Natalie Taylor is well known and loved throughout Australian printing industry circles.
But after 25 years in the industry, the last 13 of those at IVE Group, the time has come for Taylor, and her partner Katie, to fulfil a long-held dream of buying their own business and moving to the NSW South Coast.
Taylor got her start in print from the obligatory Year 10 work experience stint at Sydney publishing company, Torch Publishing.
After school she took up a pre-press apprenticeship at Torch Publishing and from there held multiple roles in production planning, estimating, managing staff and naturally got into sales.
She joined Blue Star 13 years ago as a business development manager and stayed on for the acquisition of AIW and Franklin Web with the business evolving into the IVE Group juggernaut it is today.
Her most recent role has been National Sales Director Web Offset and Distribution at IVE.
“I have been a long-standing employee with two amazing businesses and have had a wonderful career in this industry,” Taylor told Sprinter.
“I have loved every minute of being here. IVE are like family, we are all passionate about our industry and delivering on our promises to each other and our customers.
“I love my customers, I love the value proposition. It is such an awesome business. So it is not that I am unhappy here but this opportunity came up and Katie and I had always said to ourselves that in 10 or 15 years we would pivot into something new and take control of our work and have a better life balance.
This energetic lover of print, NSW Patron of Women in Print and ProPrint Power 50 finalist is set to finish up with IVE Group on September 11.
Sea and tree change
By the end of the month, the pair will be in Woodstock, near Milton, on the NSW South Coast to run Milkhaus, a wholefoods cafe about three hours south of Sydney which serves up local produce and offers a paddock-to-plate experience for diners.
Taylor is not afraid of hard work having led the sales business for IVE across its web offset division nationally and also more recently the distribution arm since IVE completed the Salmat purchase.
Now she will have a different workload to contend with.
Namely 28 chooks, a few ducks, a sprawling vegie garden, citrus trees and an apple orchard that is about to fruit.
“The opportunity came up to buy Milkhaus about two months ago and it just felt so right and we thought to ourselves why wait 15 years to do something like this. I am a big believer that if something is both terrifying and amazing then you should definitely pursue it and do it. So we put the house on the market and now we are off,” Taylor said, adding she has family ties to the area as her grandmother lived there.
“We have lined all our ducks up and we are now about a month away from moving down there now and we can’t wait to immerse ourselves into the business and local community, it’s a pretty cool feeling to know we will support local farmers and growers and continue to deliver an amazing food experience to the loyal customer base.”
She said she is sad to be leaving IVE Group but said everyone has accepted her decision and has been very supportive.
“Both Darryl (Meyer) and Matt (Aitken) were really respectful of the decision and they know my partner, Katie. When I told them why we were thinking about this and what our plan was with the venue they were really supportive. Obviously it is sad to see me go but equally they are really excited that we are being brave and going to live a life with no regrets.
“So many people have just said you are so brave to do this and funnily enough how they would love to do something like it. Yes, it’s scary but I’ve never not given anything a good crack and I’m determined to make this venture successful. I will certainly know how to upsell, especially when it comes to wine and fancy cheese plates.”
“Everyone says that owning a cafe is hard work but it is no harder and stressful than what I do now. The hours are long and I am used to being in stressful situations so this will just be a different stress.”
When Taylor finishes up, Steve Maidens, the current General Manager of the Web Offset business, and Richard Clark, general manager of IVE Group’s Silverwater site, will take over her role.
Kellie Northwood, the CEO of paper and print association The Real Media Collective, said the industry is losing a tremendous asset with Taylor’s departure.
“Nat has been a passionate industry advocate, from her role in Women in Print as NSW Patron to a regular judge at the ACA and Real Media Awards and also sitting on TRMC Executive Committee,” Northwood said.
“Her energy is contagious, however not to be unmatched by her intelligence.
“Natalie Taylor’s strategic mind, business acumen and solutions focused approach to the commercial world are well revered and I’ve been very privileged to work and learn from her. Our industry is losing a tremendous asset and I personally would like to thank Nat for her tireless work, support and most importantly her friendship over the past years. I wish her all the best in her next journey, like everything else she embraces – she’ll knock it out of the park.”
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