I sat down with The Daily MailAug 13, 2021
A young mother has revealed how she turned the thought of running a pizza shop into an $8million business that has seen its revenue double since the pandemic began.
Before becoming a parent Tara Solberg was a 26-year-old graphic designer for surf brand Ocean and Earth who was considering taking over a pizzeria on the NSW South Coast.
But turned off by the idea of spending hours chopping up vegetables, she and her husband Danny, then a work colleague, instead turned their minds to homewares and set up Few and Far in 2009.
A visit to specialty homes store at Melrose, Los Angeles, a year earlier convinced them there was a market for one-of-kind furniture and antiques in Australia.
They leased a rundown store at Huskisson, and borrowed $80,000 from her parents to do some renovations with help from her builder father.
Unable to get a bank loan, they raised $70,000 by selling possessions like their boat.
Through hard work, they now run four stores south of Sydney at Huskisson, Berry and Bowral, along with their Indigo Love business, which supplies rustic furniture to retailers across Australia.
Their empire is now worth an estimated $8million, employing 40 staff in the shops, a warehouse and in administration.
After enduring the early 2020 bushfires and the first Covid lockdowns, they have seen Few and Far's average monthly turnover double since the pandemic.
Ms Solberg, now 38, said an influx of new baby boomers and young families moving to the South Coast from Sydney had boosted demand for their unique furniture.
'All of those stores were located in regional areas and they were the areas that people were choosing to visit or to holiday in because we can't travel internationally,' she told Daily Mail Australia.
'We had a big kind of influx because of that but also because a lot of the people from Sydney or the city areas were moving into their holiday houses and the area had some significant growth.
'We've got a lot of people moving down.'
Property prices in regional New South Wales have surged by 21.2 per cent during the past year, compared with 15 per cent in Sydney, CoreLogic data for June showed.
The influx of new people to the South Coast has really boosted demand for things like sofas.
'They're realising that the sofa they're sitting on isn't quite so comfortable or it's in need of an update,' Ms Solberg said.
Running a business and raising two children - son Jonah, 7, and daughter Sari, 4 - can be a challenge, with long hours involved.
They were deprived of revenue during the bushfires of late 2019 and early 2020 that ravaged the South Coast and then missed out on customers during last year's Easter lockdowns that kept Sydney visitors away.
Ms Solberg said the first lockdowns helped online sales and saw demand soar for a video conferencing service offering home decorating advice.
Whatever the pandemic throws up - with lockdowns in Sydney, Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast extended for another week - the businesswoman said she was prepared.
'We've learnt to pivot when we have to,' she said.
'In a regional area, definitely, you have to start with a vision, you have to have a strong vision and a passion.
'If you don't have passion, you're never going to really succeed.'
Do you ever daydream about starting your own successful business, thriving online store or beautiful retail space but don’t have a single clue where to begin?
Is your excitement and enthusiasm continually squashed by confusion and doubt over what you physically need to do to get started?
Perhaps you feel like you don’t have the right tools in your kit to actually build your dream business?
Let me tell you right now - you are definitely not alone! In fact, when I launched my business back in 2009, I had no idea what I was doing. I am the living proof that you can start a business without any prior knowledge.
But… a little help never goes astray, right?