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My Background

From North Central News December 2021


MH Gifts and Melinda’s potted plants is a new business venture LAST Friday was International Day for Disability that celebrates and raises awareness of people with disability and equitable opportunities in all aspects of life. This is a perfect opportunity to feature a story of a well-known family the Hewitts and in particular Melinda Hewitt. Melinda has recently retired from her position at the St. Arnaud Laundromat where she has worked for nearly 24 years. Not one to just sit around and do the gardening, although Melinda does plenty of that, she decided to start her own business. Using her own garden as her stock supply, Melinda makes up small (6-8inch) pots using cuttings such as geraniums and rosemary in her little pots-of-colour. With recycled pots and potting mix on special, Melinda has also obtained a permit to sell her products in front of her house in Canterbury Street. Melinda is making the most of her new business venture and also selling many of the craft items she has made over the years. These are marketed under the ‘MH Gifts’ brand and incorporate the logo that Melinda made at school in Year 7. An honesty system will be used with a box for purchases of the plants, but on Wednesday and Sunday afternoon Melinda will be on hand at her stall selling her crafts and also Manuka honey (the authentic New Zealand one) and hand cream. Melinda’s mother Maree Hewitt says that they could not have done this without the support that they get from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). “Melinda is a very positive story that comes out of the NDIS. “It is very exciting” she concludes

If you would like to check out a story about me in the Inlife newsletter.

When a hobby grows into a small business 

A love of gardening has sprouted a new opportunity for Melinda Hewitt, who has recently set up shop in her hometown 

December 23, 2021

When Melinda Hewitt moved into her own home 15 years ago she gained independence and discovered a new passion - gardening.


But it wasn’t until she left supported employment in November that she was able to channel that interest into her own small business. 


Melinda’s mum, Maree Hewitt, said her daughter, who has Prader-Willi syndrome, hadn’t shown much interest in gardening growing up, but as soon as she got her own place - with lots of green space - that all changed.


“She took it on as her garden and she’s maintained it,” Maree said. 


“A couple of weeks after moving in she asked for a lawnmower.”


Melinda, an InLife client from regional Victoria, said gardening made her “happy” and her favourite plant was “lavender”.


And her green thumb has been the inspiration for her own small business.


Melinda now has a plant stand outside her home selling mainly geraniums and succulents. 


But the business has also recently evolved to include resin-based craft pieces such as chopping boards and fridge magnets, along with potpourri and Manuka honey.


And the best part of being self-employed is that Melinda can pursue her own interests and learn new skills along the way, Maree said.


Melinda studied computer science at high school, but lost some of her skills, including money handling, after working in supported employment where her knowledge wasn’t used.


“It’s bringing back some skills Melinda had because she feels supported,” Maree said. 


“None of this (the small business) could have happened without the NDIS and also the staff at In Life,” she said. 


The next step is a series of markets across regional Victoria, with St Arnaud's, Dunolly, Charlton and Wedderburn in Melinda's sights. And Melinda is hoping to flex her computer skills again by updating her new website. 

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