The Taste Makers

Sasa SesticSaša Šestić believes his mission is to keep chasing the perfect cup of coffee. In 2008 Saša founded ONA Coffee Wholesale (Canberra) Pty Ltd which has grown into a global distribution company with wholesale partners across Australia and worldwide, as well as a range of cafés across Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. ONA’s mission is to create not only the best, but the most sustainable coffee in the world. It sources its coffee through the organisation’s ethical green bean trading company, Planet Origin.

Julie OkelyDilkara Australia has developed a boutique range of hair, hygiene and skincare products infused with ancient indigenous botanicals, native aromas and organic elements from the Australian bush.
Dilkara’s products are effective yet gentle on both users and the environment. These specific blends are renowned for their healing qualities and are infused with traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander native bush essences that understand the harsh Australian climate. Ingredients have been sourced from local Indigenous communities to ensure their authenticity and that integrity and care has been taken to grow and harvest these native elements. Dilkara’s organic, chemical-free base is perfect for customers who are aware of their environmental impact and are looking for natural products.

SummernatsThere are few people in Canberra who have not heard of the Summernats Festival. The first festival was held in 1988 and is now one of, if not the best-known car festival in Australia. The festival has set not only records for car entries but also attendances with around 100,000 people from around the country and the world attending the four-day event.
Summernats has not been without its detractors, but love or hate the festival, it not only generates over $30milion dollars each year for the Canberra economy, but it also highlights the rapidly growing aftermarket automotive industry both in Australia and internationally.

Chef Sunita KumarChef Sunita Kumar (wearing black and orange)Chef Sunita Kumar of Canberra’s multiple award-winning DAANA restaurant has been named as the Chamberlains Law Firm – 2020 Canberra Business Woman of the Year. Last night the 2020 Rubik3 Canberra Women in Business (CWB) Gala Dinner and Business Awards was held at the National Arboretum in Canberra.

Thylacine TeamWith many galleries, libraries, museums and cultural centres closed during the Coronavirus lockdown, local business, Thylacine, has been finding innovative solutions to continue working on exhibition design projects around the country.
Founded in 1999 and named after the Tasmanian Tiger, Thylacine is actually two companies – Thylacine Design & Project Management & Thylacine Exhibition Preparation. The team of designers, artists, makers and installers is responsible for some of Australia’s most vibrant and engaging public art works and exhibitions. Some recognisable Canberra public art works are Running Lights, the kinetic sound sculpture of illuminated steel forms that emerge from Lake Ginninderra; the blue Kent Street bridge screen over Adelaide Avenue, the Village Centre at the National Arboretum and the interactive light canopies on Childer’s Street Acton. Recent exhibitions in Canberra include Endeavour Voyage for the National Museum of Australia and Connections and Voices permanent galleries for the National Archives of Australia.

Screen CanberraCOVID-19 has had a major impact on the film industry. Content production has come to a standstill as social distancing and lockdown measures have been implemented around the world. However, there has never been more demand for content as people are confined to their homes looking for ways to entertain themselves.

Terra PretaHeston Blumenthal, Shannon Bennett and Peter Gilmore all love them. Even the lesser known chefs among us know that truffles are a culinary delight that can make even a plate of scrambled eggs taste like a 5-star dish. But what is a truffle?
To the layperson truffles are rare, edible, subterranean fungi or tubers. Many people know that they are a type of mushroom, but quite different from the mushrooms we all know. Mushrooms grow outside of the ground, but truffles grow underground. They like moisture and temperate conditions and are fussy about the type of tree they grow on. Truffles evolved from mushrooms that started growing underground to protect themselves. Truffles are hard to grow and they don’t all provide that little taste of heaven.

WildbearWildBear Entertainment is one of Australia’s leading factual content producers. The Canberra-based organisation specialises in creating audio-visual content across subjects such as history, science, engineering, wildlife, and arts and culture. WildBear has been commissioned by leading international platforms including BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Netflix and PBS and a host of platforms in USA, Canada, UK, France and Germany. In Australia, WildBear content can be found on Nine, Seven, Ten, ABC, SBS and Foxtel.

Shaw Vineyards Shaw Vineyard Estate is not only known for their range of premium cool climate wines, but also for their state-of-the-art cellar door experiences.

Exporting to China, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand and South Korea and on track to export to Japan, Malaysia and India; this family business has picked up a number of awards. In fact, in the last five years, Shaw Wines have been awarded over 1000 medals and trophies from national and international wine shows; they were a winner in the 2016 ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards; and were a winner in the 2019 Canberra Region Tourism Awards. They have also participated in a number of international Trade Missions; the ACT Government’s Trade Connect program and TradeStart Program which is delivered in partnership with Austrade.

Handmade CanberraCanberra’s popular Handmade Markets play an important role in Australia’s design ecosystem. The markets bring together makers and buyers both in Australia and now internationally with their new Virtual Markets.
Handmade Canberra was started in 2008 by Julie Nichols. While Canberra already had a few existing markets, Julie felt that none catered just to handmade designers. The first Handmade Market launched at Albert Hall with just 35 stalls. It was an instant success with thousands of shoppers visiting, eager to purchase the unique, quality, Australian made homewares, gifts, fashion, accessories and produce.

Hairpins You have probably heard of the lipstick effect which is the theory that when facing an economic crisis people will treat themselves with less costly luxury goods, such as expensive lipstick. During times of war and during the Global Financial Crisis, sales of lipstick were said to increase. So are we seeing similar consumer behaviours during the current pandemic and associated economic stress?
There was a story in June this year of an upmarket hairstylist in New York charging up to $1000 for a haircut and within days of reopening had a waiting list of 1200 people. The salon is struggling to get through the backlog because of the extra requirements to operate safely, but people are prepared to wait with some saying they would eat peanut butter and jelly if they had to just to get that fabulous haircut.

anthea3For many artists, designers and creatives no matter what their medium, the desire to run a business creating art for their customers may seem like the perfect way to make money from something you love.

However, the reality often means you need to compromise on your artistic vision to suit your customer’s tastes; meet tight deadlines and constantly grapple with the demands of running a business.  
Anthea Cheng from Rainbow Nourishments shares her journey from successful cake business to even more successful author, making the best-sellers list on both Amazon and Book Depository for her recipe book Incredible Plant-Based Desserts: Colorful Vegan Cakes, Cookies, Tarts, and other Epic Delights.

sarah stephen

  1. Tell us your story - how did you get to where you are now?

I guess my story starts 4 years ago in August, when I hit bottom. I was in struggle town and at my lowest point ever.

I had experienced five house moves in two years, I’d left a significant relationship, had a back injury that led to two job losses and had been unemployed for almost 18 months.

That day in August, I had just signed up to Centrelink and realized that what they were going to give me wouldn’t even cover my rent in the share house I was in. I had no idea what I was going to do and I was just sobbing at my dining table.

d15 01 iSince 2014, Canberra Women in Business award-winner, Annette Braagaard from Nordic Blinds, has being insulating the Canberra community with quality German-made, stylish blinds.


Annette grew up in Denmark, married an Aussie, got a diploma in Business management, renovated her home, found a new career path, took a risk and now the rest is history.