27 April, 2023

How cancer and COVID created a colour

FROM cancer to COVID, the past ten years for single mother, designer and entrepreneur Tarsha Burke have been “tumultuous” to say the least.

We Rise Networking Moreton Bay used “The White Room” at the Casbah to host their International Women’s Day event in March.
We Rise Networking Moreton Bay used “The White Room” at the Casbah to host their International Women’s Day event in March.

Even so, Tarsha has continued to give back to the community, support other women in business and is now celebrating the recent opening of her second store in Redcliffe, the Casbah. 

Tarsha’s story begins down at Maclean, where she opened her first clothing and homewares store by herself. 

Not long after, she opened another store in Grafton, which was nicknamed “the colourful shop”. 

“Colour is a big story for me because just six months after I opened my first store in Maclean, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour,” Tarsha said. 

“I was six months from going blind. 

“As an artist and a single mum, it was very confronting.

“So, every day when I woke and could see colour, I realised that it was my mission to be colourful and produce colourful artwork.”  

Fortunately, the tumour was benign, and Tarsha saw this as her opportunity to keep creating and bring colour into people’s lives to make them happy. 

“So, a lot of my merchandise has always been quite colourful.”

In 2016, Tarsha made the move to Redcliffe and opened her store “Colours in the Home”, which was going well… until COVID hit. 

“We were going to have to close down over COVID, but the customers wanted us to stay.”

It was a difficult few years for Tarsha dealing with declined sales and store lease complications, but she managed to “get through in the end” by rebranding to “Capital Blue”. 

Following the pandemic, Tarsha quickly jumped back on her feet and Capital Blue took off. 

Tarsha said with more and more clothing and homeware stock filling the little store, it was starting to get a bit cramped.

Then in November 2022, the opportunity popped up for Tarsha to lease another store in Redcliffe, and with little hesitation she did.

“We moved our homewares to the new store, the Casbah.” 

Located on 85 Redcliffe Parade, the Casbah stocks a stylish range of clothing, homewares and gifts.  

“And we’re just about to get the new season ranges in.”

This year Tarsha has stepped back from her time working in her stores, and is now focusing on managing both businesses as well as creating new designs. 

This year alone, Tarsha has launched three design ranges – placemats and coasters, a fragrance range and cards. 

After working as an artist, designer and entrepreneur whilst being a single mum for the past 20 plus years, Tarsha said she very much understands the challenges women in business face. 

“I think we just have to go that extra mile sometimes because we are juggling a lot. We are still the primary carers often, and sometimes we are also the breadwinner in the family.” 

At the back of The Casbah, there is a space called “The White Room”, which Tarsha hires out to local women in business to run workshops or events, such as the We Rise Networking International Women’s Day event in March. 

“Whilst I could turn it into my design studio, I really want to leave it free for people to use for workshops and I want to offer it at special rates for women in business.”

Tarsha said she strives to do everything she can to give back to the community that has continued to support her and her businesses over the past ten years. 

“I wouldn’t have been able to juggle my business and life without the women and staff around me.

“I’m so grateful for the community around us. The support from customers is fantastic. We live in the best part of the world.”


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