Welcome to Season 2 Episode 1 of Straighten Your Crown
Listen to the full podcast via Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5YVBMhMO0VkEUJZpCNWLWJ
This season, we are talking about all things business....
We want to share our road to success and our best advice to help you on your own successful journey!
The first thing we want to talk about today is how to: Dream it, plan it, launch it. These three things are key to starting your own business.
DREAM it! Kristy Perdriau and Sam Perdriau (Husband) started the process of setting up Empress Athleticus in 2020, about 12 months prior to launch in March 2021.
Kristy: “As I've been working in law for 20 years, growing and building businesses is something that comes naturally to Sam and I. It’s something we really love doing and Empress Athleticus was no different. We wanted to get into the apparel industry and then it was just a matter of working out what product it was that would sit well with us. Whether it was to be athleisure-wear, pyjamas, swimwear or something else... we needed to work that out first”.
Kristy and Sam decided to choose athleisure-wear, as that was the main fashion item that was calling to Kristy at the time.
Kristy: "We went through the whole process of dreaming up what our business would look like. The name, the business structure and just everything down to the logo. The dream then went into the planning stage, where all we wanted to do was build this business and watch it become something amazing.”
Whilst Kristy and Sam were heading out of the dreaming phase and planning how Empress Athleticus would look and work, Brittany Lewin and James Lewin (Husband) were starting to dream their own dream. Little did they know that it could coincide with what Kristy and Sam had already dreamt.
Brittany: “I loved coming up with the overall concept as to what we wanted to sell, the name, getting all of the SWOT analysis done - our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. For me, personally, that is the funnest thing about starting a business. I love it.”
Fun fact: Brittany will be launching her dream eventually, but with Kirsty, as they’ve loved their partnership so much that the opportunities are now endless. Something to look forward to Queens ;)
During the first year of Empress Athleticus, James (Brittany’s Husband) also started his own business, 'Gorilla Sunnies', which has gone from strength to strength. It was something James had always wanted to do.
Brittany: “Currently, Drop Shipping companies are a fantastic option for people who may not have the money to invest a massive lump sum or are just keen not to carry large amounts of stock. James’ total investment to launch Gorilla Sunnies was $440. It just goes to show that not every business needs a massive cash injection to get up and running. Even Etsy stores! You could sell your drawings, stickers, cards… there's so many ideas if you're a creative person. The options are endless.”
Now the Dreaming part is the fun part, but Planning takes a lot more time and energy.
Brittany: “The biggest thing is working out how much time and money you want to invest. If you've got limited time and money, it's going to change a lot of your options. Now, we knew we wanted to manufacture, but the main question was: How?! If we sourced our items from offshore, how could we make sure they were sustainable and ethically made? If we made them here in Australia, were we ok to handle the extra stresses Australian manufacturing can bring? One of the most frequently asked questions I get is: 'how do I find a good and ethical supplier?' In short, it is very difficult if you've never done it before or don't know where to look.”
If you are looking into manufacturing off shore, our main advice is to research, research, research! Ask the hard questions and receive proof. Is your factory following ethical practices? Can we see photos of the work conditions?
Another big thing to look out for is price. If a factory is charging $2 for something off shore that would cost $30+ to make locally, you should know they physically can’t be offering fair and ethical working conditions at such a low price point.
Times have changed! Customers don’t want to support fast fashion. Unethical, low quality garments are a thing of the past. Do the right thing and make sure you’re doing the correct planning as a business.
We love manufacturing on the Sunshine Coast in QLD, Australia, but we know it’s not for everyone. Finding and training staff is extremely difficult. We are so very fortunate to have a fantastic team of talented women.
Next, Launch it!
Kristy and B launched Empress Athleticus on 13 March 2021, which was only 2 months after meeting each other. Empress Athleticus has been a powerhouse, hitting goals every month and proving to the rest of the world that Australian Made is not only possible, but highly requested. Since opening, collections sell out in hours and restocks only last a few days, as the customer base loves getting behind our amazing products and an Aussie Made brand.
Kristy: “...we all have the same values and are in complete alignment". We knew we were going to do this and even if we failed, we were going to fail forward and keep on trying. So why wait?”
After our first launch, we opened a Facebook group called the 'Empress Athleticus Queendom'. We opened this group to all customers, as we thrive on feedback! We then took that feedback and made slight adjustments to all of our patterns.
Brittany: “Listen to your customer's feedback! It’s something our customers really love. If you're wanting to create and launch a product, understand that a lot of your development is going to come straight from your customers. Now, don’t get me wrong, there can be a lot of contradictions, but read between the lines and they’ll tell you exactly what you need create. It's that easy.”
If you make a mistake, learn from it and fail forward. Be honest with your customers and be open to feedback.
Just do it! Dream it, Plan it and Launch it!
Follow Empress Athleticus https://www.instagram.com/empressathleticus/
Follow Kristy https://www.instagram.com/kristyperdriau/