Browsing Tag

Business

Beauty, Lifestyle

Girlboss Q&A: Courtney and Kimberley Treacy, Founders of The Lip Lab

13th June, 2018

Sisters Courtney (left) and Kimberley (right) are the founders of multi-million dollar business, The Lip Lab

The search for the perfect shade of lipstick can be a neverending quest for most women and it’s this very problem that inspired sisters Courtney and Kimberley Treacy to start The Lip Lab. From a single salon to now 14 locations in Australia and overseas including Canada, Singapore and the Philippines, The Lip Lab has taken customisation into the beauty arena with great success. Being able to create a custom lipstick (right down to the texture and scent), lip gloss, concealer and foundation has taken the guesswork out of buying staple cosmetics and instead turned it into a creative and fun exercise. Here I chat to Courtney and Kimberley about successfully breaking into an overcrowded beauty market, the one thing that drives them and the biggest turning point in their careers.

What inspired you to start The Lip Lab?

We saw a gap in the market here for personalised, custom blend products and thought it was a great time to start something in Australia. At the time we opened we were the only people doing custom blend on this level. Everyone we showed our idea to loved it as much as we did and this is how we knew we were onto a winner!

What were some of the big learning curves you faced in the beginning of getting your business up and running?

There were a few learning curves—staffing was hard, as we were trying to find staff who shared our passion and commitment.

Our trademark has been a learning curve also. Knowing what we know now, we would have approached our opening differently.

What’s it like working with family?

Funny enough, it’s actually great! Kimberley mainly works from her salon in Camden still, whereas I work full time on The Lip Lab. Once a week we meet at our warehouse, where we grind the numbers and work on strategies to move us forward—be it new products, international openings and basically just a good catch up on what’s happening in the business.

We are great friends and see each other every day, as well as constantly texting and calling each other, so I guess we are lucky!

The Lip Lab allows you to customise your own perfect lipstick shade

What’s been the biggest turning point in your career? Why?

A plane trip to Dallas to see a supplier of our mum’s salon, where we discovered the concept in a store there… The lady there gave us a contact, and the rest is history!

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

We both draw inspiration from many people. For example our supplier in the USA has been very kind to us and has mentored us along the way, always helping us with things we had no idea about and guiding us in the right direction.

Our mum is very entrepreneurial and has started a few businesses from scratch. She has always just dived in the deep end, and always seems to make it work. I think we’ve just always had that approach that if you don’t have a go, you’ll never know!

How do you start each day?

Courtney: It’s chaotic! I try to wake before the girls are up (Dempsey 6, Evie 5) – and spend at least an hour working out by myself whilst the house is still quiet. I find it’s the best time to plan my day, and focus of the positive affirmations that I’ve been practising lately.

Breakfast and getting kids ready is a hectic race every morning and once I have the girls at school I head to our Paddington store to either work with customers, train new staff and new store locations.

Kimberley: Like Courtney, I work out each day, but I find that the gym is the best place for me! Both my boys visit the crèche whilst I do my work out (Maddox 4, Caynan 3), and I usually eat healthy food on the run before dropping the boys at pre-school as I work within my own salon five days a week.

For me not working out isn’t an option – if I don’t do it I feel sluggish, and off for the whole day! I’m a big astrology follower so checking my outlook for the day is high on my list when I wake up, and scheduling social media for my salon before the boys wake.

Mixing up a custom shade

What drives you?

Courtney: Being a single mum, I want to give my girls the best in life that I possibly can and show them that nothing is impossible. Knowing that everything I provide them has come from my own hard work alone is uplifting and pushes me very day.

Kimberley: I’m a perfectionist and I enjoy seeing everything I’ve set my heart on come to fruition. I’m very hard on myself in both a professional and personal sense, and it drives me daily to see how much further I can push myself!

What are some tools – whether it be a gadget, an app, a favourite site – that help you manage your business?

We love Get Timely for our online bookings, which has been a total godsend! It has freed up our phone lines so that customers are able to book online, and can book any time of the day or night. We use it purely for the appointment book, and market via MailChimp and SMS.

iPhone Calendar is a lifesaver, and both Microsoft Office and our MacBooks gets used constantly. Appswise, we love Shade Scout which allows you to spotlight colours in any photo and find makeup in the exact Pantone shade family. You can also try the makeup on in real time without ever opening the packaging. You just use your front-facing camera to start a video feed, and the shade will virtually appear on your face.

We also love [photographer] Kenneth Willardt’s book The Beauty Book and the apps Bellashoot, Nail Snob and Plum Perfect!

What do you think has been the key to your success?

Hard work and not giving up. It would have been easy to give up so many times, but we ploughed on.

Offering a product that was not only of a high quality, but a fun and interactive experience, is also helpful. We really researched this product before we launched and fine-tuned it, to ensure that customers would get the best experience and product

Where do you hope to take your business in future?

We have sold three licences under a different name in Canada, the Philippines and Singapore, and have just secured a huge deal in the Middle East. We are looking to expand in India and Pakistan (over 400 enquiries so far) and eventually Europe, USA and [more locations in] Asia.

Towards the end of the year we will be launching a Blend Your Own perfume series in store, which is exciting as it will cater not just to women but will also offer men’s fragrances as well.

The Lip Lab’s range of lipsticks

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?

Keep your cards close to your chest before you open, so that when you do no one can pull the rug out from under you! We are currently working on a totally new business that is not makeup and, although we are busting to show everyone, we have to wait until launch day and trademark objection dates have passed until we shout it from the rooftops!

How do you stay driven? 

Regular meetings with each other and setting goals/ having a vision board works for both of us.

What’s your working style? I.e where do you love to work? What’s your most productive time of day?

Courtney: I’m very ‘by the seat of my pants’, in that I’m rather cruisey. I love the days I head to Paddington as I can also have a sneaky shopping day on the side, but I also love the days I can work from home!

The hours between 6AM and 9AM are my most productive times where I return emails, plan my day and get ready for the onslaught ahead. If I am at home, however, I do get distracted easily… And by 10AM, I’m off catching up with friends for coffee and then lunch.

Kimberley on the other hand is regimented down to the minute. She loves to be at the salon, seeing clients and working on her business. She is productive all day, from the time she wakes up until when her head hits the pillow. She multi tasks so much more easily than I do!

The sisters are still very hands on when it comes to the day to day operations of their business

What’s your number one social media tip for someone starting a business?

Make sure you have someone good doing your social media. We used some staff for a while to save on costs, and it didn’t look sharp or stylish. It’s worth every cent, especially when you look back over posts and see the difference.

Also try and do some one day courses in social media so you are across what is current and what works. Find out when your audience is watching and following you, so you’re posting at the crucial times and stay engaged with your followers.

Finally don’t limit yourself just to social media as you may be missing out on a whole demographic of people who don’t use [social media] platforms.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to anyone starting a business, especially in the crowded beauty market?

Firstly know your market, and what it is that they want. Is there a need for your product? Are there other similar products? If so, how can you stand out?

Secondly, network!

Finally… plan, plan and plan some more! Write down everything you want to achieve, and refer back to it often. We look back at what we wrote three years ago and we are on track 90 per cent of the time. There’s been a few ideas we’ve discarded along the way, and others we’ve honed and improved upon. Always surround yourself with good solicitors, accountants and PR/social media people… It will always pay off in the end!

Looking for more career inspiration? Check out my Girlboss Q&A with The Daily Edited founder, Alyce Tran

Fashion, Lifestyle

Girlboss Q&A: Hermione Underwood, Founder of Atelier Romy and Espie Roche

23rd May, 2018

Being a true girlboss often requires a little multitasking. In Hermione Underwood’s case it’s a bonafide juggling act. Being at the helm of four business endeavours, that include handbag label Espie Roche and jewellery brand Atelier Romy, Hermione manages to make it look oh-so easy. After leaving her beloved Sydney behind to relocate to London, the entrepreneur has flourished in her new home and says it has been the major turning point in her career. Here Hermione chats to me about learning to be a little fish in a big pond, ignoring the doubters and why she thinks a positive attitude is everything.

You currently juggle your brand consultancy, your style and travel blog hermioneolivia.com, Atelier Romy and Espie Roche. How do you manage all four?

I find the busier I am, the more I get done. It just requires some fairly strategic time management and planning. Despite the fact there are multiple businesses, a lot of what I do crosses over so it is manageable.

What’s the biggest business challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

Pushing forth when people told me I was crazy… and then pushing forth when I momentarily thought they might be right!! More specifically, I would say raising capital investment for my fashion ventures and securing the entrepreneur visa in the UK have been recent highlights.

What’s been the biggest turning point in your career and why?

Moving to London was definitely the turning point for me. I wanted a challenge and boy-oh-boy did I get it. I went from being comfortable and supported to being a tiny fish in a big pond, having to build my network from scratch with limited resources whilst pursuing much bigger career goals. Four years later, the gamble is paying off and find it exciting to be working in a big international city on these businesses.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

I’m inspired by people who execute their vision. Those that quietly chip away to see success. Two Aussie friends, Alyce Tran of The Daily Edited and Justin Hemmes of Merivale come to mind… they both have the Midas touch.

How do you start each day?

Usually checking my whatsapp and emails and racing off to a meeting…!

What drives you?

At the end of the day, I just want to do good work that I’m proud of, be challenged and always be learning. I thrive seeing vision come to fruition. I feel very fortunate that my work rarely feels like work because I’ve turned my passions for travel, brands and fashion into businesses.

What are some tools – whether it be a gadget, an app, a favourite site – that help you manage all your various businesses and projects?

I actually run my businesses on whatsapp—it’s obviously immediate and allows my business partners and I to share and easily access documents, references, passwords, designs—you name it—all in one place at any time.

I also use Planoly and UNUM which are Instagram planning and scheduling apps.

What do you think has been the key to your success?

Success is an interesting word. I don’t feel as if I’ve made a success of myself just yet but I would say that I now have the foundations I dreamt of because of hard work, not taking no for an answer and putting my fears to the side.

Where do you hope to take your businesses in future?

I’d like to see my brands Atelier Romy and Espie Roche grow internationally, continue to develop their unique aesthetics and collections and continue learning about the digital/social space to bring them to life online. Recently I’ve acquired a really wonderful group of international clients which I’m helping to infiltrate into the UK and Australian markets which is really exciting for me.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?

Positive attitude is everything and as my grandfather used to say, ‘the harder I worked, the luckier I became’.

What’s your working style? 

I try to have at least 1 meeting free day each week. This allows me to focus on real work. I’m also most productive in the morning so I try to ensure meetings are in the afternoon to give me that time to catch up on Australian clients who have emailed overnight, and to get the most important tasks done before the day begins.

Every day is different for me. If I’m not shooting or travelling, I’ll usually work at Chess Club in Mayfair or at one of the Soho Houses.

What’s your number one social media tip for someone starting a business?

Have a clear vision and aesthetic, know your audience and unwaveringly stick to it. I also think it’s important to not take it too seriously and to let your personality shine through.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to anyone starting a business?

You are going to be faced with countless hurdles and have your decision tested repeatedly so make sure you are truly passionate about whatever it is you are pursuing.

Fashion, Lifestyle

Girlboss Q&A: Tash Sefton

18th April, 2018

She’s one half of the hugely successful fashion blog, They All Hate Us. She founded an art business, Sefton Segedin with her sister, Hayley that produces beautiful paintings, prints and a capsule ceramic collection that will be released later this year and now Tash Sefton has a new business venture to add to her already busy schedule. Where Did Your Style Go is Tash’s new styling consultancy that’s helping men and women discover their unique style, and look and feel their best.

Juggling three businesses is no small feat however Tash manages to juggle it all, along with being a mum-of-two and make it look effortless. So, who better to share her secrets to success and achieving your goals than the woman herself. Here Tash chats style, staying motivated and her biggest tip for anyone wanting to get their own start up off the ground…

What was the catalyst for starting Where did your style go?

I am in an unique position to share knowledge I have gathered throughout my career. Where Did Your Style Go, is a consulting business aimed at assisting women and men look and feel their best. I get contacted on a daily basis through my social media and even stopped in the street with people desperate to ask me questions about fashion and style. Social media can be such an intimidating place for some and I have always found it difficult to answer people in detail through this platform. This lead to the idea of creating a place anyone can read my ‘real’ advice and implement it into their lives. To me, simple advice is the best advice, especially in the fashion world with so much information out there.

Having witnessed all facets of the industry and experienced insecurities personally, I have found that small changes can make a big impact on people’s perception of themselves, both internally and externally. It has also been important to create this next phase in my career. After years of gathering industry and personal knowledge about what works, what doesn’t and why—it is now time for me to share this. I am exploding with knowledge! I started in this industry because of my obsession and love of fashion—it’s never been about the bling or selfies but the journey of why I yearn to find the perfect item and treasure it.

What do you enjoy about helping others find their style?

What’s really interesting is I can help people with a simple things I take for granted knowing. And these simple things can be a major life change. Why is it so important to present well and feel good about ourselves? The impact of having a defined personal style goes far beyond making a good first impression. Great style is about approaching each day with confidence and the ability to feel, with conviction, beautiful in what we are wearing. Believe it or not, the right wardrobe can make a massive difference to your self-esteem.

What’s the biggest business challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

When I had my second child and left my ‘real job’ to start my own business was very daunting. You go from security to the unknown and I had to re train myself to not work in an office full of people. The quietness was hard to get used to. And teaching yourself to set goals while working from your lounge room is actually pretty hard. You have to learn how to do everything from warehouse, IT, accounts etc while still looking like you know what you are doing!

Stylish and successful, Tash is helping others tap into their own unique style

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My parents. My mum and dad have their own very successful business and I remember sweeping the floors in the office when I was a kid. As my parents were always working, I knew no different and my drive comes from them. I like that my children see me working as they can see for themselves the sacrifices you need to make…and that money doesn’t grow on trees.

You have so many projects on the go at the same time–how do you juggle it all?

I am very good at juggling. As I worked for a very large company and managing a huge team working on many projects globally at one time was just what I did. I would travel overseas for three months of the year and learnt how to do it all because that’s what was expected of me. So now, doing what I do is actually much calmer…as I am the boss I need to report to! Also with technology you can work wherever and whenever and no one needs to know you are home with the kids or in your sweat pants.

How do you stay motivated?

I am motivated because I love it. I believe what drives you needs to come from within.

What do you think has been the key to your success?

I have remained me. I haven’t let ego take over, and I am surrounded by great friends and a very supportive family. Plus I have a true love of fashion. Everything I do is based around this—it’s never been about me, but about my passion.

Where do you hope to take your businesses in future?

My new business is all about a new philosophy I have. It’s about teaching and not preaching. There is so much NOISE at the moment, and it’s sometimes just too much. I am excited to share my knowledge with people who really want to learn.

SHOP my handbag guide – READ how they speak a universal language – link in the bio

A post shared by WhereDidYourStyleGo (@wheredidyourstylego) on

What’s your approach when it comes to juggling your family and business? How do you make it work?

My children come everywhere with me—they are around my work. They can sit next to me doing homework, while I am working. We spend lots of time at home just being together.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?

Cash flow! Hahaha so boring but so important.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to anyone starting a business?

Keep working and start on the side. It takes to pressure out of it ‘being a success’ immediately. Learn from your employer before you take the leap alone. Just don’t tell them! Ha!

Who would you love for me to feature in my Girlboss series?
Beauty

Beauty Q&A: Kirsten Carriol, founder of Lano lips

20th November, 2017

With celebrity fans including Drew Barrymore and Linda Evangelista and her products stocked at Net-a-Porter, Sephora, Nordstrom and Boots, Kirsten Carriol’s Lano brand is a bonafide global success. The creator credits her upbringing on a remote sheep farm and her DNA scientist father’s teachings about the benefits of lanolin for the idea behind Lano, a lip and skincare brand that utilises the all natural ingredient’s intensive moisturising properties. Since its inception Lano has evolved from a lip balm to a range that now includes hand cream and moisturiser. Here Kirsten chats to me about her biggest pinch-me moment, the best advice she’s ever received and her favourite beauty hacks…

What is a day in the life of you? 

I’m fast. I like to keep mornings quick and simple and take shortcuts. I focus on giving loads of love to my children and then I want to get out of the door quickly, looking as good as possible.

But first, I check my emails for urgents from the USA from the night before (I won’t lie on that).

Then, I feel I can give my full attention to my two sons, to chat to them, give them love and breakfast and pack them off for school for the day.

Then it’s a rush job to get myself ready, have a shot of coffee and then into to the office. My morning beauty regime is a cleanse with my Lano Cleansing Bar and moisturise my face and body with Lano Everywhere All-Over Multi-Cream – it’s literally 2-steps in my skincare for face and body, and it works for me.

Once I’m in the office I nail down my USA emails before 9am, then I plan my priorities for the day. Each week I have a conference call with my USA and UK Team, and every minute I have catch-ups with my Sydney team as we work in a super close-knit structure and environment. Emails are great but phone calls and verbal conversations rule when it comes to productivity and getting stuff done fast.

From there – who knows! One day I could be working through the logistics of launching the brand in SEPHORA Europe, the next day its finalising our next campaign shoot.

It’s very varied, which is exactly how I like it. I would hate each day to be a carbon copy of the other. I get bored easily and LOVE change.

Kirsten uses this multi-cream daily

 

Lano cleansing bar

What was your biggest pinch-me moment with Lanolips?

When we presented the idea to both Priceline & David Jones – and they both wanted to stock our first range. This was my first pinch-me moment I thought that this idea could actually really happen (Before web stores were ‘a thing’ you were totally reliant on retailers).

Since then, I’ve had many: I’m about to head to Europe to launch Lano in SEPHORA, when we signed [beauty retailer] Violet Grey, when I was on air at QVC in the US and Larry King was in the room next to me.

It’s been wild.

Where did the idea come from?

I was coming back from my honeymoon in Europe and was about to board a long-haul flight and wanted a lip balm that was going to actually keep my lips hydrated and none of the balms I had in my handbag did the job. I remembered using lanolin as a small child on my parent’s sheep farm and my dad calling it “nature’s wonder moisturiser” and thinking why am I not using lanolin? It was on that flight that I decided I was going to bring lanolin back, but better.

What is the best advice someone has ever given you?

There has been a lot of fantastic advice—and I’ve learnt to be a better listener. Also, I listen to a lot of podcasts on human behaviour, and one message has always resonated with me, from one of the guys behind APPLE—is that human brains will always seek out the ‘easy route’. This has always been my underpinning philosophy behind my first multipurpose product nine years ago, and it still is. This message helps me to remain focussed on our brand purpose. Low-fi, easy lip and skincare.

Where is your favourite cafe and what is your go-to dish to order?

Brunch at Bills in Bondi is my absolutely favourite.

I love their sweet corn fritters: smashed avocado, lemon juice, alfalfa sprouts, and corn fritters with chili jam. It’s killer. I’ve been having it for 20 years.

What is your favourite beauty trick?

Do more, with less. I’m a sucker for a beauty-hack.

When I ski I add my 101 Ointment to my face moisturiser so it’s supercharged to fight the wind.

A lip balm that doubles as a cheek tint is essential. And contact lens cases make THE BEST travel containers for moisturiser on one side and foundation in the other.

The 101 Ointment is one of Kirsten’s favourites intensive moisturisers

What piece in your wardrobe can you not live without?

My engagement ring. Striped anything. And my Stan Smiths.

Where is your favourite travel destination?

Tahiti. St Tropez.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

To stop time, so when I work-travel I don’t miss anything in my sons’ lives.

What is your cocktail of choice? 

Gin and tonic.

Where do you see the Lano brand in five years?

If you had asked me five years ago where I saw Lano, I’m not sure I would have been able to say SEPHORA, Net-a-Porter, Nordstrom, Boots and Bloomingdales, that would have felt too ‘big’ and yet, here we are.

So, in answer, I don’t know – I just want to continue to build a cult brand that everyone from Drew Barrymore, to Linda Evangelista, to my mother and sister love.

What do you think was the key to such success and rapid growth? 

I don’t need the public accolades of success but I do like to produce a product that I am proud of. I like to help people in the genuine sense, so if I can produce something that will help to solve a problem that nothing else has solved, I’m happy. Focussing on that has probably been the key to our long-term growth.

 

 

Lifestyle

A chat with Almira Armstrong, founder of candle and fragrance brand Lumira

30th August, 2017

Almira Armstrong founder of candle and fragrance brand Lumira

It was becoming a mum that prompted Sydney-based Almira Armstrong to reassess her career. In 2013, Armstrong launched Lumira; leaving behind a successful career in marketing to meld her love of gorgeous scents and creating candles to create a luxe fragrance and candle range. Here the successful businesswoman and busy mother of two shares what inspires her, the key to looking stylish whilst juggling a young family and career and the one thing she is most proud of…

How did you come up with the Lumira range?

I’ve had a love affair with candles and fragrance for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories as a little girl was playing with mum’s bottles of perfume at every opportunity. During my teens, I taught myself how to make candles in the kitchen at home, which I would give to friends and family for special occasions. After university, a career in marketing kept me in creative circles and offered the valuable opportunity to live and work overseas, but becoming a mum prompted me to rethink the path ahead and I decided to pursue my dream of creating products that would allow me to indulge my love of scent, design and travel. In September 2013 Lumira was born.

What is your favourite scent in the range?

Tuscan Fig has to be my favourite scent at the moment as it reminds me of the time my husband and I travelled through Italy together. It was an easy scent to bring to life as the visual and scent memories were so vivid. It’s now available as a Perfume Oil, so I get to wear the scent everyday!

How has the range expanded?

I always wanted to add fragrance to the brand, it was just all about timing.  I introduced the Perfume Oils late last year and they have been so well received.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I would say casual-chic as I never know what my day will involve.  Most days I am quite hands on within the business so it’s usually my favourite J Brand jeans with a white tee and black blazer that can take me into meetings when need to.

Almira Armstrong founder of Lumira on her style

Armstrong describes her style as being casual-chic

What is your favourite room in your house?

My bedroom! I love getting dressed and ready for the day. There’s something ritualistic about it but also the notion of a new day and new opportunities. Then of course it’s the place I switch off after a long day too!

What is the best styling tip you have?

Your shoes are the finishing touch for every outfit! It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple tee and jeans, you can either dress it up or down with a pair of killer designer heels or simple white sneakers.

How do you like to relax?

Usually with a cup of tea and my favourite book.  I am currently reading Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler.

What is your favourite dish to eat?

Anything from [Sydney’s] Fratelli Paradiso, but especially the Scampi Pasta.

Do you have a favourite local café?

Sample Coffee which is right near my office has great coffee and croissants!

Where do you like to travel to?

I love Europe, but where I like to spend most of my time is Italy.  One of my favourite parts is Puglia, the diversity between land and sea is just so beautiful and inspiring.

Testing one of Lumira’s gorgeous scents

Where do you find inspiration for your range?

For me, fragrances can be very transportive and trigger memories with a power that none of the other senses have. Creating a fragrance begins with a series of inspirations – art,  design, travel, poetry… these (and more) are all elements that I draw on for inspiration when developing a new fragrance.

What are you most proud of in your life so far?

l am appreciative of being able to balance my work and my kids.  I have a five-year-old boy and a girl who is two years old. The juggle is very real, but it’s rewarding to be able to make time for the kids, yet dedicate my day to work.

How do you juggle a young family and your own business?

It’s not easy, that’s for sure. It’s hard to maintain a sense of self when you first have kids. But I’ve realised that, for me, it’s as easy to put on a dress and leather jacket as it is to pop on a pair of running leggings. I also take inspiration from other mums like Miroslava Duma, Anine Bing and Taylor Tomasi Hill. There are so many gorgeous mums on Instagram and in the blogosphere who are leading by example when it comes to balancing work with motherhood.

I balance everything by taking a casual approach to style – my routine is not time intensive – and making sure that I have the help I need to get my work done. I don’t do it alone. I also put down my instruments at a hard time every day so that I have good quality time with my family. It’s not easy to do in a world where you’re constantly switched on, but I find having so many competing high priority items actually makes me more regimented and disciplined when I’m in the office.

Where do you see yourself in five years?  

I have a lot going on this year but it’s all working toward a long term work goal. I’ll continue to invest in the fragrance ranges whilst experimenting with some new product lines. I love collaborating with other talented creatives and feel so grateful that people love what is being produced.  It’s the customers who love what I do that really inspire me to keep creating. I’m also spending a fair bit of my time overseas introducing the brand to new markets which is so much fun! So in five years time I imagine we will have a much stronger global presence. Having the kids by my side while I travel internationally is really special right now, they’re seeing how Lumira all works as well as fitting in  family time in between. In five years time, I hope I’m still doing exactly what I love – just on a larger scale.

Photography: @bianchiphotography 

Fashion

Fashion profile: Briella Brown, founder of Your Closet

17th October, 2016

unspecified

At just 17, Briella Brown founded online designer dress hire business Your Closet after being invited to three formals in one year and not being able to afford to buy a new gown for each event. The business premise is simple: browse the site and find a designer dress you’d like to wear then have it shipped to you between 1-2 business days. After wearing it simply pop it in the pre-supplied postal satchel to return it and Your Closet will look after the dry cleaning. The rental price starts from as little as $90 so it’s a fraction of the cost of buying a brand new dress. Your Closet is ideal for weddings, the races or even a girls’ night out so you can be guaranteed to look your best without having to spend a small fortune. Here I speak to Brown about founding her business, her favourite pieces and growing her business…

Why did you start Your Closet?
I started Your Closet from a personal desire for the ability to rent my dream dress for a formal I was attending at the time. It didn’t make much sense to spend so much money on a dress which would only be worn once and the idea evolved from there. Since initial conception Your Closet has grown to be a lot more than a cost effective solution but rather a more convenient option for women who would rather have flexible wardrobe options, super fast delivery and easy returns.

What is most challenging about working for yourself?
As the business is still in its early stages, it requires many hours which I love doing. I have found it tricky establishing a work-life balance but am slowly learning to strike more of a balance.

your-closet

Where do you see the business in three years?
In three years renting for all occasions will be a normal process, I think Your Closet will be a wardrobe staple for all events when you want to look your best – whether that be renting a Camilla and Marc blazer for a job interview or a whimsical Thurley gown for a bridesmaid dress. We are also looking to improve our shipping making it even faster, we currently offer a three-hour shipping window within Sydney but are exploring how we can get this under the hour within Sydney and Melbourne. With an estimated 10,000 dresses available in the next three years we will well and truly be an endless closet option for Australian women.

Which seasonal trends are you most excited about for the next spring/summer season?
I’m really excited for lace this season! We have some incredible, bright lacy midis [dresses] arriving soon in particular a bright yellow sheer lace dress by Thurley. This was recently worn by Isabel Lucas and we have already received so many requests to rent. Lace has evolved from a fine, intricate material to a more bold and often floral material in bright colours. Another trend I am really happy about is the rise of the off-the-shoulder style, which will be featured in collections by Nicholas, Thurley and Camilla and Marc. It is so flattering to all body shapes and is something a little bit different.

unspecified-6

Nicholas red lace dress

What are your best styling tips for the races?
There has been a big trend in terms of millinery away from the traditional fascinator and towards more fashion-forward crowns. We recently released a collection of incredible laser-cut leather crowns by Danica Erard and leather floral crowns by Natalie Bicicki – these are really easy to pair with our current dress range. Fascinators can be a little more involved whereas a chic dress paired with a unique crown will always be in style come race day. I think the Spring Carnival is a time to have fun with fashion and is one of the best times each year to get dressed up. The only must is comfy shoes as race days are often very long and the no-shoes look isn’t the best.

unspecified-7

Your Closet has headwear available for renting

What is your favourite piece from your collection?
My favourite piece is always changing with all of our new dresses constantly arriving each week however my dream item is definitely the ‘Saki Drape Jumpsuit’ by Camilla and Marc. It has a spotted velvety top, palazzo pants and best of all pockets. This will look uber cool come race day, as it’s different and a little funky – definitely a crowd pleaser!

18_saki_evening_drape_jumpsuit_ink_08_-1462579562-500x500

Camilla and Marc Saki Drap Jumpsuit

Why did you decide to expand your business?
Most of our growth has naturally evolved through customer feedback. An example of this has been a request for a more inclusive dress size range which is why we now stock sizes six through to 18. Customers want more of a one-stop shop, so this has prompted diversification into accessories. The business has been growing faster than I ever thought possible which has been really exciting as my vision is coming to life to develop a curated collection from Australia’s premier designers available in a convenient and smart way and revolutionise the way women approach their wardrobe.

What advice would you give to someone else considering starting their own business?
I’m still learning a lot myself but I would say just got for it! It sounds cliche but I think if you have an innovative idea then you need to give it a go otherwise you will be wondering ‘what if’ and with Wix and other website building platforms it can be really cost effective to set up a [site] and see how customers respond without spending a lot of time and money.

Who do you look up to?
Three women I look up to are Julie Stevanja from Stylerunner, Emily Weiss from Glossier and Alyce Tran from The Daily Edited. Julie has built such an incredible business and had the foresight to see the trend toward athleisure wear and Emily has built an incredible community who swoon over her [beauty] products – she had a waitlist, 60,ooo people strong for for her iconic ‘Boy Brow’ once it sold out. Alyce has an amazing social media presence and I love her flatlays – they are a work of art!

What is the most rewarding part about being the founder of Your Closet?
The most rewarding part is hearing feedback from our customers who have had a really wonderful experience. I love opening our return parcels and finding little handwritten notes saying how amazing they felt and all of the compliments they received.

 

Beauty, Date with Kate, Fashion

DATE WITH KATE: ELLE MACPHERSON

18th September, 2016
_wep7507

Elle and I enjoying green juice and salads at the Intercontinental Hotel, Double Bay

 

Elle Macpherson might be still known as The Body but these days she spends less time in front of the camera and more time building her business empire. She has created WelleCo, her own supplement range, and was in Australia this week to launch her new lingerie line, Elle Macpherson Body. The 52-year-old chatted to me about how she juggles the demands of family life with her business ventures, and shares insights into what most people don’t know about her and what she would change about herself.

What are you doing during your trip to Sydney? 

I am thrilled to be back in Australia for the launch of my new lingerie business … I have a busy itinerary; lots of press engagements in Sydney and Melbourne … [and I’ll be] spending some time to see family, and even a quick trip to New Zealand!

What is a typical day for you? 

Every day is different for me. I travel so much, so nothing is ever the same. Typically, though, I like to be up by 5am and my first thoughts are always around setting my intentions for the day. Before emails and work, I make sure I meditate, then connect with the kids and follow my wellness regime. When I’m in Miami, I’m in the office around 10am and work until 6pm. Family time is important to me and so we have breakfast and dinner together. I do the morning school run and often the afternoon one and watch my son play sports – I use the hour drive to make business calls.

Congratulations on Elle Macpherson Body. What can we expect from the new lingerie line? 

Thank you – yes, it’s been an incredibly exciting time launching the brand here and internationally. Elle Macpherson Body is Australian lingerie with a strong, modern aesthetic … it’s the antithesis of traditional lingerie. There are lots of gorgeous details like paper-touch fabric, geometric laces, rose-gold hardware, but I never forfeit fit for fashion.

What made you decide to move from Elle Macpherson Intimates to create your own company with Elle Macpherson Body? 

After many years of licensing, in my heart I felt it was time for me to build my own business – I wanted to put everything I have learned over this time into practice and I didn’t want to find myself in the future looking back wishing I’d done things differently. It was not easy to walk away from the security of a licensing income stream. However, I had come to the realisation that the involvement I had for 25 years had unfortunate limitations; it would never enable the structural changes I needed to make my own business evolve in the ways I’d been longing for.

Why did you decide to partner with an Australian company?

I wanted my partner to be an Australian company as this is my heritage and it means a lot to me. I’ve lived all over the world, but Australia is still home.

What elements of the business did you work on?

All of them! Being co-founder and co-director has meant that I have worked with Simon [de Winter] and the team on production, design, retail strategies, fit, marketing and budgeting. I’ve certainly learnt a huge amount, but I’ve also been able to bring together all the things I’ve learned along the way. I have 25 years’ experience in the lingerie category.

What is it like to work with your ex-husband, Gilles Bensimon, who is responsible for the marketing imagery of the campaign?

[He is a] long-time friend and mentor … I absolutely love our campaign and had fun producing the shoot with Gilles. Gilles and I chose our model, Kirsten, for her natural athletic body – a new type of sexy.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?

That transition from the billboard to the boardroom has been the most rewarding challenge.

How did you transition from model to businesswoman? 

Looking back on 30 years in business, I believe that a natural curiosity, courage to try new things, a strong interest in business and a sense of adventure has led me to a very diverse career. Modelling has opened doors and I’ve been fortunate to meet inspirational creative people, encouraging me to bring my ideas to life. Timing is everything – I believe in trusting instincts and listening to my team’s perspectives.

What defines business success for you? 

There’s more to success than meets the eye. Many people might think it’s been moments in my career like being on the covers of Sports Illustrated, being on the front of the newspaper with Princess Diana, hosting TV shows and financial reward. I’ve also felt those things were symbols of success. But that’s only part of it. Today, my idea of success is making the journey towards happiness and fulfillment. It’s a deeply personal experience, but I value things like having the courage to take risks, to explore, and the willingness to go through the ups and downs in life and still find joy in the process.

What does it mean to have your own business now? 

I had to prove my credentials just like everyone else. Our partners both in Elle Macpherson Body and WelleCo all had to agree I could participate as an active partner. I had to prove I was more than the just a spokesperson … I asked myself and my business partners … to have faith in me to help me grow these businesses and to creatively and strategically direct their paths. I take it as a huge compliment that they saw potential and had faith and encouraged me to step up to a more responsible role.

What are you most proud of outside of your work? 

The most important thing to me is my family: my children, stepchildren and my husband. I also have deep connections to my parents, brother and sisters – these relationships are vital to me.

Who do you look up to?

I look for inspiration from strong independent women who are connected to their heart, like Arianna Huffington and Maya Angelou.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

Someone once told me: never believe your own press. I agree!

How do you stay in shape? 

I love to get outdoors into nature and enjoy fresh air, so lots of hiking, biking swimming skiing and watersports … I also believe in beauty from the inside out – good nutrition, the value of sleep and lots of love and laughter.

What is your top beauty secret you’ve learnt while modelling?

My mum would say “water, water, water”!

How do you balance parenting with your busy schedule?

Like every parent, I do my best. I’m not perfect, but love and a sense of humour works wonders! With a busy schedule, I prioritise the children and everything else falls into place.

Where do you feel is home for you?

Home is where my heart is – usually wherever my family is.

What’s something that most people don’t know about you and would be surprised to find out?

I speak fluent French, want to learn how to play the ukulele, wish I had a vegetable garden and like to surf longboard. I love true stories – both in movies and books; would love to prepare a Ted talk on things I’ve learned along the way.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 

My kids would say my singing voice – I personally don’t think it’s that bad! And sunblock! Too many years unprotected from the Aussie sun shows on my skin today.

What is up next for you? 

Our plan is to continue growing and building the Elle Macpherson Body brand. I’m loving new categories like socks and hosiery and sleep… Watch this space!

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO Intercontinental Hotel, Double, Bay

WE ATE Heirloom Tomato salad with Roasted Quinoa, cured cucumber, aged balsamic flakes, charred salt, micro parsley; Tasmanian Salmon Gravlax with Baby Fennel, orange fillet, caper berries, lemon gelee, petit red elk

WE DRANK green juices.

ELLE WORE an Ellery shirt and Isabel Marant pants.

KATE WORE a camilla and marc top and miu miu leather pants.