Artwork for podcast Get That Good Life! Conference Replay
From school to international fashion runways with Tia Semi, Gina Semi, and Samantha Powell
Episode 191st September 2022 • Get That Good Life! Conference Replay • Imagine More
00:00:00 00:31:32

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Follow Tia and her team on their journey of discovering meaningful employment for Tia, driven by her interests.

Tia’s journey began with a desire to ensure her post-school life was not dominated by screens and solitude. She had an interest in fashion, design, and modelling. Her team explored this interest with her and tested creative methods of designing that didn’t involve sketching or drawing. As a result of this process, Tia has created her successful fashion label, Funk N Soul 97, and has become a runway model.

In this presentation, Tia walks us through every step of creating her Polynesian-inspired fashion ranges to show the unique ways she works.

You will learn about

  • the support Tia received along the way
  • how Tia’s business is structured to be sustainable, and
  • how you can get started on your own Microenterprise journey.


This session was introduced by Laura Esplin

Hi, I am Laura Mary Esplin. I am a year 4 student, sister and gymnast. I am here to introduce Tia Semi, Gina Semi, and Samantha Powell. 

Tia is a fashion designer and a model. She lives in Western Australia. She owns a fashion business. 

Gina Semi is Tia’s mother. She helps young people with disability reach their work goals. 

Samantha Powell works for Valued Lives. She helped Tia to start her business. 

I hope you enjoy listening to Tia, Gina, and Samantha.

Meet Tia Semi

Tia Semi is the founder, owner and creative force behind Funk N’ Soul 97. She is a proud Polynesian-Australian woman with disabilities, living in Western Australia. Her vision is to create, push boundaries and inspire. Tia aims to make connections with people, teach people to see her abilities, accept her for who she is, and teach them to accept differences.

Tia designs and creates culturally inspired fashion ranges which have featured in local, interstate, and international runways. She also is a successful model. She has walked the runway in Australia and New Zealand.

Tia has been invited to participate in New York Fashion Week’s Flying Solo “Ones to Watch” event as a model and designer in 2022.

Meet Gina Semi

Gina is a hairdresser by trade and has owned her salon for seven years. She could see that there were no suitable employment options for her daughter, Tia. Local service providers did not offer the support Tia needed to reach her goals. So Gina started building connections with other like-minded parents and working with Tia to discover what work would look like for her.

When the Valued Lives Microenterprise Project was born, Gina worked there in a volunteer capacity. During this time, she started building Tia’s business and supported others to do the same. Gina now works as an Innovative Employment Advisor and helps people to fulfil their employment goals.

Meet Samantha Powell

Samantha is a West Aussie with a lifetime of experience in disability. She has held volunteer roles and governance positions in the Not For Profit sector. She has qualifications in business, community services, advocacy and education support, including a Bachelors degree in Community Development. These have allowed her to put her unique perspective to use and to empower people with disability.

Samantha is values-driven and approaches everything she does with authenticity. Her work at Valued Lives allows her to follow her passion for creating more employment opportunities for people with disability. In doing so, she hopes to change attitudes around disability employment.

When not at work, Samantha is busy being a soccer Mum and cat lady.

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