My Indigenous Business Month Focus: Collaboration

I have been running Riley Callie Resources for over a year and a half now, first launching back in January 2018, and what an amazing journey it has been already! As a stay at home mum, launching this business was exciting and daunting at the same time, as I worked to create the business into something that met what I realised quickly, were my three key priorities. These are:

  1. Being able to work in my business to my own schedule and in such a way that the business operations fit in around my more important job of Mum to my two kids.

  2. Being able to bring in income and help create economic security for my family.

  3. Have my business represent something I am passionate about, i.e. making Indigenous perspectives and resources easily accessible in the education space, particularly in the early childhood space (as mum to a three and a five year old this is particularly important to me).

As we enter into Indigenous Business Month, I’ve decided to take a minute to think about business in general, and the lessons I’ve learnt in the short time I have been a business owner. What came to me straight away is the importance of collaboration. Juggling priorities as a business owner is one thing, but I have come to realise that we simply cannot do it all; we cannot do every aspect of our business ourselves, and in my situation, as a business which sells educational resources, while I can write the content of my products, and develop the ideas, one thing I can’t do is produce the artistic elements to my products (I’m certainly no artist!)

This is why in the development of my latest product, Aboriginal Topic Cards, a set of 30 Aboriginal content cards for the classroom, I engaged DesignsLena, a design business run by Lena-Jade Cochrane, an Aboriginal graphic designer and artist from Tamworth, to draw up and design the imagery on the cards. The result is a beautiful visual product which authentic information and imagery.

Printed by Melbourne Indigenous printer, Indigi-Print, who I connected with at this year’s Supply Nation Connect, I am so happy with how this product has turned out, and I am confident it will be a great resource for teachers wanting to incorporate Indigenous perspectives and knowledge into their learning space. Designed to be a starting point and provocation for further research, the content covered in this card set will help teachers and educators consider Aboriginal topics in their learning space.

There is no way I could have produced this resource without engaging external skills, and so I guess it just highlights to me the value of collaboration. By utilising my own skillset whilst also drawing on the knowledge and expertise of others, Riley Callie Resources was able to produce a great new product to add to our range. I read in an online article the other day that collaboration is “a driving force for continued efficiency among everyday tasks and a necessity for improving the outcomes of many business activities”. The same article cited collaboration as the “fuel of any business”. And I couldn’t agree more.

As I continue to build our business, grow our brand and add to our product range, I cant wait to collaborate with DesignsLena again, but also with other Indigenous businesses, and non-Indigenous businesses with ideologies that align with that of my business. While the imagery of my Topic Cards were created by DesignsLena, the layout of the cards themselves were designed by Wales Design, an amazing and talented business run by Shane Wales, who I have worked with previously for graphic design work. Both Lena-Jade and Shane were so responsive to my vision for this product, helping me bring my idea to life.

The whole experience has really highlighted to me the importance of collaboration and the value that it can bring to my business. I would encourage anyone looking for other Indigenous businesses to work with across any space, to search Supply Nation’s Indigenous Business Register, which provides Australia’s leading database of verified Indigenous businesses: search by business name, product, service, area, or category; it is truly a fantastic resource for businesses to draw on!

Happy Indigenous Business Month!

Deborah Hoger