Behind the Business
24th February 2021
This week we are hearing from - Julie Okely, Dilkara Australia
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Julie, a proud Kamilaroi woman born in Coonabarabran NSW. A Mum of two, living in Canberra - our bush capital.
I’m the brainchild behind developing Dilkara Australia and the refillable model that we offer on many of our online products. I’m a published author and I have been involved in business since I was 19, when I bought my first Hairdressing Salon in Sydney, whilst completing the fourth year of my Australian Hairdressing Apprenticeship.
This successful ownership led to an interest in buying and developing a total of five hair salons over the past 25 years. My professional portfolio includes ownership of many businesses, many owned and operated in Sydney and Canberra.
Can you tell us about your business?
What does Dilkara mean? It means Rainbow; the reason being that rainbows and Hair Colours have many similarities, but it’s even deeper than that.
Dilkara represents 4 main components:
Spiritually- to connect the product range to my heritage
Visually- to describe range of colours and hues that are seen in an actual rainbow and where new beginnings begin.
Emotionally -to unite the different skin tones that are seen within the people of the Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples.
Physically- to indicate in the tints and dyes found in our hair community.
The Dilkara logo design incorporates specific Indigenous patterns as it brings the culture to the brand. Each Dilkara Australia – Original Formula product has been given an Aboriginal name to connect it to both culture and the organic environment, with botanical themes that have been selected for the brand.
Ingredients for Dilkara Australia – Original Formula have been sourced from local Indigenous communities. Julie have chosen to work with these groups to assist them to achieve authenticity behind my supply chain, and because I know of the integrity and knowledge that has been taken to grow and harvest these native elements.
Industry do you operate in and for how long?
I operate within the highly demanding Beauty and Retail Industry. I have been operating within this space for the past 32 years as a business owner, advisor and product developer, which has seen International growth during this time. I’ve held multiple positions of influence within the Hairdressing Industry. My experience includes management of the core operations, financial targeting, HR management, industry education and staff development programs. I have always been interested in buildings the salon team around the core salon vision.
In recent years I’ve melded my Aboriginal heritage and business knowledge as I started the process to create my first range of hair care products utilising native Australian ingredients and soon, my drive and passion that saw Dilkara Australia and Dilkara Australia – Original Formula come to life.
Dilkara is a range of Hair, Skin and Hygiene products that are Natural, Nourishing, Environ friendly, with Sustainable packaging. Dilkara Australia is Vegan and Cruelty Free and without Synthetics.
Where is your market (local, regional, state, national?
Dilkara Australia has an extensive reach. We service all local, regional, state, national and International clients through our unique website at dilkara.com.au and third-party International beauty sites. (Amazon coming soon).
Is there any other information or encouragement you would like to share with other Indigenous Women?
“Success is an unpredictable and challenging road and you’ll develop many skillsets along the way.”
“Try to focus on one thing and do it well”.
“Celebrate the little wins and look for guidance from those that have done it and learn from them.”
“Follow your passion and always Start how you want to Finish”.