You’ve started a business and it’s thriving (we knew you could do it!) and you’re considering scaling up. However, a little sliver of doubt is creeping in as you wonder how you’ll grow your business without losing sight of the values you instilled from the start. If only we could give you access to a businesswoman who has done that very thing.
Oh, hang on, we can!
Have you heard of Jarin Baigent? Jarin is the owner and founder of Aboriginal activewear brand Jarin Street and co-founder of Aboriginal business collective, Trading Blak. As part of our partnership with NSW Small Business Month, we’re celebrating small business inspired by this year’s theme of Rebuild, Recharge, Renew through a series of special Masterclasses to help guide you through the joys (and everything else) that comes with running your own show. Our second masterclass in the series saw our very own Rebecca Bodman sit down with Jarin as she shared what it takes to grow a business whilst remaining authentic and connected to culture and community.
Jarin joined the police force as she felt she could use it as an opportunity to make a difference. ‘I wanted to contribute positively to a system that historically is not a safe place for my people,’ she told Bec.
However, several years later, she began to feel sense of frustration in her career as a police officer and wanted a stronger connection to her heritage and to create something more meaningful. ‘I felt like my spirit was starting to break and [I was starting to] burnout’ she revealed. ‘I felt really overwhelmed then and like my spirit needed something to connect to.’
After years of playing sport and pushing her body to the limits, Jarin went in search for something that would be a little kinder to her body, and her mind. It was from some reflection, self-determination, a demand for proper recognition, taking stock of the talented friends and family around her, and borrowing $5000 from her Nan, that Jarin launched Jarin Street.
Jarin shared she ran her first market stall whilst breastfeeding her third child and has since opened a brick-and-mortar store in Warringah Mall, which also happens to be the first Aboriginal fashion retailer in a Westfield. But don’t just think she’s selling activewear from this store because you’d be mistaken. ‘I’ve got a lot of aunties and elders in the community she told Bec. ‘We had a lot of people coming to visit and nowhere to sit, nowhere to have a cuppa tea and have a yarn and connect.’
The store is more than a retail outlet and is centred around being a meeting place for people to share stories or learn more about the oldest Indigenous culture in the world. She proudly employs First Nations People staff who play a vital role in servicing and educating customers of their rich and vibrant culture.
When asked the difference between trading online versus in a store, Jarin shared the two offer different experiences. ‘I think there’s more and more talk at the moment about the importance of actual retail stores’ she shared. ‘And having a face-to-face connection with the customers.’
Bec then moved onto ask Jarin about Trading Blak, a space for Aboriginal businesses to fight exploitive behaviour in the business and art sector when it came to Aboriginal Indigenous works. All too often, Jarin shared that businesses may try and pass off they are supporting Aboriginal and Indigenous communities when in fact, they aren’t being honest. Jarin informed the best way to help support Aboriginal and Indigenous businesses, is to go straight to the source, and buy directly from businesses like those listed here.
So how do you scale up and stay true? Take a page from Jarin’s book and stand up for what you believe in and challenge the ways things have been done before. A big thanks to our partners at NSW Small Business Month for making this series possible! Rebuild, Recharge, Renew with NSW Small Business Month 2022 and join thousands of like-minded people at one of Australia’s largest small business programs.