10 minutes with Hiruni Peiris, co owner of Northcote Bake shop.
The Reservoir Worm Ranch will be collaborating with Northcote Bakeshop to help divert their organic waste from landfill. We will be raising funds in the Bake shop during the month of August to cover the costs of their IBC installation...stay tuned for more details on this.
You co own the Northcote Bakeshop with your husband and have two kids! You must be super busy! Tell us a bit about your journey to this point.
Previous to this job I worked for Louis Vuitton on Collins Street for 5 years. I started there right out of high school and I started focusing on training staff. I did this for 3-4 years. I took maternity leave and in the interim my husband Peter opened the Bake shop with his brother in law. I started an Education degree and was just coming into the Bake shop on occasional Sundays to fill a few gaps washing dishes etc. I slowly started getting more involved and then I never went back to my old job! It worked really well and gave me the flexibility I needed for our son and I have a HR background that has proven to be really valuable here. Peter’s background is mostly hospitality, he has done it for a long time and I think our skills are great together.
The sustainable thing started after a visit to the aquarium with our son Elijah…here was a turtle exhibition and he pointed out that we use a lot of the things that are killing the turtles at the Bake shop… plastic bags and straws etc. He was probably four years old at the time! This started us down a whole new path of sustainability in our business.
Who do you admire or view as a mentor and why?
I have so many mentors for different parts of my life… I feel like someone that stands out to me is Mother Teresa….the selfless giving is really inspirational. Sometimes we do things and subconsciously or unintentionally we are wanting people to do something in return…like maybe even just say thank you…and she kind of did so many things and never, ever expected anything in return. I admire that selflessness. There are also people that are around me every day…for example a customer that has now become a friend who is always there to guide me… I also look to people who have achieved things that I am wanting to achieve to guide me in the right direction.
What are the three attributes that are most important when running a small business?
Um… Lately I probably think transparency…in terms of both information and products. I feel like plain old hard work is important! Some days are good and bad and hard work gets you through…oh and resilience. You can get knocked down 5-6 times a day…the dishwasher has blown up, there is something wrong with the electricity etc…and you need to ask yourself what am I going to do with that?
Why did you choose to be a worm ranch activist?
I feel like it’s my duty to my neighbourhood to divert waste. I feel like if you learn something you can’t unlearn it and those things really bug me at night. If I have learnt something and its something I need to action, the little voice in my head will be like…’Hey…what are you doing about those straws?’... so I just get it done.
What do you hope to be doing in 5 years?
I want to be happy with the decisions I have made and the reasons I have made them…whether it be for the business...or my children, or my relationship with my husband…its a little cliche but I want to be my true self. I just think honesty in terms of what I believe in and portraying that to others is important. I want to be a good person for myself, my husband, my children, our staff and my friends…If I can look back in 5 years and think I did the best that I could with what was given to me at the time, I don’t think you can ask for more than that! Things change so quickly and I don’t really know where I will be then!
Thanks for your time Hiruni! It was great visiting you:) See you in a couple of weeks to check on the worms :)