After a few requests I thought it was about time to share a bit about my biz life journey here at Peppermint Tree Creations. Whilst I am still learning everyday I am always happy to share my insights and what has lead me to where I currently am.
How did you get into business?
Honestly that’s a long one! The short version is basically that I used to work in the travel industry. I worked my way into quite a unique role there and I always said to myself that when I left I would open my own business. The company I worked for shutdown unexpectedly and we all lost our jobs. That ultimately gave me the push in the right direction. Admittedly I tried to find other jobs to supplement my income but had no luck so figured it was a ‘now or never’ kind of situation. I went all in. I’m the kind of person that when I commit to something I throw everything I have at it to make it work and that’s what I did. But I didn’t start out making cushions. I used to make quilts, sheets, change mat covers, mobiles, pretty much anything I was asked for. Then I made the decision to change to my cushions and I haven’t looked back!
The longer version…… Even as a kid I was always creative. I would try anything and everything I could get my hands on. But some of my fondest memories were learning to sew with my Mum. I even had a toy sewing machine, that worked! As I grew up i knew I wanted to do something creative but I never really knew what. I always made gifts for my friends and family, picked all of the creative subjects at school that I possibly could and finished off Year 12 still without any real idea of what I wanted to do. The only thing I did know is it should be something in design and being creative. My focus wasn’t getting into University, I figured I could go there later if I wanted to. I was just always happiest when I was busy making things.
But I got a little lost along the way. I had a lot of people tell me how hard it is to get into the design industry. No matter which career path you chose, interior, fashion, etc. And for some reason I think I let that scare me off for a while. I let myself believe that maybe being creative was just meant to be a hobby and I needed something more serious as a ‘career’. My Mum and I even went up to Sydney (we lived in a country town south of there) to a very prestigious design school on one of their open days just to see what it was like. Even they told me the same thing and I thought to myself until I can figure out exactly what design path I want to go down I can’t justify the money I would be spending on the study for this.
So I just worked and then travelled for a while. Which led me to the travel industry and well I guess the rest is history. I love to prove people wrong, I always have. But for some reason I let other people influence me into believing I couldn’t have a career in the world I loved to exist in. But in so many ways I am fortunate I left it till when I did to start as it has given me the opportunity to do it all myself when I may not have been able to back then. But what has never changed is the belief my family has always had in me. They’ve always supported me and brought me up to believe I can be whatever I want to be. That is in essence what I am trying to do now. Help create spaces for kids to live out their magical childhoods and know that they too can become whatever their heart desires.
Biggest Highs and Lows?
This is a hard one because owning your own business is honestly like a rollercoaster. You’re up, you’re down, there is twists and turns. Plus it’s never the same rollercoaster from one day to another so it’s not like you can predict it either! I honestly don’t say that to scare anyone off either. I love it. I love that it is different each and every day and that you don’t know what is going to happen from one day to the next because that means that you are constantly learning and I love learning new things every day.
Honestly the biggest high, and it’s going to sound really lame, but it’s true, is getting customer orders! I mean does it get much better than that! I still dance around every time a customer order comes through. It’s probably a bit sad but it’s a bit of validation thing, like ‘wow people actually believe in my business’! Plus seeing my cushions in your homes just warms my heart. I mean don’t get me wrong it’s amazing to see your products featured. Like when they were on the Today Show in Sylvia Jeffreys nursery (read more about that here), but it feels just as amazing to me when I see them in your homes.
Lows. There is always lows – I mean that’s business, and life in general really. I think we’re all a little unrealistic if we think there is never going to be any lows. But hey that’s just my perspective! I remember reading/hearing something early on in my business journey and it’s still stuck with me today. Something along the lines of – no matter how hard it gets if you’re willing to go back and experience that all over again then you’re meant to be in business and you will succeed. Because if you’re willing to ride out the lows and still want to keep on going then you’ve got it in the bag.
I mean some of my lows have definitely got to be wasting money on stock (fabric, etc.) that I didn’t need. Losing money on advertising/business collaborations that you thought were going to change everything for you! So many things that you look back now and go ‘OMG what was I thinking?’ But I like to look at it at go well I learnt a lesson from that so it’s ok. Easier said than done at the time of course, trust me. But I think if you can look back and learn from it, and then move forward then you’re already better off!
Best Advice You Can Offer Someone Else?
Ok so to start off I think I should lead with I am no expert and I am still learning everyday but I will share what has worked for me. Best advice I can offer is to focus on one niche. So I mentioned earlier that when I started out I kind of did a bit of everything. I was a bit of a yes girl to be fair and whilst I loved making it all I just found I was getting anywhere and wasn’t known for anything. Then I pivoted the business and just focused on making my cushions. It’s taken me a while to get to where I am but now that I am focused on just my cushions it has literally turned my business around! So that would definitely be my advice – focus on one thing you want to be known for. It doesn’t necessarily have to be one product just as long as all of them have relevance to each other.
Oh and also let other people in! Sometimes we are too involved in our own business we can’t see what is right in front of our face. An outside perspective can give you a whole new look on things. Don’t focus on your competition, because to be honest they’re not your competition. I know that’s easier said than done because let’s be honest you will and that’s ok as long as you don’t let it consume you. But some of my closest business friends are also in the kids decor niche or make very similar products to me (Little Custom Creations, Isla Dream Prints, Harry and the Hound just to name a few…..). We chat all the time and I love it! There is always going to be people who make/sell the same or similar products to you. But sometimes they can actually be your best assets if you’re willing to open yourself up to that. You can work together rather than against each other. It’s all about perspective. Community over competition 100%!
Would you do anything differently if you could?
Would I do anything differently? Oh 100%! Without a doubt. I mean I’m not going to lie – I’m a shocking liar anyway so I couldn’t lie even if I wanted to. But yes of course I think we all look back at certain situations and think ‘oh I should have done that’. I figure if I can learn from it then it’s ok. I always said to myself when I started this business that I didn’t want it to be an overnight success. Mainly because if it was an overnight success it could also be an overnight failure. And that’s not necessarily true but that’s what I told myself in my head so I kind of ran with it. So I figure if it takes me however long then it takes me however long. I make small steps forward everyday. Along with quite a few backwards ones some days. But hey that’s business and that’s a cha-cha isn’t it! As long as I learn lessons along the way then I am happy. I built this up from scratch with no money so I figure I could always do things differently if I had the opportunity, but that’s hindsight for you. But now I’ve learnt what to do and what not to do and that will be different for everyone. Plus I will still learn more everyday.
Hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about my biz life journey but if you have any questions you know where to find me!