Many roles lift region

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Kim Starkie has made it her mission to help bring new experiences to the people of Manjimup and surrounds.
Camera IconKim Starkie has made it her mission to help bring new experiences to the people of Manjimup and surrounds. Credit: Tari Jeffers/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times, Tari Jeffers

Be it in business or events, Kim Starkie has made it her mission to bring joy and new experiences to the Southern Forests region.

Originally from the UK and moving to Pemberton in 2008 and Manjimup in 2013, Kim has undertaken many community and entrepreneurial endeavours over the years for the betterment of the region.

One of Kim’s first endeavours when she moved to Manjimup in 2013 was to open a children’s clothing store.

“I saw there was a gap in the market for affordable children’s clothes,” she said.

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“In knowing the UK imports and exports, I thought I would give it a go.

“It did work until I had my first daughter, then I found that in employing staff and the premises not being in the best position, it was difficult to keep open.”

Kim said the closure of the store did affect many people and it could have worked if she had been able to find an affordable street-front position.

She also tried her hand at bringing love to Manjimup, when she organised speed-dating.

The issue, she found, was getting enough men involved.

“The women were raring to go, the men from further afield were raring to go, but the men here — many messaging me saying they wanted to meet someone — wouldn’t come along,” she said.

“From the one event we did have, we did get two relationships out of it.”

While living in Pemberton and working for the Omodei family at Cellarbrations, Kim also organised a Taste of Pemberton, which brought local wineries together and raised money for St John Ambulance to buy a defibrillator.

In describing herself, Kim said she was a can-do person who would not take “no” for an answer.

“If there’s something that I think we can do, I do it,” she said.

“I’m not scared of failure, I’ll give everything a go and if it doesn’t work, at least we’ve tried it.

“If someone says you can’t do it, I’ll bloody do it and I’ll do it 10 times better than they thought.

“Don’t say we can’t do it because we live in a regional area, anything is possible, wherever you are.”

In 2018, Kim became the Manjimup Farmers Market manager and in her time she has tried to encourage new stallholders, while still staying true to the market’s roots.

She and her team had to devise a way to open and operate the markets after the COVID-19 restrictions lessened.

“I want to utilise the markets as a shopfront for the region, it’s quite important that people who come here, see what we have here and why we love living here,” she said.

“I love being involved with the market, it would be hard to give up if it ever came to that.

“It’s more of an enjoyment than an employment.”

Kim also has her Southern Forests Wedding business and encouraged local businesses to embrace advertising and marketing to show there was a market for wedding venues, supplies and more in the region. This year, Kim has also taken on a new challenge, where she has partnered with the organisers of the Cherry & White: An Evening in the Orchard event.

In her role, she will organise and provide the gourmet hampers and/or white table settings which are being used for the new-look long table event.

“The hampers will be full of local produce and not necessarily what people put to market, but quality foods I know people in the region make,” she said.

Kim has also created a Women in Business group, which recently held its first event, where women can get together to network.

She is also involved in the Warren District Agricultural Show committee, where she is in charge of sponsorship.

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