Social Media Benefits for Farmers – by Sophie Hansen of My Open Kitchen

June 28, 2018

At our June Networking event we heard from deer farmer and social media expert Sophie Hansen from My Open Kitchen. She engaged the audience and showed how farmers can embrace social media to tell their story, the art of the #felfie, and how they can create an open dialogue to build trust in online communities.

Just in case you missed it on the night ‘#felfie’ is a farmer selfie, a photo of a farmer, by a farmer, shared on social media, and there are currently over 50,000 felfies on Instagram alone!

We wanted to share some are some of the key benefits of social media and take aways presented by Sophie at the event:

  • Social Media is not all about creating new business opportunities for us farmers. Just as important are the social and mental health benefits; farming is a lonely business, sometimes farmers can work for 8-10 hours without having a conversation with anyone. But what if you had a community in your pocket? A tribe of followers, peers and supporters who are only ever a message away. It’s not about ego – it’s about supporting each other.

What happens when we have connected, engaged farmers using social media strategically and confidently?

  • They are better able to grow their businesses; connect with new customers, suppliers, peers and media.
  • They will be more connected, open to new ideas and technologies and kept more up to date with research, ideas and relevant news as they break.
  • They will receive daily endorsement for what they do and encouragement to keep doing it.
  • They will collectively inspire hundreds of thousands of people to seek their produce out, cook and share it with joy and care.

Sophie poses that social media isn’t the answer to all our problems BUT it is an affordable, achievable and powerful way to connect, increase transparency, trust and support. She finished her presentation with a powerful quote by Simon Sinek, leadership expert and the man behind ‘the concept of why’ and the second most watched TED talk of all time ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

2018 Grow Coastal Wrap & Demo Day

June 28, 2018

Demo Day Graduation event: 10am – 1pm, Tuesday 17th July at the Innovation Centre.

Words by Grow Coastal Program Manager – Jacqui Price.

It’s hard to believe that the GrowCoastal program is nearly over for another year. It’s been so much fun and a lot of hard work. The 2018 cohort of twelve companies have forged a strong bond as they’ve worked through the last eleven weeks of coaching and workshops covering pitching, legals & business structure, customer centric design thinking, brand narrative, social media, essentifrom als for food packaging, understanding different personalities and much more. They’ve supported each other with the display and sampling of their products at a variety of events including a visit from the global TCI Cluster Conference attendees, the TEQ Conversations with Industry Forum, a visit from the John Dillon Foundation SE Asian members, the Heather Mackenzie event at the Innovation Centre, and the FAN Networking event at the Big Pineapple.

Hear what some of our participants had to say about the program:

“The GrowCoastal program has given us a great focal point and shown us how we can transform and change. After our ten years of hard work, we’re taking it to the next level and turning it into something far bigger than it is now,” Nick Grivas, The Wholefood Artisan

“The GrowCoastal program is a great platform for scaling-up our business in a collaborative way – it’s been absolutely fantastic so far. The network of people we’ve met has been amazing and this is just the start of the program so I’m really looking forward to what’s coming next. There is so much education and insight into the industry,” Megan Dean, Embassy XO

Below is a list of our 2018 Grow Coastal participants who are currently madly practising their pitches for the Demo Day graduation event on the 17th July. We’d love all FAN members to join us at the Innovation Centre to hear all about the group’s journey. Please support them and welcome them into our network.

  • Barenuts – Totally bare, award-winning gourmet macadamia nuts and treats
  • Black Lemonade – Unique vegan and gluten free decadent chocolate cookies
  • Boneafide Broth Co – Organic chicken bone broth bombs and healthy savoury chips
  • Embassy XO – Steamed duck buns to die for
  • Good Harvest Organic Farm – totally local, organic, healthy fruit and vegie farm boxes
  • Hive Haven – Native Honey (Sugarbag stingless honey)
  • KOKOPOD Chocolate – Award winning premium handcrafted chocolate
  • LuvaBerry – Freeze dried strawberries made from the freshest sunshine coast produce
  • Mighty Bean – Certified Organic soy tempeh tasty treats
  • Sunshine Coast Cider – Traditionally crafted cider made with 100% apple juice & no additives
  • The Whole Food Artisan – Handcrafted artisan granola made with whole food ingredients
  • Ugly Duck Preserves – Gourmet preserves made with imperfect or surplus local produce that would otherwise go to waste

FAN Awarded Cluster Funding – New doors open for exports

June 28, 2018

(6 June, 2018) Helping local food and agribusiness operators to do business on the world stage is one of the goals of the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN), a local not-for-profit, industry-led cluster.

In an announcement made today by Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL), FAN has been awarded $900,000 over the next three years through the FIAL Cluster Programme. This first-of-its-kind programme provides matched funding to support new and existing clusters in their quest to address a common purpose they otherwise could not solve on their own.

The funding will help FAN with improving capabilities to engage with national and international markets and global supply chains.

“We’re delighted to go on this journey, guide and support the winners to solve common challenges, innovate, and grow the competitive advantage of their regions” said Peter Schutz, FIAL’s Chairman.

They were one of only four cluster organisations in Australia to receive funding in this inaugural national Cluster Programme.

“We are absolutely delighted that our submission has been successful”, General Manager, Emma Greenhatch said.

“In 2017, the food and agribusiness industry in the Sunshine Coast region was valued at $700m, which was an increase of $30m on 2016. It also directly employs around 5,000 people.

“This funding will allow us increase this to $1b by 2022 and see exports double to $130m in the same period.”

Today’s announcement was made at the TCI Oceania Clusters Event, which is being hosted on the Sunshine Coast with the full support of the Sunshine Coast Council. “The conference is looking at how regional clusters can help drive economic development, with the Food and Agribusiness Network a prime example of the benefits derived from industry sectors working collaboratively”, Cr Steve Robinson said.

Co-Founder and Chair of FAN, Jacqui Wilson-Smith said this funding will have far reaching consequences, “FAN believes it can create a sustainable, industry-led cluster model that pivots around a collaborative approach to addressing shared challenges and opportunities. This could be replicated in other regions around Australia and has the potential to become an Australian best-practice model for cluster development.”

This funding will allow FAN to expand its programs and services for its members and create a sustainable, industry-led cluster business model.

“Food businesses trying to expand into national and international markets all face similar challenges including consumer insights, distribution, marketing and understanding the sales channels.  We are working with our members to find solutions that will take their business to a whole new level and help them to scale quickly.”

There are many local businesses already reaping the rewards from their collaboration with other FAN members, such as Kenilworth Dairies, Green Valley Fingerlimes, QCamel, KOKOPOD Chocolate and Montville Coffee.

These local businesses choose the Greater Sunshine Coast region as the headquarters for their business and many have moved here after identifying the region as leading the way with its supportive, collaborative and entrepreneurial business community.

“By facilitating a collective response to the challenges and opportunities industry is facing, FAN can support its members to be more future focused, to increase their operational efficiencies and to develop a culture of collaboration and innovation.”

With the new airport opening up incredible opportunities for the Greater Sunshine Coast region, this funding will ensure that FAN members are ready to take full advantage of the many opportunities that will be created to get our local produce onto the plates and into stores interstate and overseas and see our food businesses shine on the world stage like never before.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Emma Greenhatch at Food & Agribusiness Network or email at [email protected]

FAN Launches New Business Development Program

June 27, 2018

**Expressions of Interest in FAN’s new business development program close on 29 June**

Do you need help to grow your sales? FAN has identified the need for tailored support for our industry members to help them to sustainably develop their businesses in local and national markets. We will be employing a National Relationship Manager to assist FAN members to develop their sales channels, volumes and capabilities.

Throughout the 12-month program, the National Relationship Manager will work one-on-one with members, delivering the following tiered services according to their needs:

Tier One – $2,500 + GST

  • Three sales strategy meetings per year
  • Events – advice around trade events, consumer events and regional events specifically targeted to the member’s business
  • Sales skills training (workshops).

Tier Two – $5,000 + GST

Tier One services plus:

  • Access to day-to-day assistance/advice via phone/email Monday-Friday, 8.30-5.00pm
  • National Relationship Manager will attend trade events with members and deliver the following services:
  • Facilitating introductions to buyers
  • Setting up meetings and ensuring each member is utilising the event for networking and pipeline building
  • Post event follow-up sessions to ensure each member achieves maximum benefit from the leads captured at event
  • Marketing channels analysis – consumer touch points vs trade. How to best target each market segment
  • Logistics – analysis at an individual business level and exploration of collaborative options
  • Pipeline management – lead capturing and managing leads
  • One-on-one sales skills training.

Successful businesses will be required to enter into a 12-month contract with FAN, with four quarterly payments to be paid in advance as follows:

  • Tier 1: 4x payments of $625 + GST (1st payment due in August)
  • Tier 2: 4x payment of $1,250 + GST (1st payment due in August)

Apply @ https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PWRNKTG. 

Enquiries: Emma Greenhatch, FAN General Manager
E: [email protected]
M: 0466 634 465

Revenue Growth Strategies

April 29, 2018

Many small businesses get caught up in the day-to-day management of operational and production issues and lose track of their sales activities. At least one person should have sales growth as their primary job description. Here is a range of revenue growth strategies to increase sales in your business.

  • Identify customer segments that you are not selling much to and promote all relevant products and services to them.
  • Consider contract packaging or manufacturing of other company’s products and use that contract to obtain bank leasing on more automated equipment, thus making your products at a lower cost.
  • Seek referrals from existing satisfied customers using proven referral methods.
  • Provide incentives to existing customers to buy more, buy more often, pre-pay annual purchases or buy bundles of products/services.
  • Build existing customer loyalty by means of loyalty clubs/frequent shopper and database marketing contacts (e.g. phone sales, personalised direct mail, newsletters, e-mail, web sales contacts, e-zines etc).
  • Ask existing satisfied customers for a testimonial and use this in promotional materials and sales support.
  • Conduct focus groups or customer surveys with major customer segments to find out what they like about your business and what could be improved.
  • Gather demographic information (e.g. ABS data – go to www.abs.gov.au) or other information on how to access or identify the major customer segments in order to promote more heavily to them.
  • Analyse all sorts of services provided to existing customers and make sure you are charging for them where possible (e.g. freight/delivery, phone support, maintenance, information, technical support, upgrades etc).
  • For retailers, use effective internal/external signage, merchandising and floor layout to boost add-on and introductory sales – bundling like products and services into “packages”. Put related products adjacent to each other.
  • Gather information on changing market demands to identify new groups who might need your products/services.
  • Brainstorm all the different and unusual customer groups who could be targeted.
  • Brainstorm all the different /unusual uses for your products and services.
  • Gather demographic data (industry associations, Google searches, government economic development departments etc) on your market and target segments you are not dealing with now.
  • Analyse your geographic areas of current sales to identify different regions, states or countries where you could sell.
  • Investigate who your competitors are selling to and make offers directly to these customers to convert them to you by trialling your products/services and then locking in ongoing sales.
  • Find new distribution channel options (e.g. agents, chains, e-commerce stores on-line, affiliate sales, distributors, wholesalers; allied/related products and services outlets, commission sales, telemarketing etc).
  • Find non-competitors, who sell non-competitive products and services to similar customers to yours and do joint promotions (e.g. joint mailings/campaigns, swapping databases, bundled products/services, incentives using your product or services etc).
  • Simplify existing products and services to create simpler, cheaper options.
  • Provide justifications for all the elements of your product and for service to build up the perception of the total value, then price accordingly.
  • Introduce “home brand” or low-price items to increase volume sales.
  • Develop a computerised standard costing calculator for all product lines that updates all prices when input stock prices go up. Put prices up asap.
  • Re-price old stock to new prices.
  • Re-price promotional stock once the promotion is over.
  • Eliminate excessive staff discounts.
  • Minimise heavily discounted “end of clearance sales” instead seeking other means of sales (e.g. to a discounter, to staff etc).
  • Sell accessories and add-on products and services to complement what you sell now.
  • Review competitors to see what extra products and services they carry.
  • Search the web for businesses wanting affiliates to distribute their products/services.
  • Conduct focus groups of target customers to uncover needs for products and services not currently ‘carried’.
  • Talk to suppliers/distributors and industry colleagues about extra products/services.
  • Use creative thinking and innovation to develop new products and services that solve customer problems, meet new needs or add extra functions.
  • Run staff competitions to identify new products and services.
  • Check competitor prices and match them wherever they are higher.
  • Create a price mix (like the supermarket) with some low-cost items (especially the basics) to build customer numbers and traffic but with consistently high prices for the rest of the product/service range.
  • Price consistently so that similar products and services are all around the same price.
  • Increase prices every June 30 and December 31, informing customers (if needed) that this is a regular, inflationary measure.
  • Offer low-cost add-on services (or product additions) that add value and increase the price.
  • Consider pricing above competitors to “position” yourself at the quality end of the industry.
  • Promote the higher priced, higher margin products and services to increase sales of this category.
  • Bundle up the prices of services (especially professional services) so that hourly rates are avoided and the focus is on what value you provide.

 

New Initiatives for FAN Members

April 28, 2018

FAN’s vision is to actively contribute to the doubling of the region’s food and agribusiness industry by 2030. A key enabler for this is facilitate new opportunities for knowledge sharing and collaboration both across our membership base and with the broader industry. To help support this vision we have 2 exciting new initiatives that we’ll be bringing our members over the coming months.

Capability Directory

FAN applied for and was successful in receiving a grant from the Sunshine Coast Council to develop a capability directory for members.

What will this do? It will provide you with access to the contact details for FAN members. It will enable you to see what they do and their key capabilities. Collaboration opportunities will also be included. For example, many of our members are interested in group purchasing, sharing storage or seeking commercial kitchen space.

In our industry survey conducted in early 2018, we asked what are the top 3 things that you’d like to know about other FAN members. We have also directly consulted with many of you seeking this information. We now have a defined list and during May, Kelly Gillies will be calling all FAN members to gather the information for the directory. FAN sponsor Sparx Digital will be integrating this into the members section of our website. We believe this will be a valuable resource for our members and lead to new connections and collaborations.

Please contact [email protected] or o466 634 465 for further information.

Member to Member Insights

FAN now has 210 members from across the value chain, including input suppliers, farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, exporters, logistics and services. You all have unique skill sets and knowledge and experience that can benefit other FAN members. What we’re offering is the opportunity for you to host a session on a topic that you feel would benefit other FAN members. We’ll promote this to our network and manage the RSVPs through Eventbrite.

To kick of this new Member to Member Insights initiative, FAN members Brandhouse Communications and Kenilworth Dairies will be hosting a get together on 15 May to share the Kenilworth Dairies rebrand journey. To reserve your place click here.

Places at these events are limited and available only to FAN members.

If you’re interested in hosting a Member to Member Insights session please contact [email protected] or 0432 865 492.

*topics to be approved by FAN and dates are subject to FAN’s events calendar.

Eat Local Month – Celebrate GourMAY in Gympie

April 21, 2018

 

Gympie Regional Council invites you to celebrate May with the finest local food and produce during Eat Local Month in the Gympie region.

GourMAY is your chance to explore, taste and experience the great flavours of the Gympie region at one of the many foodie events showcasing the wonderful diversity of produce grown right here in the region.

Chef Matt Golinski, Food Ambassador, is an inspiring part of GourMAY and encourages you to create your own paddock to plate experience, with cooking demonstrations and tempting foodie events. With long table lunches, growers markets and delicious, local seasonal produce, GourMAY is a month not to be missed!

Make your experience unique by visiting local farms, attending talks and workshops and tasting the range of signature dishes on offer at participating local restaurants and cafes.

Key Events

COOLOOLA FARM TRAIL – 5 May 2018
Pick your ideal farm gate destination, meet producers and learn more about their product direct from the farm. The participating farms are Lindols Macadamias, Purity Essential Oils, Cooloola Berries, Bio Fields, Noosa Black Coffee, Lee Fishing, Silky Oak Tea Gardens, Alba Aquaculture. Download a copy of the Cooloola Farm Trail brochure here (PDF 8MB)

MARY VALLEY FARM TOUR – 27 May 2018
Take a guided farm tour through an organic cattle and small crop farm, an organic boutique small crop farm and a working persimmonand stonefruit orchard diversifying into pork, eggs and preserves. Stop off for lunch at Kandanga Kitchen and sample produce sourced from surrounding farms.

STRAWBERRY TRAIL – 5, 12, 19 and 26 May 2018
Take a seat at the Farmers Table and enjoy a delicious strawberry inspired breakfast buffet. Stay for a farm tour every Saturday in May.

5 CHEF’S LONG TABLE DINNER – 26 May 2018
Acclaimed chef and Gympie Region Food Ambassador Matt Golinski will lead a team of local chefs to present a five course degustation experience featuring the best of regional produce. Meet the producers, hear from chef Matt Golinski and celebrate in GourMAY style!

PAELLA IN THE PADDOCK – 6, 13, 20 and 27 May 2018

GYMPIE GARDEN EXPO – 5 and 6 May 2018

And many more! For more information, visit here.

The Sweetest Job Project

March 26, 2018

FAN is seeking your support to deliver a workforce project in 2018. This project follows on from the Sweetest Job project operated by Regional Development Moreton Bay and delivery partners Stones Throw Group in 2017/18, which has been highly successful in matching trained and skilled staff to jobs in the food and agribusiness industry in the region.

FAN is partnering with the Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce to deliver the 2018 Sweetest Job project and we are seeking your support for this project which will provide training, skills and work experience to people in the Sunshine Coast region who are struggling to gain employment through traditional recruitment methods.

Project

As part of this project, all candidates will complete a comprehensive skills and development program including:

  • CII in Logistics
  • Food safety / hygiene and food processing specific competencies
  • Forklift licence
  • Customer service, barista and RSA
  • First Aid & White Card
  • Teamwork, communication, time management and motivation

Benefits 

The key benefits for FAN members are:

  • Access to trained employees with requisite skills and work experience gained in your specific organisational context
  • An opportunity to trial staff through work experience prior to committing to taking them on as employees
  • Being able to pick the “cream of the crop”
  • More productive new employees who are able to hit the ground running, thereby reducing recruitment and upfront training costs.

We are seeking your support for this program through a Statement of Support below.  Please note that this statement of support does NOT create any obligations on your part and we would negotiate all of this with you in a way that suits your individual requirements should the project be approved.

Simply fill in your estimated recruitment needs, copy and paste your responses into a return email and send to[email protected] by 6 April 2018.

If you would like to discuss this further or have questions, concerns or queries, please call me on 0466 634 465 or project partner Kris McCue from Stones Throw Group on 0408 074 001 or email [email protected].

Thank you for your support.

Warm regards,

Emma

 

Sweetest Job Project: Statement of Support

Dear Emma,

I would like to confirm [business name] support for the 2018 Sweetest Job project under the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work (SQW) Initiative as follows:

  1. My business will consider project participants, where appropriate, for work experience opportunities throughout the project.
  2. My estimated workforce/recruitment needs in 2018/19 are [insert number]new employees with the skills delivered under this project.
  3. We will consider project graduates for appropriate employment opportunities as a result of work experience, or through our recruitment process.
  4. I confirm that:
  • The CII in Logistics, Food safety/hygiene and food processing specific competencies, forklift licence, customer service, barista and RSA, First Aid & White Card and employability and foundation skills delivered under this project aligns to the skills needs of our business. Employees with this combination of skills are difficult to identify and these skills are in short supply.
  • We are able to provide opportunities for participants to visit our workplace and undertake some practical training components onsite.
  • We are able to deliver a participant briefing session about our employment requirements and workplace context.

Name:

Organisation:

Date:

Wasted Admin Hours are Going Down

March 26, 2018

Wasted admin hours are on their way down for Sunshine Coast Food Suppliers. Customers win and business red tape slashed on thanks to 100,000 Hours project.

Sunshine Coast Food businesses will be able to spend more time hiring staff and helping customers and less time dealing with boring back office paperwork thanks to a Queensland Government-backed innovation initiative.

Known as the 100,000 Hours project, the initiative has been spearheaded by Noosa Heads-based financial technology (fintech) firm Promis and already has six firms participating. It received funding through a Queensland Government Ignite Ideas grant.

Promis Co-founder Cameron Lawrence said the aim of the project is to save 1,000 Sunshine Coast businesses an average of 2.5 weeks each over the next 12 months, through using Promis’ automated invoicing and payments management tool.

“By doing this, we can unlock in excess of 100,000 hours of wasted business time in the Sunshine Coast region – time that can instead be used by these businesses hiring new staff, serving customers or expanding their services,” he said.

Mr Lawrence said the first phase of the project is currently underway, with several suppliers to the local cafe and restaurant businesses jumping on board to support the project. These suppliers include Rapid Clean, Montville Coffee, On the Spot, The Source Bulk Foods and COYO.

By the end of April, the project is proposed to be extended to restaurants and cafes.

“Within a few weeks of starting the project, we’ve had suppliers and various business community organisations joining and within the next month we are keen to roll it out to help the many time-poor restaurant and café owners and operators along the coast,” Mr Lawrence said.

Mr Lawrence has lived on the Sunshine Coast since the age of 17. He founded Promis in 2016 with fellow Sunshine Coast resident Alexander Kohl. The business is based at Noosa Heads, with an office also in the Stone & Chalk fintech hub in Sydney.

The Promis platform delivers a simple connection tool which helps businesses automate their invoice delivery and reduce the time it takes to reconcile accounts. This reduces friction and time from the supplier/ customer relationship by eliminating the invoice chasing and processing cycle.

Promis received funding in November last year via the Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund to drive the 100,000 Hours project.

Queensland Innovation Minister, Leeanne Enoch said “Small business operators spend many hours every week on bookkeeping and bill payments. This will save everyone time and money and eliminates wasted effort so everyone can focus on getting back to business.”

“COYO is proud to part of the project. We look forward to being part of the collective 100,000 hours saved for the Sunshine Coast business community” said Sandra Gosling, owner and co-founder of COYO.

Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) GM, Emma Greenhatch said: “Innovation in business systems is critical to increasing efficiencies and enabling businesses to concentrate on their growth strategies. This project is an exciting initiative in this space and will benefit many of our members.” 

Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast CEO Darrell Edwards said: “We are users of Promis, and are very excited about the potential of the 100,000 Hours project as a game changer for our organisation and the coast as a whole”

More information is available about the project at www.promis.co/sc

The Sunshine Coast Loses an Icon

March 26, 2018

The Sunshine Coast has lost an icon with the passing of Helen Brierty, a ‘spirited business woman’ and the inspiring co-founder of Spirit House in Yandina.

Helen passed away after a short, aggressive battle with cancer, which she sadly lost. She was always positive about life, death, business and valued her business relationships. Her energy and dedication was proof that age was no barrier when it came to running a successful business. Right up until her passing, she never swayed from her positive outlook on life.

A keen cook, on her first visit to Thailand, Helen fell in love with the food. She created the Spirit House restaurant and cooking school with her husband Peter, working with a team of dedicated professionals to share the taste of Thai with diners and students. The award-winning Spirit House was the culmination of her business career aimed at highlighting the range of locally-grown fresh produce of the Sunshine Coast region.

Helen will be remembered as a devoted wife, loving mother and a true icon of the Sunshine Coast. Her incredible efforts have not only put Yandina and the region on the map, but inspired a legacy of passionate foodies and cooks.

TRIBUTES

Deborah Loosley Founder & Director, TRIO Marketing
Helen was truly a woman ahead of her times. She was smart (very!), savvy, inspirational, focused and a great strategist. All these skills were dispensed in a blanket of generosity, thoughtfulness and care. Despite Helen and Peter’s great success, Helen like Peter, was always magnanimous and genuinely humble. She loved helping her staff and colleagues see, and then realize their potential. Above all she had the best sense of humour and always saw the glass as ‘half full’. Helen had boundless energy and ideas…nothing was impossible! Helen’s love for business did not diminish her great love for her husband Peter, sons Acland and Blake and their families. Such big shoes to fill. Like so many, we are much, much better for knowing her. With love, thoughts and condolences.

Jacqueline Wilson-Smith Global Innovation – McCormick, Chair-Food Agribusiness Network, Director- Travellers Choice, QLD Rural Women’s Award 17
Helen was a role model for women in business and an innovative trail blazer for the greater food industry. What a wonderful legacy she has created!

Karen Fitzgerald Global Manager – Experiences at Tourism Australia
A truly amazing lady. I had the great privilege of having Helen/Spirit House as a client – she was one of the most inspirational women I have ever met. Rest in Peace.

Penny Del Castillo Director, In Design International
Sincerely one of the greatest losses the state of QLD may ever see! Helen was an absolute inspiration to so myself and many others. She was a true leader on so many levels. It was only possible to respect, admire and adore Helen! Truly, this lady was “one in a million.” My heart is heavy for all who were close to her. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Brierty family and the extended Spirit House Team at this extremely difficult time of loss. With love, hugs and condolences. 

Peter Hook Principal of Hook Communications
Helen was one of the truly great pioneers on the Sunshine Coast. Spirit House changed the face of Sunshine Coast’s food and hospitality scene. Turning an old run down farm into a slice of tropical south east Asia, with the cooking school and restaurant attracting visitors from around the world. It was wonderful that she was able to see the opening of the new bar and private dining room last year as it was testimony to her desire to continually progress and innovate. Her legacy is the Sunshine Coast’s remarkable affinity with Asian style cuisine and cooking schools. A true legend. All of us at Visit Sunshine Coast Corporate will miss her, but will remember her vitality and passion.