Hear Shelley's story so far...

Primalista’s Shelley’s 1st Anniversary

by Helen Marshall

We are celebrating Primalista Shelley’s one year anniversary! It’s been one year since Shelley joined Primal Alternative and Shelley has been kind enough to reflect on the last twelve months and share her story with us.  Shelley thank you for your amazing contribution to Primal Alternative to date!  I admire your energy and drive and positive nature! You have been an amazing Primalista Sister for other newer Primalista’s coming in and learning the ropes.  I have watched you step outside of your comfort zone to achieve amazing things – such as catering for the guests at The Gut Movie.  I look forward to celebrating success with you over the next twelve months.  Take it away Shelle…

My name is Shelley Wakeham.

I live in High Wycombe which is at the base of the Perth hills, I’m in my early 40’s, a mum of 3 young school aged kids 11, 9 & 6 who keep me on my toes even when I don’t expect it.

Through my childhood until adolescent, I grew up working in my family run Bakery Business in country Victoria. It was a busy family  business with everyone involved, from my parents, my brothers, sister, Aunties and Uncles, cousins, even our mates would chip and help out, my best friend growing up because I was never allowed to see her much, she would come and help bag bread rolls just to spend time with me.

Shelley - Primalista Australia

We all worked around the clock running the family business which grew over time, with over 50 staff, having 2 bakery shops, a large bakehouse, delivering bread, cakes, pies to the surrounding towns including the snow fields. My family was very business driven but also loved to connect with the surrounding community. I had a great upbringing but I remember in my teens, I would never run my own business – it was too hard. Well we all think everything is too hard in our teens.


But I didn’t even know it at the time, how working from a young age has turned me into who I am today, to be strong and independent. I also believe things happen for a reason.


When I left school I wanted to be in the admin field, and over time, I have worked from bar work to driving trucks in the mines, where I injured my back (2003) and finally ended up working admin/accounts in Perth, since working back in Perth, I met my partner who became my husband and we had our 3 kids, I was lucky enough to take time off to be mum and able to return to the workforce.


But over time I found it hard to try and be mum, a wife, work a job that I was good at that fit around my family, basically to juggle everything and expect to do it all, to be the superwoman, but on the inside I was breaking and there had to be another way.


I had just returned to the workforce, after a 4yrs break, I was looking for part time work but nothing was available to suit me, so I took a full time Accounts payable job, it was nice and close to home but don’t get me wrong it was tough to be full time and still try and do everything, up until Jan last year I didn’t know what I wanted to do in my career, I was happy to keep doing what I was doing.

they would tell me I was in the wrong job and I should be changing careers – making cakes.

During my time working I would take in raw cakes and treat and share and see what my work colleagues would think, they would tell me I was in the wrong job and I should be changing careers – making cakes. So that was it, time to quit my job , years ago I would of second guessed it and go nah your all crazy talking but something told me to do it, so I put a few things in place, with my council , had a lot to do but took some time off to visit family and research what I had to do plus talk to my mum and get some pointers, no sooner had I returned from my trip, I injured my back really badly – to where I had to have surgery immediately, (now as you read before I injured my back, I had a prolapse disc and bone degenerative of my L4/L5, plus bone fragments floating around)

Now as I said things happen for a reason, as I was recovering from my back surgery, I was not in a good place mentally – the medication was pretty strong so I was not able to do too much, or think straight, but what crossed my mind a lot was if I feel like this, how am I going to function let alone make a cake, surprising I got better slowly and reduced the medication, during this time of recovering, a little Ad popped up on Facebook for the Primal Alternative Franchise, it was a light bulb moment went off and I thought `hey that looks interesting’, I will have a look at it later on, a few days later it came up again and I showed my mum who was visiting and helping while I was recovering, my mum thought it was quite interesting too, so I thought to myself , ‘ok I’m going actually watch the Demo, I got through not even 2 mins of it and went – yep I’m doing this, its for me’, I didn’t even watch till the end, I got straight onto emailing Helen and talking and saying I was really keen, I think it was a week and then I wanted to signed up and I hadn’t even tried the products.

ok I’m going actually watch the Demo, I got through not even 2 mins of it and went – yep I’m doing this, it’s for me.

And when I wanted to sign up I just needed 1 person on board to support me through the journey, my husband, it took me a week to build up the courage to ask him and basically tell him this is what I wanted to do, we chatted and he was on board the whole way, now I have to admit its been a whirl wind journey where I have barely caught my breath, but I do enjoy the days where I can do nothing.

So when I signed up to become a Primalista, I signed up because I felt that this was where my journey in life was directing me, I have a passion to cook yummy food and share it with others, and knowing that its tastes great as well as be good for us. To see the peoples reaction and telling me that it taste amazing or its delicious, tells me that I was doing something right and this is were I was suppose to be.

It wasn’t very long after signing up that I had approval from my council, as it was a low risk business model, my raw cakes will have to wait a little longer, but that’s ok.

I have a passion to cook yummy food and share it with others

I was lucky enough to be invited by Chicken – Charmaine Willing who let me into her beautiful home and showed me the ropes to get going, thanks Chicken. I was then given 2 stockist straight away as one of our Primalista’s Nicola Berna was taking a step back, they were Manna Wholefoods and Fresh Provisions in Mt Lawley.

I was in the process of looking at the markets near me, my shire in Kalamunda ran 3, a Friday night market, Saturday once a month markets and the Sundays Farmers Market, I submitted a Temporary Food Stall application and was approved to work at all 3 but thought I would start with just the Sunday farmers markets and see how I go and then maybe next year I will look into the Saturday Market, I went to a few Friday night markets and feel its is not the right fit for me but that’s ok.

So every second Sunday I have a spot at my local Farmers Market, which is all local produce in the surround area, from eggs, honey, fresh fruit and veg, cheese, organic meat plus your food vendors, etc. I have my regular customers who come each time and say hello, I also meet new clientele who have a different story about their health and the journey they are on.

I was approached by the Saturday Market Manager and was asking why I wasn’t at the Saturday Market?

In Jan this year I was approached by the Saturday Market Manager and was asking why I wasn’t at the Saturday Market?  I sent through the paperwork and before I knew it I had a stall at the monthly Saturday Artisan Market, which is all crafty homemade products, I have fitted in with a few healthy food stalls, that would all compliment each other if put on a platter.

So here I am now a year later and I have 6 stockists, plus 2 markets.

My 6 stockists are  amazing and I love them all, they all have great qualities and the people are so welcoming and supportive.

Manna Wholefoods in South Fremantle– a groovy little health café/supermarket shop, that has everything from organic produce to eco cleaning supplies, just about everything you would need for your home.

Fresh Provisions in Mount Lawley – A one shop stop that has everything that your normal supermarket has but even better.

Paddock and Farm  Paleo/Organic Butcher/café, amazing assortment of organic meats plus organic produce, amazing lunch menu too, they also have in house events each month, that have been something to talk about and want to book in for the next.

Earthbound Organics  A hidden gem, a little organic shop in Roleystone that I was very proud to stock hot bread straight out of the oven, this was only short lived as they sold up and moved to NZ.

Harpers Food Market in O’Connor – Once you walk in you are amazed at how cool everything is.

Peaches Fresh Food in Fremantle – Another Supermarket that has everything you need from Organic to Gluten free, dairy free, all the range to support your needs, when I walk in, I don’t know where to start as I want to explore each isle, because I might miss something.

Hills Fresh in Mundaring – I approached this stockist last year, but they were interested but felt it was not right for them at the time, with the support of our customer base, I am now suppling there, a wonderful fruit and veggie shop with organic produce as well.

I’m in the process of looking at 3-5 more stockist but the ones I have at the moment are keeping me pretty busy.

When I first came on board and talking to H, I was asked what my passions were, where I want to go with the business, how much money I want to earn, and I thought great I was happy to work 2 possibly 3 days and I wasn’t interested in how much money I would make – it was not something that I felt big about.

Don’t get me wrong, it would be awesome to have a very well-paying job, but in reality, sometimes it doesn’t always work like that.  I thought as long as I found a job I was good at and enjoyed and able to pay the bills and put a little aside, I was ok with that.

I basically wanted to be able to take my family on a holiday.

I now work anywhere from 3 days to days where I’m working everyday 7 days a week, I enjoy the days where I’m not doing anything Primal Alternative related as it gives me time to enjoy the other things that I like doing that get pushed aside, such as housework – yes housework I know!

But I am getting the chance to meet some amazing inspirational people and even getting to meet my idols along the way, such as Pete Evans, Kale Brock, Helen Marshall, Bendy Benz, and soon Luke Hines and Quirky Cooking!

I’m getting opportunities I never thought I would dream of having, owning my own business and possibly being successful [H: you are successful Shelley!],being at events that sell out around the country to people who are passionate as much as I am.

I’m getting opportunities I never thought I would dream of having, owning my own business and possibly being successful

As I take each day as it comes, I don’t know what’s around the corner, there is always an opportunity to grasp and take hold, along the way hopefully inspiring my kids to be the best they can, and that they can do anything.


Find out more about becoming a Primalista.



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