Meet the fabulous Paula Brown.
by Anna Buckley
It was the end of the night after the Colac launch and Paula and I were chatting over a much needed champagne. We’d only just met through a mutual friend and were talking about running businesses, being working mums and all those things women talk about when they are getting to know one another.
About a week later I got a text from Paula. She mentioned how much she loved the books and thought the best way to spread the word would be to sell them in her shop, Mink and Fox. And sell she did, forty copies in 2 weeks, a brilliant effort, considering Paula sells clothing and accessories, not books.
This clever retailer thought her customers would also like to read ‘The Lost Woman’ trilogy because it told a story so many of them might relate to. She then spoke a bit more and told me that not only did she share the main protagonists married name but was shocked at how uncannily Christina’s journey mimicked her own in so many ways.
I was instantly curious and wanted to find out more about Paula. Little did I know just how amazing her story would be. We started with the simple questions first…
Paula, which parts of the book did you relate to most?
When I read of Christina’s realisation that she’d lost herself in her marriage. It’s easy to do when you have a husband, children and an all-consuming, busy life. Then again, when my marriage ended, I could empathise with Christina’s struggle to find out who she really was. I’d begun this journey of self discovery also.
So where did you begin?
Firstly I needed to support my children and myself financially. I’d worked in retail for a long time on a casual basis but found it very difficult to find full-time work in Colac.
You took a bold step next…
Yeah I jumped in head first and bought an existing business, about a year ago. On my own. In fashion, just like the book. Over the last year I’ve changed the name to Mink and Fox. Worked really hard to make it my own, updated the look, made it more me.
I have a passion for making people feel great in what they wear. I could relate very strongly to Christina’s drive to make women feel good about themselves through the process of transformation. My sole aim is to make people happy with their fashion choices and feel great in their own skin when they walk out the door.
I think we can all relate to the boost a bit of pampering can give us.
Yes, I believe everyone can look good. It’s amazing what a new dress, a haircut, even a piece of jewelry, can do for your self-confidence. So much of how we feel as women is tied up in the way we look.
And apart from this what else has changed over the last year?
Honestly, it’s hectic and crazy at times and I have to be really careful to not let my personal life suffer. I have also begun dating again. A really big thing after being with the same man for such a long time.
Do you want to elaborate?
Now that would be telling! A girl’s got to have some secrets!? Let’s just say it’s very exciting…a whole new world of discovery.
On a more serious note I see you are heavily involved in the ‘White Ribbon Ball‘. What is it about and why do you feel so strongly about this particular cause?
White Ribbon is the campaign to end domestic violence against women. It’s something close to my heart. You touched on it in books 2 and 3. The capture, the control, the psychological stuff. How she, Christina, convinced herself that it was ok. That part of the book was relevant to my own experience.
I left my own 18 year, abusive marriage and was not content to let this epidemic remain hidden behind closed doors. I wanted to raise awareness of this issue, do something for other women out there in our community, show them they were not alone.
I was completely taken aback by what she had revealed and shocked when Paula gave me the following statistics.
ON AVERAGE ONE WOMAN A WEEK IS KILLED IN AUSTRALIA AS A RESULT OF INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE. Domestic and family violence is the principle cause of homelessness for women and their children. Intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44. One in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.
You mention you wanted to affect change, do something for others?
Yes, a group of friends and I got together to do something about it. We wanted to raise not only money but awareness of this almost silent epidemic happening in our neighbourhoods and families. So we are running a ball in Colac on November 15. We have Greens Senator Richard De Natale as our guest speaker and performances from some amazing local talent. Lots of prizes donated from local business. It will be an amazing night I think. We have sold out our 190 tickets and have already booked in next years ball.
Paula it’s so brave, yet affirming, that you speak candidly about your own situation. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing story and being an inspiration to other women reading this. And I’m reminded of the song with the words, ‘From little things big things grow…’
P.S. Wish I could be there, good luck and send us some photos… x
There are many amazing women out there, quietly achieving, affecting change for the good of our whole community. They rarely get awards or the recognition they deserve. Who are some of the inspiring women you know?
Love you to read my books
The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion, travel, and … men.