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Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

On International Women’s Day we asked people to nominate great businesses in the New England run by women. We got so many nominations we had to break it down into a number of stories. In part 3 of our series, meet a potter, a wedding social media creator, a food educator, and a photographer.


Rochelle Slade from Rochelle’s Raku Pottery

Rochelle’s Raku Pottery is another great business being run by an amazing woman with chronic illness (like the New England Times!), and it’s all about the pottery.

“I have loved pottery since I was 8 years old when my Aunty Maree bought me my first pottery set,” Rochelle said.

“I had done pottery off and on for many years and never fully committed to it as life happened, family and full time working etc!”

Rochelle started her business in 2020, and it’s been a slow start thanks to the pandemic but she is working things up and is optimistic about owning her own shop here in Armidale. She currently works at her home studio or at the Armidale Pottery Club.

“My health kick-started my decision: I became very unwell in 2015 and was diagnosed with a rare condition in 2017. I had been in and out of the hospital post treatments, but now my condition is under control with medication.”

“It was a very frightening time of my life. It made me realise life is too short, slow down and I want to live out my dreams, which is making beautiful things out of clay doing pottery.”

“Pottery is very therapeutic and great for my mental health and also others which I want to share.” 

Rochelle designs high-quality pottery items using different techniques, including handbuilding and wheel throwing bowls, cups/mugs, vases, jugs, plates, spoons, ornaments, jewellery, and sculptural pieces. All pieces are 100% hand-made using organic clay materials such as porcelain, stoneware, raku, and earthenware. She also makes all her own glazes, and each work is slightly different, making them all one-of-a-kind and limited additions.

“I enjoy sharing my knowledge in workshops, in the workshops I share my passion, experiences, and artistic abilities with people who enjoy learning new skills and like to relax and have fun,” she said.

You can find Rochelle’s workshops and some products on her website, at the Armidale Art Gallery in the mall, and the Armidale markets. 

Rochelle Slade at work (supplied)

Website | Facebook | Instagram


Claire Brett from the iPhone Bridesmaid

The photographer is something that is on the must-have’s for any wedding, but in a world where Facebook is nearly 20 years old and social media is such a huge part of your life, who’s doing your reels? Well, the_iphone_bridesmaid of course.

Kentucky-based Claire Brett started her much needed small business only a couple of months ago but already has a calendar full of bookings into 2024 for weddings from Armidale to Coffs Harbour.

“I have a background in marketing and social media but no longer have a 9-5 job as I have happily chosen to be a stay at home Mum to look after my two small children while my husband works away. I wanted to use my skills in marketing/social media and I guess still stay up to date with social media while I’m not ‘working’ plus I really enjoy it.” 

the_iphone_bridesmaid take social media content of your wedding day and start creating reels and content for you 24hrs after your wedding so you, your guests and those that couldn’t attend can re-live your day while the love buzz is still buzzing! Hiring the_iphone_bridesmaid allows everyone who is attending your wedding to be in the moment, capturing all the love of your day.

“We create reels that last a lifetime! Reels are so much fun and a great way to capture the atmosphere on the day. We add the music you used, along with your vows or special words said throughout the day, to remember/share and we personalised it to you. The best part is, you’ll get all your edited and unedited photos/videos for you to share and have forever all within a week of your big day.” 

“I know from my own experience and also being in the wedding industry with other jobs, that a lot of couples want to share their big day ASAP. I also know with my knowledge in the social media world that social media plays a big part in our lives and it’s a great way to show off your big day using reels with the music you’ve chosen in your wedding, along with photos and you can always look back at, with a touch of a button.”


Gal Winter from Gal’s Kitchen Culture

With a PhD in biomedical science underpinning her work, Gal Winter’s deep love of food, and in particular fermentation, is really obvious when you see her in action in her workshops.

“I always loved cooking and teaching.”

“During lockdowns, when the world was baking sourdough left, right and on Instagram, I saw the amount of misinformation out there and realised that being a scientist, I could offer more credible information to people that are interested in making fermented foods.”

“My business is mostly about community education on cooking and nutrition, the practice of it, and the science behind it. The focus is on building community connections through food and introducing new flavours and new ways to consider food and incorporating healthy nutrition in an easy way that fit the busy people we all are.”

“I also thought this would be a great way to hang out with other foodies, talk about food all day, cook, and eat a lot! Since that tasty epiphany, I’ve only expanded, beyond what I thought I would”

Gal held her first fermentation workshop in July 2021 and has been going strength to strength, and she has some big dreams ahead.

“Everything starts with a dream… after achieving my first dream and running my workshops for over a year my current dream is to expand and be able to offer healthy cooking and eating training to a wider audience.”

“I get a huge satisfaction when people send me pictures of their food after the workshops or text me panic photos of sourdough starter gone bad…”

Her next workshops are in May – Fermented food, Mood, & the Microbiome on May 21, and Sourdough & Yoga on May 28.


Catherine Stephen from Catherine Stephen Photography

Catherine Stephen officially started her photography business in January 2021 but it had been building up to that for a long time.

“I have always had an interest in photography and had began to take photos at rugby and netball games as I run social media content for New England Rugby and Armidale Blues Rugby and Netball.”

“It was very hard to source good-quality images for these platforms so I figured why not give it a go myself.”

“From this, I began to be approached about doing other sports such as equestrian and mountain bikes as well as corporate and family shoots and it’s just taken off from there!”

She says her work is capturing the love of family and friends, the joys of sport, and the wonders of living and working in regional Australia. 


Thank you to everyone who nominated these amazing women and their businesses! We’ll have another 4 great local businesses for you next week.

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