“My name is Aysha Navlakhi and I run a catering business called Events by Aysha. I live in Brisbane and I’m South African Indian.
I studied beauty therapy and massage therapy in South Africa and, when I moved to Australia 22 years ago, I had the equipment to start a practice. I fell pregnant and decided to stay at home to take care of my kids – I thought I would start a practice while I had them at home but, without immediate family nearby, it was just too difficult.
Three years ago, I was at a crossroads in life. I thought I’ve got to become more independent and I’ve got to find something for me. My daughters should also know that you can steer your energy towards things that make you happy.
I joined Global Sisters’ My Big Idea workshop and wrote down passages of what I really wanted to do. My mum passed away about six years ago, but had a home where she fed diplomats to paupers and she fed them with her heart and her soul. Her table was never empty, she fed them with happiness and laughter. That togetherness, having lots of people around you and being happy together with food, is core to me. It struck a chord and the workshop channelled me in this direction.
Because I used to do a lot of functions for my friends, the business just naturally happened. Sister School gave me independence and confidence again. It gives you a sense of empowerment together with the women in the room, learning from their ideas, their visions. In my case, there are a lot of foodie Sisters and we constantly learn from each other – everyone is willing to share, we don’t hold back and that’s a very powerful, beautiful thing.
While starting the business felt organic, the difficult things were the technical things – it’s a continuous learning process – and not being there at the weekends took a toll on my kids. Your days are full and you’re tired at the end of the day, but it is rewarding, it’s filled a space for me and I think that’s important.
Coronavirus actually gave me a chance to slow down on events and get into pre-packed meals. I had to think quick and it was an opportunity for me. Getting it right and being able to swallow criticism is stressful but it’s a challenge as well, seeing that it is really busy gets the adrenaline pumping and gets you wanting to do more.
Success is getting up in the morning and knowing that some days can be difficult but that you have the passion to persevere and the zest to carry on. It’s also working with a team that you love and I’m eternally grateful for my staff.
Without Global Sisters, I don’t know if I’d be here. I don’t know if my business would have been in conception, infancy or where it is today. It’s the catalyst that pushed me to where I am. And it gave me constant confidence – they kept on saying, ‘You can do it, let’s see how you can do it, this is how you can do it.’”