When I was young and carefree, my ultimate dream was to shrewdly avoid the hassle and inconvenience of public transport by travelling around everywhere in a hot air balloon, tastefully decorated with go-faster stripes.
I never quite managed to pull that one off…but then, I’m not really sure that I put quite enough work into it.
These days, I’ve downsized my dreaming a little bit.
I’d now consider it to be a genuine dream come true if Old Bert, our resident caretaker, could somehow manage to enter the Martin Print office in the morning without accidentally setting off all the fire alarms and then running around in blind panic for the rest of the day shouting “RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! SAVE YOURSELVES! I’LL HOLD IT BACK FOR AS LONG AS I CAN!”
Strangely enough, I think that this particular dream has even less chance of coming true than the hot air balloon one.
I’m pleased to report that Nathalie Le Riche has encountered far more success in making dreams come true than I ever did.
Originally from Brisbane, Nathalie now runs an Art and Gift business, focusing on her own stunning artwork which is inspired by the beauty and joy of Papua New Guinea.
Nathalie’s journey has taken her from difficult teenage years to international acclaim as one of Papua New Guinea’s leading artists.
It all began at the age of 19 when Nathalie embarked upon a personal mission to test if dreams really could come true for those who dared to believe.
By the age of 33, everything on Nathalie’s list had come true.
So, where exactly did this amazing artistic journey begin?
“At the age of 10, I was hugely inspired by Ken Done,” explains Nathalie.
“I vowed that when I grew up, I was going to be just like him!
“But then my teenage years hit and dreams went down the drain because I allowed all the negativity around me to make me think that there was no purpose in life. Suffering from depression, I went through a bad phase of self destruction.
“Somehow I managed to make it to 19, when I discovered the art of positive thinking. I decided there and then that I would apply all the principles set out in the book Think Big And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This was start of my journey to discover if dreams really could come true…and, oh, what a journey!”
One dream in particular for Nathalie was to own her own business, and to have a job that she genuinely loved. But at this early stage, she still had no idea of exactly what this business was going to be, or how on Earth she was going to establish one!
“I moved to a small town in Papua New Guinea at the age of 23 and worked with my husband’s company in accounts at first,” says Nathalie.
“I took some time off work when I had my first child, and ended up attending weekly art classes for a year with a group of friends.
“Our group produced a combined art exhibition, and from this I made sales and got commissioned work. I decided right there and then that I didn’t want to stop!
“At that same time I won some money which helped me establish my business Le Riche Colours Ltd.
“I then had a whole series of uncanny doorways open one after the other!
“A guest from our local resort offered to pay for my trip to the USA to help me branch out in the market over there. Unfortunately, it looked as if things weren’t going to work out in quite the way I’d hoped…but then on my very last night of the trip, I just happened to bump into the guy who would become my agent and introduce me to art licensing shows in New York which I attended two years in a row. Suddenly, business was booming!”
So, was this the point at which everything clicked into place?
“I soon discovered that I wasn’t happy,” admits Nathalie.
“By this time, I had two children and it dawned on me that I was neglecting them to pursue my dreams.
“I had to make an important decision; my children or my dream.
“I decided to slow down so that I could find a healthy balance between my work and my children. I stopped pursuing new art licensing contracts and decided to establish a name for myself within Papua New Guinea.
“Amazingly, by simply slowing down and striking that balance, my business went from strength to strength!
“I was in high demand and business came to me with very little effort.
“From this point, I was able to launch my own gift range featuring my artwork.”
I asked Nathalie to tell me a little more about her unique business and how it was progressing.
“I sell original artwork and a gift range consisting of placemat and coaster sets, gift cards, prints and much more – all with a Nathalie Le Riche design on them.
“My art is not only about sharing the beauty found in Papua New Guinea, it’s also about helping inspire people to challenge your fears and go after your dreams.
“My business is currently established in Papua New Guinea. I sell direct to the public via my studio, and also make internet sales via email. The goal is to eventually set up a web shop and expand into the Australian market.”
Nathalie’s exceptional journey has certainly thrown up plenty of colourful twists and surprises.
I wondered if she had any particular insight or advice to offer to fellow entrepreneurs, from the unique valuable lessons that she has learned along the way.
“When starting a new business you can become so overwhelmed as to where to start and what to do,” says Nathalie.
“In the end, just write up a list and start from the top. Slowly but surely all the pieces will start to come together.
“Even when you have no clear idea how you are going to fulfil a dream, just believe and then go out and do your research! Uncanny doorways will start to open for you.
“Life does constantly test you and you will be confronted with challenges just to see how dedicated you really are! The key is never to give up.
“I also think it’s important to find a balance between work, family and oneself.
“Finding that perfect balance is a challenge, but you must remember that you won’t find happiness if all you have is money and success.
“Life is short and it’s important to enjoy the journey with your family, and to ensure that you look after your wellbeing so that you can enjoy the full package of happiness.”
Nathalie may well have ticked off all the boxes on that list of dreams that she made when she was 19, but that’s not to say that she hasn’t been busy compiling brand new lists to conquer since then.
When I spoke to Nathalie, she was getting ready to set off for the adventure of a lifetime on a safari trip in Africa– yet another dream about to come true.
So, what else features on Nathalie’s current dream list for the future?
“I still hope to become like Ken Done and reach that scale of success!” Nathalie reveals.
“Despite the tough hurdles in my way, my ambition is to expand out of the Papua New Guinea market and become an international seller again. The goal is to work out how to expand into the Australian market and get through the struggling times.
“But most importantly, the real goal is to enjoy the journey and have fun and still help inspire people to confront their fears and go after their dreams!”
It sounds as if Nathalie may have cracked the art of making a dream come true, and we wish her all the best for the future.
Perhaps now is the perfect time to start looking back at our own lists and doing something about all those dreams that are still awaiting a definitive tick…