It is no secret that building a business from the ground up is difficult. However, Julie Vigor, the founder of Sensational Girls Network (SGN), believes that the ultimate key to entrepreneurial success is passion and drive. The Townsville born teacher is new to the start up space, and is preparing to launch SGN this weekend, a business designed to celebrate and strengthen the mother/daughter relationship through specially designed weekend retreats.
The mother of three founded SGN after identifying a gap in the market for a service in North Queensland that catered towards promoting the importance of the mother and daughter relationship.
“There are mother daughter retreats further south, but there was nothing in the North, so I believe this will have a positive impact on the local Townsville community,” explains Julie.
“It may even attract people who live in surrounding areas, as I already have people booked in for next month who live in Charters Towers.”
The retreats will take place at a local hotel and include one-night’s accommodation, meals, high tea and pampering sessions. Julie has drawn upon her own experiences and relationship with her 12-year old daughter, Caterina, and through the retreats hopes to establish a safe space to encourage conversation and strengthen honesty and trust.
“As my daughter was transitioning into tweens and teens, I was finding I needed to change parenting strategies,” says Julie.
“I feel that by having a strong and stable relationship with me, as her mother, it opens up windows for conversations based on trust, which is crucial when it comes to navigating the rough waters of teenage years.
“This is what I hope to share with other mothers and daughters through SGN.”
Julie is the first to admit that founding a business has been a learning process and a challenging task. She has relied upon the support of family and friends to help her develop a strong business acumen and assist her in navigating the unknown territory of the start up space.
“I asked a friend who runs a business to show me how to set up a business Facebook page as I didn’t know anything about the marketing side of it,” she says.
“It was also difficult to identify the next step after I had come up with the ideas and program, but I put it out to the public and got over 400 likes in only a few weeks.
“However, turning the interest into bookings is difficult in a short space of time.”
Since establishing the Sensational Girls Network, Julie has learnt several other key skills in business, with negotiation high on her list. She has used her own seed funding for the launch, and while she is passionate about keeping the retreat affordable for families, she notes how the introductory price will change due to it not being sustainable and cost-effective for the business long term.
“Currently, I’m barely covering costs at the introductory price for a couple of months, as most of the money goes towards accommodation and food for the guests, as well as myself and my daughter in order to be there to facilitate the event,” she explains
“Unfortunately, that introductory price will not stay at that price, as it’s not sustainable as a business.
“However, in addition to running regular weekend retreats, I will also be offering one day events and workshops for different age groups, which will reduce the costs for the customers and myself.”
Thanks to Townsville’s robust business community and extensive networking opportunities, Julie has been able to engage many local businesses who have been eager to support women’s health. iTalk travel, Tide Cafe, and Tenpin Townsville are among the many locals who have donated to SGN to encourage mothers and daughters to continue to build their relationship after the retreats.
“I have approached many Townsville businesses that have contributed towards the Welcome bags for each guest of SGN, so there are lots of people who have thought it’s a great idea to bring mothers and daughters together and to encourage them to spend more quality time together,” she says.
While Julie is currently focused on this weekend’s launch, she is optimistic about the future, and has already scheduled two more retreats to take place in December and January.
“I have advertised mother daughter weekend retreats for the next few months, so I’m hoping to continue those retreats on a regular basis, as well as a one day ‘mother daughter date’ event for younger children 5-9 year olds,” says Julie.
“Rachel Macy Stafford’s quote really encapsulates the heart of SGN. She says, ‘Live Love Now, we cannot afford to assume our kids know we are their refuge. We must tell them. We must show them.’”
To find out more information about other upcoming mother daughter retreats, visit the Sensational Girls Network Facebook page.
By Georgie Desailly for BDmag