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Housing : March 2009
all too familiar with the pressures involved. ‘You hear the stories of some tradesmen in some industries thinking they can over-charge because you’re female; I don’t want that to be an issue in this industry. Amelia and I go out and do the measure and quotes, and I can actually get out and build the kitchens as well.’ Natasha and Amelia are also keen to implement apprenticeship programs to encourage more young people into the industry. After starting last year as a solution for overcoming the skills shortage suffered by many trades, Natasha is now looking to improve the programs. Global awards finalist Not only is she the owner and director of her own Sydney-based kitchen company and an undergraduate student in a bachelor of commerce degree at university, Natasha Wood is also last year’s winner of the Global Student Entrepreneur Award (GSEA) for NSW. ‘The process was pretty crazy,’ says Natasha of entering the awards. ‘When I heard about the awards I thought, “Well I’m a student, and I’m running my own business – this might turn into something pretty good”, and it has! ‘I was studying, running my business and also preparing the presentation that was required to enter the awards, which all took a lot of time and research – I was pretty tired!’ The GSEA is an award that recognises entrepreneurial student business owners from around the world and Natasha will compete overseas at the Global Finals in Chicago, USA, later this year. business for Natasha is booming, while for other companies sales are falling. ‘There is a massive shift, especially in the last year, from people building or buying new houses to more people renovating their homes,’ says Natasha, ‘and the kitchen is one of the first things on the list. Our customers want 44 ‘I found a niche market where I can sell quality kitchens at a much more affordable price’ ‘I’ve recently partnered with a couple a practical and modern kitchen that is also very affordable.’ Natasha’s kitchens follow the design principals of the working triangle to create practical kitchens that efficiently maximise the functionality of the work space while retaining the kitchen’s aesthetic appeal. Not busy enough simply building her business, Natasha is also an undergraduate student studying a bachelor of commerce at Macquarie University. As well, this year Natasha plans to also qualify for her building licence, studying for the certified program at TAFE. ‘If I was to study my degree full-time I would have one year left until I finished university,’ says Natasha. ‘My degree is really relevant to running my business. I’m majoring in accounting and the knowledge I’ve gained from that has helped me in my own business a huge amount.’ With the rapid success of her business and her determination to finish her studies, it became necessary for Natasha to have a business partner, and she found one in Amelia Chen. ‘She’s taken a massive load off my shoulders. It’s funny, we’re called The Kitchen Guys, but it’s actually run by girls!’ Eager to succeed in a predominantly male industry, Natasha and Amelia are HOUSING MARCH 2009 of other factories and so will be better equipped to run the apprenticeship programs in a much better way,’ says Natasha. ‘We don’t actually have such an issue with the skills shortage now as we did, and so apprentices are a little bit harder to get now, but it is something I really would like to be involved in.’ Not content to sit still, Natasha and Amelia have big plans for the future of their business. ‘We want to get out there and really improve our branding,’ says Natasha. ‘We want to expand a lot more.’ H