun, something that would bring happiness to life's everyday moments

What do you love about owning your own business here at Junction Fair?

I love that there are so many independent, local businesses based in The Junction Fair. This Centre shines a spotlight on small businesses in Newcastle and how we make a significant contribution to the local economy by creating jobs and giving back to our community.

Many of these businesses happen to be owned and run by women; a demonstration of the creativity, strength, and determination we bring to the workforce and goes to show just how far we have come in the fight to 'break the bias' and provide equal opportunities for women in general. 

Ana Morgan – 2IC at Easy Living Footwear

Home to one of Newcastle’s premier footwear specialists, Easy Living Footwear has recently expanded their store in Junction Fair and continue to offer over 300 different styles in-store. Chatting with Easy Living Footwear 2IC Ana Morgan, we hear about her experience being a part of the female-driven businesses here in centre.

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What do you love about working at Easy Living Footwear? 

I love the relationship we all have, we all have the same values and passion for customer service and providing a great in-store experience.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s a celebration of women’s achievements socially, culturally, politically, and professionally and also, it’s about gender equality.

This year’s IWD theme is ‘break the bias’, encouraging women to join forces to forge women’s equality. What does ‘break the bias’ mean to you? And what will you do to ‘break the bias’?

Break the bias to me means challenging stereotypes and discrimination of women in the workforce and in everyday life.  I would treat everyone equally and respectfully.

Louise Hampson – Owner of Privvy Fashion

Louise Hampson is the face behind women’s clothing boutique, Privvy Fashion at Junction Fair and has been curating a bespoke selection of women’s clothing and accessories for the people of Newcastle since 2010.

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What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

It means we take time to acknowledge and respect the diverse achievements of women that have come before us while inspiring the women that will come after us with what is possible. We need more than ever compassionate strong leaders to ignite change for good in the world, more than ever. Women can play an intricate part as these leaders. 

How does it feel to operate a woman-owned business?

I truly feel very lucky to be a woman and able to run a business in 2022. I have been blessed to be a mother, a wife, and a business owner. Every single one of these roles I adore and all of them makes me who I am. They keep me loving my life. What I can create and be is left to my drive, love, and imagination. 

What do you love about owning your own business here at Junction Fair?

I believe the Junction Fair is a special centre where the customers shop for a sense of community while enjoying the convenience and easy access of a smaller centre. 

This year’s IWD theme is ‘break the bias’, encouraging women to join forces to forge women’s equality. What does ‘break the bias’ mean to you? And what will you do to ‘break the bias’?

We have an all-women business where we believe we are powerful and have the ability to create change. We help women see themselves differently by promoting self-love with fashion. If we help them silence the inner critic within themself, they will find a new standard where they will expect respect and create healthy boundaries when others try to undermine their worth. 

Aymee – Owner of Cocoa Nib

The specialty chocolate store of Junction Fair that is Cocoa Nib has customers returning time after time. Originally launching in 2007, it wasn’t until 2018 that Junction Fair was lucky enough to have Aymee and her chocolate brilliance of Cocoa Nib set up shop.

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What does International Women’s Day mean to you?  

It’s a day to celebrate all women and our collective achievements. Whether you are a mother, a daughter, a business owner, an employee, or an industry leader. Every woman should be celebrated for their contribution to our community.

How does it feel to operate a woman-owned business? 

I don’t often think of myself as a woman running a business. My grandmother ran her own successful business for over 60 years so I have always had exceptional role models and it seems quite natural. Having said that, I realise that my industry is very male-dominated, so I find it rewarding to provide opportunities to other women.

What do you love about owning your own business here at Junction Fair?

I love the sense of community from all of the other business owners and my team. We all support each other in various ways.

Kylie Myatt – Owner of Savant Apothecary

Savant Apothecary, brought to us by Kylie Myatt has been serving Newcastle with their all-natural skincare products since late 2016. Savant Apothecary’s unique range of skincare has been created with the hope to empower women to feel and look good every day.

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What does International Women’s Day mean to you?  

The celebration and recognition of not just what women have and are achieving, but also that they are free to do so. 

What do you love about owning your own business here at Junction Fair?

Junction Fair is a small community centre not only for customers but also for business owners. We talk and catch up daily the same as other people catch up with their friends. There are lots of women-owned businesses and I like this because we all share the commonality of having a business and also a family.

This year’s IWD theme is ‘break the bias’, encouraging women to join forces to forge women’s equality. What does ‘break the bias’ mean to you? And what will you do to ‘break the bias’?

I particularly like employing young women and listening to their ideas and views, dreams and expectations. My experience in being a woman and raising a family while having a growing business has been wonderful. It’s not always good and there’s been plenty of tears, doubt, confusion, learning, disappointment along the way. Not just from me but from my husband too as we both learned how to juggle our new situations and “breaking biases” about our roles in the family.

However, we have come through great and I like to demonstrate and encourage young women that it can be done, it may be hard but it will be wonderful and it is worth doing. 

Rachael – Store Manager of Too Cool For School

Too Cool For School has become Newcastle’s absolute must-stop shop when it comes to finding anything for the little ones in our lives. With over 20 years in business, the retail store brought to us by Ange and managed by Rachael, this women-led business is nothing short of an inspiration.

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What do you love about working at Too Cool For School?

What’s NOT to love about working here? I spend my days playing with toys and interacting with the loveliest customers – big and little. I’d say I have the best work environment a person could ask for. 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

This is a day to honour all the women who have contributed to our community on a local and global scale.

This year’s IWD theme is ‘break the bias’, encouraging women to join forces to forge women’s equality. What does ‘break the bias’ mean to you? And what will you do to ‘break the bias’?

With each generation, there is less of this bias but it’s very important to consciously continue this effort. For me, I feel it’s very important that my teenage boys see that I work hard and am as valued and respected as anyone else because of that. They also see their dad treat me with nothing but love and respect.

Nicole Thomas – Owner of Studio Row 

One of the newer businesses to open up shop in Junction Fair is the ever-so-delightfully curated retail store that is Studio Row. Brought to you by Nicole Thomas, a long-time retail expert, and owner of Darby St-based Guanabana Designs, Studio Row features your favourite Australian-made labels.

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What do you love about owning your own business here at Junction Fair?

Last June we opened our second store at Junction Fair, Studio Row and through the struggles of the current environment we have grown, and I feel created something very special. I love the community of retailers, support from Centre Management, and most importantly the friendly and loyal customers at Junction Fair, such a nice environment to be in.

This year’s IWD theme is ‘break the bias’, encouraging women to join forces to forge women’s equality. What does ‘break the bias’ mean to you? And what will you do to ‘break the bias’?

I recognise that I am incredibly fortunate to be a woman that has not experienced overt gender bias, and so I use my voice to speak for women who cannot, those who might be exposed to this regularly in their workplace and social settings.

Creating communities of women and females identifying individuals from all walks of life, and then using these communities to support and uplift each other, is an incredible way to break gender bias. The specific communities that I have the pleasure to bring together through my boutiques are all about empowering people through fashion and lifting them, making them feel beautiful, powerful, and supported.

Diana Wilson – Owner of Buzz Junction

Serving up what we think are the best acai bowls around town alongside some of the most divine healthy treats, Diana Wilson of Buzz Junction has been making its mark on the healthy eats scene of Newcastle for over seven years.

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What was the catalyst to starting your business?

I wanted to provide foods to the community that were available to grab and go but were healthy, delicious, visually appealing, and affordable. I hoped that by building the business, I would be creating a lifestyle for all people and offering something worthwhile that we could all be involved in.

How does it feel to operate a woman-owned business?

I am very proud of how Buzz is perceived in the community. My husband Steve, who is the face of Buzz now, is quite proud to tell people that he works for me and tells everyone on the days that I am there that "the Boss is here today!" We work well together, and it is really a family business, however, I do get a Buzz out of being a female business owner.

What do you love about owning your own business here at Junction Fair?

I love that the businesses within the centre are mostly quite unique, and all have different offerings for the customer. We have customers that travel from Maitland, Nelson Bay, Toronto, and Warners Bay just to get our products. The shopping centre management and tenants are all like-minded and community conscious and because we are a small boutique centre, our customers become friends.

This year’s IWD theme is ‘break the bias’, encouraging women to join forces to forge women’s equality. What does ‘break the bias’ mean to you? And what will you do to ‘break the bias’? 

I will stand proud to be a woman in business. I will encourage the women that I employ to achieve their dreams through training and education. I will continue to support my daughter in her quest for equality and safety for all women in all walks of life through the We Gotchu Girl project. Together we can break the bias!

To continue the celebrations of this year's International Women's Day on 8 March 2022, we recommend dropping into Junction Fair and rallying behind the many women-led businesses that reside in this go-to shopping centre and supporting their local businesses.