I’ve only been behind the bar for five or six years now, but I worked in every other position in the industry from waiting tables to being a barista and a kitchen hand. Moving on to the next challenge was a natural progression.
When I stepped behind the bar, it [generated] passion and foresight; there was so much more to learn and constant challenges. I realised there was a bigger community and amazing support in Western Australia that made me feel welcome and at home.
Community plays a big role in shaping who you are, and because the community in Perth is so small and tightknit, it allowed me to open up.
I was part of the launch team at Foxtrot Unicorn. There were four or five of us at the start, and everyone else above me left to move on to other projects, so I took on the role of bar manager. We needed to add more people to the team as the business grew, so we expanded and I became venue manager.
There’s a very big difference between becoming a bartender and learning how to make drinks and being on the floor and waiting tables. The biggest lesson that has added so much value to my life is confidence and realising my team was behind me if I made a mistake or something happened.
Unfortunately, gender plays a role in the industry. As a woman behind the bar, I’ve learned you get judged and misinterpreted before you say anything to a customer. It kind of boosted my confidence to do better, learn more and expand my knowledge.
Mix Haus was founded by myself, Pippa Canavan from Mechanics Institute and Reid Günter. It formed [after] a conversation about what we wanted from the industry.
Our core mission is to connect and provide support for women and those who identify as female or as non-binary in the industry. Hosting safe spaces for them was important because we felt it was one of the main things lacking in the sector.
We provide free training and workshops, run collaborations and host long-table dinners and lunches that are open to the public. We also invite prominent females in our industry to speak on panels and have open conversations where they share their journeys.
We wanted to be able to have events where we could bring in fresh faces who can have a little glimpse of our community, what we do and what we want. We want them to have a real passion for the industry.