This week’s Ambassador Feature is with Rylee Venables, Petals & Pinecones
2017 Bronze winner for AusMumpreneur Customer Service
Tell us about yourself and your business?
My name is Rylee Venables – the owner of Petals & Pinecones, a space that has been transformed into a coffee house that is continually evolving into an Instagrammers dream location!
When you step inside you are transported to a wonderland of fantastic coffee, food made with love, decadent sweets, eclectic furniture, great music and the happiest humans that you will ever stumble across.
We operate from the heart and with our philosophy always at the forefront of what we do – “create a space that feels like home and where EVERYBODY is made to feel like a SOMEBODY”. My goal is to create the ultimate customer experience – when anyone walks through my door i want them to feel like they are returning home, welcomed with big smiles and constantly feeling appreciated for supporting my small business.
What was your inspiration for your business?
For me it was all about creating a space for humans to come and disconnect from the world and reconnect with one another. I want people to feel at home when they sink into our lounges, spend time with loved ones and create memories in space that welcomes humans from all walks of life. I wanted to create a business that raised the bar for customer service and connection – to build a culture of forging relationships with customers and not just transactions.
Did you have any experience in running a business or in this industry before?
I was experienced in running business as id previously owned hair salons and thats where i cultivated my love of creating a customer connection. However i had never even worked in hospitatlity before let alone run a business within the industry. I have always been addicted to great coffee and i swear the only thing i spend my money on is food, coffee and plants so it seemed only natural that at some point i would venture into my own coffee house!
What’s your point of difference that makes your business special or unique?
I could say our decor, or our menu items…but its more than that. I will always say our ‘Customer Connection’ – it is unique and rare to find an entire team committed to creating relationships with customers. Trade skills can be taught – but simple efforts like remembering their names, celebrating their wins, being their smiling face on a tough day – caring about their experience each and every time…thats what grows a business.
I believe that i fully respect that without customers, i have no business. If i can love on my customers enough – then we create a culture and they grow with us.
What have you learnt about yourself since becoming an entrepreneur?
I have learnt that i am resilient, honest and a problem solver. Life as an entrepreneur is a tumultuous adventure with many learning curves that test you not only as a business owner, but as a human. You need to learn to take feedback from those who can help make you stronger but also be honest with yourself when things need to evolve. I have also learnt the imporance of involving peole in your journey, share the highs/lows/twists & turns and never underestimate the power of word of mouth. People wont always remember what you say, but they will ALWAYS remember how you make them feel.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcome them?
I remember when we first opened it constantly felt like i was hitting road blocks – lack of knowledge within the industry, not working with professionals who aligned with me as a person and waking up some days without a single cent in the bank account and wondering if it was ever going to be worth the tears & shower cries.
Everything changed the day that i decided to be really honest about what i wanted within my own business instead of doing/listening to what everyone else was doing. So we went back to the beginning and set about changing the things that weren’t working. I had to fix my weak points not just focus on my strengths…that was the ‘growth space’ for me, not being afraid to cut the chord on the rubbish.
What lessons have your business taught you about life?
I could ramble all day but lets put this in dot point to focus on the big lessons:
– You should treat every single person in life and in business, the way that you would want to be treated in life and in business.
– I have learnt that the more honest/open and transparent you are about your business/life, the more human you are and the easier it is to create real connections with people.
– Working on your weaknesses will ALWAYS make you stronger.
– There is no quick trick/easy way to success…the one thing that will always get you there is HARD WORK. Do the stuff that noone else wants to do – get up earlier than your competitor, be more organised, be more efficient, work harder, work smarter, dive deep!
If you could go back to when you were starting your business and give your younger self some advice what would you tell her?
Back yourself!!!! Don’t do what everyone else does just because it works for them, figure out WHY you do what you do and then operate from the heart space. Forging your own style, brand, business, ethos will take time…but it will be worth every single second you spend on defining who you are as a business. Definitely get on top of the things you suck at from the beginning. For me it is numbers – i hate my book work, but i took the time to find the professionals that could align with my end goal and then i learnt everything i could from them to improve on those areas.
What’s next for your business?
Evolution – I will never stop evolving and growing, that is part of my promise to myself. I am focussing this year on building my team members profiles within the industry – they are incredible and deserve to be celebrated too…so lots of education, training, competitions and growth as a family unit. I am also stepping into my power now that we have created a culture within what we do inside our wonderland so now this year we will define what social impact we can have on the world to leave a positive footprint on this earth.
If you could change the world, and money was no object, what would you do?
I would find a way to make sure every single person in this world understood the importance of love. It sounds corny but love can change a lot of things – less judgement, hate, bullying, social disparity etc. If we could eradicate bullying and the need for everyone to ‘compete’ – far out the world would be such a nicer place to be.
To learn more about Rylee and Petals & Pinecones, please visit