Jack Gaffney and Mariana Raltcheva


Jack 0413 407 319

Contact for appointments

Mariana 0438 478 625

Contact for appointments

Artisan Butter & Self-care Products

Jack Gaffney and Mariana Raltcheva moved to Warburton with a mission to build businesses that will contribute something special to the region.  Jack’s pursuit is cultured butter, while Mariana’s is a range of mindful self-care products that have a natural focus and are ethically derived.

Jack says of their decision to join the YREC Community, “We love having a place to work that isn't our dining table, and that is close enough to walk to. YREC gives us a great way to feel connected to the community.” They also look forward to being active members of the Upper Yarra community.

The couple lived in France for more than 2.5 years before coming back to Australia and settling in Warburton. 

Madeleine Butter

“When we lived in France I was amazed by the range of butters and the quality. I had never really thought deeply about cultured products before, but a love for the complexity and art of the dairy industry soon began to develop. I knew that I needed further education, however, and so I began eating every butter I could find – all in the name of education, of course. I also did a couple of stints on farms in Brittany and Provence to get familiar with small scale production and working with animals.”

Jack’s hero product is a cultured butter made in an ancestral style with modern equipment. “It's a labour of love. The butter won't be just churned out. It will be a very special and delicious household staple,“ he says.  Jack has previously worked in wine and whisky industries and sees many of the same nuances across these industries.

The dynamic business team decided YREC was a great way to nurture new businesses, and the idea of working in a positive environment surrounded by different people all trying to realise their dreams appealed to the couple. 

Jack says, “Without question we want to make the best butter in Australia. Eventually I'd love to work with one farmer and one herd of cattle. I'd love to be able to take whole raw milk so that I can not only make butter, but also a range of other artisanal dairy products too.” 

“But butter will always be my bread and butter!”


Apha.Lab launched in 2017 with two deodorants that are all-natural, ethically derived and free from everything else.Mariana proudly manufactures her ‘free-from’ deodorants in Australia and has two signature fragrances; ‘Grasslands’ and ‘Cactus & Clay’. She has established relationships with chemists and aroma professionals to create unique scents and compositions that are effective and beautiful.  

Under the conceptual pillars of aroma and ritual, Apha.Lab has also collaborated with local homewares brand Lope to create handblown candles, and a ceramicist to create Palo Santo burners. 

Next year Mariana will be launching a perfume and there are plans to branch into home textiles too. As Apha.Lab grows, we should expect to see more of Mariana’s Bulgarian heritage woven into her household offerings. While living in Sofia in 2021, she was able to connect with a textile producer in the Rhodope Mountains and she intends to work with them to bring traditional Bulgarian rugs and blankets to Australia. 

Ultimately, Mariana believes that “little moments can have a meaningful impact,” and she wants Apha.Lab to help us recognise and enhance these daily rituals.