Supporting small business to change the employment landscape

22 January 2016

Guest blogger: Rosie Donald

My name is Rosie Donald, I’m 28, a cruelty free make-up artist, and YouTube beauty vlogger (video blogger) from Sydney.

I must first note that I choose not to use the word ‘disability’. I don't consider myself as ‘disabled’ nor should anyone else. I believe avoiding this term is the first step in breaking down the barriers and the stigma surrounding people with various ‘life difficulties’ as I prefer to say.

I’m affected by a genetic condition known as Fragile X Syndrome, one of the leading causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders. In my case I am extremely fortunate it isn’t severe like other people with the same condition, although I do have some learning difficulties and anxiety. 

My journey to having regular permanent work has been a tough one and I’m still not quite there.

I left school in 2002 because I simply wasn’t academic enough to be successful.  From 2003 to 2014 I received the DSP or ‘Disability’ Support Pension. It helped me to do TAFE courses in beauty but it did nothing for my self-esteem or self-respect. During this time, out of the many employment agencies I tried, I had one good employment agency which did help me get a job in retail which I had for 2 years before the store closed down.

Then in mid-2014 the rules changed and technically I was no longer eligible for the DSP. I had accumulated enough savings to get me by and with some help from my parents in March 2015 I voluntarily cancelled it.  For me it was a matter of self-respect and the fact that they had done little for me in helping find the work I wanted and needed.

Most of the employment services were useless. They are not well connected with employers who truly understand multiple conditions including intellectual problems.  My best experience was with a homewares retailer that is now primarily online. The manager had someone in his family with problems and so he understood the complexities and understood me. I loved that job but unfortunately the store closed down.

After that I had a few more retail jobs then I worked for 4 years with my local playgroup.  But it was too little work, I couldn’t work my way up in the ranks and at times I didn’t feel I was respected enough.

So the past 3 years has been a very challenging time for me to say the least. After all that, in 2014 I decided I needed to turn my life around. I started working out with a personal trainer and I signed with my third employment agency to try and get a job. Despite my best efforts I got knocked back for every single job I went for. After a few months I cut ties with the agency and focused on my makeup artistry business.

It’s been very slow so far. I’ve had a few jobs here and there but nothing on a regular basis. It’s improved a little in recent months, I’ve had 4 jobs, one of which I did face painting with make-up for around 50 kids for a Halloween event!  I have loved makeup my whole life and have a true passion for it. Small business is tough and I’m trying desperately to create a regular income out of it.

I have applied for more jobs than I can count and I haven’t gotten a single one. The mainstream employment system is broken. Employers are not educated enough on a variety of issues, including ‘life difficulties’

So I’ve given up applying for part time jobs while my business is growing and putting all my focus on my business and making that my job. I cannot take applying for another mainstream job and being knocked back yet again, it’s too hard on top of all the other struggles of living with FX.

If marginalised people create our own business we can change the landscape. That’s exactly what I want to do with my business. I want to be able to hire people that are not getting what they deserve whether they have a medical diagnosis or not.

Please support small business like myself, and if you are interested in learning more about my business, you can find me on YouTube (as part of my vlogs) or on my webpage.  Find me at:

Thank you for reading my story and thank you for your support :)

Rosie xoxo

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