The husband-and-wife team behind Dubbo artisan business Saddler and Co hope to give back to the region’s thriving startup community when they speak at a FoundX event at Charles Sturt University – Dubbo on Tuesday.
Bede and Jemima Aldridge opened Saddler and Co in 2010, and credit other entrepreneurs with helping them to start and then grow their own local business.
Tuesday’s FoundX event is only the third in Dubbo – Channel 40 founder Tom Cavanagh and NSW Regional Woman of the Year Juliet Duffy are previous guest speakers – and Jemima said the couple was “excited” to be invited to speak.
“We’re really looking forward to that opportunity to have a conversation with others, sharing honestly our own experience,” Jemima said.
“We have found so much value in other small business owners sharing their experience with us, answering questions and sharing their mistakes as well as their successes with us.
“We have been so inspired by others that if we can inspire just one person, one small business, even in just feeling that they’re not alone and they’re part of a community, that would be so exciting.”
Saddler and Co design and manufacture saddles and other leather goods at their Dubbo workshop.
...if we can inspire just one person ... that would be so exciting.Jemima Aldridge
Jemima said the couple has been thrilled by the response to their hand-crafted products.
“As a nation we have exported a lot of our skills and our businesses and so for us, we’re trying to sort of fight back against that,” she said.
“We do the manufacturing ourselves … and we have found a really great response from the community that supports that and I think that’s the biggest joy, is discovering that people appreciate and value those skills.”
She said the business has faced the same sorts of challenges as any other, including finding employees in a region with skills shortages across a range of industries – niche or not.
“It’s a bit of a dying trade,” Jemima said.
“We have had to be very intentional in seeking to grow that team purposefully and slowly – actually doing a lot of the training ourselves.
“We have a really clear objective and that has helped us to stay strong.”
Dubbo’s second FoundX event begins at 5.30pm at Explorer’s Cafe at Charles Sturt University – Dubbo. Visit www.foundx.com to register.