Building a business in the midst of adversity

By Rebecca Plant

Tara Baker and Arlia Hassel, Dancing with Her

They say love conquers all, and this week’s episode of Boardrooms and Bedrooms offers up our most inspiring struggle-to-success story on the podcast so far, and a solid lesson for all couples in business.

In 2015 Tara Baker and Arlia Hassel were enjoying a carefree holiday on Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth, when a simple accident saw Arlia airlifted to the mainland for life-saving surgery.

The journey that followed was a challenging one for the couple, who overcame the odds and got engaged 18 months later. Their search for wedding inspiration exposed a massive gap in the market for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) community worldwide. Seizing the opportunity, the pair created Dancing With Her, a magazine and blog which celebrate sexually diverse women in love.

With around one year in the business behind them, Tara and Arlia have a lot to share about how their business has evolved and the challenges they’ve faced during that time. Their story is full of inspiration and a testament to the power of love, perseverance, and patience.

In this episode we chat about:

  • What is Dancing With Her.
  • How their business is disrupting the traditional wedding industry space.
  • The accident that left Arlia fighting for her life.
  • Tara’s experience supporting Arlia alongside her family.
  • How Tara felt not knowing if Arlia would even remember her.
  • Their conversation about marriage just hours before the accident.
  • Arlia’s rehabilitation and her expectations for the future.
  • How the accident has changed Arlia.
  • Why they started their business.
  • What motivates them to persevere, despite the challenges.
  • How they have pioneered the LGBTQ+ wedding space globally.
  • The process of getting started and how it has evolved.
  • Why they choose to limit their print run.
  • Their backgrounds prior to going into business together.
  • Their message for wedding vendors.
  • How they manage the workload and their business relationship.
  • The impact of the business on their personal relationship.
  • Discovering their strengths and designing their business around that.
  • The biggest thing they learned in the first 12 months.
  • What they wished they had known at the beginning.

Episode resources:

For more about Dancing with Her…





Thank you so much for listening to this episode — we would love to read your comments below. Our goal is to share these valuable insights, information, and ideas with as many couples in business as possible. If you enjoyed this episode and know someone else who might too, please share it amongst your network. You can also leave a 5-star review in iTunes, that way we can inspire more people together.



About the Author

Rebecca is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Institute for Couples in Business. Bec is also trusty wife to husband and business partner Ed, and mum to Samuel, 4, and Charles, 2. For the past seven years Bec has been working with business owners, and her Super Powers include making complex problems simple, creating strong connections, and motivating teams by building kick-arse culture. Bec is also author of #1 best-seller Lead-The-Ship and hosts popular podcast Boardrooms & Bedrooms.