When Ashleigh Gleeson was 23 years old, living a frenetic life of social engagements and…
“I recognised a space to introduce a beautiful event that would celebrate Australian fashion and design and give small businesses an opportunity to promote their labels, and also give Canberrans the opportunity to access beautiful fashion.”
As a child, Tegan McAuley really wanted to be an architect. She had a big sketchbook and used to design complicated floor plans for houses. That creative streak might not have taken her down the path of architecture, but as the founder of Canberra’s Hustle&Scout Twilight Fashion Market, she developed an outlet for her creativity that is a gift to Canberran designers and to local fashion-lovers.
Tegan grew up in Canberra and works at the National Portrait Gallery, growing Hustle&Scout around her full-time role. It’s not easy founding a business, and Tegan says her biggest challenge has been her confidence. “Putting myself out there, being bold, being vulnerable and taking risks… Starting my own business from scratch with little money and little experience behind me was terrifying. Being afraid of failure is something that has troubled me in the past, but the more I push myself out of my comfort zone, the more faith I have in my abilities.”
Hustle&Scout was born from a long-standing love for fashion and an increasing desire for Tegan to throw herself into a big creative project. In the lead-up to establishing the business, Tegan was inspired by Canberra’s flourishing design scene. “I really wanted to be a part of that and I recognised a space to introduce a beautiful event that would celebrate Australian fashion and design and give small businesses an opportunity to promote their labels, and also give Canberrans the opportunity to access beautiful fashion.”
Tegan says: “Canberra has tight community support for small business. That has been a really beneficial thing for me because I’ve met so many amazing people who have been willing to jump on the Hustle&Scout bandwagon and come along for the ride with me and give me the support and advice that I need.”
Tegan loves the extremes of the four seasons in Canberra, and the proximity of everything. “I love being able to drive fifteen minutes out of the city and be close to nature—and of course I love that it takes me ten minutes to drive to work in the morning. We do great coffee, markets, galleries and museums, bike trails, bushwalks, BBQ and picnic spots—the list goes on.”
The creative scene especially has really thrived in the last few years. Tegan thinks the greatest challenge for Canberra in the future will be to really “invest in and nourish the true heart and soul of our city, particularly as we start to evolve and expand”.
Most of all, as a Canberra woman, Tegan adores the friendship. “It’s being able to have a tight network of other beautiful, inspiring, courageous women around me who I can draw on for support and advice if I need. We might be a little city, but we’re strong and supportive and we help each other out. That’s why I think we’ve got some big things coming!’
Discover the rest of our 15 Women to Watch in 2015 here.
Read about Nellie Peoples, Meegan Fitzharris, Zoya Patel, Belinda Neame, Louisa de Smet, Heidi Stratford, Dr Sudha Rao, Carla & Emma Papas, Tara Cheyne, Sally Moylan, Kylie Travers, Kaleid, Julie Okely, Michelle Melbourne and Joanna Allebone.