May 16, 2015
At a Glance
Bio The path that led her to this point
Following a course in textile buying and merchandising, I worked for Laura Ashley and Georges Decorating Dept. I was in my element, surrounded by beautiful products and amazing mentors.
When I was offered a role at Wardlaw fabric house selling the likes of Designers Guild, Nina Campbell and Osborne and Little, I couldn't imagine a more perfect role!
However, everything changed for me when I met my future husband on a plane coming back from Europe. Up until then I was a city girl but when this gorgeous farmer walked down the aisle of the plane in his moleskins and RM boots and sat beside me, my path was to take a different course.
Following my move to country, I established an interior decorating business focusing on colour and soft furnishing consultation in 2000.
Frustrated by the lack of quality upholstered bedheads to choose from, I set out to create a range of upholstered bedheads that would complement any decorating theme. In the early days, I converted the woolshed on our farm to a workshop and made the designs myself.
Following a House and Garden feature in August 2008 I soon realised my skills were best left to sales and marketing and appointed a talented team of upholsterers to assist with production.
Today we manufacture in Melbourne and have a showroom on site which is open on Fridays and Saturdays. The design office is still on our farm and I travel back and forth to the showroom regularly to meet clients.
Suffice to say, I've found the balance between my life on the land married to a farmer with two children and my life in the city before that flight over 20 years ago!
Q&A Insider advice & tips
What's been your greatest achievement to date?
It is very satisfying knowing what we started in our woolshed all those years ago has been so well received by so many gorgeous people all over Australia. Very humbled indeed when Alex Perry rang to order one of our designs for his own bedroom. Also, it was a treat having our products featured on The Block and House Rules.
What's been your biggest challenge so far?
Freighting our products Australia-wide and ensuring our client expectations with meeting delivery requests are met is our biggest challenge. Operating a business in regional Victoria has its frustrations with mobile and internet coverage. Some days we are standing with our ear to the window writing an order on the window because one can't afford to move!
Best lesson you've learned along the way?
1 - Follow your intuition, your initial response to something is often the correct one.
2 - Surround yourself with positive, willing people who are team players.
3 - Outsource; no one is good at everything!
A website, book or resource that has helped you in your business or inspired you and why?
- Big Heated Business Conference held annually.
- The Design Files (Lucy Feagins has a way of connecting every time!)
- Elle Decor UK (for a little bit of glam every time)
- Design*Sponge blog
Which person or brand do you most admire and why?
Marnie Goding from Elk Accessories. She has grown her business organically and diversified into many different products. Her marketing is recognisable without branding. That is something to be admired!
What advice would you give someone starting an independent business in your industry?
If you are addressing a gap in the market with your product or service, then go for it. Too many people dream; life is too short. Seize the moment!
Finish this sentence
Everything changed for me when…
I received my first order to be shipped to Bondi! I will never forget that order as I skipped from the woolshed back to the house the day it was dispatched.