The below is a guest post from the Founders of TransGlitterUs, Gabby and Irene.
As the new-age business story goes, it all started with COVID, but this time with a twist. As Australia saw a 13.8% historical high in job loss, and anxieties were high, Founders of TransGlitterUs, Irene and Gabby, took a leap of faith in a compassionate bid to help others who need support.
Gabby, a Transgender Women, felt very little support growing up knowing from a young age she was born in the wrong body.
“I had very little to no support when I was growing up. My family typically said, ‘That’s just a phase and you will get over it’. I was lucky to survive. There were some very dark and difficult times.”, says Gabby. “But now I’m proud to be who I am and to be seen. It’s all worth it to be who I truly am”.
TransGlitterUs was started to help others in their early transition – where it is needed most. With the assistance and determination of Gabby’s partner, and dedicated business partner, Irene, the couple has helped over 25 clients.
“Having someone whom you can always call and talk about anything without being judged and has the same life experiences of trust and confidence has been very rewarding for us”, says Irene. “Receiving just a simple, ‘Thank you for everything you two do’, are the most rewarding words,” she continues.
Volunteering their time, and self-funding experiences, Irene and Gabby assist Transgender Women with fashion tips, helping them go shopping, to doctor’s appointments, and makeup tips and tricks using their own brand of makeup. They offer makeup tutorials with no obligation to purchase. For many Transgender Women, the first step to “come out” in public is to start to wear makeup.
“We introduce the vast majority of our products to them, let them try it out, explain what each product is used for, and help them to find their true colours”, says Gabby. “In public, it can be quite stressful and uncomfortable due to the fear of being judged or not being served. We try to avoid those embarrassing moments and offer intimate sessions”.
By volunteering their time, Irene and Gabby have experienced some of the most enriching, heart warming moments of their lives; including setting up a client with “the love of their life” and assisting a young Transgender Woman to receive her driver’s licence.
In light of National Volunteer Week that took place earlier this month, to those considering volunteer work, Irene and Gabby have this message –
1. Plan it out
If you’re taking a gap year or looking to turn your volunteer business into a not-for-profit, make sure you have a strategic, detailed timeline and budget planned. Seek some professional advice on what services you may need and don’t forget to allocate 12-20% of your funds to marketing.
2. Support and be supported
You’re doing a wonderful, selfless thing. Sometimes it can be difficult volunteering full-time. It often means making sacrifices to your personal life – particularly financial luxuries. Surround yourself with people who understand, support and respect you.
3. Money isn’t everything
A smile and a hug from those you’ve helped bring more joy than money. Yes, it might not pay the bills but knowing you’ve helped someone change their life is much more rewarding because they will come back and will spend money on you.
About the experts
Established April 2020, TransGlitterUs is a double-sided business; not-for-profit, free support for Transgender Women and a brand of high-quality, affordable makeup where proceeds go towards funding the support. Located in Callala Bay, New South Wales, Founders, Gabby and Irene, offer their time and support to anyone who needs to talk to someone who understands what they are going through. They meet up with clients throughout the New South Wales region – welcome anyone to their safe space in Callala Bay, and offer online sessions to those who live interstate. TransGlitterUs also offers free makeup tutorials using their makeup brand. Irene and Gabby introduce the products – what they’re used for, how to use them and colour-match – with no obligation to purchase.
Image description: A selfie of Gabby and Irene. Gabby, on the left has shoulder-length purple hair, is wearing dark purple glasses and a blue blouse, and it smiling. Irene, on the right, has shoulder-length dark brown and bright red hair, is wearing purple lipstick and glittery eyeshadow, a fine jewellery necklace, and is smiling.