Think HBR

Let's Talk With Anna Farthing

Anna Farthing
What is your current role?
As the Creative Director at Doughheads, I work towards developing the vision and goals of the business. This role is the driving force behind the business growth, brand and product development and implementing marketing plans. It also includes looking after our staff; keeping them inspired, ensuring their job satisfaction continues through encouraging personal growth and professional development.
How have you reached this point in your professional life?
I started out as a customer service manager in a HNW boutique financial planning firm in Merewether. This position opened my eyes to the idea that developing a niche business model could be such a success. After I had my third child, I was looking to do something creative from home and as running a small business had always interested me and I absolutely loved baking, I decided to start a business selling baked goods. This was my introduction to the world of business and gave me a hunger to learn more and a drive to develop my skills in this direction. The best advice and education I’ve received was through my accountant, Growthwise, who specialise in supporting small business, encouraging both personal and business growth whilst running your business with very practical and hand’s on development. I ran the small baking business for a few years and then felt that I was ready to push myself to the next stage, which ended up being Doughheads. I had no idea how successful this would be or how much learning I still had to do; which has probably one of the biggest lessons for me, never allow yourself to believe you know everything, see every experience as an opportunity to learn!
When you’re not at work, where can we find you?
My biggest passion is food (dangerous right!?). I love working in the food industry as I have a really great excuse to spend a lot of my time looking at new trends, following both industry professionals and creative startups, being inspired by trying new things and discovering new ingredients through brand reps and travel. It’s such a fast changing environment and there is always something new and exciting to keep me busy!
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration comes in so many ways for me. I have a burning desire to keep learning, to constantly grow and develop. I have a high level of self-motivation, but my inspiration comes from following a lot of creative and professional people, both Australian and internationally. I never limit myself to only watching people in the food industry, but rather, take a very liberal view that I should be constantly challenged by people in a range of industries so that I never give myself the chance to become stale and put blinkers on to what is happening all over the world
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?
Don’t be scared to try! Get in and give it a go. People told me I was crazy for making doughnuts, then I was crazy for choosing the current location of our retail store and for being willing to be in ‘small business’ (that it would never last, the trends would see us out within a year). Ask questions of everyone you can, don’t be afraid to look silly or ignorant.
Read a lot; gain as much knowledge as possible and never, EVER think you know everything. Look at every experience as a learning curve, rather than a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ decision. Be agile, make decisions fast and be ready to pivot and try something else if it doesn’t work out. Don’t be narrow sighted, look outside your industry to see what is happening and how you can apply it to your situation.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I have four children, ranging in age of 2.5yrs to 12yrs. My favourite dessert is balsamic strawberries with mascarpone and I love a nice glass of shiraz to top off a busy day!
How would you like to see the Hunter evolve over the next decade?
I would love to see business collaboration rather than competition. I think in such a small community, it is integral that we work together to create a positive environment in which everyone will end up being successful, rather than the alternative which is to always be looking over your shoulder. It would be awesome to see innovation coming to the forefront of everyone’s minds, how can we do business better, how can we grow the business community in Newcastle as a whole and make this city one in which people love to live and long to visit.