In 2015 Melbourne mum-of-three Tara Lock fell inexplicably ill with uncontrollable back and stomach pain.
A short time later she was given the worst news imaginable – she had stage 3 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
“The first fear that came to mind was my children [now 15,20 and 24] and how I would tell them and convince them that I was going to survive, that I would fight this,” recalls Tara, who lost both her parents to cancer a few years earlier.
Drawing on the strength her family gave her, Tara has not only pulled through her arduous chemo battle, but now runs her own business selling cooling towels.
Constantly overheating during her cancer treatment, they were a Godsend during her lowest days – and now she is thriving on the chance to give something back.
“Always throughout this horrible journey, my determination to start my own business and help others was with me all the way,” adds Tara.
“If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. Health and wellness plays a huge role in my life and I want to share that with others.”
Tell us about your company, and what makes you most proud
I am extremely proud of the Chilly Towel as I know it’s assisting others as it has done me. This product can be used for a variety of uses for overheating, whether it may be for leisure, indoor and outdoor sports, gym, health and well-being. It’s a fantastic product which comes in blue and pink, it’s dry to touch and stays chilled for hours with its unique hyper evaporative fibres.
Chilly Towel also proudly supports National Breast Cancer Foundation; for each pink towel that is sold, a donation is made back. The reason I chose NBCF to support is because I’m aware women with breast cancer over-heat and also suffer with menopause. It gives me a great sense of happiness and achievement knowing my product is helping others.
How has technology helped your business – both as a start-up and then helping to grow?
Since launching online we have had outstanding results, and the growth of the business has been at a rapid rate – all through technology. Technology has allowed us to connect with people who need the Chilly Towel in their day-to-day life. Through social media we can introduce ourselves to the market, and use it as a platform to engage and communicate with our customers and grow the business organically and through word of mouth online.
How do your customers benefit and how does it make life easier?
With one click of a button they can have access to a product that can improve their wellbeing. Our online advertising effectively engages with our audience and gives them informative details about our product, being of a high standard and quality. Product-wise, customers benefit from using the Chilly Towel in a multitude of ways.
What advice do have you for start-ups in regards to which technology they shouldn’t live without?
I have learnt along the way that the more effective your advertising is, and how well you can reach out to your audience on various forms of social media – the more successful your business will be. For me, the best way to get the Chilly Towel brand out there was to invest in advertising through technology (Facebook predominantly). It is the number one form of communication for my business. Gone are the days of looking up businesses the old-fashioned way.
Finally, what would you tell your 20-year-old self?
The journey that has led me to my growing / successful business, has given me a lot more confidence than I’ve ever had, from going through a daunting and tough experience which has enabled me to help others and gain a lot of knowlege along the way, only to keep growing and adding to my collection. If I could turn back time to when I was younger, I would’ve pursued my dreams of having my own business a lot earlier as it’s very rewarding knowing I’m helping others.