In Focus: Donna Rix & Jackie Allen
There are some business stories that prove light can be found in times of darkness, and Donna Rix’s is one of them. When Donna’s father died in 2009, her world was turned upside down. Among the grief, she found herself facing the added stress of organising a funeral and being forced to dig through his belongings to find the information she needed to get his personal affairs in order.
While it was a trying time, it was also an experience that changed her life, providing the lightbulb moment that saw her create Widibox. Short for ‘When I Die Information box’, Widibox is an online portal or ‘box’ that allows the user to store important information for their loved ones in case of their passing.
Whether it be the user’s funeral plans, details of their last wishes, or information that will make finalising personal affairs easier on those left behind, Widibox is designed to minimise the stress and confusion for others in their time of grief – there’s even the option to write letters to loved ones or include a Will.
Originally from Sydney, Donna has a background in accounts and secretarial work, and for the last two-and-a-half years has worked alongside her husband at their company Rixmin, organising marketing and logistics for industrial minerals.
But it is the launch of her own brainchild Widibox that has given her the most satisfaction.
“I’m excited yet I am nervous, because it is a new product and there isn’t anything like it on the market. But mostly I’m excited about the product because I believe in it,” she says.
Shop No.8, Palmwoods
From a hairdresser to a nurse, and now to a small retail business owner, Jackie Allen’s career has certainly been varied. Bright, bubbly and full of personality, it’s clear her disposition as a people person has steered her towards roles that enable her to interact with her peers. But it is her latest endeavour – reinventing a pre-established business in Palmwoods into a fashion, beauty and homewares store offering an eclectic range of products – that she takes most pride in.
Shop No.8 opened on 2 July and is an extension of the handmade soy candle making business Jackie was previously conducting at markets.
“I always wanted to open my own shop but never got around to it,” says Jackie.
“I used to go to the markets, as I make all of my own soy candles, reed diffusers and soaps, so when a shop came up, I jumped at it.”
Boasting a rustic, shabby-chic vibe with a quirky twist, Shop No.8 stocks a variety of funky products, including Jackie’s handmade fragrance items, homewares such as cushions and throws, cool ethically-made Indian-style cotton clothing for men and women and bohemian young women’s fashion. It even has two masseuses in store who offer a range of massage, holistic and ayurvedic services.
“The candles have been flying off the shelves and I’m getting a lot of compliments on the fragrances,” says Jackie.
“The positive feedback has been really nice, and I just love interacting with people. I want to introduce a more personal service where my customers feel valued. A lot of my stuff is handmade and I’m trying to encourage recycling while helping my customers out by offering them discounts on refills for my candle and diffuser products when they bring the empty jar back in.”
While her journey in retail and in business has only just begun, Jackie’s vision to bring something different to the Palmwoods area with Shop No.8 has certainly been a success and it’s a vision she’s ecstatic to see the community embrace.