AFTER a journey of self-discovery, Barellan's Mel Forebutt has finally realised a lifelong dream.
Mrs Forebutt opened Maple Lane, a new clothing store in Leeton at the end of January.
But there's more to the story than just a new business opening its doors.
Originally from Young, Mrs Forebutt has worked in fashion retail for many years, thriving on the thrill of meeting new people and dressing them for any occasion.
With an eye for detail, but also wanting to empower women, the spark in Mrs Forebutt was planted early on to own her own clothing store.
Married with three children, she has also worked in administration and assisted her husband on the land.
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After moving to Barellan about five years ago, it was the change the family was after.
It was also this move which prompted Mrs Forebutt to start thinking more about her hopes and dreams of opening her own store.
"I guess you could say for the last four or so years I've been on a journey of self development after struggling with depression and anxiety," she said.
"Working through all of that is where I discovered that I really needed to go and do what I wanted to do. I just didn't have the confidence in myself to do it.
"That is something my husband and my friends have always said to me. They've always believed I could do it.
"Now that I have done it, I have just come alive. It's not just a shop to me. Yes, I am providing a service of clothes, but to me, it is more than that."
Maple Lane is a clothing and retail store in Pine Avenue, it's got a fresh new decor and Mrs Forebutt prides herself on giving every shopper a personal experience.
She loves empowering women of all ages, sizes and backgrounds, wanting to leave each with a spring in their step when they walk out her door.
I guess you could say for the last four or so years I've been on a journey of self development after struggling with depression and anxiety.Maple Lane owner Mel Forebutt
"Every woman deserves to be able to shop and feel comfortable when they do ... I'm concentrating on being size inclusive and having those messages out there of being empowered as women," she said.
"I am so passionate about that."
Being an "outsider" to town, Mrs Forebutt was initially hesitant about how her new store would be received by other business owners and the community.
However, she needn't have worried.
"I have been absolutely overwhelmed and blown away by the support of the people here in Leeton, as well as the other business owners in town," Mrs Forebutt said.
"I can't thank everyone enough. It's been amazing."
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