Bio The path that led her to this point
I think my start up story is fairly common amongst other start ups – travel, office job, searched for a product, couldn’t find it, created it.
I wandered around in my 20’s, both here in Australia and overseas, and after returning home with my [now] husband I realised that I had been waiting for some sort of turning point that would tell me what my future would be.
And then I turned 30… and realised that I needed to be my own turning point.
I originally was looking to start my own bed linen store that retailed other brands products, but at the time there wasn’t a lot of variety in bedding that I would want to stock my store with. So I started to research what it would take to create my own.
Mabel is a bit of an alter ego for me.
I think of her as a younger version of my Nanna; witty, charming, cheerful and stylish without knowing it.
I am inspired by a simpler notion of life and my designs aim to be a modern take on vintage 70s linens, lace and fabrics.
I envisage Oh Mabel linens in the cupboards of my customers for a lifetime, not just a season.
I would be pretty chuffed to find Oh Mabel in a vintage store in about 20 years time!
Right from the early stages of planning I knew that my products would need to be created sustainably, as such all Oh Mabel products are manufactured using 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.
I don’t particularly market Mabel as an organic product as I have an idea in my head that it is a tiny step towards educating consumers that organic could be the norm rather than a luxury or optional choice.
I import from India under very strict organic and fair trade regulations - this is essential for me.
I believe supporting businesses to change the way industry operates is important for all countries, especially for countries such as India and China where a change in manufacturing is vital.
We’re about to have a little break for a few months – to take the opportunity to stop and take note of the last couple of years and really look at what worked and what needs improvement.
I think it’s important to remember that business is always a process – now is not forever.
I’m really looking forward to watching Mabel grow.
Q&A Insider advice & tips
What's been your greatest achievement to date?
The daily feedback I receive from customers saying how much they love their Mabel.
I am overwhelmed that something I have dreamed up has come alive and is loved by others besides me.
What's been your biggest challenge so far?
The manufacturing process - it has been a pretty steep learning curve for me and there have definitely been mistakes and sleepless nights along the way but it has been an experience I don’t regret.
Marketing/Social Media – I’m a fairly private and introverted person so putting myself out there is a little intimidating, yet completely necessary. I think I’m getting better though, I put myself in Mabel’s shoes… what would Mabel do?
Best lesson you've learned along the way?
To not take myself too seriously.
I realise that I am privileged to create a career for myself (particularly in homewares) when so many women in the world don’t get that opportunity.
I hope Mabel and my products give people a reason to smile in the morning and to surround themselves in beauty but I am certainly aware that I’m not [say] a neurosurgeon. It helps me put what I do into perspective and makes decision making a whole lot easier!
A website, book or resource that has helped you in your business or inspired you and why?
Here are a few:
- Marie Forleo TV and B-School – business and marketing everything
- Fairground Media – E-commerce blog with in-depth articles and a helpful e-book about discovering your brand
- Women In Business ;-) WIB in both it’s previous and current formats! [Thanks Sarah! - Clare]
- Lynda.com and Skillshare.com for online learning
- Xero - Cloud accounting and a lovely book keeper is a must
Which person or brand do you most admire and why?
So many… however I would love to have a cup of tea with Emily Wright of Nancy Bird. I am inspired by how Nancy Bird has remained so consistently branded and authentic despite amazing growth.
Ez from Creature Comforts Blog – Inspiring, authentic and my number one pinner to follow.
Artist - Anna Wili-Highfield – Dream life!
What advice would you give someone starting an independent business in your industry?
Don’t compare yourself to others; they’re doing their thing and you’re doing yours. Be yourself. Never stop learning. Be respectful in everything you do. Get help from others for the areas your talents are lacking (for me it’s book keeping!)
Always ask questions – I’m sure my supplier is completely sick of my questions but never be afraid to ask.
Jump at opportunities, you never know what is around the corner.
Finish this sentence
Everything changed for me when…
I stopped saying ‘no’ and started asking ‘how can I make this happen’.
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