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Sydney, Australia

Rebecca Di Noia

Business Adviser & Founder of Soap De Villa

Came to Australia in 1989, I was separated from my mum, who was a leader of a local gang, for over 14 years and was told that my mother has passed away, throughout my childhood. Until when I was 14, I found out the truth through a stranger.

When I first came to Australia, I could not speak a word of English. Having a 14 years gap, it was difficult for both me and my mother to build a relationship. On top of that, I was suffering from culture shock, so I ran away from home and ended up living in a government-run youth refuge. I stayed there for 2 years until I met my husband and was married at age of 20.

For about 10 years I was helping hubby building his construction business and looked after our 3 boys. However, hubby injured his back and we were forced to close the business down. I then went out and looked for other jobs. Unfortunately, I was assaulted by one of the clients and as result, suffered from PDST and was under specialist care for 2 years.

During the treatment, I suffered from panic attacks and mental blank. My doctor encouraged me to "expand my comfort zone", just a little bit, one day at a time. From there, I went to TAFE and study and to be retrained as Sustainability/Energy Assessor. I was working in this capacity for nearly 5 years, under both Federal and State government-funded programs and helping householders and business in electricity usage reduction.

In 2013, I have decided to start my e-commerce business. I have always had skin irritations and it was hard to find a product that I could use, without causing any issues. I took $5000 out of the home loan and asked myself for a 12-month commitment, and Soap de Villa was born.

At Soap de Villa, our mission is to help Australia looking after their skin - one bar at a time. But also to teach our customers about sustainability and simple lifestyle.

We have been a member of Australian Made logo, since 2013 and are selling our products on our own website, Amazon Au, as well as other large expos and events such as 2019 Sydney Royal Easter show.

We were also part of the Export Trading Mission to Shanghai, China, in 2019, under the funding of Austrade and Australian-China Free Trade Agreement.
Right now I also work part-time as a business adviser, under an NSW government-funded program, which aims to help business owners, to start, run and grow their business.

I work closely with local councils and community groups and facilities business-related workshops and webinars, as well as being a volunteer business mentor for both private businesses such as Global Sister and with Western Sydney Uni.