Sonia Lear left behind a career as an international journalist to sell pizza from a retro caravan.
Sonia Lear was living in Mumbai working as a journalist; a career most can only dream about.
With a communications degree and also a Masters in International Relations and Politics under her belt, her days were spent shooting for a handful of programs for the ABC, including the 7.30pm report and ABC News. “It was my lifelong goal to work as a journalist, and I was loving it” Sonia says.
But her partner Remi Pham, who is an aeronautical engineer, tried to convince her that they should start a pizza business from a retro caravan, deciding life was too short to work in an office every day.
Now in Melbourne, Sonia wasn’t convinced until the untimely death of a friend, which helped her let go of the fear of change and agree to give it a shot.
“Once I made the decision to get on board, things just flowed. Realising you’re afraid, and that fear is what’s holding you back gives you massive opportunities for growth,” Sonia says.
“Take baby steps. And try not to have too many expectations of the outcome. The journey is by far the most important part.”
A new beginning
Happy Camper Pizza launched four years ago. At the time, Sonia already had a baby and was pregnant with twins. Remi continues to work as an aeronautical engineer to this day.
Keen to make their mark on the flourishing Melbourne food truck market, they imported a 1960s Airstream caravan from the US and plunged $200,000 of borrowed money to transform the caravan into one of the city’s most iconic food vans. “We had to move in with my Mum to make it happen.”
They initially relied on street trade, but they have since diversified into private catering, including weddings, and attending some of the country’s biggest festivals. Recent corporate clients include Qantas and Ray White Real Estate.