Your Questions Answered: Growing Tielka as a Special Needs Mum in Rural Queensland, Australia

Growing a Dream Tea Business as a Special Needs Mum

Today we are answering some of the nitty-gritty questions about the good, the bad, and the ugly of life behind Tielka with the co-founder, Rebecca Domorev.


Would you describe Tielka as a "dream" business?

Tielka warehouse

Growing Tielka has been the greatest challenge of my life.

There are so many aspects I love about Tielka, and this drives me on. I love the creative freedom. I love sharing my heart with our customers. I love sharing beautiful products that bring joy. I love the challenge of building a life-long project.

Yes, it can feel and look like a dream. I'm so glad to be on this journey. On the flip side, it definitely hasn't been all fun and games!

Over the years there have been numerous times I've wanted to throw the towel in. Earlier this year, we found out two huge pallets of tea we had packaged for an overseas customer couldn't be sent. It had taken us four weeks of intensive packaging work to put it together. From crying ugly tears and heartache, a  beautiful solution was born.

We redid the entire order with different ingredients. It turned into an incredible opportunity. That's a story for another day. I'm so grateful for this now.


Your youngest child has Down syndrome, does this change the way you run the business?


Not long after Andrew (now 3) was born, a friend asked what we would do about the business - what with appointments, therapy, health challenges?

I didn't take it well. It was a valid question, but all I heard was "all your plans, dreams, hopes, investment - it's all for nothing, you may as well give up".

It put a fire in my belly. I decided in my heart that neither the business, nor Andrew, nor our family life would be put to disadvantage because of Andrew's diagnosis. In fact, I decided we would be better off.

The fire has driven my motivation to succeed to another level. It has also forced me to actively put into place a sustainable way of doing life. I have faith that all things will work together for good for us, so I rest in this. So far so good.

Andrew receives funded one-on-one therapy four mornings a week for three hours each morning. He also spends a whole day at a special needs program. This gives him his best chance to reach his potential. It also gives me focused time to grow the business.

I have had to become disciplined about using a short amount of time to be incredibly effective. It's a work in progress. Bullet Journaling has been key in my effectiveness.


Does living in rural Queensland put you at a disadvantage in running a business?

There is one obvious financial disadvantage - freight costs are higher. We have to wear this. I don't think it's fair customers should pay for this.

The road to Agnes Water gets cut off from floodingWe have heavy rains in the summer and one road out of town. The roads occasionally get blocked by flooding for a few days. It's all very exciting for us locals as we watch the bread and milk disappear of the supermarket shelves! A handful of times we haven't been able to get orders out until roads opened. Mostly, customers have been incredibly understanding.

Overall, I find it puts us at an incredible advantage.

We don't lose hours of time and energy on school drop-offs, errands, driving to work like we did when living in the city. Our boys ride their bikes to school and all shops and cafes are a three-minute drive away. Our warehouse is located in our property. I have more physical and emotional energy. The business benefits.

In a small rural town, everyone knows everyone. This means people who work for us are usually already friends. It's a tricky balance, but good. There's a far greater responsibility to maintain and fight for good relationship with those you work with. The implications go beyond the warehouse. It's how it should be. And when you're in good relationship with those you work with, the by-product is a well run, effective business.

Agnes Water sunrise

Our small rural town is also incredibly beautiful. We are located close to the beach and amongst other things, the sunrises are stunning. It's so good for the soul. It feels like anything else would put us at a disadvantage. I'm so grateful we can live in such a beautiful location.


What would you say to anyone considering starting their own business?

I would ask you a very important question - what is your drive, what is your "why"?

Do you want to earn money? Have an impact on this word? Have influence?

I believe that when your "why" is clear, strong, and alive, when its drive is more powerful than money, power, influence, you can become unstoppable. Your determination, driven by your "why" will get you through the days you want to give up. And perseverance is the great separator of those that do and don't succeed in life, business, relationships.


Got any more questions? We'd love to hear them! Send us a message now.