Colourful Apron: A Micro Business To Devour

As Angela Jones sat down last Christmas with her family to share a festive meal, she was struck by the thought that at the exact same moment, other families were sharing her home-cooked food around their yuletide tables.

It was an emotional realisation for Angela, the founder and owner of Colourful Apron, a micro business she runs from the kitchen of her Timbertop home. “It was lovely to know there was a little bit of me in other people’s homes. Cooking for people is what I love,” Angela said.

The mother of two has now turned her passion into a micro business, thanks in large part to the support she’s received from the Timbertop community.

Angela took the leap of faith to start her own business after struggling to find the flexibility she needed as a mum in the corporate world, and then being made redundant when the building firm she was working for shut in the first Covid lockdown in March 2020.

At home caring for her sons Elijah, a grade two student, and Marcus, who is four years old, the idea for her own business began to prove and rise like a good sourdough. Her husband, Dean, is of Italian heritage, and Angela is also of European descent, so food had always been central to family life. Angela’s signature vegetable lasagne and arancini are always a hit at dinner time.

“I love to break bread with family and friends. Pulling everyone together around the dinner table and hearing all the noise makes me smile,” said Angela.

Her first step was to speak with the health team at Cardinia Shire, who she says were helpful and supportive. They advised her to get a Food Safety Supervisor’s Certificate, which she did. She then came across the Federal Government’s New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), which helps people start their own business and offers support to turn business ideas into reality.

Her pitch was to produce and sell naturally coloured pasta, as well as other homemade food. As a busy mum herself, Angela knew there was a market for wholesome, home-cooked food that can be popped straight into the over or packed directly into lunch boxes.

NEIS mentors at Chisholm TAFE taught Angela about business fundamentals like customer relations, stock control and basic accounting.

By September 2020, she had her Certificate III in Micro Business Operations, and Colourful Apron was registered as a business at the end of October 2020.

“Starting my own business has allowed me to be home with my youngest son, and when I wake up, I feel like I have a purpose,” Angela said.

She says the Timbertop community have been “amazing,” getting behind her fledgling enterprise. Angela is a member of the Timbertop Residents’ Group and loves the connectedness of her neighbourhood.

“I think after Covid the community wants to back local people and they love my products. Mums and familis in general appreciate having a homemade lasagne delivered to their door, it’s amazing. People want something they know has no preservatives, is fresh and is literally made at home by another mum.”

From her home kitchen, Angela turns out fresh pasta, lasagne, arancini, banana bread, muffins and sauces.

She says the hardest part of operating a business at home is carving out a work-life balance that suits the whole family. On cooking days, she tries to have the kitchen clean by 4pm when the rest of the family get home, so normal family life can resume.

Her dream is to one day move Colourful Apron to a commercial space and lock in supply agreements with local cafes and restaurants. For the time being, she will continue refining her dishes, expanding her offerings, and gradually building up her customer base.

“The beautiful messages I have received from customers have been so lovely. One of my regular customers in Pakenham said her daughter rated my choc chip banana bread 1000 stars our of 10. People text me photos of the kids in high chairs with arancini rice all over their face. It makes my heart warm. That’s what I love.”

The Timbertop Residents’ Group is a community group established by residents, for residents, to create a safe and friendly environment where residents can socialise and be part of exciting events and projects. Recently, with a number of passionate volunteers moving on to other endeavours, the group is looking for new volunteers to join the committee to ensure that the group continues. Please email if you are willing to explore this new opportunity.