Tweak the words – double your income !

Glass half full for this artist

Jo Tricker demonstrates her glass making style

This article appeared in Sun Liveon March 15th 2019  https://www.theweekendsun.co.nz/

It was a subtle change of language – a tweak of her words and the online audience she was targeting. It doubled Tauranga glassmaker Jo Tricker’s income in a year.

After swapping ideas with a business mentor, Jo’s glassmaking workshops at her Judea studio were re-labelled “experiences” in her internet promotions.

“Yes, people wanted an ‘experience’ rather than a workshop or a class, even though they may seem like exactly the same thing,” she says.

Jo claims it’s all about perceptions. “People perceive an experience to be fun – something they haven’t done before, something they might enjoy.

They can do glassmaking for fun and there’s no pressure on them to perform, to be good or talented or produce something wonderful at the end.”

This approach is in opposition to a class or workshop, where someone learns something and takes away skills for further use.

For the previous five years, Jo had been propping up her Jo Tricker Glass business with personal funds from a property sale eight years earlier. “I wasn’t even breaking even,” she says, “and I couldn’t dip into my own funds forever.”

She sought the help of Business Mentors New Zealand – the not-for-profit group dedicated to supporting the success and growth of small businesses through the knowledge and experience of volunteer mentors,

Jo feels she has finally turned a corner. “Last October I was still questioning myself. Now I feel like my business has the potential to be something.” She attributes that turnaround to a combination of new ideas, advice and support from business mentor Bryan Winters.

Jo is one of hundreds of New Zealanders who, after turning their passions and hobbies into a business, are faced with the realities of running that business successfully.

At present, there are more than 500,000 small-to-medium businesses, with 850 new start-ups every month. Unfortunately, 30 per cent are doomed to fail within two years. Isolation, or lack of support, is one of the main reasons.

Jo says she appreciated having Bryan’s unbiased support. ”Small business owners need to consult outside their circle of friends and family, so they can front up to what they are doing and the possibility that it might not work out.”

Like many SMEs, Jo Tricker Glass became a business when her “hobby” outgrew her garage.

“I started up my business because of my passion,” she says, “but I had no business experience whatsoever.

Having Bryan to reassure her that she could learn the required business skills was invaluable.

“You need to be open to other ideas, and also to the fact you might fail,” she says. So, when Bryan suggested marketing her classes as “experiences” rather than lessons or workshops, Jo took the opportunity.

Bryan says the process to get to where Jo is now sounds simple, but it took months to shift her thinking patterns. “We were firing shots in various directions, but eventually it became easier to sell the experience rather than the product,” he says.

Once Jo listed her workshops online as experiences, he says the bookings started almost immediately.

“I was as surprised as her, but it doesn’t matter – it worked.”

Half of Jo’s business is now dedicated to her glassmaking workshop experiences, while the other half is spent making her own creations for sale throughout New Zealand.

Now the mentored becomes the mentor. Jo has her own tips for start-ups. “Never underestimate how much money you will need to get you from zero to sustainability,” she says.

“Work out how much you think you will need for a year – then triple it. Most businesses I talk to seem to turn a corner in the fifth or sixth year.

“Be prepared for a long and sometimes lonely journey – not everyone will believe in what you are doing. You need oodles of resilience, a great work ethic and buckets of self-belief.

“Do what you love and love what you do – never lose sight.”

Let’s Learn – a small part of a big undertaking

Connecting, socializing and upskilling

Loneliness – the Hot Topic -and how we can help …..

Community Education – Is one of the benefits of ‘community education classes’ helping overcome loneliness and isolation?

One of the discussion points Let’s Learn’s Committee members had with MP Jan Tinetti recently, dwelt on the undervalued benefit of night classes and day courses in helping people meet others in their community, and overcoming loneliness and isolation. The courses aren’t just for you to learn a skill or hobby, but they meet a deep and meaningful need for social interaction and connection.

Loneliness appears to be a hot topic – and people getting involved in some form of Community Education could be one solution. While social media works for some, there are others who need real contact, verbal communication and interaction and to feel part of a group. Courses and classes give people the opportunity to gather with a common focus, and while undertaking that journey, they get their social needs met too.

While some people dismiss the idea and value of such courses, they are unknowingly disregarding the powerful side effects that social interaction in a safe and nurturing place can offer.

So next time you hear someone say they are lonely, or feel isolated, maybe you could suggest a local community education course, club or hobby group.. and emphasise the social interaction and contribution they could enjoy by attending.

Looking for something to be a part of? go to www.letslearn.co.nz

Adult Education Awards 2017


Congratulations to all those who were nominated for the 2017 Adult Education Awards. The calibre of the more than 40 nominees and their stories of fantastic effort and excellence achieved was an honour to them but did provide the judges with an extremely difficult task.

The following awards were presented:

Innovative Providers –People or entities providing creative adult education in the Bay
Winner: Let’s Learn – Community Education Bay of Plenty.
Commendation : Gernius.

Exceptional Adult Educator -(Provider Category)
Supreme Winner: Dan Taylor of Toi-Ohomai
Commendation: Jo Kemp of Toi-Ohomai,
Commendation: Leitta Erni of Gernius.

Exceptional Adult Educator (Community Category) :
Winner: French Cooking Tutor Stephen Wilson.

Outstanding Adult Learner Award honours the student who has grown through adversity to excel in their area of study.
Supreme Winner: Isaac Crowe of Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology
Commendation: Candice Tangney, a Student of Toi- Ohomai
Commendation: Rachel Morrison of Toi- Ohomai, Institute of Technology.

Life Long Learner Award –
Winner: Lesley Monteiro

Happiness is Other People

Let’s learn – the vision

Sewing Up Sustainability

The Incubator Wins a Frizzell Fridge

The Incubator is a Winner !

More Learn the Traditional Art of Raranga

Article by Annemarie Quill, Bay of Plenty Times

Jingle bills, jingle bells

A Budget Services Success Story !

Never too old to learn new things

The first batch of graduates from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Bachelor of Creative Industries walked across the stage this week at Holy Trinity Church.

The three-year degree offers majors in Visual Art, Graphic Design, and Fashion Design. And 65-year-old Norah Maclachlan (pictured) is among them, and credits the staff at the institute for helping her achieve her goal.

“Being an older student, I have a problem understanding written word, which was a challenge in itself. But I had a very understanding tutor, who pushed me when I thought I couldn’t do it.”

She’s always sewn and enjoyed craftwork, and after her job was disestablished, she decided to try something new.

“Being an older person made it quite hard to get another job,” says Norah.

“My son was already studying to be a fashion designer, and he suggested I start doing the certificate in fashion at the institute.

“I already knew how to sew, so the biggest challenge was making my own patterns. But that whetted my appetite, and encouraged me to carry on to the bachelor degree.”

Norah says the degree was a bit of a learning curve, but it also allowed her to pick up more skills.

“We did more than just fashion. We worked on the business side, and learned about graphic design and visual arts as well.”

And her ambition now?

“I’m a bigger woman, and short, so what I want to do is create stylish patterns for women with that shape. I’ve tried looking for clothes myself, and they often look like sacks,” laughs Norah.

“What I’m exploring at the moment is my craftwork, so I’m working on showcasing that for a start.”

With a degree under her belt, she no doubt has many more options now. Her advice to people thinking about studying is to have a go, no matter what prior experience you have.

“If you have a passion for art, or a passion for fashion, go for it. It doesn’t matter what age you are, or the challenges you face. It’s worth it in the end.”

Article by Ryan Wood published in the Weekend Sun 16th December 2016

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A Much Under-Rated Business Skill

Words of wisdom from Stan Gregec, CEO of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce

The Wheel of Community Education is Turning Once More

Fostering Lifelong Learning with U3A

10 Reasons to Learn a Language

Benefits of learning a second language include brain growth, staving off dementia, boosting memory, improving attention and more…

No Need to Stop Learning

Successful Awards Ceremony 2016!