In 1995, Estelle Cornell built Allora Gardens Nursery from an old, run-down nursery that had been left to rot. She bought the property for other reasons, but while she was working on renting out the space, she kept getting queries asking when the nursery was going to reopen — and she decided, why not? She and her two children started potting up palms, and Allora Gardens sprung up a year later.
The nursery has won numerous awards, including Best Small Garden Centre in Australia 2005, Best Medium Garden Centre in Australia 2006 and 2007, Best Small Business in Australia for Home and Garden Improvement in 2007 and 2008, and has been inducted into the NGIA Hall of Fame.
Today, Estelle is Managing Director of Allora Gardens Nursery and Vice President of the Garden Centres Association of Australia. She was recently named Telstra Northern Territory Business Woman of the Year.
We asked Estelle what she enjoys most about running her own business.
“Independence. Challenges, opportunities, earning. Helping the community, schools, and groups. Teaching, mentoring and working with a great team. I love what I do, and I love working with people, creating and innovating gardens, gifts, and displays.”
Estelle’s Advice For New Business Owners
- Question what’s been told to you by government department. if you believe in it, don’t give up on it. Be firm but fair.
- Research, research, research.
- Find out who your target audience is, and what their needs are.
- Take time to find the correct people to work with in your business. It’s not always easy when growth is happening quickly.
- Find the accountant and finance advisor best suited to you and your business.
3 Pieces of Advice Estelle Wishes She’d Benn Given When She Started
- Product market research knowledge.
- Correct HR/IR.
- Employ the right people for the skills required.
Skills and Knowledge Areas That Estelle Recommends Business Owners Master
- Business skills
- People skills
- Life skills