Business/ Workplace Counselling

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“Shopping Centres Destroyed Small Business Potential”

I have worked a lot in my life- be patient with me as I briefly go through some experiences with you! I will try to remember as much as I can!

As I grew up in Richmond, Melbourne, as a teenager from 14, I worked in various retail industries daily after school and during most school holidays, to earn my pocket money. I never understood holidays- ‘such a waste or time and waste of opportunities’- I still hate holidays. My mother encouraged me to see the world for myself, at least from a professional and social viewpoint.  I will name some familiar business names to some of you below:

From 14 after school at McLennan’s Pharmacy, Swan Street Richmond, where I personally delivered medication to local customers. Then after school again at Dimmeys Store Richmond, and M. Ball & Co (corner Swans & Church Streets Richmond) selling Fabrics & Haberdashery.

At 14 my mother was also eager to provide us with as many personal and professional opportunities in life, so she took us to Allan’s Music in Collins St Melbourne, where famous Trevor Hindmarch taught us music/piano. Mum was so much liked at Allan’s that they asked her to do a commercial for them. She also encouraged us to take up jazz ballet- well, she was hoping to turn me into a ballerina- I don’t think so…….

At 16, as an A+ Art student, I did work experience at D’Arcy Masius MacManus Advertising Agency in St Kilda Road Melbourne. There I met Peter Russel Clarke and worked on a Just Jeans ad. At the end of my gig, I was asked by the staff to return working there but being 16 and ‘I can work anywhere attitude’ I moved on. Yes I regretted it later.

At 16, 1984, my parents wanted us to buy and run a restaurant business for $150K, so they sent me to work undercover and trial the business in the Chocolate Box Centre Camberwell- I told them my findings- ‘staff giving freebees to their friends and a dishonest ‘books’ Lebanese owner.’ So I saved my parents from losing our family home to the banks. I doubt they remember me doing that.

At 17 after school,  I worked  at Myer Melbourne Department Stores for few years and from 19 at Georges of Collins Street Melbourne  where my new-found knowledge and use of Rede hosiery made me feel ‘a real luxury woman.’

At 17 during my High school Social at Camberwell High School, I organised and hosted my own first fashion parade and designed/made most of the men’s/women’s garments. I also was the first person to introduce and showcase some designs from fashion designer Christopher Chronis.

At 18 I attended seminars at the Melbourne Stock Exchange as I loved ‘business.’ But I loved retail too, because I loved helping people REALLY buy what they REALLY wanted- I was never a pushy salesperson. But those retail days are over now- in fact, in Australia, the customer service attitude hardly exists. I would still love to manage stores- it really is simple to do it ethically and successful and profitable. 

At 18 I was wondering whether to pursue a career in Fashion Design, Law, Psychology. I chose Fashion. I thought I would be arguing alot with the court judges over injustices in the family court system.

I then completed Year 12 HSC (Higher School Certificate).

At 20 I studied Fashion Buying & Merchandising at the Melbourne Institute of Textiles– we were the first students to attend this new course there. There I showed off my infatuation for Yves Saint Laurent- i still have one of his white tailored men’s shirts that I wore whilst working in hospitality in my late 20’s. 

From 21 and for most of my 20’s,  I co-managed a small family business as a fashion buyer where I would travel to Asia to hand pick high quality fashion to sell in Europe. I also worked as co-Supervisor in hospitality in Greece in a major Greek/German owned Hotel Makedonia Palace in Thessaloniki along the bay. The pay and staff respect were *#@! but the hospitality experience was priceless and I loved it! I got to meet Jeff Kennett & his wife Felicity plus some crew from The Age media one afternoon, as they visited my restaurant during the ‘siesta time’ but I was thrilled to say hi, but not when my waiter tipped the red wine on Felicity’s shirt! Ugh! ( I hope she does not remember that!) The constant pressure and task management was my high! I love working in hospitality!

From late 20’s to 2006 I worked in retail again and then changed to the office world: the Melbourne public service and corporate industries. I worked in almost every industry, you cannot imagine. I felt confident enough to work any phone system, to work on any reception desk, to support any Manager/CEO. Of course i worked for many narcissists- it is a given, right?

Also at 28, as I still loved the fashion/media world, I continued studies in acting, fashion, modelling, film.For the next 10 years at least I studied in Melbourne at NIDA, Melbourne Summer Film School, Swinburne Tafe amongst other schools. Whilst working in the corporate worlds I worked in commercials/films e.g. Neighbours, Underbelly, The Wog Boy, many other films/tv series; Sussan’s and other commercials, e.t.c. I also loved working behind the scenes as Producer and Director- It was here I was in my true element as a project manager plus the business/networking skills required as a Producer.

From 28 I also started to read about the New/Age- Metaphysical topics and health related topics. This initially led me to study Certificate of Massage at the Australian School of Therapeutic Massage in Burwood Melbourne. I loved it- I loved healing people from physical pains. So I worked from home and I later set up a room in the Salon area at Myer Melbourne. I just loved making people feel good and enlivened with my treatments. But my hands and arms became tired from the physical pressure, so I continued on in the corporate world.

In 2001, whilst working in the corporate world, I had at least 15 years of studying and reading ‘new age/metaphysical’ books and attending courses at various venues and the Spiritualist Society in Melbourne. All this information and  my resonance to the metaphysical prompted me to study Feng Shui, so I became a consultant for a short time and decided to open a business in Richmond called Feng Shui Cafe with my ex-husband- where I would combine the metaphysical with a cafe. I did online sales of crystals, gifts, and feng shui products and each weekend we attended Psychic expos whilst we both still worked full time and I was studying Marketing. But it all got way too much for  me as I was doing most of the business development and I gave up on the business before I gave it a chance. I tried to do everything- but I couldn’t. 

In 2005, whilst working in the Victorian Department of Small Business and working toward Business Development, I  was asked to be a Business Mentor, in the Australian National Young Achievement Australia program (State Government funded). This included me mentoring a group of 26 students from 3 Melbourne secondary schools to teach them about business- how to create, market and sell a product that they later presented at an annual expo at the Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre with similar student projects- my team were the 2nd winners!

In 2006 I hit a corporate roadblock- severe workplace bullying. Long story short, I left that corporate world in a full time capacity at that time. So being the career-focussed person I was all my life, I kept working in the film industry and contracting in the corporate industry, whilst undertaking full time studies in Counselling- helping people. I volunteered a lot, e.g. in hospitals, on hospital boards, teaching migrants English, film industry etc and kept myself busy working and studying different courses as I had all my life.

In 2006 I also undertook studies in the USA/online to learn Bird Behaviour- that is different right? But it is actually similar to the human Counselling I was studying.

So from 2008 , whilst working as a Holistic Counsellor guiding people, I am also working as a Bird Behaviourist and Counsellor. I run and  manage a private Bird Sanctuary called Agapi’s Sanctuary. And whilst most of my consulting work for birds is complimentary, for the sake of helping birds’ living standards, I can say that I have been happier in my ‘work’ more than I have ever been! Why? Because for the first time in my career, I am appreciated for what I provide and the work I do- by birds. Yes, most people I help appreciate  me too, but the respect from birds is genuine and of a higher vibration.  Now I got off the topic…….

From 2014, I was proactive as a Bird rights activist, with more information on my website Let Companion Birds Fly which led me to liaise with politicians more, as I needed their cooperation to help change laws. Of course they were not so interested, as birds do not vote.

I became actively involved with a political party and liaised with many other parties, and wrote policies to try and get a political voice for birds- that did not work either. I learnt that political parties are just not really interested in people or animals.

2021 and I am still studying and working and now more so involved in social and political issues. Not just for birds but also for people. The world has changed, suddenly for many, and inevitably for people as myself who ‘saw this coming.’

So business decisions and choices must change accordingly. We cannot be ambitious and ‘free thinkers’ as we thought we could be in the past. Now we have to think different and be very cautious how we spend finances and what business decisions we make. Those under 50-60 years of age who have not been impacted by wars, economy crashes/recessions e.t.c will be naive and clueless about how to navigate life and business. Business is not what it was in the 80’s and 90’s.

There is a new language today for business- and it includes major insecurity and major risks.

More below……..

‘In addition to starting and managing my own small businesses during the past 25 years  from fashion, foods, metaphysical/new age, I have attended many business, leadership and coaching workshops, courses and attained relevant qualifications. Too many to list here.

2021 and I am still studying and working and now more so involved in social and political issues.  To put it briefly.

But all this experience and knowledge is still not enough! Why?

Because as I learn and change, people, life, the economy and the world is also constantly changing and I feel it is important to continue education and reading ‘between the lines’ of what we read and hear and  to be up to date with the latest developments and happenings in the world. Remember, politics influences business, even though businesses dictate governments.

I will gradually include links way below from my many readings, research and courses I have attended which I am sure will also help you find what you are looking for to assist you with your working life.

I must also add, that I found that I innately ‘knew’ much of the information I have read about over the years- problem is, wish I was more confident and assertive within myself to put my foot down when my instinct said ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

Another major aspect of succeeding in our workplace and business is to find team support or a mentor to be our ‘bouncing board’ for when we need to querie things or to clarify any confusion.

Because remember, most senior workers and business people have some of the following for guidance: mentors, franchisors, astrologers, clairvoyants. Yes. You read right. No one knows everything and if we cannot predict or forecast a situation/product/service, this is when the ‘experts’ come in with their ‘crystal balls.’

If I could give some advice and wisdom to a younger person or anyone wanting to start a new business, my ‘get real’ tips are below:

  • research the business  you are interested in- speak with your ‘competitors’ to understand the business more
  • work in the industry you are interested in before you start a business
  • do a business plan to be aware of exactly what is required for the business
  • learn and study the skills required for your new business
  • save funds/enquire about loans required
  • be prepared to work long daily hours, 7 days a week
  • you cannot have life/work/family balance when running a business- it is just impossible, especially today with 24/7 online shopping/services and social media management
  • running a business means time with your family/personal life is sacrificed, so think twice before having children as they will pay the price for your business ambitions
  • often in business today, it is ‘who’ you know and not ‘what’ you know, i.e. networking and contacts (or even a relationship!)  in the business world can help you launch and manage your business
  • find a mentor- could be a business-experienced friend or a paid professional mentor
  • do not be arrogant, cocky and a ‘know it all,’ many large businesses are constantly going into liquidation so don’t think that just because you have an idea that you will become a millionaire overnight or ever
  • social media/websites are the best way to advertise and promote your business- yes, word of mouth helps plenty also
  • quality products/services do not always guarantee profits and success of your business- it depends on your lifestyle, spending habits, expenses and your competitors!

Anyway, I know more and better now and am happy to share my experiences and knowledge with you too! Good Luck!

Paris Yves Read

Melbourne Australia


Business Education (just some)

  • Diploma of Project Management
  • Certificate IV Business Development
  • Certificate IV Workplace Training & Assessment
  • Mentor Business Skills Program- Young Achievement Australia
  • Event Management Certificate
  • Certificate of Hospitality
  • Real Estate for Agents’ Representative
  • Leadership Certificate
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Australian Stock Exchange courses/seminars

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