How this mum of three prioritised her family by pioneering rural entrepreneurship

Jane Robertson, founder of Millwoods shoes, shares insights on blending motherhood and business while creating timeless footwear. With a focus on community support in regional Australia, she navigates the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship, driven by a desire to prioritise family alongside her entrepreneurial journey.

5 minute read
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Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your business and perhaps give us your elevator pitch?

Owning a pair of Millwoods is almost like a rite of passage for a woman. It's about classic shoes that transcend time. They're a shoe that can be worn anywhere. You dress them up, you dress them down, indoors, outdoors. They're made to last and they are very much a foundation of an Australian woman's outfit everyday, they give you the strength that you need to really cement yourself and step forward in the day.

What do you see as the greatest strength as a business owner when it comes to being a bush based business?

I think when it comes to regional Australia, we know how to stand together and if there's one thing that happens out here it's that there is everybody is literally out to help everybody. You might not necessarily feel it at the time but if you just find a way to ask a really small question you would be surprised what unfolds and community is just so important when you're in these regional areas and when you are doing something solely on your own. I had this conversation this week with my girlfriend and while my husband and I are in this together, when you look at the company structure, he's not in this. I'm 100% doing this on my own. And then I have beautiful contractors that come and help. But I spend a lot of time sitting in this warehouse on my own. So I think when you do walk out that door and you head in to grab a coffee and all those sorts of things, your community is not just about my business. It's about the greater micro economy that's around me and creating something, we all help to feed off each other.

You are a mum to three children. What are some of the ways that you've blended  motherhood and business, over the last few years?

Well, the business started because of the kids. I was in corporate governance when I had my son, I was working for a health agency in town in corporate governance. And as soon as I  became pregnant with James, it became really apparent to me that he was going he would have 12 weeks holidays a year and I would have four. At the time my husband was a pilot for regional express, so, his hours could have been anything. So one of us had to be consistent. So I think in terms of blending motherhood in business, I went in search of something and a way to be here for my children. Now is that the right choice for our family? I don't know because I tell you what sometimes this business is so hard that I literally just want to throw it in. I think only like two weeks ago was seeing how much I could sell it for. And then like this week I'm fine. And I think it's really getting clear on, what values you want to instil and then how you make that work for you. So Andrew resigned from flying last year purely because the kids are getting older now and he wanted to be around to see James play football on the weekends. Cause you, you know, you were guaranteed one weekend off every four or five weeks or something. So you know you get 20% of your son's life. So in terms of blending it, I don't feel like I had a choice. It was the way that it needed to be in order for me to deliver on a family unit that I wanted to give my kids because a nine-to-five role was not going to ever have that flexibility for us. And what's the point of one parent being on holidays if the other parent's never on holidays? So when do you really have that lovely, beautiful time together as a family? It becomes so precious. James is 10 now. I've got eight years and he's done. Literally eight years and like at 10, he's probably not going to want to know me in the next three years.

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