5 minutes with Shirley Yeung from Foxtrot Unicorn – hospitality
I’ve only been behind the bar for five or six years now, but I’ve done every other job in the industry, from waiters to tables to barista to kitchen worker. Moving on to the next challenge was a natural progression.
When I passed behind the bar, he [generated] passion and foresight; there was so much more to learn and constant challenges. I realized there was a bigger community and incredible support in Western Australia that made me feel welcome and at home.
Community plays a big part in shaping who you are, and because the Perth community is so small and tight-knit, it’s allowed me to open up.
I was part of the Foxtrot Unicorn launch team. There were four or five of us initially, and everyone above me left to move on to other projects, so I took on the role of bar manager. We needed to add more people to the team as the company grew, so we expanded and I became the room manager.
There’s a very big difference between becoming a bartender and learning how to make drinks and being upstairs and at waiting tables. The biggest lesson that has added so much value to my life is confidence and realizing that my team was behind me if I made a mistake or something happened.
Unfortunately, gender plays a role in the industry. As the woman behind the bar, I learned that you are judged and misinterpreted before you say anything to a customer. It kind of boosted my self-confidence to do better, learn more and expand my knowledge.
Mix Haus was founded by myself, Pippa Canavan from Mechanics Institute and Reid Günter. He formed [after] a conversation about what we expected from the industry.
Our core mission is to connect and provide support to women and those who identify as female or non-binary in the industry. Hosting safe spaces for them was important as we felt it was one of the main things missing in the sector.
We offer free training and workshops, host collaborations, and host long table dinners and lunches open to the public. We also invite prominent women in our industry to speak on panels and have open conversations where they share their journeys.
We wanted to be able to host events where we could bring in new faces who can get a little insight into our community, what we do, and what we want. We want them to have a real passion for the industry.