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Meet an SA Woman Member - Mel Spehr from Aluminium Plus

Yesterday I had the huge surprise and pleasure of being featured as SA Woman's "Meet a Member" for May.

I was completely shocked to see that I was selected and I'm very proud of how much I've already grown within the business. I'm also proud to be a small business owner in South Australia and proud of the work that we do at Aluminium Plus.

Below is the profile that SA Woman published about my transition from classroom teacher to small business owner.

// What were you doing prior to your business and why did you get started? Prior to owning and operating Aluminium Plus I was a Primary School teacher in a northern-suburbs primary school. When my husband and I bought the business I was trying to do both jobs – both being a teacher and trying to grow the business, as well as being a mum to a 5 and 3 year old.

Two years on and I have recently taken the plunge and left my permanent teaching gig (and if there’s any ex teachers you know how hard it is to earn permanency in the first place and how scary it is to face leaving it!) As the business has grown I have become more and more drawn to this new challenge in my life, one that means every step forward builds a stronger foundation and legacy for my family.

I learned so much from my teaching role – how to speak to “customers”, how to work in a team, how to manage stress, how to negotiate and handle situations that are challenging… skills that I now use every day in customer service.

// What do you love most about working for yourself? I love the flexibility that working for yourself can afford. Unfortunately with my teaching job I was always finding that I would need to take days off with the various family issues that would arise e.g. sick child, childcare not having a place for my daughter, having a specialist appointment for my Crohn’s Disease. The thing about working for yourself though is that you can work anywhere! It’s not a big deal if I need to stay home or need to duck out for an appointment. I no longer lose a whole day’s worth of work as the flexibility works for me.

// What are you most proud of? First of all I’m just proud that I own a business to begin with! More than that though I’m proud that I am taking on a new role in my life, making my own goals and striving to achieve them. I am proud that I am a mum to 2 kids. I am proud that I can be a role model for them, that I can demonstrate to them what hard work looks like and that if you work hard your goals can be achieved. I’m also currently showing them that you can have a change in career in your life and you can always learn something new. I am proud that our company makes amazing doors and windows, that our products are of high quality and that our customers really appreciate the hard work and commitment that we put into our business.

// Lets talk South Australia, What do you love most about doing business here? South Australia is full of small, family run businesses. Quite often members of our local community go out of their way to support local business – we aren’t the cheapest but the quality and customer service are worth more to them. Most of our customers are from the local Salisbury/Modbury/Adelaide northern suburbs areas, which means that when they choose us it means so much more than gaining the product they need. It means they’re choosing to support a member of their local community.

As a small business owner myself I also have a lot of opportunities to support our local economy. Aluminium Plus is located on Acrylon Road in Salisbury South and I love that on our one road we all support do business with each other – we get our lunch everyday from the Cheviot Tuck Shop down the road, we buy frozen dinners from Antonio’s at the other end of our street and both my daughter and I attend Dance Craft, a small female run dance studio. When one business in the community grows, this then has a knock on affect and means that we can then support others..

// What advice would you give other women wanting to start a business? Just start! There will be a lot of bumps along the way, but when you’re stuck in a job that is no longer fulfilling and you are passionate about a business idea that passion will take you far. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. As I have moved into the business full time I am learning a lot of new things, so I have been taking up as many business mentoring opportunities as possible.

Get in touch with Mel: Facebook: Aluminium Plus LinkedIn: Mel Spehr Website:

Original article found here: SA Woman: "Meet a Member"

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