ORANGE Function Centre was the place to be for entrepreneurs, professionals and even those considering a career change, with The Huddle welcoming 450 women for its inaugural year.
The networking event stretched across the weekend, with Yoga in the Vines and a cocktail party on Saturday, followed by a conference-style event at Orange Function Centre on Sunday.
Julia Green from Greenhouse Interiors took part in one of the panel discussions on product during the day, talking about what businesses need to do to be noticed, how to begin a business and how to change careers.
She spoke about her own career change eight years ago.
"I was in the pharmaceutical industry, I was basically a legal drug pusher, and had a chance encounter with a guy buying a couch and he was a photographer for Vogue," she said.
"He said I should be a stylist and I said, 'what do they do?' The next thing I know, I'm on a job."
She now offers interior design services and sells homewares and textiles, finding many of the skills she gained from her old job were adaptable.
"Be prepared to be told no," she said.
"You need to look at it as 'if you don't ask, you don't get'."
Local is Lovely's Sophie Hansen was a social media panellist and said success depended on being able to share information customers found valuable.
But she also said social media was only part of the picture.
"You need to have a newsletter or a blog because you're effectively renting your followers from Facebook," she said.
"Totally it's about confidence and realising you have something to offer, not just your product or service, but building a brand around what you do."
Fledgling business owners Laura Cole of Laura Cole Photography and Tiarna Elliott of Sister Skincare relished the chance to network.
"I want to hear about how [the speakers] started and what they do," Ms Elliott said.
For Gunnedah farmer Hannah Baker, it was a weekend away.
"I would love to own a shop one day," she said.
Forbes farmer and nurse Mandy Tooth was simply there to listen.
"I like seeing what women this young are up to and what things they're up against," she said.
Organiser Pip Brett said the event sold out, with numbers limited to the number of gift bags available.
She said many came from interstate, including Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
"It's a good way to kickstart 2020 and hear that one pearl of wisdom that can change their business and set them up to grow," she said.
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