Is there anything more comforting than a Grandparent’s recipe? Traditional homestyle tucker made with love translates into soul food. You have a combo destined for success when you combine this with business. There is authenticity behind every great heart-filled business, a story resonating with people, beyond the buck and into the feels.
The “Rhubarb Lady” of the South-West, Lana Campbell, optimises this with gusto. Lana’s Garden was founded on a passion for home-grown goodness that has flourished from relish, jam, and coulis to gift packs and even a tea towel range. The website has a treasure trove of scrumptious recipes to try your hand at. Did we mention the limited edition tote bag?
We pondered with her on the story of Lana’s Garden.
How did Lanas start? What was your inspiration?
My inspiration was family! Lana’s Garden was born from necessity and being able to spend time with my growing children.
What are some of the unexpected things that happened when you started?
Starting Lana’s Garden was a huge learning curve! At the start, there were mishaps such as ordering jars for my product that then had to find their way down a corrugated, country road to my house – there were a few broken jars along the way!
There were so many good, unexpected things like extended family and community support. I remember the first market we went to, Scott’s Creek market. My daughter Zoe and I set out for the day – we didn’t have a gazebo, only our product and a table. We started with 150 jars to sell, and WE SOLD OUT! I was very unsure and felt very vulnerable, but that was an exciting and unexpected way to start my business.
Everyone loves your beautiful products so much! What is it like to achieve success from your creations?
I am really passionate about this brand and what we have built. Because Lana’s Garden is based on my Grandmother’s Rhubarb Relish recipe, I have that will or want to succeed because I feel as though I’m representing my family.
My uncle told everybody, ‘this is my mum’s recipe’. It made me feel so proud to represent my family like that, and it gave me a huge amount of satisfaction. One of the biggest things that I am proud of is that it is not something that I have taken over but something that I have created and built upon.
Did you ever have someone you looked up to in your childhood that might have influenced your ability to be so adaptive?
My dad. Even though I was raised in a traditional household, my dad instilled the sense to ‘give it a crack. He had me out fencing and fishing and all those sorts of things. Also, my Grandparents and people of the older generations – I saw my Grandparents being thrifty and sustainable, making amazing things out of what they had. It always comes back to family – they were all adaptable.
Both my Grandmothers and my mother did what needed to be done to keep the family ticking over. One Grandmother went off to the ammunitions factory, and the other worked in the telephone exchange – Pretty impressive on both accounts.
Mum was raised on a dairy farm, worked in retail, went back to the dairy farm, and found another job again – just watching my mum doing what needed to be done definitely inspired me to be adaptable in all aspects of my life.
What was your background before Lanas Garden?
I had a hospitality and sales background – which was the perfect storm for what I’m doing now!
I started with a cooking apprenticeship at the local Hotel Warrnambool and the iconic Lady Bay Hotel. Then, after leaving hospitality to start a family, I worked for Tim and Caroline at Timboon Fine Icecream. I learned so much from working with them. This was my first experience working with a quality, family-run artisan food business.
Has anyone supported you in a special way you would like to mention?
I would like to shout out to all of the amazing women who have been a part of Lana’s Garden over the years – we would not be where we are without them.
What advice would you give to other people thinking of starting a business?
Be prepared for a lot of challenges! But, like most challenges, ‘tackle it like you’re eating an elephant…one bite at a time.’
Go for it but make sure that you are in it for the right reasons – at the end of the day, having a passion for what you are creating keeps you going. It’s a lot of hard work, and if money is the only reason you are in it, you may as well go and work for someone else.
Cubbyhouse or treehouse?
Definitely a treehouse!
Why? Because I feel like your view is unencumbered. You can see the landscape and dream big! I love a good treehouse.
Lana’s products are handmade in Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia; they are gluten-free and vegan and do not contain artificial colours, artificial flavours or artificial preservatives. Our team tasted a delicious selection, and we particularly loved the Rhubarb and Fig Jam. To check out more of her Australian Made goodness, go to https://www.lanasgarden.com and don’t forget to check out her Insta page- full of inspo.
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