Faces of small business now live 


Face of Small Business 2016 - Perfect Again, Portarlington

Faces of Small Business is an inspiring online exhibition that showcases eleven of Victoria's most diverse and creative small business operators as a key event of the Small Business Festival Victoria during August. 

Their stories are told through a series of stunning photos and case studies, highlighting their unique approach to business, now online at

The Small Business Victoria Festival program is now available @


Julie Brand is a woman with a very interesting and diverse career history.

From working as a glass artist in Fitzroy for many years and then as a university lecturer in design, her working life has changed dramatically.

In 2002, Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a mastectomy and an unsuccessful reconstruction which lasted for seven months, she asked her plastic surgeon to remove the breast implant.

“After it came out, I needed a breast form but the only products available at the time were ill fitting, uncomfortable and poorly designed,” she says.

As an artist who had ‘always made stuff’ Julie decided to design and make an external breast prosthesis for herself.

“There were none on the market that appealed to me. I intuitively knew that if I wasn’t happy with a weighted breast form, other women wouldn’t be happy either. So my partner Franco, an Italian ship-wright and a man who can make anything, decided we’d get into it and Perfect Again was born!”

“I think this is the most important work I have ever done in my life.”

After some successful trials, Julie and Franco decided to purchase a robotic machine that uses the same technology as a 3D printer.

About the same time, Julie attended a Small Business Festival Victoria event in Geelong to pick up, as she describes ‘some tips and some contacts’.

At that meeting, Julie met a representative from AusIndustry.

“It was a very fortuitous introduction. Through the Small Business Victoria network, the AusIndustry contact was made.”

AusIndustry then awarded Perfect Again with two Research & Development grants – key to the business’ consolidation.

Julie also credits a local business mentor for helping Perfect Again with expert, objective operational advice about running the business.

Given the advanced technology that they use to make their breast forms, Julie keeps the procedure as simple and as personal as possible.

Perfect Again now makes two kinds of breast form. One is the customised version but it’s the other version that is the game changer. This is the ready-to-wear range of breast forms called Perfect Now. They are the most comfortable breast forms available in Australia today and they are made in regional Victoria at Portarlington.

As far as the business side is concerned, Julie loves being her own boss as all the responsibility comes back to her. Small business, she believes, runs Australia.

“When you look at it, my business story is unique, ” Julie says

“I think this is the most important work I have ever done in my life.”

“After undergoing breast cancer surgery, everything is different and overwhelming. I know, because it happened to me. The business Franco and I have created as a result of something terrible is one we’re very proud of.

Julie’s three tips for other small business operators:

▶︎ Understand where your product sits in the market and the supply chain. It’s no use if you can make a great product, but can’t get it out to your customers.

▶︎ Test the waters as best you can. Research the market and what’s available, so you’re in a better position to check and review. Keep talking to you clients and you’ll only improve.

▶︎ Remain true to your original concept but always stay flexible and open to new opportunities and Keep Checking Everything.



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