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In 2020, Nicole Farrell was living the dream running an international tour business, Red DoorTours, with 10 overseas tours scheduled for the coming year. But then Covid struck, and she was quick to adapt and change pace starting a new tour company in her hometown of Orange, NSW. Country Food Trails launched in September 2020 and has grown rapidly into athriving, award winning business. Covid lockdown also made Nicole realise a third business opportunity that would quench her creative thirst, finding a niche in creating modern tapestry kits.

Tell us a little bit about your businesses Country Food Trails, Red Door Tours & The Tapestry Label.Country Food Trails.

As an Orange local, I’ve connected with passionate local producers to help visitors to our region gain an insight into country living and the vibrant food and wine scene. The most popular tour is the afternoon wine tour sampling the best cool-climate wines of Orange.

Red Door Tours: I design, plan and lead boutique tours around the world. We explore culture, creativity, and connection on our small group tours. With international travel back on the agenda, I’ve recently opened bookings for 2024 tours and have tour to Morocco, India, Kenya, Rwanda and, soon to be released, Uzbekistan.

The Tapestry Label: I work with Australian artists to design needlepoint kits for modern crafters. The canvas is printed so it makes stitching a breeze - just like paint by number but with thread! There’s no counting or charts, so you can still watch Netflix as you go! In the years of owning your own businesses, what has been your most memorable experience/moment?

Leading tours in India and Morocco is so satisfying. It’s wonderful to play a part in helping travellers embrace new experiences and make lifelong memories. Many of my guests are solo bookings who wouldn’t feel comfortable travelling alone but are eager to book knowing they will be in a small group.

What’s been a career highlight?

In 2022, Country Food Trails was awarded bronze at the NSW Tourism Awards in the Food Tourism category, which was a huge achievement in our second year of business and one I’m most proud of.

You are undoubtedly busy, how do you take care of yourself and maintain a good mental health? I’ve always been a really hard worker, and I’m self-motivated, focused and driven, but I’m also excellent at relaxing! I regularly take a weekend away either alone or with friends to totally unwind and get away from the ‘office’. I have a great circle of friends around me, many former clients and customers, and we share a mutual love of travel, good food and craft.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing female leaders today?

For all the progress we’ve made since the era of the traditional homemaker and housewife, I think we women are still expected to do it all, and be grateful we can, even if it’s impossible or unsustainable. Society asks more of our women leaders than they do of men, especially interms of needing to manage families, homes, and ageing parents as well as careers and businesses.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

Don’t quit your day job...yet! Start as a side hustle and try to develop financial backing because it can take a few years to earn an income. Work hard, accept the long hours initially, and be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. And my final piece of advice - don’t underestimate the power of networking.

What’s the best piece of business advice that you have ever received?

Invest in systems and outsource tasks that are not your zone of genius. Focus on doing the jobs you love and are good at and pay experts to do the rest.

What’s on the horizon for Country Food Trails, Red Door Tours & The Tapestry Label in 2023?

Well international tours are back and to say I am excited is an understatement!!! We have 4 tours to Morocco (3 sold out!) and a tour to India later this year. In terms of The Tapestry Label, we are collaborating with new artists, including our first Indigenous artist to release exciting new tapestry kits.

Location: ORANGE, NSW


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