Many NEIS participants have a story a little bit like Carron Weir’s – needing to make a big change in order to move forward. Carron’s story includes an Americas Cup challenge – that’s a little more unusual.
Growing up in the North West of England, Carron built a career as a chef. This came with the stress and long hours so often found with that work. Arriving in Fremantle for chef work catering to the massive Americas Cup influx in 1986, Carron fell in love with the lifestyle and decided to stay. Her work as a chef continued to be stressful, demanding and less and less rewarding. Completely disillusioned and unable to continue working, she found it difficult to function. “I was getting panic attacks and simply could not cope with life. I became house-bound,” says Carron.
“I sought solace and recovery in my garden; I think initially I was just doing an hour each day, as motivation was a long lost memory. But honestly, I soon started seeing results in my formerly neglected garden beds, which inspired me and reignited my passion for my garden,” says Carron. “I was soon offering neighbours a helping hand to get their gardens back in order. As friends asked me to assist them too, I recall thinking ‘maybe I could make a business out of this’ and that’s how it all started.”
Having heard a little about NEIS, Carron made a few inquiries and arranged an interview with us in East Victoria Park. “It took me a while to get my head around the commitment. I took a deep breath, signed up and jumped in with both feet. I found it to be an awesome experience. I really enjoyed getting out and being in a study environment about a subject I love,” says Carron with a smile.
Carron had owned a business in the past, but the NEIS structure was a perfect refresher; reinforcing some established principles and introducing some new methods. “I made new friends and once again my old friend motivation had joined me on my journey.”
The new business, Ada and Mary plants and gardens, started in October 2018. The name comes from Carron’s grandmothers, who played an integral role in her upbringing.
Starting with a diverse offer including pots and plants; Carron soon found that the demand was for the services she had initially just included as a sideline. Adjusting to offer more services, the business flew.
Garden maintenance, lawn care, tree surgery, garden clean up and jet wash; combine with paving, making pathways, installing trellis, artificial grass and garden lighting, to cover all the elements for a beautiful garden.
Ada and Mary plants and gardens now has a work vehicle and steadily purchases more and more equipment. “I am being super mindful to keep my overheads to a minimum,” says Carron. The business plan is on track and she now employs seven staff, most of whom have also come through difficult times.
Today Carron loves her work. “Occasionally I will look around at us working in our uniforms and think ‘wow! look what I’ve created’, not just for myself, but for my staff too.”