Home' Forge : Vol 2 No 1 Contents // FEATURE
'It did appeal to me. For starters, there were
no female waste-business owners -- none
whatsoever -- especially who were Asian,'
says Ho. 'I thought, "You know what? This
is going to be a challenge for me".'
Ho’s frst move was to let go all remaining
staf except for two truck drivers, saving
money on company vehicles and salaries.
'After I took over the company, I took
and I worked from my car (for the frst
eight months), so there were absolutely
no other overheads.'
For the frst eight months, she worked
out of the boot of her car, and pitched
in with every part of the business --
sometimes at the last moment.
'I think I would be the only female who
has ever driven a garbage truck in Jimmy
Choo heels,' laughs Ho.
As if all of that wasn't enough, Ho was
also juggling the new business with
caring for her six-month-old son.
After much hard work, Ho began
poaching good staff from elsewhere,
and growing the business. Revenue
has consistently grown between 80
and 100 per cent every year for the
past five years -- largely through
The company, which now turns over
$10 million a year, also has 12 loyal staf
members, large government and blue-chip
clients, and its own feet of seven trucks.
Ho says any sexism she encountered
just gave her 'more motivation, or
more inspiration, to work hard'.
'I think the Australian waste management
industry is starting to slowly turn. I think
in the next 10 to 15 years, we'll start to see
more female managers,' says Ho.
'It's not about digging a hole anymore.
It's more about sustainability; it's more
about what you do with your waste.'
Juggling her many diferent roles in life
has been a battle, but one worth waging.
'If you plan right, you can be a mother,
you can be an entrepreneur, you can be a
wife,' says Ho.
Sheryl Thai was
once an IT
with a side
While her day job
had become a grind,
Thai was revelling in
cooking cupcakes for her
friends and seeing their eyes light up.
'I decided to get out of corporate life. I
felt I was going into work every day and
not living my life's purpose,' says Thai,
A redundancy in 2009 was just the push
she needed to pursue cupcake making
full-time. The cupcake craze had well and
truly hit the United States, but it was still
in its early days here.
Thai began her business from her
home kitchen with less than $2000.
Word quickly spread, and she began
receiving requests for parties and
functions, as well as selling at markets
‘In the frst three months, I was making
more money than I was in my computer
job,' she says.
Thai and her business partner (and
boyfriend at the time) Thin Neu opened
their frst café, Cupcake Central, in
August 2010, and then another two in
their frst three years.
But while a competitor, The Cupcake
Bakery, was rapidly expanding -- before
collapsing in 2014 with dozens of stores --
Cupcake Central put the brakes on.
'They were in every single shopping
centre, and we didn't want to operate the
way they operated because a lot of people
lost money,' says Thai, whose business
now turns over $3 million a year.
Instead, Thai says they have spent the
past two years solidifying their business
processes, with two more stores opening
They continue to bake their cupcakes
fresh in each store.
‘Obviously, by doing [so] our profts aren’t
as high as baking them in one warehouse
location and shipping them out,' says Thai.
In the early days, an exhausted Thai
somehow found the time to start
attending networking events, where
female entrepreneurs were notably in
There she met a fellow entrepreneur
with whom she went on to found her
That venture, the League of Extraordinary
Women, aims to bring female
entrepreneurs together to share their
stories -- warts and all.
With Cupcake Central now running
itself, Thai's next goal is to grow the
League into an international business
that inspires women everywhere.
'It doesn't even matter if it's three
women in Iran getting together for a
meet-up -- that's the start of something.'
Sheryl Thai, Cupcake Central
Links Archive Vol 1 No 4 Vol 2 No 2 Navigation Previous Page Next Page