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Earrings by DJ a business weaved with culture

October is Indigenous Business Month and to celebrate we sat down with Community Liaison Officer and Earrings by DJ owner Danielle to talk about her work at ATSICHS and running her own business.

Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

I am from the Komet-Piadram tribe. My people live between the tip of Australia and Papua New Guinea on the far eastern islands of the Torres Strait.

What is your role at ATSICHS?

I’m the Community Liaison Officer at Woolloongabba but currently Acting Practice Support Supervisor at Northgate.

What is your favourite part of your role?

Working alongside mob for mob and seeing firsthand the difference we make in people’s health and overall lifestyle as a community.

Can you tell us more about your business?

My business is Earrings by DJ and I make material button earrings, bead jewellery, hand paint and weave. Most of my work is inspired by and based around culture, not just my own but every culture that I can capture. I reuse materials as much as possible, including some items people often throw away.

Why did you decide to start it? 

From a very young age I watched my grandmother, who was a brilliant artisan, weave baskets, hats, mats, fans and bead jewellery. Many years later, a lady came into the clinic where I was working wearing a set of beautiful beaded earrings which took me back to my childhood and the skills my grandmother taught me. 

That weekend I started making earrings and wearing them to work and functions and received a really positive reaction. I was approached in person and on social media asking if people could order these earrings. From there it just grew!

What’s it like being a business owner?

It’s exciting to be able to create limited pieces or try new things and have people interested and love your work. I do wish I had more time to create more pieces; however, this is my side hustle and I’m very appreciative of the support I’ve received over the past few years, especially within the ATSICHS community.

What advice do you have for anyone thinking about starting
their own business?

Start small and see what audience is attracted to your ideas. If you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.

What is your favourite part of owning your own business?

It’s a very humble feeling when you’ve created something unique and see other people in your community wearing your work proudly. I have posted earrings across Australia, up to the Torres Strait Islands, over to New Zealand and as far away as the UK. Although it’s not an overly huge business yet, I never thought I would get the response I have already.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Alongside my full-time and side hustle roles, I am a mother of three children – two adults and one teen. So, most of my time outside work is spent with family and friends. I also love basketball and play as much as I can. My family is very sport-focused, so we are all either playing or supporting.

If you want to check out Danielle’s designs head to the Earrings by DJ page on Facebook or Instagram

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