As part of our International Women's Day celebrations, we caught up with our incredible friends, Megan Van Den Berg and Emma Bamblett, founders of Kinya Lerrk. Keep reading to hear how Kinya Lerrk came about and their insights into successfully establishing their 100% Aboriginal and female owned business.
Emma Bamblett and Megan Van Den Berg of Kinya Lerrk
HOD: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us about your business?

KL: Kinya Lerrk (Wemba Wemba for 'Women Coming Together') is the collaboration of fellow Aboriginal designer and visual artist Emma Bamblett - Wemba Wemba, Gunditjmara, Ngadjonji and Taungurung, and myself (Megan Van Den Berg) - Dja Dja Wurrung, Yorta Yorta, Boon Wurrung and Taungurung.

In 2019 we established Kinya Lerrk with a range of acknowledgement of country plaques which focused on bringing to life the message of an acknowledgement. When the covid pandemic hit and we launched product to make homes smell and look lovely - candles, diffusers, homewares and stationary. After the pandemic we were doing markets and realised the demand and volume of amazing Aboriginal businesses and decided to focus on opening a shop to celebrate the best of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander business's with a focus on local.

HOD: How has your cultural background and identity as a First Nations woman influenced your journey as a small business owner?

KL: Our cultural backgrounds and identities are strong as we were both raised in strong Aboriginal families and particularly our Nan's & Mum's played a role in raising us to be strong and proud of who we are and where we come from.

HOD: Can you share a defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey that shaped the direction of your business?

KL: Probably the first defining moment was being asked to produce an acknowledgement of country plaque for a hotel. That very request was the pivotal moment of us creating a design & creating a mock up product. This lead to our first prototype which lead to us thinking this is pretty cool lets create a range and see how we go. Another exciting thing that happened for us was when Village commissioned us to do the acknowledgement of country art & message that plays at the beginning of every movie played at a Village Cinema.

HOD: As a First Nations women in the business world, how do you weave your cultural identity into the fabric of your brand and business values?

As First Nations Women weaving is simply in our DNA. It is at the core of who we are. We were raised on the values of respect for culture, community and family. These values continue to influence us and our small business as everything we do, we do with cultural integrity and also pay respects to our Ancestors and mobs who paved the way for us to be here.

HOD: Reflecting on your experience, what's a specific piece of advice you would offer to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women from diverse backgrounds?

KL: Start small. We started our business on $1500 while working full time. It was a side hustle that grew to something bigger but over time. You can take a small risk and build from there. Also find your niche in the market and make it your own. The best business's are the ones that create their own product, idea and build a business and brand from that.

HOD: Beyond business, who or what has been your greatest source of inspiration?

KL: We will always come back to country. Emma loves birds and her stories represent her strong cultural connections and stories. Megan loves country landscapes, tree's and bush food.

HOD: Any exciting projects or new ventures on the horizon for your business that you can give us a sneak peek into?

KL: Probably the most exciting thing we are working on when we are not running our business is our children's book that will be launched at the end of the year. It's been an absolute dream to have that opportunity.

See more about the Kinya Lerrk shop and our video feature here.