By Francesca Dowling
When businesswoman and entrepreneur, Briarley Collier, was asked what brought her to town three years ago, she replied “business”, and when she was asked what she noticed upon arrival, she suitingly answered, a “gap in the market.” This “gap” however was not what one would usually expect when thinking of business related opportunities.
“When I first moved to Mercury Bay I found the experience very isolating,” admits Briarley. “My husband and I spent most of our time in the first year of being here in the Coromandel Peninsula getting our business, Essential Electrical and Refrigeration, off the ground, which has since really taken off. I then went on to open up Whitianga Baby Gear Hire and its sister company, Tiny Toes Hire Co.” Despite opening three very successful businesses within the span of a mere three years, this “gap” that she had noticed “straight away,” was still nagging at her. “I wanted to connect with other like-minded business women and be able to create a community in which women would feel safe and supported.” This desire of Briarley’s resulted in her reaching out to longtime friend and fellow businesswoman, Courtney Linnecar, who co-owns with her husband, Happylocal Hub. Courtney, she sensed, would help her in instigating the solution to what was a shared issue for many local business women. Together, the two women launched Mercury Bay’s first ever ‘Women in Business’ club on Facebook last year, with the launch instantly receiving great reception shown in the numbers of women across the peninsula signing up.
“We are really just starting after unfortunately experiencing a hiccup with Covid getting in the way last year,” reports Courtney. “We held our first event two weeks ago on 7 July, which was a social media workshop that involved a talk with social media experts Bianca Acke, owner of Le Edit and Chloe Watts, owner of Blueberry Co, about building an online community, all the while having fun and meeting other amazing women. We definitely plan to roll out many more mix and mingle events very soon where we tackle topics that women tend to shy away from, with the help of an expert guest speaker in each area we cover.”
It is made clear that the ‘Women in Business’ club welcomes women from all walks of life and in any stage of their careers, whether they own a multi-million-dollar empire or are just seeking inspiration in a supportive and positive environment, the doors will be open. “Being able to facilitate this platform with Courtney and bring about the opportunity for women to share their challenges, stories and ideas has been incredible. I know how hard it is for women in general to excel in their careers with the old stereotypes and stigma that is still attached to women. By creating a safe network for women who are looking to be their best selves, we are breaking these stereotypes. We are also here to let women know they’re not alone and there’s an opportunity for them to network and connect with other women.”
To join Mercury Bay’s Women in Business group, reach out to their Facebook page, Mercury Bay - Women in Business, or email Courtney (email@example.com).
Pictured (left to right): The Women in Business club’s founding members, Briarley Collier and Courtney Linnecar with guest speaker, social media expert and owner of Le Edit, Bianca Acke.