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How Fashion Designer Innika Choo turned her passion into a biz, the power of building communities

Welcome to episode 4 of Female Startup Club with Fashion Designer Innika Choo.

My name is Doone and if you’re new here, let me bring you up to speed. I’m a year and a half into my own entrepreneurial journey with my sparkly jewellery brand called Kincs and I started this little corner of the internet to connect with all the badass female founders that I’m inspired by on the reg - and all you really need to know is that by subscribing to all the cool stuff we’re putting out there, you’ll have knowledge, tips, tactics and strategies delivered straight to your ears / straight to your inbox and straight to your social media from the world’s most successful female founders entrepreneurs, and women in biz. I’ve created this space for women-in-progress (like myself!) to learn more, get inspired and take action to getting what you want out of your career.

This next episode of Female Startup Club is recorded with a dear friend of mine, Innika Choo. She’s the founder and creator of her namesake brand Innika Choo; beautiful, luxurious handmade and embroidered smock dresses. We talk through what it’s like to turn a passion into a business without having any qualifications or experience in your industry, the power of building communities and how she got her brand stocked around the world in major retailers like Net-a-Porter and Selfridges. And at the end of the episode I’ve added in the 6 Q’s that we filmed for IGTV, so stick with it!

Make sure you’ve subscribed to the newsletter to have her 6 Q’s delivered straight to your inbox.

The 6 Q’s we’re asking women all over the world:

* What’s your why?

* What was the thing that made your biz pop?

* How do you win the day?

* Where do you hang out to get smarter?

* When faced with failure how did you deal with it and what did you learn?

* If you only had $1000 left in your biz bank account, where would you spend it?

You can check out her biz here: and find her on Instagram @innikachoo & @innika.

AND you can find me (Doone) on Instagram @dooneroisin with the real life interview videos with female founders and a lot more questions I’ve been asking at @femalestartupclub. If you get something out of this episode please subscribe and share on social media so other women-in-progress can access the knowledge as well.

Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!

Today, I'm chatting to a dear friend of mine Innika choo. She is the founder and creator of her namesake brand, Innika Choo, she makes beautiful, handmade and embroidered smocks. We talked through what it's like to turn a passion into a business, the power of building communities and how she got her brand stocked all around the world with retailers like net a porter and browns fashion and when you finish listening to this episode, make sure you check out her beautiful pieces on instagram at Innika Choo

00:01:32Edit Um okay, so I'm going to set the scene a little bit, we're sitting in a bedroom were in Byron, we haven't seen each other for how many years? Seven, five. It must be 87, It'll be about seven years. Yeah. I think you're working for iconic, right? Yeah. Yeah. It was either 2013, It's such a crazy long time. And to be like on a whim when I saw you were in Australia, I was like, no way, maybe she's going to come to Queensland. Yes, but this is so good. I love it. So just at the scene were having a wine on the floor. It's pretty great. I want to go back to the very beginning of indicator with the label and why you started what you started, what was the decision to start the brand? What made you start the brand? So I hadn't, I don't know if the brand came first. I used to get my mom like, all through my childhood, I used to, I think like everyone's mom, they're really good at dressmaking and sewing.

00:02:42Edit And mom used to go out to patty's market in Brisbane and we'd get the scraps of fabric and make up things. I remember I'm spending hours sort of cutting hand making patterns of things that we found all these old vintage patterns and that was kind of like every weekend and every weeknight, um, that was mom's hobby and my passion and sort of say I want this and then she'd sort of find a way to whip it up and then we started getting vintage pieces that would be like sort of oversized new moves and things that no one else wanted and we would sort of cut them short and tweet them this way and that was, that was, yeah, I loved all of that sort of stuff. And then church dances, of course if Brisbane girls, like you had to have a matching outfit, so we'd come in these little ridiculous ensembles and so, so funny to have pictures from that time, I think so, so I'm floating around and see, oh my God, yes, a glittery girl, A spirit girl. Oh my goodness. Um and so yeah, that's been what happened then, of course I lived in London for a few years and then I got back from and collect advantage everywhere we went and got back.

00:03:51Edit You have been amazing wardrobe, There's lots in there, it's a lot in there, it would be trashed to anyone but treasure to, I think a handful of people I think definitely treasure, definitely. Um so then I ended up in Dubai and um anyway, cut a long story short used to um there's lots of amazing tailors and device were used to keep continue. Obviously mom wasn't around to help me sort of tweak things. So I used to go to these beautiful taylor's um and um down inverted by and around there and get things tweaked and get things made and then when I met my husband, we moved to Singapore and the same thing, there's always access to this incredible, like, little roadside tables, little tiny things would be like $9 to do a him or you know, you get, if you got a good relationship, you get $5 to get to him and you sort of hitch up this maxi dress into something that was illegally short and that's pretty much how I funded my wardrobe was vintage pieces on Ebay that I tweaked and then got to bali and Continued doing that and then there was one piece and this is about when instagram kicked off and a couple of my friends who are like, you know, got amazing businesses now, like their instagram was taking off and it was beautiful Zoe from mr jimmy and um yeah, she's just incredible, incredibly inspiring person and an amazing businesswoman and she was just a friend and um and then also clear jet set, so they were both like very um and I think just the way the algorithm was around there and it just happened that people like casually found like not many people, I didn't have that many followers, but I think just by being in the realm of those two, a few more people saw and um yeah, I wore some of the silly pieces that I've made on instagram and from that.

00:05:41Edit Yeah, well I think I saw 10 pieces without having a real business and I still have met some of the people since then, like I was one of the first people who bought one of your pieces and they're still like, very proud of that. And they were really quite like interesting customers. Like amazing people as a lady who owns uh do you know the brand manager? W yeah, it was one of the, one of the, one of the very first customers. Oh my gosh, I know amazing all the way over in new york. Those people, I find the same with King's. I have girls who have been with me, like from the very beginning, they obviously now follow me personally as well. We chat all the time, obviously have never met because I only do online, but so loyal. Yeah, and I just so love them. It's like you're the true kings girl. Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, just these, I don't know law of attraction, these amazing relationships with people that kindred spirits I guess across the planet.

00:06:43Edit And then Another one like because you go through how a handful of is one of 10-10 pieces. And then I made another 10. And um then I think I did, this is like over the space of six months. And then I think I made another 10 pieces and started casually website and that's when you thought, oh I could make this into a business versus like I'm just doing this because I truly love it. I did love it. I didn't have a dollar to my name. So I, these people would, or they paid on pre order and then I went back to the factory and they waited six weeks and then they all received their beautiful pieces. It was like they have any any money at all. And I was a young mom. I had two little babies and my husband was working full time. This was purely a passion project. Yeah. And it just happened. Yeah. And then, so then we, yeah, set up a little Shopify website and we're like, what do we call it? So my first ever set the label and they said in a car and then I was actually being mature should be in the car. And then I went in to register a domain and Annika dot com had been taken a funny story taken by my ex boyfriend.

00:07:51Edit I know I paid for it when I've forgotten and he'd been renewing it all those years and I couldn't get in touch with them. It was an old boyfriend from Germany from years and years and years of great house. That's a funny story is like, damn, it. Don't ever let someone else pay for your domain name. Yeah, Yeah. Back. And he thinks he didn't have any way. So I reached out his long story anyway, so then it became many kids because that domain wasn't taken and it's a great name. Yeah, I love it. Um So then I fell pregnant with Dante, my third little bub. So, um, and it was all very casual and I think I created another, sampled another collection. And then pregnancy, you know, is pretty hardcore, especially having two other little bulbs. So I didn't take it that seriously. And then had Dante was to sort of coping with life. And then I got an invitation, still sampling still getting together a collection knowing that I would pick it up when I could string a sentence together because you really lose your mind why I personally like, you know, takes a little while for me to bounce back to reality in childbirth.

00:08:59Edit And then early, you know, having kids. Anyway. Um and then we got a call from a lady who runs a trade show in Miami and she had been having dinner with um uh one of the buyers from actually from having Nichols and just by chance you have been having to, have you seen this brand? And she was like, oh my God, and I love this brand. And she called me up and told me this whole story, she said, so I want you to come out to Miami and we were like, oh God. And Dante was six months old, I think at this stage. And so we had, it was a week and a half before and oh my gosh, yeah, so plan and I hadn't even planned on having let alone a wholesale business through and running like I knew I wanted to keep making these beautiful dresses. But yeah, so we're like, well how we gonna even charge wholesale? We don't even have priceless wouldn't even have looked books. We don't have anything. So we had to then work backwards from there and call it a week and a half. We didn't even know what the, what the market was for a wholesale like, you know, if it's 2.32 point, we didn't know any of these sort of market anything.

00:10:07Edit So we literally got on the plane and said, well let's just hope we can at least cover the costs of our flights. Um and so left the kids, all three of them. This is the first time. And yeah, I went to Miami into this trade show and just happened. I don't know what the stars might have been a line that you're not sure. But we had this beautiful stand and it was next to across from mara Hoffman um and next to um, who else were next to flagpole, this gorgeous swimmer brands that are coming very budding beautiful girls and next to linda Farrow the designer and just down from and so all of that was just by chance you were kind of dotted in around these other amazing designers. Yeah, I have a feeling that the boost had had one of the uh Bruce had become free or someone couldn't make it and they were just trying to fill that space and they needed some something fresh and new and we just got lucky And was it expensive to do the actual trade show?

00:11:08Edit Yes. So it's a big up front kind of cost. Yeah, Yeah, we yeah, we did sort of negotiate a little bit too saying, look, we can plan on doing hostels. Yeah, it was still a big investment to get there and let's just hope that we can cover our investment to get there. And it just happened that yeah, the buyers from all the buyers happened to walk past because they had to walk past. So, um, yeah, I think if if if you're going to invest in going to a trade show, I think asking where your breath is going to be, it's really important and putting yourself with not competitive brands but brands that you would want to sit next to in a space like online, if you're going to be positioned next to these beautiful brands, try and put yourself so that visually or that your buyer is going to be merchandizing you already as they were doing? Yeah, I do other in those stores. Are the designers also in those stores or is it staff at the trade show? Sorry, Is it the designer that's like kind of they're selling the brand to the buyers.

00:12:13Edit Like, were you the only brand owner who was there doing that? It's not as common to see them, but they do pop in so that you I did actually meet mara, she came and introduced herself and came over because I feel like for you a strength is you write like you sparkle, you're someone who has like a lot of vibrant energy, you radiate warmth and you're just so lovely. So I also imagine that's like something that's so important for you to be in the store and be selling your own brand. Whereas maybe other brands don't have that person who is truly like this is my brand, you know what I mean? Yeah, it's an interesting thing putting your name on something. I like I truly mean it like I really want to look someone in the eye and talk to him about why we've got this piece and how it feels when you wear it and I want to see their expression when they try it on and see them sort of start to sway or dance because they put it on and they feel beautiful. Especially that that is that's actually why I do this. That's that's the joy you see what I get out of it and that would be why as well, you can just resonate like so easily or you can stand out so easily in in those situations I imagine because buyers would see you and meet you and be like whoa, like I get it.

00:13:25Edit Like I get the brand, I get what she's doing. I get it all, it all makes sense kind of thing. I'm terribly awkward in these situations, but for some reason, um yeah, they've been very, very, very kind to me and we've been, yeah, relationships we do have with the buyers are great, they're really cool and I'm terrible on email. I always reply way too late if not remembering to reply or thank God Pen is a little bit more than I am on email. I'm notoriously bad. Um but yeah, somehow, yeah, it's better to get me on WhatsApp. I think so, I think some of the guys, I've got this little relationship where I'll be like, oh, sorry, and um yeah, but no, it's good, it is really lovely to be able to do that. And then also, um for our customers to be able to do that as well, like if you're selling a product then through another store, which I'm not selling it directly um for them to be able to continue that conversation that we've somehow started, whether it's through photos or through instagram chat or through DM or um yeah, somehow, to be able to, for that customers to still buy it on a larger retailer or in a store, like in Selfridges or in brands or to go into, you know, matches or, and then to still feel like they were continuing that conversation with me.

00:14:41Edit Yeah, that's yeah, an interesting thing, but really important. It's really important. And then if they start to wear it and then someone sort of stops him in the street and says, oh, I love your dress and like, oh, and then they, then your clothes have that wow factor. I imagine like girls would stop girls that they see in the street to be like, what are you Wearing? We get we get people writing to us. That's probably the most common thing that our customer service receives emails. Like I've worn this dress and I think probably five or 10 people have stopped to compliment me today and that's how women feel when they wear the dress. I'm not a technical designer. I've never learned how to do this stuff. I've learned by looking at vintage pieces. So I've learned by taking a vintage piece and then looking at the scenes and all the old old techniques like they didn't have overlooking machines. So I don't use any overlooking. Actually, all the factories will be like, no, no, it'll be faster to this. But I don't, I don't want that because when you do a french seam, there's like, just that added little bit of detail that takes that little bit longer time. It's just that little bit extra weight in the garment.

00:15:43Edit And you feel it whether you technical or not, whether you know how garments created, but there's something when you put it on, it just feels like that little bit of extra care went into it and then you cherish it and you want to wear it for longer and people notice it. Yeah, and that's how you feel, ultimately. It's how you feel. So that's the um that's the buzz, that's what I feel special, give everyone. Yes, definitely. That's amazing. Yes. And so just to rewind a little bit when you were at the trade show, that trade show, what happened like what happened when you walked away from that trade show, you had people being like, yep, let's place an order. Like how did it work? Yeah, so we weren't really sure what to do. We had gone on Keynote and no numbers. I didn't even have Excel, I didn't know how to use Excel. This is I didn't even have a university degree. So I was on numbers on apple numbers and I sort of typed up um some sort of like, you know, look book and line sheet and um order form and just this particular trade show cabana um you don't, but it's actually not allowed to bring in extra props or anything that you have these beautiful clean racks and they kind of make it look like a retail stores which is to our advantage because of course we didn't have a budget to be investing in this beautiful fit out.

00:17:01Edit And personally I find them quite wasteful anyway because it's just quite a short time use. But so yeah, we had this, we rented the coat hangers um and uh I've gone and bought some beautiful big green one out to the wholesale flower market, bought these huge flower arrangement and put it on this tiny little desk and we just sort of waited. And I remember one of the buyers um from one of the huge retailers who was particularly stopped, You know, everybody wants to be in the store, everybody wants to be a retail store. So she has to walk around with a baseball cap on, you know, like people like people know absolutely and whispers on the street and you know, we didn't know but we did have this massive floral arrangement. And so I honestly believe she had sort of stumbled over behind these flowers. And then I was like, are you hiding behind my flowers? You know when I was being a little bit cheeky, I think I've actually had a bit of a rose a at that point because it was in the early afternoon and they come around with these credits are beautiful these days.

00:18:09Edit And anyway, so I had a little cheeky rosie and then we just started chatting and then she goes and by the way, who are you? And I was like in a car and just like, talk me through your collection and I'm terribly awkward, but I talked from the heart and told her about what the pieces were and had made a little giggle. And then, yeah, we got an email a few weeks later and that was a massive shock. But that was one of the retailers. And then I guess it's amazing. Yeah, very exciting. Um uh so, and that's, you don't know who the buyers are at the same time and sometimes you'll have sort of two or three buyers and you stand at one time and um of course you have to give everyone the same amount of attention and show it and very patiently, like sort of just explain each piece and you want to give all of that beautiful story, but it's three people there at the same time, Turns out we had three, usually the major stores, if they all know who each other are, if they see another person in the, in the stand at the same time, they'll wait and they'll come back, but it just happened, there was a few. So um yeah, it's an interesting thing having to um yeah, for someone like as someone now, you've been through a few different trade shows and speaking to someone like me who's never done one at all, would you recommend as that is like a key thing to do if you're gonna go down that journey, if you, if you um if you think the wholesale model is going to be beneficial for your business.

00:19:31Edit Absolutely, I think churches are, they're so social, you meet the same or if not similar people, ways, similar brands and you see the same faces and everyone's lovely, like I know you hear awful stories about the fashion industry, but my experience, people are lovely, they're genuinely kind people, the new Yorkers are amazing there and actually all the americans, Yeah, they're just so high and genuinely got so much to talk about. I'm really happy to see you and always asking about the kids and um but I guess that's instagram as well, isn't it? So just um remaining true to who you are, and then you know that conversation that I started talking about before that I feel like instagram sort of being this almost that I've got a greeting, like there was this hello, how are you got this, like leading to a conversation without realizing it or you've been pen pals online and then you meet in real life, I forget that we actually don't know exactly, I get that all the time. I have like a relationship online, someone Yeah, it's like some cool brand or some cool girl and then we meet in real life and I'm like, oh my gosh, I just actually forgot that we haven't met before, but that familiarity is so it's really, it's just because it's online, it doesn't mean it's not sincere, like you truly, truly the reason why you gave your time to them even when they were online anyways because you're interested, you're a kindred spirit that some sort of, it's a wonderful thing, we're able to like connect and attract even more people than we would have if we have to stay in our town and not being online.

00:21:03Edit You know, it's incredible. It's really amazing. And so I wanna, that's a nice lead into the next part that I sort of want to talk about, which is your focus on community and the pop ups that you're doing all around the world and how that came about and how it's kind of like evolved into what it is now because you just had to pop up this weekend with the beach people in Byron Bay and I see that you've done a few of these now. So I want to hear more about that. Yeah, so I guess like fast forward from what we're talking about before with the online. Um, you know, we then I started uh, you know, our brand was on net a porter and then matches and then, you know, browns and sandwiches and all these beautiful stores and so um uh and then our economy as well was steadily getting more attraction. We started to be exposed to more people and then it was purely online. So as we were going with the business, um, the communication we had with people was all by email or by DM or by instant messages on instagram.

00:22:04Edit Um, and so the way our product, like our product is so beautiful and volume is and um, you know, the quality of it, but sometimes I wasn't taking very good photographs of it or not able to shoot it in the right way. So I wanted people to see it in real life because a big, like a more common feedback that I was getting was um it's so pretty in real life, it looks even more beautiful in real life or the quality of it, you know, these sorts of things, so I was like okay, I have to get this, people need to see it. Yeah, absolutely. Um and so I can't remember how we got invited to Singapore, but Singapore was uh like interested in the data. It was um you know, really, really well, I lived in Singapore, so I had a great, really very loyal friends who were supporting the brand and and then their friends and so we were like let's go to Singapore. Uh and another friend who had a homeware store had said, oh I've got a space, you should come. So the week before we were like let's go, we didn't really plan it, I barely posted it online, I think I posted um did an instagram post and then did a couple of stories and then another um um like called Grace Tales, The Grace Tales had reached out and said oh you should do an instagram takeover.

00:23:22Edit It's um Grace tails, It's like a beautiful um it's founded by an expo editor, Georgie ARB and she founded like these stories on motherhood and early motherhood and she has a really loyal following and um yeah, so she asked to do it instagram take care of us. So I did that. Yeah. This lovely little unplanned opportunity. Yeah, I don't think I did it very well, mind you, but still, I'm sure all of your content is so, oh my God, no, the opposite. I love your content. I love like your words, the way that you take pictures is all of it. I'm just obsessed. Sorry, it was very awkward and a bit forgetful, but anyhow, so we did this wonderful pop up and just the rush of being able to finally like meet our customers and see people who had heard about the brand or had seen a friend or a friend had said, oh you should pop by. And and then when they were like, oh no, I can't wear that.

00:24:24Edit And I was like, please just try it on and people were putting these things on and like, I never thought I would love to wear this dress, but I love it. And I just couldn't leave without this beautiful piece. And we still get these comments, I'm still wearing a beautiful dress and people sending photos in of how will you address today and got these beautiful confidence. And I just, you know that so much it's not, it's not something that you wear or you invest in and you wear it once. It truly is something that tears on, it's still that beautiful piece and like, oh I missed that piece. I should think about doing something similar again because of course, once we sell this beautiful piece, that's it and do huge quantities of every round or every style every couple of ways so they try and keep it, you know? Um So it's been yeah, really, really lovely to be able to, that was just such a buzz for, not just for me but for my beautiful stuff as well. Who are also purely online with the relationship with the customer service then with how big is your team by the way? Um uh contractors mostly and I want to three, there's about seven of us now, so yeah.

00:25:32Edit Nice little family. Yeah. Extended family. Yeah. And then a few additional bali or their around the world, Around the world. Around the world. Yeah. Yeah. Um and so it's been really lovely just with different time zones and being able to look after our customers who are also all around the world. Yeah, it's been great. But that's the ability of working online, isn't it, that we can all yeah, just meet great people and yeah, I have an amazing girl who does not woman, I always say girl, but I mean woman who does my graphic design and I have just so many like, I don't know experiences where you find these people and you're like, gosh, I want to work with you somehow because I can see how talented you are and I want to make it work in my business somehow. And because I travel a lot, I can't have obviously someone that works in an office because it's also not the lifestyle that I'm trying to make them all about remote workers. And it's just incredible the talent that you find out there that you wouldn't see if you were trying to hire someone to be with you every day.

00:26:34Edit Absolutely. And the other thing is like, I don't, I'm not from a corporate background. I've never really worked in any sort of like corporate structure before, so I didn't really even know, I don't know what it looks like, what it looks like or even what the roles are called. Like if I hired someone, I'm like, oh what would I do it into like an advertisement for what I call that role. Yeah. What does the manager, what is it? You know, what does that even mean? Yeah, basically we're all professional emailers. Let's blast. That is actually 100%. That's what we do for a living all professionally. I worked very good at that. Mind you have terrible and emailing. So when I worked at the iconic on my business card, I had um professional facebook, did you? Yeah, that's cool. It was like professional facebook or like something exactly, like so funny. It make it down like what you do most in any industry in a day. It's communicating. It's communicating. It's communicate. And once you connect with people and whether it's a customer or a retailer or your factory that's producing things too.

00:27:42Edit It's literally just connection, connection, connection and community and that's it when you really break it down. Absolutely. And it takes a while to even figure out um the different, not, not not languages, but you know when yes means no, and today means tomorrow in five minutes means like two weeks and all of that sort of stuff as well. Like understanding the true, I relate the layers of communication. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so to go back to the Pop up, so you had to pop up in Singapore and now you've had them literally all around the world, you had one recently in bali, we do have one, you've had them now while you've been in Australia, I've seen multiple going on. And is that part of your strategy moving forward to continue? You know what it reminds me of tangent and it's like a totally different tangents. Keep up. Where are we now, totally tangent brands like Supreme, like back in the day, you know, they have like meetups and pop ups and like kinda that it creates a cult following really because you get to do these, maybe Supreme didn't have pop ups, but like, you know how they have like limited release things where they plan like an event around that and all these people would come out of nowhere and I feel like your brand is also doing this kind of thing where you're allowing people to be, you're bringing people into your world into it.

00:29:09Edit They get to like, experience it the way that you want them to experience it. And then this creates this like, loyal cult following with people. Like yeah, I'm part of this community that you've created. Yeah, we've become friends. I feel like every time I'm like, stay in touch so many photos when you're wearing it because I truly want to see, you know, and everyone's got to like, I've got this event next week that I actually have been looking for the perfect dress for. I'm like, I can't wait to see or I can't wait for the all dressed up. Yeah, I actually wear your dress every day when I drop the kids off to school and I just love that, I throw it on, but I feel a little bit more dressed up and that's awesome. You know, this is my dress that I just throw on when I get home and I just love to walk around. You know, these are the, I just love hearing Yeah, exactly purpose. Like that's what they were made for. That's what I envision how I would wear them when I'm sort of got this sample or I've got this cut and I'm sort of trying it on in the mirror and looking, how am I going to wear this? What would I feel like what's going to be? No fuss, what would I, you know, throwing and not have to think about again and then, you know, feel great for the rest of the day or that's got a tangent.

00:30:17Edit I just, I love it. I love it. I'm like, you can see the way that the audience can see the way that I'm looking at it. It's like loving doting like child and I'm just leaning back here. Oh my gosh, I love it. I totally love it too, Too buzzy too. Anyway, good. Yeah, So it's fun. It's really fun. What did you ask me? I've forgotten about the pop up and like you moving forward and you're creating these pop ups and just being a part of your strategy, I guess in building the brand. It feels my cup to me. Um it really is amazing to get to meet our customers and person and to see. And actually to get the feedback firsthand as well, that's actually how are collections have grown. We actually started with just that one smarck shape and I did it in various color ways. And then I sort of gradually got feedback from people writing in and sort of saying, hey, I want this. But I love it. It was just a little bit longer. Or you know what that sleeve is just, you know that the ties of the sleeves sometimes get caught in my nephew when I'm changing nappies or you know, this this lovely, amazing.

00:31:28Edit And that's actually how the collection has changed and grown and that's why I'm like okay cool I'm going to do that with just like two more centimeters like so people can feel just that little bit more comfortable or I'm going to make the belt just a little bit longer because it just means that I can, you know that's cool that people take the time to let you know. I love it. I actually marriage it. I love it. And so even with our customer service now uh we've we've got a thing if if you it's like three times a trend if you're here or get a common topic more than three times. It's something that we need to bring up and we need to talk about. And so do they flag it with you? Like on WhatsApp or something or is there like a process where you're like here put these things that you hear? Yeah. Um like to the side and review them on my customer service back to me on WhatsApp for sure. We're very, very big WhatsApp how we were meant to try slack soon. It's meant to be a really good grain. Um But we also have a weekly meeting and everyone sort of talks about it took us a long time to we talked about having this weekly meeting. But um yeah we've all really really cherished actually doing it and um getting it because even though we're all in different departments even though I'm sort of across the board of everything.

00:32:38Edit But um it's amazing how much everyone is integral and every single person's piece of six were accounting team to understand about, you know, I don't know, give you an example, but our customer service basically needs to know every single aspect of the production is going to be running late and our customer service has been receiving emails about a piece that I wore three months ago with a trade show and they went and they caught it out of the corner of the photograph in the back and they're like that pink top, I'm desperate for, when is it coming out? So we need to be really being on communications. Okay. There's a delay with this pink top that's coming in there trying to be like, I've received three emails about pink top, so she will then be able to go back into those, um, customers say, hey, I just got word it's not coming soon or hey, guess what? It's coming out and you're gonna be the first time I got such a personal touch. Like fully, get back in touch. Yeah, that's what's what, Absolutely. No, that's our inbox is full of relationships. It's all community. It's all relationships and yeah, I wouldn't have it any other way.

00:33:40Edit It's really important. I think that, I don't know, it makes it worthwhile. It means something, you know, it's true and you feel fulfilled and you actually absolutely because this is an investment piece as well it's not, it's, you know, a lot of work has gone into making every single government and, and then once you, you saved up, you know, it's it's a lot to invest into having a beautiful piece and then to hold on to it. And I think it's really important that um I don't know, it's really important piece of it. That's so nice. And I imagine all of your customers that's again like what reinforces their. But you know why it's nice is because it's not like a it's not like you were trying to do that as a marketing thing, You're just doing it because that's just you and it's all just a true organic, like authentic thing that makes sense to you and because you haven't tried to do it like that. Do you know what I mean? Absolutely. That's stem from my non corporate structure on my like I haven't learned anything about marketing.

00:34:44Edit I haven't learned anything. I've actually come in it the other way like as a person who also is a shopper, I love to buy things online. I love to invest in peace. And I also have a family. I also, you know know what it's like to, you know, I I am very much my own customer and I understand so when you're doing like the marketing side of things is that you're doing marketing or is a panel, you have someone else that does the marketing. We have, um, uh like someone who has been giving us like a little bit of insight into what the dialogue is and when is it Labor Day because we don't know what's happening in America. We don't know that sort of stuff. Is the U. S. Your biggest market? It is, yeah, new york is our biggest customer. Um and um so I guess she's been giving us a really great insight into what the language is actually industry based. This is going to be like a packing email. But most people and you notice that like all of the big brands, all of a sudden you get all this like pre packing holiday emails. Like there's a general theme and then there's like the all the holiday festivity things is always like a bit of a dialogue that's quite consistent.

00:35:52Edit So we've had that commercial calendar sort of put into our um thing. But then also it's instinct and then I'll have and this is the stuff that I can't plan in advance. It doesn't really work for me if we do planet too rigidly on our commercial, our calendar is like, you know what? I know that this dress is beautiful. I know that women would love to wear this dress. I know how I feel in this dress. So it's not selling. So I've got to make sure like finally show my customers I'll talk about this beautiful piece. So that's sort of very of the women. And so I'll take a photo or um or come up with something. Some way to write a little email and that's, it's still very basic because it's my limited knowledge all time to be able to put into it. But um yeah, or it's even with chinese saying, hey, charlie, you should look to our customer service. We've actually got two girls now, Lauren and shiny. Um Thank a that this piece is so beautiful, you should let them know about this beautiful piece. You know, it's just push this fall.

00:36:52Edit Yeah, put it out there so people know what is there to this? Yeah, yeah, so beautiful. Um so that's um yeah, that's how marketing right now could be planned. A little bit of probably, oh my God, I'm saying many people to me emails either. Yeah, I don't send any emails at the moment. I need to get back on my email game because I find like I started the brand with that really kind of intention of like, I'm never going to send an email, but then I was like, okay, no, to run a business, I do need to send emails and I do need to do those kinds of things, but I still tinker in the middle of like trying not to be overbearing, but then also trying to make money and it's a tough like line, I think, especially when you're like, super creative and you may be like a little bit like, I'm trying to be better at the business side of things and I'm someone that's trying to build a brand based on exactly what I love exactly what I would want to wear. That's the stuff that I make. And I'm like, if other people love it amazing, cool versus like this big grand plan and it's a bit of a struggle.

00:37:56Edit Yes. Yes. It is, it doesn't feel when it becomes like this very regimented marketing structure, it sort of takes the truth if light and the Yeah, yeah. Family. But um there's also, I think so many things on instagram right now, there's people like always constantly got new things to talk about. New people are able to decide what they do and don't read. I think if you don't um that flood their inbox with anything that's obnoxious. I think it's perfectly for you to your email. So in your subject lines and stuff. Oh yeah, subject lines. Good coffee writer. God. I but I totally know that this is also like the things that you write and your instagram and stuff. I just love the way that you communicate. I always like, I subscribed to this. It's great. We always have like a subject line and a second subject line plans, you know in advance, maybe a week before we'll probably do a talk about this and without a doubt, every time I send out the email I got it set up in clear view and just before I'm going to hit and I'm like, no, I don't like that and I'll change it, like I'll redo all the content like right before pressing send, so it's meant to go at six o'clock and I'll end up going out at eight or nine because I've sort of gone out at all.

00:39:16Edit But yeah, the planning thing probably because I'm Aquarius, I'm not sure, but I get quite, yeah, I can't plan too much. It doesn't work for me to just be, I actually quite similar like that. Like I feel like I'm just literally, I'm always like, you know, my friend Sylvia who met at one of the trade shows, she is just amazing because she's so organized and she is like, that's her, that's her thing that she, and I'm always just like, I need someone like you in my life, who is this person that's structured and organized because I don't have that just don't have that bone in my body. I try though. Yeah. It's hard as a leader being like that though and having other people who like, who needs structure. Exactly, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because I know it's it's my piece to sort of really right on instinct and to trust my, how I feel about something and how I feel about everything all at once. Um and to really sort of float with that and to put a whole lot of energy into something because even though it wasn't on the top of the to do list all of a sudden, it feels very urgent to get this done.

00:40:19Edit I do go like that, but when I have other people who have already the day before said, hey, this is really important. This is really important. This is really important. And they've gone off to work on all those things. And then I come in with this grand idea the next day, right scrap that we're doing this today. It's easy for me to do that. But for other people, I'm having to learn that. That's, that's really stressful thing for someone who has got a list and they like to take off that list and they plan in their head exactly how they're going to do it. Probably going to sleep that night right in the morning, I'll get this done this done, this is going to be done like this. On the other hand, it in by this time. And I'm like, no, we're not doing that today. This is important way that everyone else is like, yeah, you're giving me anxiety precisely. Exactly. So, and because I'm a person who is big on feeling so they absorb everything around them. I also, it's painful for me to see me stressing other people out as well. So I got really work out okay, this is really important for me, but I did already ask him to do three other things today before that are totally different to this. So better just wait until they're finished unless it's really important that we're all going on the train.

00:41:24Edit Uh well the two train, I love that fun again. I love it. I love it. I love it. Um but yeah, I guess um we probably attracted, um, you know, the kind of person who is excited by the ride as well anyway. You know, they probably, it's not like I started out being really organized person when I hired them and then I've become unorganized. It's like I've been off the charts since the minute they met me, so it's just like learning to cope. Um but but there's a lot of joy in the job. There's a lot of like when we get these emails from customers or even from the bias from the wholesale side, when we get these really positive response from people, everybody feels it. So um yeah, I feel like even for my friends who are really organized in business and and have that completely opposite approach to me, they're still dealing with the same sort of like what problems are finally going to put out each day and how they're going to do it and how they would approach. So it's just, yeah, it's just how we all cope. It's finding a peace and working through it, I guess.

00:42:25Edit Yeah. And also finding out your employees piece as well, like what really makes each person friday thrive. What do they need to be able to succeed in the business. Yeah. And keep moving forward. Yeah. And go home feeling good about their job as opposed to, I didn't get that done today. I feel I didn't and dreading Mondays. Yeah, that's the worst if you have like someone who's being like, I'm not in it. Yeah, yeah, Yeah. Um, and I want to talk a little bit about like the struggles of building a fashion brand because from obviously the outside perspective, you are building this amazing thing. You've got an amazing community. It looks cool, it's everywhere. But as we were talking about before, there are things that are hard about scaling a business to the size that you are, you're coming up three years and it's starting to grow like exponentially you're starting to reach a point where there are other troubles, um, that you might not have thought about in the beginning and I thought maybe we could talk a little bit about that and what that's been like for you scaling the brand. Yeah, these problems have come, you know, with every success, you don't realize what comes with all of that success and no one had sort of said, hey, by the way, it's gonna be really hard when you get a whole lot of orders because you're actually gonna have to pay for them.

00:43:40Edit You know, you don't know that that's coming. Um, so you go to these trade shows and you think, yeah, really? You know, you ultimately want to please more people than to have more people fall in love with this stuff and know that they also led to their customers, that's the goal. Um And then when that happens and then you get this order and you think, oh my goodness, without having any investors and without having any factoring or having any financial external, basically our e com is funding that our whole wholesale business as well. So um yeah, it's an interesting thing because you are um in fashion your like, you pay for your deposit to your factory when you when you get your order from a wholesale from from the trade show and then you also place your own econ business orders at the same time. And then it takes sort of three months to produce Most of the collections. And then most of the retailers actually pay 30 or 60 days after you've delivered. So that if it's on time. Yeah, if it's on time.

00:44:40Edit That's so true. And then you get penalties, if they're not on time as well, they'll charge you. So that's 6-9 months, sometimes up to a year of production that you are paying for up front. And it's not just one collection at a time because you've got or the winter, you've got resort, you've got spring summer, you've got high summer, you've got all four collections at the same time whether they're sampling the in production there are delivering or their um you know, just being in the middle of south period, like that's all our for collections all year round, always. Uh so a lot of planning in advance. Yeah. And especially like for non organized. Yeah, when I think about that stuff, I'm like, I just don't know how I would do that in advance. You know, like, I feel I'm obviously really early on in my journey, but to me, I'm like holy sh it that's like a lot a lot. Yeah. Yeah. So that's when we got a gun charge gets shot and realize, okay, so if it takes us, we literally had to count it backing it without and we know our production takes a good three months production.

00:45:44Edit And I know I need wood Sort of 10-12 weeks sampling to nail that sampling and to get the products perfect. So I've got to be like six months out from everything. Then you go and work out every trade show when you're gonna be selling it when all the buyers are likely to be investing into that next collection. And then you have to count back from that six months to nine months before It's crazy. Yeah. It is. I think I also read something about Samantha wills her brand when she was running running and she did 10 collections a year. And so imagine that cycle, she was just always like totally forcing like six months down the track alone. And I'm like, wow that you just must have to have such a great support network to be able to keep that up kind of thing every time we hire anyone new, explaining what we're working on it. It takes I think one hole collection, one whole season everyone to get like when we're talking about spring summer, high summer, autumn winter because you're talking about awful collection and then previous old collections all at the same time.

00:46:48Edit It's literally thinking literally like a gunshot like wow. Yeah. All the time. It does it takes love to see you again shot. It's complex and you can't go on with the uh, the other and then that and so it all gets pushed out a lot, a lot, a lot. And so yeah. Gosh. And so then you have to have the capital to be able to get the new collection produced to be able to give to the brand. Yes. And we don't negotiate good um sort of contracts. So maybe you could negotiate to pay a 30% deposit on ordering the goods and then hopefully you can do another 30% throughout towards the end of the production. And then hopefully if you've got a really, if you may be done one or two seasons with your production or your factory, then maybe they would let you paid the remaining after. Um, and that does help a little bit. It might not be when you get your full payment from most of your retailers because remember they pay 30 after the delivery or net 60 but at least it's not having to do that whole 100% up before delivery, but it takes a couple of seasons and, and basically Eagle the trust, exactly that trust on both sides as well, you know, because it's not just like the factory, um, they have to pay all of their stuff every week, every sewer, they have to pay all their electricity, they have to pay all of their, you know, whatever the maintenance is, they're running a business too, so they need to pay workers basically.

00:48:13Edit How did you find your factory? Oh gosh. Because this is also a tough thing. Like I've been through such a journey, I started producing in china, then I shifted to, sorry, moved it to bali Indonesia and now I'm in Bangkok in Thailand and it's been such a journey. It's been definitely my biggest struggle with that will stop without a doubt. And it just takes such a long time to get that foundation rights. And I think I tried to rush the whole thing and then that kept actually putting me like 10 steps behind every time, but it's not at all uncommon to do that at all. I feel like everyone has a bit of a journey, it takes you a long time to find the right people that you want to work with. And then of course it takes a lot of work to really maintain that relationship and keep on making it good for both parties as well. So I it's all through word of mouth, but when I first did that sampling that was because remember I was doing a little, I don't remember, but I was doing a little bit of styling in bali and one of the brands that I had done some styling for. Um I had met the, one of the ladies who did that production because she delivered some samples on the photo shoot and then I met her for coffee, said, can you make this little piece for me?

00:49:19Edit And then that was how that started. But for me to make one piece with this lady, Um and her team were beautiful and they made this exquisite first firsthand samples that I made, also pieces, they were beautiful. But then when I went to make the next 10 and the next 20, um the quality had changed dramatically in Valley So Valley, I love for so many things. It's just the most incredible place. And that's why we love living there. But when it comes to having a business in Valley, it's quite contradicted all the things you love about living the people and the approach and and carefree sort of way of thinking, not carefree, actually very considerate and very spiritual way of thinking is completely polar to like having to be on time and work is the most important thing and about quality and all that because it's all about um people and the job isn't, I don't know, it was yeah, totally. Yeah, totally different thing. Um I totally get it. Yeah, it was hard. I think for my product, obviously a lot of people make beautiful production in bali and I still do a little bit of production there, particularly the screen printing.

00:50:27Edit I love all the hand screen that comes out that we do there, and we've got a good producer there now. Um but yeah, so we moved on, I met a friend actually, I went to the Rugby Sevens and met a friend there who had another friend in Vietnam and she's like, oh, you should go out to Vietnam, and so I did and then started producing there and then the quality was just incredible from a few embroidery. Yeah, Vietnam is incredible. It's just beautiful. And then just this dedication and passion for each piece that they're so proud of, the work that they do and uh yeah, no, incredible. It's not by no means easy working like, in any country, again, learning the language of the land, like what I was saying before about, you know, yes, means no. And there's, you know, timelines are completely, you've really got to try and is the ground trying to figure out exactly what things actually mean. And it takes a long time to really, truly understand and get honest, style honest, but a true dialogue going, but how long have you been with the current factory for?

00:51:33Edit Uh, we've done it will be this is our fourth season with this factory. So now you've really kind of figured out all about language and you usually get it. Yeah. And they fully get it. Yeah, Yeah. You're on the same page. Yeah. It is amazing. And they're really great for sampling as well. They have a whole sampling space and um, with just with sustainability as well, which is a bit of a weird word at the moment because people throwing it around, but it's completely solar energy that's completely fields and fields of solar power that that's actually set by the government, which is incredible for that particular factory, the whole area for the whole area, which is a commercial like, yeah, it's amazing. So it's all and then all of this incredible rain harvesting as well to actually collect all of the water than to be used for dying. Yeah, kind of thing. Yeah. So that's really great. And quite rare to be I think, but it's wonderful that these things are actually happening now, people are actually making people care. Yeah, exactly.

00:52:34Edit Yeah. 100%. Yeah, wow. I met, yeah, this lady and then produced with her and then once I got introduced to someone else, I tried a little bit in china as well, The quality was amazing. I truly loved working in china. But then knock off started to happen and oh my gosh, I've heard this, my school of your factory becomes your biggest competitor. Well, they literally were making my actual product. So there's shops. Yeah, with, and I, the reason how I know, but people are still tagging me and there's knockoff. Yeah, because there's five tiers, not six. Yeah. So although I remember when we went to the far East Plaza and there was all those knockoffs everywhere, knockoffs in those places. Now, I've heard no way progress. It's one of those things where it's like, you're so flooded because you know, you've reached a point where now you're like, okay, I'm a recognized brands. Of course I'm at that point, but then you're like devastated time breaking, but I said there's no control. Like you don't know who was selling those pieces, like I know it remains my pieces.

00:53:37Edit I know exactly. You know the whole line like Yeah, yeah. But yeah, but yeah, when they're making knock offs, you don't know who actually those pieces, circumstances are what factory it came from. You don't know what chemicals are used and the dying process. You don't know anything. Um, you know, it's not my brand, you know what I'm all about. Yeah, I heard the same story. I was listening to a podcast of the woman who started the brand shoes silk and her factory in china again, like they became her her competitor because once they started realizing the volumes that she was doing and she was doing really, really well and she is doing amazing things. They started then producing the same kind of thing. And I've heard that for like multiple different brands. Who I mean, so many brands. Yeah, yeah. I've got friends as well. Same thing. Yeah. Yeah. So what do you do in that situation?

00:54:38Edit So we're hand numbering out pieces now. So yeah. Yeah. I love it actually because that's what I originally did. They lovely customers remember I used to hand number every single piece that we made. And so we're going back to doing that and that's so nice and um, I don't know, just being, I don't know, keep on our toes and keeping the production smaller and when that sort out making it very clear that, that sold out. That isn't anymore, but you can't like sue them or something, is it a big fish to kind of go after or is it just invest some legal into finding out who it was. And we actually went, I think in the end the lawyer had gone to the um, internet provider and had said they're actually creating because they were using our content, our images, just copies of our product. Oh my God. And then customers were then writing to us saying, hey, I bought this dress. It doesn't look anything I can like, Yeah, you, you brought a fake dress about like there's nothing we can do here.

00:55:43Edit I'm really sorry that that happened. But uh, and then the other thing was there actually, um using our photos and then somehow targeting our instagram followers. Both my personal and my brands feed with knockoffs and paid ads on instagram. So that, the reason why I know it's because I was getting screenshots of it for months on end every day. I'd get about eight different people saying, hey, I don't know if you know that this person is telling a knock off of your product with your picture. Like I thought they locked us. So yeah, so that was happening for a long time. So we're sort of still happen. Uh, they're definitely still selling this year. There's a brand in South Africa that's still selling a product and um, and I think Alibaba for sure there's no floating around. But yeah, I think important to know that. Um, yeah, there's no, you don't know who's making those pieces. It's actually really sad situation where it comes from what, what circumstances are. Yeah, it's a sad thing, but it seems to be the way of the land, unfortunately.

00:56:46Edit Yeah. Yeah. It's like one of those things where I've also seen a lot of people on social media, like artists having their work ripped off and seeing it on Ali Express or Alibaba or whatever. And then being like, yeah, I can't do a lot about this. There's no, it's a bit untouchable. Yeah. And then there's also like the Australian said heritage and oh yeah, what do you do in that situation? Do you contact and be like, what the heck? I'm not sure that's a tough one. It is a country road. Also no way the comments section. It's like continue, continue continue. Like customers, loyal customers were following that. They didn't turn off the comments, which is interesting. But I don't know. But yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We actually had obviously. Right. Yeah. It's a quite interesting thing. Yeah. Yeah. We had a I don't know if I can say this or not but one of the designers had reached out and said, look, I used to work in that design room and that the businesses strategy.

00:57:49Edit Yeah, that's the model. Exactly. It's actually what they do. And I think the pressure of these designers, they hired a straight out of university or college or whatever and they have, I'm managing for collections a year. I'd say they're probably doing something similar to what you're saying before, like 10 collections a year. And they have to produce 100-200 skews every time. It's not even impossible. It's not even possible. So there probably scrolling Pinterest and they see something that they think is, you know, on the trend. Yeah. It's commercially acceptable peace or sellable piece. And um they're not even researching who it's from or where it is or what they're just like this. This is the inspiration. And also probably from senior management. That's probably the model is in like find the trends, pick the pieces, copy it Or you lose your job? Yeah, 200 by next week. All right. So these poor people are put under a lot of pressure. So I don't think it's like a personal vindictive thing. We're going to copy. You were going to take your business down, but it is um, yeah, the nature of the landscape they work.

00:58:52Edit Yeah, interesting. But it's very, very common. I feel like, yeah, yeah. Across multiple industries. I know like Jasmine dowling is someone who is obviously such a celebrated Australian artist and she's so amazing. I love everything that she does. And she talks a lot about her work being copied and she really liked pioneered particular style and um, typography and graphic design and all that kind of stuff. And then for her it must be really difficult to see all these brands just knock off her her quotes and her, like her heart and soul, Yeah. Her heart and soul of what she's built and created. And it just must be a really tough thing. I can't imagine what that's like, the cool thing is, it's untapped. Like it's from it's from your heart, there is always more truly mean it and you evolve. You do, you're on your toes. You keep on keeps you moving forward as well, I guess because it pushes you to be like, what else?

00:59:53Edit Yeah. And what's next? And what is next? What's next for you? What's this year? We're at the end of the year, not this year. What's 2020? What's next for you? Um, Pop up. I just loved and cherished. In fact, all of us, we've cherished meeting our customers face to face. So we just want to do more. We want to have a retail space and valley. Everybody comes to bali and writes, Hey, I'm finally here was your shop. Like I don't have one, whereabouts are you thinking? I don't know, probably brava around that way. And between it makes sense because that's sort of where we are mostly and I really can't stand getting over to the shangri shortcut is just that extra shortcut. But I don't ride a motor back. But yeah, somewhere in that area, there is lots of little bits of land rent is pretty high, but I really think it would be lovely to have a space, a permanent space that you can bring to life and reinvent all the time. I think like, yeah, that experience of building a store and building this tiny little nook that's yours that you can constantly add to.

01:00:54Edit And I know that you're really, um, From when I was at your house in Singapore seven years ago, your space is always brought to life in such a way. I always remember your wall at the time. Had like it was just full of those different framed photographs and paintings and artwork and it's just amazing. I can only imagine what you would put in your store. Yeah. And I can't wait to actually have a physical space. Yeah. Meeting people is, yeah, the most important thing. So I think um, I gotta do that quick smart, so if anyone knows of any land, hit her up on instagram. So that's what's been happening with the pop ups as well. They sort of say, hey, just letting you know we're coming to Byron Bay and we're going to be in Sydney and then in the D. M. S will get come to Sydney, I will come to Melbourne, come to Melbourne, I'm like sure got me and suggestions where we should go, you know? Um and so it's lovely for people to be recommending one lady had recommended a place in Sorrento. She's like those spaces here, we'll let you know this is personal stuff, you know, all these like, oh my God, I love these little wonderful interactions and everyone's sort of part of it, you know, part of the journey and we all sort of reach out to our, I am big on like on my instagram.

01:02:07Edit I asked my community a lot of like to like this or do you like this, what do you think about this? Like what about the bags, what about the cards or that kind of thing and by having input, I just feel like people are so much more connected and they're more like, yeah, this isn't some corporate brand, just trying to like do a thing. It's like a real person who has a real care and she's trying to build something for herself and for her community. She's really nice. Thanks so much for chatting to me. I loved this. Sorry for waffling. Oh my God. I mean I love waffles and I love waffling. So I'm all about the waffle so much. Oh God, no, not at all. I reckon this is great. It's full of gold. Um where can people find you? I mean, I know because I stalk you, but like, where can people find you? Um, my brand instagram. Yes. And I have a person look out at any car and my website, Great dot com. I will link everything in the notes.

01:03:12Edit So, so nice to chat. Yes, so lovely. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. Okay. You've been listening to us for a while now, but stick with us. At the end of every episode, I asked the same six quick questions to get more tactical advice directly from the founders. If you want to see the filmed interviews, you can find them on my instagram at dune regime. I want to get started with what's your, why? Why are you doing what you're doing? I just love, I don't know, it's really important to wear and to feel amazing and clothing and I make pieces that I want other people to feel amazing. It as well. That's pretty much every single government, It's like, how would I feel if I was like, what if I walked into a room wearing this piece with? People tend to look, you know, um, you know, if one of my customers was wearing one of these pieces, but they go home like feeling, you know, like they had a beautiful day and I feel great wearing it. That's your brand is eventually like giving women confidence.

01:04:15Edit Yeah. Or tapping into the confidence they already have. You know, just making them, you know, I look really beautiful. Yeah. You're beautiful. And I don't know, a bit more confident to do that thing or to talk to that person or just what a beautiful memorable day. And I felt so lovely. There's something as simple as that or you know what I didn't even try to hide today. I just stepped out wearing this dress and it just happens that I looked like a drink. Yeah. So question # two is what was the thing that made your business pop? Yeah, a big deal moment that you were like, this was a big deal for me. Yeah. The first time I had my first really big wholesale order was actually made my first ever ordered to be honest. That was the biggest deal when someone actually like my first customers, I bought my piece and it was made something that other people wanted was an incredible moment. But then you have to be able to sell to our first wholesale customers and then to see those come online was incredible. That was yeah, definitely a mind blowing experience.

01:05:19Edit But also to share that with my customers as well. Like the people who have already had this relationship whether online or in person or like any, I saw your stuff on the water so amazing. Yeah, that was so proud of you. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It's a very shared thing or even for my friends or my family to say how many I was walking down the street the other day and I saw someone wearing your dress is so exciting to see that that it's a really shared, a beautiful feeling, very exciting. I've spoken about this before, but I listened to the podcast of how I built that with Tobias who started Shopify and he talks about why he built Shopify in the first place was because he had his snowboard mhm E commerce business and he then created the software from that because he realized other people needed it. But what was important to him was the profound moment that you have when you sell your first thing and you go from being someone who was just doing a thing to selling something and becoming a business owner and you realize, oh my God, I actually made this crazy thing and people like my stuff and there's a profound moment that you can never replicate and that one moment is why he built five to like give millions of people that people, I think there's a million Shopify stores now, hundreds of thousands of people.

01:06:36Edit That profound moment, which is so special, So special. What's really cool is it's not just, maybe he felt that it's my husband, my family, my mom, my father is like anyone who had ever sort of, I don't know, that's a really everybody sort of wins in this little arrangement. So what do you, what do your kids think of your label? Total breaking of the format. That's an extra question that I'm hoping to hear questions. Um Yeah, they love it. They love, they love them all these dresses and 80 comes in and she has her little tick back drawings that she could barely even black her name and she was drawing like garments and then having little hours to the thing and then like telling me about the details that she wanted. Yeah. Eddie and idiots. Yeah, particularly um in tune with things like she'll see someone walking down the street just like, I love your broach, you know, I'd love to know where she is. Very like, particular, wow. And then Maddie feels so yeah, definitely. They've always got clothing even say that it was probably used to having dresses in our lounge or just hanging in um well that sounds to the kitchen office.

01:07:45Edit It must be such a when those girls and your son gets older, like looking back and being like, oh, I had my mom's like wardrobe to dress up in and it was like this crazy experience, it just must be such a nice thing when they look back to think of like the jewelry and the shoes and the dresses and other things that you have a nice situation to me and have it any other way more friends to play dress up with. My kids love dress up. That question number three is, how do you win the day? And that's around mindset and your rituals and things that you do in the morning or the evening that kind of help you succeed in life. Oh my God, can I say, I don't win the day. Can I say that? Yes, A I haven't figured that out. It's the hardest thing is work life balance. It's like obviously this is my passion, this is what I live and breathe for. So I do it until I eventually fall apart and fall asleep. So I actually need to find that that beautiful thing, right? I turned it off and your full time mom as well.

01:08:48Edit Like you've got all of the things going on obviously like to see my kids happy just to spend time. So I would love to them. That's, that's obviously piece that every mother, but also to see my husband who works with me to like, you know, I think it's a little bit emotional or proud that the massive wins. I don't know any people who I love to see them proud of to be, It fuels you. That keeps you like ignited going and keeps absolutely love that even just to reflect on, you know what we've got in this little time connection to relationships. Okay, managed to share with all these people. I think that's, that's that's what's keeping us alive. But I definitely to work on the work you earlier and you know, go or something. I love yoga. I need to do more yoga and meditating. I haven't nailed the meditating but I really want to, I don't know either. It's really hard. I can't like it. Yeah, I can't calm down like a million miles an hour.

01:09:53Edit It is Hard Question # four is where do you hang out to get smarter? Mm Books, podcasts online. People all of the things. My customer service inbox. Yeah, no, it's the feedback I get from my customers without a doubt. That's what shaped my collections. Whether it's, you know, I was saying before about the headline just a few centimeters longer or customers wanting a little less volume than the side or customers wanting it in pink. Hey, I really love that color. That is where that's what shapes what kind of products are creating and because I believe the that satisfaction for me is when my class was like, oh my God, I love that you made it in this color. I desperately wanted to have this color and then we can, we can actually do that. So my customers without a doubt and that's not just my email, hey there at any kitchen dot com. Send us an email uh what you are. But it's also in my I. G. D. M. Or even the public messages. Yeah. Very much customer related to that Question.

01:10:55Edit Number five is um when you're faced with failure, how do you deal with it and what have you learned? And it's either something specific or just like your general approach to crisis management when things aren't going. Yeah, I don't sleep that there's this amazing three arms and and I was thinking it all out and I'm sold him working through it. I don't know how do I work it out? I wish I had that. I'm tired, I'm tired and I'm out. No, I cannot, my heart is on the line and everything. It's all from the stomach, it's all for. Yeah. Yeah. But I guess working through problems which happen every day in business and I think it's only taking me into our third year of really running this I think is to realize that it's not unusual to have challenges you every day. You know when you first started visiting like, oh my God, everything is going wrong. This is all what that's hard. But actually that is business just learning problem solving. It's problem solving. It's like your actual job is problem solving without a doubt.

01:12:01Edit There's always gonna be challenges and there's always going to be you know, things that you know you could have done better and things that you know that it wasn't fair and you didn't really get a good deal on that next time. You know you learn from your mistakes or be a little wiser or not do that again or say no. Instead of saying yes, get reflection and maybe that's it. That's how you get to reflect on all the mistakes you made to where you are. I've always said, I think I need to write on what not to do because I've done everything wrong. A person guide of what was starting a label. I don't do it definitely would buy what not to do that. Yes. No in life anyway, but that's a reflection, definitely take perfect. I have a word with everyone around you and I guess I would lie. Why? What is great is that question number five already, we've zoomed through this. We're up to question number six. Which is the gimmicky question. If you only have $1000 left in your business bank account, where would you spend it?

01:13:06Edit I would be sampling. I would get to I have a relationship with my country in Vietnam and I haven't got a technical background but the way we do do sampling, I have my pieces like a piece that I've uh solid previously or worn previously and I'll say okay I've got this but I know that my customer wants it back a little bit longer. I want to come to this time and then we go detail over detail and want this like this is like this. And then we come up with a concept. I think I would put everything into making the piece that I've had and I've got a whiff of that everybody else wants. Then I was photographic take photos of it and it's a very low budget because it's just on where and my husband would probably be the one taking photos and then maybe it's the flights to get to Vietnam. But um yeah, back into sampling is making new products and um I mean products that people will keep wearing forever. I think that's it.



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