This is a gratitude post to local small businesses we have purchased from and had a great experience with over 2022. These are mainly small businesses located near me in Western Sydney that I (Founder Jane Tweedy) have had the pleasure to be a customer of in the last few years.
No mates rates!
Note I encourage all businesses to charge full price, or at least only offer a discounting strategy that is consciously priced in and considers the lifetime value of the customer. Related to this, I strongly suggest you do not offer mates rates. These businesses I have made paid purchases from like any other customer (unless otherwise disclosed). They had no idea I was doing this post 🙂
Product based businesses Western Sydney and online
Let’s face it during Covid we got very used to buying products online. So even if you’re not local you may be able to buy online. We hope you love these gems as much as we do!
Berkanan – loungewear, PJs and active wear
Comfortable lounge wear and PJs (you know what you can’t see me wearing just out of camera sight!).
Great trackies keeping me warm in Penrith’s chilly winter, or stylish summer shorts to keep me cool!
Online or shop at Castle Towers.
Bronzed Hunnyz Tanning, online and Stanhope Gardens
Not just tans (not had one, but Anita’s natural style actually tempts me), but also amazing skincare products including the amazing Eco Pink Himalaya Salt Scrub. Worked wonders on my dry winter skin! In-person tanning in Stanhope Gardens or online skincare and tanning products (hence why listed as a product rather than a service as I bought the scrub product after seeing her fantastic Instagram Reels!).
FlusheD Eco, online and Campbelltown pick up
Suppliers of bamboo toilet paper, and now make-up removal pads. Cameron is a plumber and was sick of seeing blocked toilets (don’t believe what it says about disposable wipes being flushable!). Cameron and wife Renee were concerned about the sustainability of tree-sourced toilet paper. Also love that they support a Seabin to help clean up the ocean/Sydney Harbour (given I’m an avid snorkeller). Was great during the great toilet paper shortages of 2020/2021, as they come in a box of 60 rolls. Delivery available or Campbelltown pick up.
Ladybird Gifts, online
Bev from Ladybird Gifts produces beautiful hampers with the BEST raspberry flavoured and no nut rocky road. Haven’t yet purchased, but I was lucky enough to recently win a mini Christmas Hamper at the Hawkesbury Chamber of Commerce Christmas party. Online and warehouse located in South Windsor.
Master at Threads, online
Jolene from Master at Threads can take care of all your uniform needs. Great embroidery service. I haven’t had any uniform needs so haven’t actually bought from her, however I did win a branded embroidered cap as a door prize at an event.
Soap de Villa, online
Goats milk soap (great for allergy sufferers like me). I have been a repeat buyer of multipacks of goats milk soaps as my partner prefers to use bar soap. I can even use it with many allergies (but not the mango one as I’m allergic to them too!). Rebecca sells smaller sizes suitable for wedding bomboniere and corporate gifts too. Online and popup events around Western Sydney.
The Uncommon Collective Store, online and Castle Hill
Quirky accessories and gifts for you or a friend. Stockists of Erstwilder brooches, earrings and scarves (love my fairy wrens the best), Eugy Dodoland puzzle/mini model kits. Janine loves the stock she selects so she is certainly one that will put her own money down to buy what she sells! Beautifully packaged, it’s a gift to yourself. I first bought from Janine as she often stocks accessories in my brand colours (seriously you would not believe how long it took me to find the first dark blue/bright blue accessory and now I have lots!).
Online and Castle Towers, Castle Hill, NSW.
Arthur St Cafe, Baulkham Hills
Downstairs area can be booked for small gatherings and I have presented there a number of times. Great hot chocolate (I don’t drink coffee so can’t judge that), cakes and lunch! The image further down the page under Katz Recruitment below was taken at Arthur St Cafe in their downstairs area. It was a Katz Recruitment career conversations event where I spoke under my other business howtojobsearch.com.au.
Arthur St Baulkham Hills
Blind Chef Cafe, Penrith
Only been once so far for a Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce meeting. Amazing origin story (yes the owner and chef is blind – dog, cane and all!), and wonderful food. Set-up with accessibility lighting for near-blind guests.
Mr Watkins Cafe, Penrith
Been to Mr Watkins as a paying customer and as part of a Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce event. Tapas/small plate style food (delicious!) and an amazing vibe which is so not Penrith!
Rusty Penny Brewing Co, Penrith
Must’ve joined the Penrith Valley Chamber at the right time as have been on a great tour of hospitality venues in Penrith! Rusty Penny used to be tiny and only a brewery. Now they have an amazing cavernous and yet cosy brewery and distillery set-up (vodka yay!!!), and an on-site bbq kitchen. Have been back to celebrate y partner’s birthday, and for another Penrith Valley Chamber event.
The Fiddler, Rouse Hill
I have been to The Fiddler at Rouse Hill many times (and a couple previously when it was the very different vibed The Mean Fiddler). If you haven’t been in the last 5 or so years since it revamped and name changed, you need to get there!
So many different places to eat, drink and be merry. Love working meetings on the covered verandah in the summer and by far my favourite venue that the Sydney Hills Business Chamber has its meetings at! The 2-3 course lunches and the evening canapes and grazing boards are fantastic! The SHBC Christmas party there in 2022 was AWESOME!
The Peachtree Hotel, Penrith
The Peachtree, or Peachy as it’s know by the locals is a great place for a relaxing to unwind (or it’s a little louder on a Friday night). Indoor area with decent bistro, and a big mainly undercover outdoor area, with a big screen to watch the footy on. We get there every few months 🙂
Services and experiences
Community Bank North Richmond and Richmond – Joint venture between Bendigo Bank and Hawkesbury Community Financial Services Limited
Jane is a volunteer community bank director for Hawkesbury Community Financial Services Limited. So how could we include a gratitude post without thanking the wonderful team Jane works with to provide an incredible community focused banking offer in the Hawkesbury. In 20 years over $2.2 million (a share of the profits) has been given to local community and sporting groups and schools. What a wonderful model!
Branches located in North Richmond and Richmond, NSW
Elude Escape Rooms, Galston
I actually trialled their Perpetual Motion room free before they opened, and it hooked me on escape rooms (though never as much as the owners Julia and Darren who’ve completed over 200 rooms themselves!! – all for market research of course 😉 ). Since then I have returned with family and friends, paying to do two of the other three rooms (Framed and Torquay). Torquay is more linear in style (one puzzle at a time and our group below failed to escape), whereas the others have a few puzzles that could be going along at the same time. Recently celbrated 5 years in business, and now have 4 indoor rooms and an outdoor adventure Stumped.
Located in Galston, (northern tip of Sydney) NSW
Emma of Emages Design produced our logo. Emma is an affordable designer and creates artworks too to use by businesses or individuals. She also offers some promotional items, milestones and as a new business with her husband selling vinyl for crafters.
Chad and Jen run Iconic Signs in St Marys. I didn’t actually buy from them in the last two years, because the car window signage I had designed and installed by them 4 years ago is still going strong! Highly recommended for car and building signage and more!
MG Beauty and Brow, Emu Plains
TruBrow eyebrow shaping and relaxing and rejuvenating facials. I must say I’m not a high maintenance lady so doing something like eyebrow shaping had never been high on the to do list. However, doing more video and online meetings I realised my wonky brows needed some TLC. Michal is a global award winning brow therapist, and has even managed to bring my challenging brows under control! Home based salon (direct street entry) in Emu Plains or operates from Eudaimonia Beauty in Penrith CBD.
Katz Recruitment, Baulkham Hills
Although I’ve not had a need to use Katz Recruitment core recruitment services, I have had the pleasure of working with Michelle Walker on a number of occasions. Michelle is a fabulously caring person about her business clients and her job seeking candidates and she is instilling this same ethos in her growing team. We co admin the Facebook Group Positions Vacant Norwest and Hills District.
Narrow Escape Rooms, Penrith
Shelley and the team are so passionate about making sure you have an amazing escape room experience. I’ve now completed all 3 rooms – escaping from Undetected and Launch, and getting the Inheritance in 2 minutes of over time – bummer! The rooms are multi-dimensional so there are multiple puzzles to work on at a time. Which means the two I did with groups of ladies I could do again as I didn’t see all the clues by any stretch. Launch I only did with my partner so I did see everything on that one! Located in Penrith.
Nepean Aquatic Centre
Lane swimming, swim school, aquarobics and parties. I joined the Nepean Aqautic Centre for the Aquarobics classes given my multitude of injuries, and over winter where I warm pool was welcoming! Instructors make a point to make sure your injuries are well looked after in a safe space.
Paint and Sip Studios, Penrith
Attended for a Christmas party in 2021 with a group of Penrith ladies in business. A great fun night and I reckon my picture I painted came out pretty well too!
Unity Studios, Penrith
A focus on mentoring rather than tutoring builds their students up in an all-round manner – confidence, skills building and soft skills. In academic subjects like English and Maths, and a heavy focus on creative arts – whether art, guitar, keyboards, voice and more. I went along to an open art group on a Friday evening. A relaxed and chilled way to unwind after a week. They also have a U-ability program under NDIS.
Business networking groups
Business Action Networking, Penrith
This is our own linked business. We launched our Penrith group in mid 2019, and due to Covid and increased other commitments, we put this business on hold from March 2020. In 2023, we will be bringing this back to life. Our motto is meet – connect – grow and we aim to do things differently to other groups – continue what works, stop what doesn’t, and bring in new additions like our small talk prompt cards.
Hawkesbury Women in Business
Run by Sarah Cassim this group focuses more on women-led start-ups and micro businesses. Friendly and encouraging, Jane presented to this group online during Covid.
Independent Business Network IBN Inc, Norwest Business Park (Sydney Hills)
We have been an active member of this group for about 7 years now (as a member and a presenter). It’s a small friendly group of mainly established small and micro businesses. Run by Julie Warner, this group focuses on education sessions with a touch of casual networking. Meetings held at The Hills Shire Council offices at Norwest Business Park. Extremely low cost annual membership includes all meetings and lunch, or can pay to attend single meetings. The Designer Chicks group is also now run via IBN Inc.
Marketing and Me Meetup
The Marketing and Me Meetup (formerly the Hills District Empowerment Network) is run by Leanne Shelton of Write Time Marketing. It’s a smaller group targeted at health and wellness businesses, with individual meeting fees for the in-person meetings held at the Arthur Street Cafe in Baulkham Hills. Alternate meetings are held online. I’ve spoken with this group a few times – one on Shiny Object Syndrome – involving Mentos, a magic 8 ball and toilet paper!
Penrith CBD Corporation
Another extremely affordable and also well-connected networking option led by Gai Hawthorn. Businesses located in Penrith CBD can join for free as there is a levy for it in their rates. Outside the CBD (like the Penrith suburbs like me) you can join for a low one-off annual fee. We’ve been a member for over a year and love the relaxed coffee meetings once a month, the quarterly evening drinks, and they also give great access to other free and paid events around Penrith.
Penrith and Blue Mountains Ladies in Business
Run by Kylie King and came into being after the demise of UK Mums in Business Association which this group was previously a part of. Like the Hawkesbury Women in Business group (also a MIBA fall out) this is a friendly and supportive group for micro and small women-led businesses, this time in the Penrith and Blue Mountains area. Meetings are held twice monthly – a day and a night session. Kylie also runs nationwide online group ALIBI – Australian Ladies in Business Initiative.
Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce
FAQ Business Training is a Silver member of the Penrith chamber, after joining earlier in 2022. It’s a great way to get to know who’s who in your local area, and check out the local cafes and businesses!
Sydney Hills Business Chamber
When we were spending most of our time in the Hills and Blacktown, the Sydney Hills Business Chamber was our main go-to networking group. Well connected with the very active Economic Development team at The Hills Shire Council. Jane is pleased to be back as a member, and also a MyBoard team member too. Connectors help you make the most of the big events.
Gratitude to these businesses!
Thank you to these businesses in North West and Western Sydney who we have clearly enjoyed being a customer of in 2022!