I met this creative young lady on Twitter. It was before the launch of her business, and I have followed along as she proceeded to her launch and beyond. We met at the gluten free café down the road. Not literally but that’s where we might have been – a favourite place of hers, relaxing in winter sunshine, talking about what she loves. Which includes Duck Print, Doona Covers and Melba, not the peach kind though…
Let me introduce you to this week’s entrepreneurial woman: Claire Joey
Joey, Please share a little of your background. Family education travel interests etc.
I have shown a love for art and design for as long as I can remember. As a kid I was always making things out of the bits and pieces I could find around the house. I’ve always had a creative spark. However, when it came to studying I chose the sensible option and decided to take a course in business, majoring in marketing. Now I’m combining my interests with my education to run my own bed linen business.
When did you first realise you loved linen? What motivated you to start Duckprint?
It was not really my love for linen but rather my disappointment in the bedding designs available in store that motivated me to start my own label. Back when I was still at school I searched profusely for something to put on my bed, but could never find anything I was willing to fork out a couple of hundred dollars for. So one day I thought, maybe I’ll design my own. Today’s it’s finally a reality.
I wanted a name which could be easily turned into an image. I think simplicity and memorability are the key when it comes to a name. I can’t stand acronyms..
Finding a supplier than could offer us quality product was by far the biggest hurdle. Our first supplier burnt us badly and we had to learn from those experiences and find someone who we were able to trust. It really tested my patience and I had to make a very conscious effort to retain focus and persist in my efforts.
Personally, the biggest challenge is maintaining self-belief. People are constantly asking you questions and giving you advice but you need to maintain your own vision of what you want and believe in it. As soon as you let people’s opinions influence you, you lose your focus.
When you start your own business it takes a while before your efforts are rewarded and the profits start coming in. A passion for what you do is often the only thing that keeps you going. I’ve certainly had times when that passion has waned I have wanted to give up out of frustration. I’ve thought “maybe I’m just not cut out for this.” But then you get a couple of sales, or some really nice customer feedback and you remember the reasons why you first went into business.
How are you finding the online business experience?
Much more of our world is online these days. People are reading blogs instead of magazines, shopping on websites instead of stores and socialising on Facebook, Twitter and on other social media platforms. It’s certainly an exciting time to be starting and online business. There are a lot of opportunities to promote yourself without spending a lot of money but you find yourself getting easily distracted and waste a lot of time. There’s so many social media platforms out there’s thousands of websites giving you advice on how to use them. It can get rather overwhelming. It’s therefore really important that you assess what works best for you and your business and focus your efforts on those platforms rather than spreading yourself too thin.
I recently saw a photo of your adorable dog..Please tell us about Melba.
I still see Melba as a puppy but she is nearly 9, and starting to get grey hairs around her chin. She still loves raiding the rubbish bins for tissues , she rips them up and leaves them on the floor for you to find just before you’re about to head to bed. She’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and she constantly makes me laugh. I don’t think I could live without a dog in my life.
So, man’s best friend is also a girl’s best friend. What matters most to you the journey or the destination?
Definitely the journey. I really wanted to do something that I believed in,and to have the opportunity to be creative in my work. I also didn’t like the thought of attempting to climb the corporate ladder only to call off the pursuit when it came time to start a family. Running my own business gives me the flexibility I need to still have kids (when I’m ready) and earn and income at the same time. It’s important to start thinking about these things early.
How do you measure success? Professionally and personally.
You’re always going to be your own harshest critic. What I see as only small steps, other’s see as amazing achievements. I don’t think success is something that can be clearly defined. To me life isn’t about money or fame. The only thing that’s important is happiness. That’s my definition of success.
What would you best advice be to a women wanting to launch her own business?
I think my main piece of advice is to make yourself accountable to someone, whether that be your husband, your partner, a friend or business mentor. It’s important that you have someone else that believes in you, that can help pick you up when you’re passion starts to wane, and give you advice when you start to become overwhelmed with options. It’s really important that you have someone who will help keep you on track, because we all go through moments of self-doubt at times, anyone that tells you different is not telling the full story.
As Australians we are often taught to challenge the status quo and question authority. These values are really central to our culture. I think the natural progression of these values is to go out on your own and go after something that you’re really passionate about. The people that do this are certainly looked up to by other members of society. I’ve personally found so much support from the many people I have come in contact with during my start-up journey.
These are the famous 10 Questions from ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ slightly adapted.
Mignon, it means cute in French. I just love the sound of it.
2. What is your least favourite word?
“Similarly”, because I still can’t pronounce it properly!
3. What excites you?
Being involved in anything artistic or creative.
4. What bores you?
Mundane and repetitive tasks. I worked in catering for a long time and I couldn’t stand polishing the cutlery.
5. What sound do you love?
All the beautiful people in my life, my friends, family and amazing boyfriend.
6. What sound do you hate?
People that care more about their paycheck than what they do each day
7. What do you love doing most?
I love a good chat. Once you get me started you won’t be able to switch me off.
8. What profession would you NOT like to do?
I couldn’t stand being a lawyer or an accountant.
9. Chocolate or not chocolate?
Who doesn’t like chocolate?
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“You have such a pure soul. Thanks for giving so much to the people around you.”
Anything further you might like to add?
Not really, I’m all questioned out.
Joey, it’s been great to hear all about your passion and your life. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.
Below are the links to go buy your new Doona covers etc Don’t forget free delivery to major capital cities.