Celebrate IWD with Talia from That Red House

Mar 08, 2020by Julie - F&F

1) Talia, what did you do before That Red House and why did you decide to create That Red House?

In my former life I was actually a design teacher. And whilst I loved the teaching aspect of the profession, the universe obviously had a different path in store!

My journey towards the crazy life of a business owner began in 2006 when my husband was diagnosed with cancer (for the second time). I was 35 weeks pregnant with our first baby, and it was truly the biggest challenge we have faced both individually and as a couple. We decided then and there to change everything from the food we ate, to the general chemicals we were exposing ourselves to on a daily basis. I scrutinized every single aspect of our lives, and I was truly shocked at what I learned. 

After making some pretty radical changes in the way we lived, we embarked on another challenge, and decided to build an eco house and garden in order to live sustainably and organically. I wanted to have control over what went into our bodies, and having the ability to grow our own food was a crucial component of the process. But I discovered a hurdle when attempting to find a laundry detergent that was both suitable for greywater use, and capable of tackling the filthy washing created by my children! (by that time I had gone on to have 3 little boys!)

I learned that even the ‘eco’ detergents on the market were still unsuitable to pump out on to my veggie garden, and I was not willing to then ingest the residue left by them in our food. I was determined to find a detergent that would fit the bill…. But it was not easy at all. It took time, and a great deal of research. But eventually I found my little berries and after using them for a couple of years myself, I built up the courage to risk it all – career, financial security, family time and give it a go! The product was too good not to share with the rest of the world… I really believe that with every bag of berries that we sell… we are making a difference on so many levels.

2) What is one lesson you've learnt on your journey?

I think I learn something new every single day. But the main lesson I have learned is that business is a constantly changing beast. There will never be a point where there are no challenges and no stress… it is simply part of the journey, and ultimately part of the job. The trick is learning how to navigate those times and accepting it for what it is.

3) Are there three words to describe your day?

Hectic, emotional and rewarding! It is a rollercoaster every day!


4) Is there one piece of advice you would give for any future entrepreneurs?

I think the main piece of advice I would offer is to understand that mistakes are your greatest tool for growth and learning. And boy have I made some doozies in my time! I remember distinctly a certain Julie Mathers holding my hand through a few of those mistakes, assuring me that it is all part of the journey. Nobody in the history of business has cruised through without some real stuff-ups. It is not the enormity of the mistake that defines you… it is how you pick yourself up and learn from it that facilitates growth and knowledge.

Of course it is easy to see retrospectively, but when the tears have dried – the lessons become clear.

5) What is your favourite TRH product?

It has to be the Soapberries. They were the product that started this amazing journey all those years ago, and they are the product that has made the single most significant impact on the environment so far. Those little balls of wonder have literally stopped millions of litres of chemically polluted water from entering our waterways, and transformed the landscape of laundry as we know it in homes right across the world. Not to mention the reduction in plastic waste brought about by our waste-free packaging. It is awesome knowing that we are not only making a dent in the chemical detergent industry, but we are setting a benchmark for conscious living products across the board.


6) How do you relax? Do you even get the time?

Hahaha. Relax! I did that in 2005. It was fun. As a mum of 4 kids, my capacity to be present for them, juggle a business and somehow take care of myself is really, really tough. But as time goes on, I am slowly learning how to compartmentalise my many roles, and focus on one thing at a time. I am certainly not perfect, but the ability to relax and switch off is a skill I constantly need to work at. It is a common ‘flaw’ of business owners in general, whether you are a woman or not. Finding that happy medium between family and work life is often very difficult to attain. Talia’s goal for 2020 – RELAX!

7) Can you name a time you have had to be Bold and Brave?

Every day! When my eyes open, I need to be bold and brave in order to navigate this crazy world! In all seriousness though, I think one time that I have needed to be bold and brave in particular, was right back in the very beginning. I remember knowing in my heart that my product was amazing, and that it could revolutionise the laundry industry… but knowing that, and bringing it to fruition are two totally different things. Risking my family’s financial security to pursue a completely new business idea was terrifying. I remember paying for the first shipment, and accepting the fact that I may have just made a huge mistake! It takes an enormous amount of self-belief and bravery to follow through with your ideas when you are risking so much. But I am really pleased I did! 

8) Lastly the theme of this year's IWD is 'An equal world is an enabled world'. What does that mean to you? 

So when I ponder the theme of this year’s IWD, I imagine a type of world in which I want my daughter to not just live, but thrive. I imagine how I want my sons to contribute to gender equality every single day. How will they change the ‘feminist’ dialogue by the way they live their lives? Put simply, I believe that barriers based purely on society’s perception of what a woman should do and how she should act are wrong. It is something that I have encountered far too many times, and continue to deal with on a daily basis. Let’s not look at gender. Let’s just look at humanity, goodness and love. From there… we will enable our girls to enter a world with their hopes and dreams intact, and our boys will grow to be respectful, informed men.

You can find That Red House at Flora & Fauna. 

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