Our story goes back about 10 years, during a time when my husband Cameron and his father owned the Hastings newsagency. One day we were on the ferry to Queenscliff and we picked up a four page paper called the ‘Queenscliffe Herald’ and we both said ‘we can do this’! We thought it would be great to produce a small paper that would let the locals know what was going on in Hastings and give local businesses a cheap way of advertising focused on the local area. We investigated the costs of printing the paper and it wasn’t much more than printing four pieces of A4 paper and stapling them togetherWith Cameron and his father having had the Hastings newsagency for so many years, they knew everyone who had a business in the area and they were friends with all the locals. It is a tight knit community and it wasn’t difficult to get support and to get a few ads sold to cover the cost of the printing. We had no experience at all (in publishing), just an entrepreneurial spirit. We also just felt like we wanted to give the local businesses a voice, so printing a four page paper with a small ad being only $30 at the time, gave everyone an opportunity to get on board.
Hastings was becoming so popular that we thought we should expand elsewhere, so within the first year we added two more papers. Breaking into the Mornington area was more difficult, but it worked. We just kept adding more titles to the mix – and the risk of divorce kept getting greater! One paper became four papers, then it went to seven, and now it’s back to five. Now that we have a bigger office it’s much easier for Cameron and me to work together. In the early days we were working out of the storeroom at the back of the newsagency, literally shoulder to shoulder. There was a lot of togetherness!
I was heavily involved in the business in the early years, doing whatever needed to be done, which is what happens when you run your own business. I did the graphic design even though I had no experience – you just do what you have to do. It doesn’t mean I did it well but I did the best I could, and we both just kept learning on the job. When I fell pregnant with my daughter Kennedy in 2009 we had been operating for around three years, and finally when I was 39 weeks pregnant I stopped working. I really took a back seat until she was 18 months old, but I missed being a part of the business and it was growing so fast I decided to step back in. So much had changed and the staff had grown so my role changed to taking care of the accounting and credit control. When my son Tyler came along in 2012, I kept doing the accounting from home. You do the best you can, making calls in between changing nappies and feeding and you work when the kids are sleeping. Then when Tyler turned 18 months we decided we needed to broaden our horizons some more, so we took over the Peninsula Kids website and within six months we launched our ‘Peninsula Kids’ magazine. We’re now working on our fourth edition, and it really is my third child. As the Editor I oversee everything, but I have great support from our team.
Running a family business with a large office and staff and with constant deadlines can be tough, and add to that being a mum and a wife- you just have to be as organised as you possibly can and you just have to make the time do what needs to be done. You can manage things properly with support from your partner and staff members.
I have honestly just learned on the job, by intuition, from social media and Pinterest, and reading and talking to friends and family. With ‘Peninsula Kids’, we focus on the interests of a wide range of mums and the things they want to read about or learn about. We aim to offer a variety of subject matters and cater to a broad range of interests. There’s always room to grow and with the feedback we have had from people on the first few issues of the magazine, we are excited about the future for ‘Peninsula Kids’.
Having our business on the Mornington Peninsula, and having kids aged 3 and 5, my eyes have really been opened to all that there is to offer on the Peninsula. I don’t think I truly realised how many people are so enamoured with the area, and all the writers and photographers who contribute to the magazine do so because they love the Peninsula and love the publications. Everything we have created honestly just evolved and sometimes it’s hard to fathom the growth. I never dreamed it would grow this fast, this quickly. It’s a struggle at times and then it all comes together. When you get together the right group of people, all of the contributors and the people who want to lend a hand and who really care, you can create great things. Everything we create goes back into the business – that’s what it’s all about.
Mornington Peninsula News Group (MPNG) now publishes 5 weekly newspapers (Mornington News, Chelsea/Mordialloc/Mentone News, Southern Peninsula News, Western Port News and the Frankston Times) as well as the monthly music magazine ‘Mint’ (previously Pearl) and the quarterly colour glossy publications ‘Peninsula Essence’ and ‘Peninsula Kids’.
2/1 Tyabb Road, Mornington
Tel: 5973 6424
Copy: Melanie Quirk Photography: SomedaySomehowStudios
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