5 life lessons from our personal experiences.

2018 has been a very interesting year for us at Staavias. As the sole owner of Staavias, every move I make both personally & professionally has a huge impact on the business. I know you're probably eager to find out what's happening with Staavias!!!! Well, keep reading, you're about to find out...

On 30th December 2017 my family & I relocated to Australia. We decided we wanted something different for our family, for our sons and we agreed it could be a good move for business too. It's been 10 months already!! We've enjoyed every minute of our new life here in Aussie, boys are settled, we've found a great church, made lots of friends, we're all very active and just enjoying life. Definitely the best decision for the family. 

As you can imagine, relocating an entire family to another country requires a lot of planning & work before, during and after. I made an executive decision to put Staavias on hold so I could focus on getting my family settled - it was only supposed to be a temporary thing. When I say Staavias was on hold - the website was up, our social media was up but I wasn't actively working on our business so you would've seen a post here and there, an email probably once but nothing consistent. So I was still working but just not full time like I should've been. 

Staavias being on hold ended up taking longer than anticipated when I was in a car accident early March. I had bruising around my jaw line & neck, across my chest and all around my upper body. I had also injured my tail bone when my body flung back into the chair, I suspect my tail bone hit the part where the seat belt clicks in. It was so painful, I couldn't stand for long periods or sit at all and I was told it was a 4 - 6 week recovery period. 

In May, I accidentally inhaled a lot of carbon monoxide when I walked into the garage one morning at 4.30am. My husband was warming up the car for work but hadn't opened up the doors. I was half asleep and didn't even notice. Within 10 minutes I started feeling dizzy & light headed and my eyes were getting really heavy. I tried to fight it and still went to the office that morning. Well, I didn't last long, I ended up in hospital that day, spending approx. 8 hours on oxygen to get the carbon monoxide out of my system. I had to rest afterwards and so again, Staavias was put on hold even further.  

Ohh don't worry it gets better - Last month we moved out of our first rental, the lease finished and I couldn't stand the home owner so we opted to leave. Our new house wasn't ready so we moved in with my brother & his family while we waited. We moved everything to his house, then 2 weeks later moved everything to the new house. Moving houses in general is a nightmare and just so much work!! But when you have a landlord from hell, it's like never ending - one thing after another. Again, Staavias had to take a back seat. 

Although Staavias was on hold, I was able to still finalise our new collection of 46 shoes. It took me a good few months  but got there in the end. As per our process, once designs approved they're sent to factory for sampling. Due to the size of the new collection, our factories started getting lazy, picking and choosing the "easy designs" to do. Given I couldn't travel all communication was done via text/emails.  When they were due, I noticed the samples were smaller - when I asked, I found they couldn't be bothered doing it in my size. HOW RUDE!!! I couldn't really tell them off from here so I've been trying to get them to make them in my size. They've started now but it was just a huge waste of time for everyone involved. So disappointing!! 

I went to NZ for the Samoan Business Awards end of September, where I was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 award. What an honour it was. Such an amazing experience, I spent the weekend in NZ but on my way back, I started having chest pains mid air, I ignored it at first once it went away. One morning while I was at my desk, I legit thought I had a heart attack. All of a sudden I felt so much pressure from my back onto my chest, spreading to my shoulders and underarms. I was struggling to breathe, felt like my air way was blocked. I had a client in front of me so I couldn't panic but she could see the discomfort in my face and pushed me to call a doctor. After describing my symptoms, I was admitted to hospital. Doctors did thorough checks as they were 99% sure I had a heart attack too based on what I described. They were so puzzled when all my test results showed I was super healthy and nothing at all wrong with me. It was so strange, in fact the weirdest thing ever. 

A few days after the hospital stint, I went to the doctors to follow up as directed. What he told me next was a bit of a surprise. He said "I think you have anxiety from all the stress of everything that's happening in your life and around you. You have your family life, your business, your work, your children's new school, your children's weekly sport & fitness, your big move, temporary accommodation, fighting with previous landlord, samples & suppliers not done but not being able to travel to sort it out and the pressure of not being able to provide new styles when everyone is waiting for them and you run on 5 hours sleep a day - you're only human Gustavia" You're going to get worn out very soon if you don't stop. I smiled and replied "Well, when you put it like that, wow that is a lot". He recommended some medication and rest. Now if you know me personally, you'll know how paranoid I am that I don't even take panadol. 

After that visit I went for a long drive by myself with my music on blast, it's like my 2nd favourite me time after getting my nails done lol. I started reflecting on my year thus far and I finally realised, wow it has been a lot. What a year!!! I do think I have stress and anxiety but very minimal and to a certain degree - I mean I usually get stressed out and anxious when things appear dirty or people are too close to me lol or when things don't go the way I want it to go - I actually think that stresses out everyone right?? LOL The doctors words repeated in my head, wow it really made me think about life and how we only get to live life once. Y O L O

You know to really summarise what my experiences have taught me this year, I have a few points:

  • Choose your battles carefully, some are not even worth your attention. 
  • You cannot do everything on your own - It's ok to ask for help.
  • It's also ok to have a rest - business doesn't go anywhere. You'll come back from your rest and it'll still be there along with all the headaches that come with it LOL 
  • Enjoy life, don't be so focussed on moving forward all the time. Enjoy the moment with your loved ones. Make memories especially with your children, they're only young for a short time. 
  • Nothing is ever wasted, every thing happens for a reason. God's timing is always perfect. Always take the good and leave the bad. Truth is my experiences have helped me grow as an individual, as a Mum, as a wife and as a businesswoman. 

So now that we all moved in and settled, I feel like I'm on fire lol ok may need to relax there a little lol but I'm super excited for the future. Things are falling into place now, Staavias is picking up as I've started working on it. Knowing what I know now, experiencing what I have, I feel motivated and inspired to keep pushing forward. This year has been a year of persistence and overcoming challenges. 

Have you had a similar experience? Share your stories in the comment section below, I'd love to read them. If you enjoyed reading this blog, share it with someone you care about, someone you know will benefit from reading this! Sharing is caring! 

Can't wait to hear about your stories below! 


Gustavia xo

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Good morning Gustavia…..WOW…what a Woman you are….
I have been through a similar situation but not having a business is definitely a game changer….

I had been an Uber driver here in Brisbane for all but 3 1/2 yrs, one of the 1st women to drive here in Brisbane. Although scary and daunting at first, it was also liberating for me. There was a lot of respect for Uber drivers back then in amongst the angry Taxi drivers etc etc.s…
I thoroughly enjoyed driving and getting people from all walks of life to and from their destinations, be it work, airport, out for dinner and drinks etc etc…. I was nominated Uber Woman of the Year 2 yrs running so that was very liberating for me. I had had my ups and downs of course like most people…but in this 3 1/2 yr stint I had been through alot of health issues…2 kg tumor removed from my uterus causing me to have a hysterectomy…12 weeks off work, 8 weeks not driving ( nearly killed me) lol. I also though I was having a heart attack put it off for a few hrs then it got so bad, I called the 13doctor number asking for advice, when she said “Leeanne stay where you are do not get up, make sure you are in a safe place ( I was on a lazy-boy chair), stay calm, I have just called an ambulance and they will be with you shortly”….OK I said why, " because I think you are having a Heart Attack"….. Ambulance arrived, they came in and assessed me, took me to Prince Charles Hosptial….many many tests, admitted to their heart dept, lots more tests and drugs and finally 12 days later the Drs came to me and said I had Pericarditis!!! WTH!!! What is this I asked??? "It is fluid and inflammation around the heart…..So treated with more drugs and sent home to rest, time off work 6 weeks…..Exactly 1 yr later I got it again…OMG who would have though I would get it again…back to hospital, treated and sent home…..They said If it happens again, which they think is unlikely, then they will have to drain the fluid around my heart and put like a talcum powder in so that it seals the gap around my heart. Thank goodness I haven’t had it again….

Fast forward to now, on Jan 11 it all came to an abrupt holt. I had been out Ubering and had just dropped clients off at the airport. I was on my way back up the highway at Nudgee, when all off a sudden a bang and noise and shaking happened to me…A truck had hit my drivers at the rear…his tyre had connected with mine and dragged me 450-500 meters up the road, me hanging of for near death and pushing my feet so hard to the pedals and floor of the car and holding the steering wheel so tight!!……OH how many things went through my head at that moment….I definitely thought it was my last moment in life…For sure it was my time, I was going to die!!! Well I didn’t..thank you god :)
I was not visibly hurt other than shaking uncontrollably , white, wanting to be sick and almost fainting….I was taken to hospital for a check up and released on rest and panadol….I did tell them my back was sore, but the concentrated on getting my blood pressure down.
So a few days later I went to my doctor as I was sore all over, my wrists hurt and had pins and needles ( i already had the beginnings of carpel tunnel) but this had made it worse instantly, I also had pain and numbness in the bottom of both my feet….This is where the scans, specialists and medication came in….and having to sue the trucking company, of which we are still going through. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, Carpel Tunel, (1 surgery done another to go) and worst of all is the nerve damage that I now have permanently in the bottom of both feet. They burn like I am walking on hot coals all the time, I get very sharp pains in them, they swell, they hurt to walk, I can’t wear any of my shoes anymore, walk far or drive far for that matter. I have found 1 pair of Jandals (Thongs) that are so comfortable called “Oofos”, but I go through 1 pair every 2 1/2 – 3 months and cost $80 and am now on medication everyday for the rest of my life. I no longer drive for Uber and cannot go back to work as I cannot stand or walk for long, I cannot sit for long…I cant drive far and now just sit at home getting board…I have great friends that will often say let’s catch up…but some days I can’t go anywhere as I have this fear of going out….Sometimes when I am in the car driving or a passenger, I a truck comes along side me I panic and hold the seat tight and cowl down into the seat away form the truck, also if I hear screeching breaks or a siren or helicopter it makes me feel very uneasy…. I can sometimes go out no problems at all and other days just can’t go past my door….We are down to 1 wage, which has made the struggle more real for us and made my hubby have to work much harder, I find this very difficult more now than ever.
So yes life is tuff, daunting, lonely and sometimes we don’t appreciate the good things we have…but you and I both know how precious life can be…I appreciate my life more now than ever…..I am about to turn 50 and that scares me too but hey I can’t change that, so here is to a whole new year…Bring on 2019, 2018 can stay right where it is…. lolol
Good luck with your business, I believe moving your family to Australia was definitely a good thing as we did this yrs ago now and have never looked back… Take care and one day maybe I can try on a pair of your shoes and be able to feel comfortable…
Take care of yourself Gustavia…

Cheers Leeanne

Leeanne Clarry

Just WOW!! you know sis I was thinking the same thing – you were a working machine doing so much not knowing one day your body will give in. You truly give the words SACRAFICE & COMMITMENT a whole new meaning sis. BUT u do all this for a reason, a future for your boys and bringing reality to life with your great ideas.. you are such an inspiration and I say that all the time because it is so true!! Love your strive my sis LOVE how you dont take no for an answer because you always find a way… love you loads sis, just know your health comes first, look after yourself, sometimes it’s good to take that step back and enjoy what you have accomplished this far, you are your biggest critic sis so dont be so hard on yourself.. So proud if you always!!❤❤❤

Helen a.k.a MZ Janet 😁

Wow it was a great read and an eye opener as I too have had sharp pain off and on this year and people that know me know I don’t go doctors I actually now wonder if it was and is stress related. I think I need to change some things and have more me time


Can I just say you are bloody awesome. Love your drive, persistents and honesty.

My team & I just got back from Pacific Runway 2018 and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This year we’ve been slowly considering moving to Aus and after this trip my enthusiasm has jumped 10 folds.

Love reading about your journey it gives a mama & designer like me hope that following your passions and living your dreams is definitely a possibility.

All the very best xx

Sheena Taivairanga

Glad to hear everything’s all good now with you/family and also your business take care much love x

Maina Lepaga

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