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Ausmumpreneur Awards

Janelle Larkin
Written by Janelle Larkin
Janelle is a mum to three teenage boys. She started her career as a nurse before stumbling into the world of business. During COVID Janelle chased rainbows creating an online multi-vendor marketplace called Buy from Tasmania. This social enterprise means no matter where we are, or what virus is thrown our way, we can continue to buy and sell locally.

Keeping it Real Online.  Why is it important in business?


Sometimes storms bring rainbows. Am I right? 2020 brought us one big viral C-storm and I had to look pretty damn hard for that multi-coloured ray of light but I found it in the form of these three women.  Sarah Crawford (web-designer extraordinaire and creator of the Buy from Tasmania Website), Dawn Rieniets (Artist/Word-Queen and editor of Buy from Tasmania) and Jenn Donovan (Social Media & Marketing whizz).  We all chase around after kids and we are also finalists in the AusMumpreneur Awards.

On Friday the four of us came together to talk about… well…everything really; creativity, marketing, growing communities and even where it all began. Plus a few other bits not for print (ya know, keeping it real).

Whilst I had these great minds captive, I wanted to know exactly how they communicated online to connect with and grow their communities. 

We’ve all been there, we open a Facebook post and our hackles instantly spike. We are all human and can be quick to react. Is it really that important? There are plenty of reasons we shouldn’t and these ladies are the first to tell you why. Grab a pen, it’s good!

But first.. a bit from me.

Authentic people really shine online. They stand out from the crowd. They’re the ones I want to grab a bottle of wine and hang out with.

While setting up the Plug a Business Tasmania Facebook group and Buy from Tasmania I knew it needed an authentic, kind and generous core to be successful.  I set that tone from the get-go.  You know what? It worked, it grew and it’s an amazing place to hang out. If you’re not there, you should be. Check it out.

Customers are curious creatures, more and more we are wanting to know the person behind the product.  It keeps us coming back. It’s becoming more and more valuable to how we buy and sell. I know I’d prefer to buy from the person who will answer my annoying questions that the mission style big-box retailer. 


“Yeah! Especially when we don’t know where imports are coming from or how long they’ve been sitting in port.”

“I want to know that the person who gathered the ingredients and got their hands dirty to make my products. I love that they do a happy dance when I buy from them”

And they do dance Sarah!


Dawn made an important point. The reason people are keen to connect with businesses and know their stories is because choices are plentiful.

“We’re all learning the importance of building community and supporting local, not only for the environment, but for our communities, our families and our futures.”

Dawn always speaks to her audience in an authentic language they can understand.

“I’ve learned that it’s better to just grow very slowly and steadily, to have a smaller, more engaged audience, they will be the people who are repeat customers. They love you and they’re loyal to you.”

“Customers are a lot savvier than we give them credit for and they can tell phony fake persona from genuineness, you know. They can sniff it out. So if you’re fostering these genuine connections, it’s important to show a little bit of vulnerability and personality and to really be yourself.” 


Jenn spoke about abundance mindset; she lives in a crowded world in the social media marketing space.  She knows how important it is for her to standout and rise above.  

“It’s really so important that people know their brand values, because those values will follow them wherever they are on social media, making their authenticity shine through.”

“You can stand out not only by being unique but also through communicating your values and shining that through your business. Which we must all be doing well because that’s how we’re all managing to grow, even in a pandemic!” 


Sarah used her own personality to explain Brand Values.  You see, our gorgeous Sarah is an introvert.  She finds big loud events a challenge; if she puts on a fake persona she will crack.

“That’s what you’ll see when brands don’t have a strong brand personality or value system; they crack”

“And then a bad vibe comes through, they start to lose followers and business. Building a brand, and a community that’s aligned with your own values to start with is really, really important.”

Some final words from me…

So now we’ve heard from these amazing women around the importance of values, being authentic and keeping it real I want to talk to you about one more thing – celebrating the success of others. Yep, even your competitors. I know, it’s tricky.

Have you heard of the Buddhist concept of “Mudita”? It quite literally means “finding joy in the happiness and success of others”. Nice hey?

So how do we find our “Mudita” online? Well, if someone posts about a win don’t just like it, say something that’s personalised to them. Remember your values and be authentic.  It will help both you and your business grow.  It gets easier, I promise. 

And please, if nothing else, always reply to people. Even when you are at your busiest. They don’t need an essay, just to know you care!

Want to read some more by these ladies? 

Roo Spotting with Dawn has written – Four Ways to Stay Inspired During a Pandemic

A lined Design with Sarah has written about Our Inspiration to Start Our Business

Social Media and Marketing Australia with Jenn has written –How to Use Social Media to Grow your Business during a Pandemic



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