What is your drink of choice?

Green tea, closely followed by red wine.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a Canberra local, although I am really a beach bum at heart and spent many childhood summers at the coast.

I have an Honours degree in psychology and am currently a project manager in the private sector. I run Naked Cubby Co as a side hustle (even though it’s definitely become more like a full-time hustle).

I enjoy the challenge of balancing both jobs and love the variety of being in the office and then out in the vineyard. I’ll often go from corporate meetings during the day to cleaning the tents on my lunch break. My colleagues have definitely laughed at me rolling into the office in our old Toyota Hilux (the vineyard car), dressed in office attire while still sporting my Blundstones.

I’m a bit of a homebody, which is probably also part of the reason I love interior spaces so much. The business is a bit of a creative outlet, allowing me to dabble in a whole range of design projects and I’m now looking to do some further study in that area.

Oh and I have three pet chickens, Big Red, Patsy and Lee-Lu, who have a pretty flash cubby of their own.

How did Naked Cubby Co come to be?

My partner, Danny, and I own Naked Cubby Co together. It’s bell tent accommodation at Mount Majura Vineyard, with the idea being to hide-away in a cubby and switch off for the night. Located on opposite sides of the vineyard, the cubbies are secluded and private, perfect for a little getaway.

It’s called ‘collective’ as our mantra is all about supporting small or local businesses. We collaborate with designers, makers, food producers, restaurants and local talent to create an almost entirely ‘local’ experience.

The idea first came through visiting wine regions around Australia and noticing that there wasn’t really any vineyard accommodation in the Canberra region. The greater region is beautiful and has a lot to offer in terms of excellent wine and boutique cellar doors, so offering a place for people to stay seemed like a missing piece of the puzzle. We loved the thought of going out for a slow afternoon and wine tasting, and then not having to leave the vineyard.

I worked casually in the cellar door at Mount Majura Vineyard during university and so I raised the idea with them. They asked us to put together a business plan (we had never even seen one before) and then went from there! We initially opened the first cubby and then expanded slowly. We currently have two cubbies which are named after people from Mount Majura Vineyard’s past and present – Edgar and Frank. We have some exciting plans in the works as well…

How can we support Naked Cubby Co?

By booking a night in the cubbies! It’s the perfect excuse to spend time locally, given that travelling is not really an option at the moment. The vineyard close to town so you can even pop out for a midweek stay in between work. It’s a lovely change of scenery and opportunity to take a break and enjoy a little hideaway from the world for the night.

The beauty of staying is that you’re also supporting our collective of local businesses including Mount Majura Vineyard, Three Mills Bakery, XO, Kiosk, Redbrick, Tea Garden Co and Majura Valley Honey, as well as those behind the scenes, including our incredible linen service, Conder House Laundry and (soon to be involved), Magic for Mums. They both have beautiful stories behind their businesses and are definitely worth checking out.

You can also support us by purchasing a voucher, which is a great gift for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings or colleagues – even better if you buy one for a loved one and then get to enjoy the stay as well.

Any advice for those who are thinking about turning their dream into a reality?

I could talk forever on this!

Firstly, say yes and then figure it out afterwards. Thinking about it too much can become daunting. I’ve had many moments when it’s felt overwhelming and I’ve questioned what I’m doing. It’s important to listen to others’ advice, but at the end of the day, it’s most important to always back yourself in, say yes to opportunities and then make it happen.

Secondly, be patient and work hard. My dad always says to me, “darl, it takes 30 years to become an overnight success.” I’m hoping he’s wrong and it’s slightly quicker than that, but, the point is that it takes time. If you’re in a position to turn your dreams into a reality as a side-hustle, then do it that way and slowly chip away. Stay grounded and remember that things can (and will) go wrong. It’s not always smooth sailing and having a business has taught me to be resilient. The ups and downs are normal and the beauty is that it’s your business, so you have total control of how it plays out.

My final piece of advice is to create a support network around you. Having friends, family or acquaintances as a sounding board is so valuable for staying motivated, positive and balanced (big shout out to everyone who has stepped in to help clean for us over the years when we’ve desperately needed a break).

I’ve also learnt that Canberra has an incredible undercurrent of cool people doing good things for the local region (and beyond). So don’t be afraid to reach out, you’ll be surprised at how enthusiastic and supportive everyone will be.

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