By Dylan J. Stone
Silverton’s Secret Garden is a secret no more!
Recently, I enjoyed a hot cuppa with Helen Murray and we discussed her passion for photography and the expansive garden she has been developing over several years.
After Helen retired from her 25 year role in the aged care sector she established a hobby business, Silverton Photography, 8 years ago.
This business was never in Helen’s life plan instead Silverton Photography was established from a unique conversation when Helen was displaying her photography work in another local business in Silverton.
When an interested person asked where Helen’s gallery could be located, Helen’s response of ‘what gallery?’ was met with a blank and confused look.
Nevertheless, this conversation led to the creation of Silverton Photography, which offers a unique perspective on the landscape and environment of Silverton and the surrounding region.
Silverton Photography is not only unique due to the focus on photography but because of the garden which seems to stretch on forever.
Native and exotic plants, goldfish, lemon trees, you name it, it’s all here in this garden.
Not only does the garden provide a brilliant escape for tourists who marvel at Helen’s oasis in the outback but the garden also serves as inspiration for Helen to continue her photography hobby and grow her business.
There’s something unique about the pairing between Helen’s garden and her photography as the garden provides ‘inspiration’ for new photography works.
Helen considers the most significant benefit of being in business to be maintaining the social interaction between herself and the tourists and to have the opportunity to ‘meet so many fantastic people from all over the country and all over the world.’
For Helen, it’s this community interaction and engagement which provides her with the satisfaction of business ownership, and her garden serves as the perfect environment to maintain this interaction.
Helen’s positive attitude to business ownership has enabled her to overcome her greatest challenges of business ownership, COVID and staffing.
Nevertheless, Helen maximised the lockdown periods to further develop her garden and as for staffing, Helen has simply decided to regulate her trading hours to suit her lifestyle so she can eliminate the challenge of sourcing and training staff.
Helen’s advice for anyone considering taking the plunge into small business ownership is to ‘do it’. “Whether you’re successful or not will depend on your personality,” Helen said.
As such, the measure of success is how well you can say hello and greet your customers, as she said “customer service is paramount.”
In usual fashion, Helen’s customers who view her garden never leave empty handed, and so I left with ten lemons after my cuppa.
It’s pleasing to see this garden take shape as Helen is a true ambassador for the community.