We were soooooooooooooooooooooo happy to be featured on Chyka's blog last Friday! Thank you, thank you, thank you Chyka! Not only are we huge fans of Real Housewives of Melbourne but we are huge fans of Chyka herself!.....Thanks soooooooooooooooooooooo much....
Here is the link to the full article...If you have not read or signed up to Chyka's blog then its must to do. And get that glass of wine too and tune into Real Housewives of Melbourne epsoides!
The brand Make Me Iconic was born from a love of Melbourne. Launching in 2009. Their aim is to bring the unsung icons of Melbourne into everyone’s homes. And why wouldn’t they? We have the most fabulous city, and I love the idea of one brand celebrating that. They have since branched into some other states (so relax Sydney-siders!!) but what I love most is that if you have a guest from overseas and want to impress them with a souvenir you no longer have to resort to the fluffy koala toy! Make Me Iconic have the coolest collection of wares that are perfect for the home, cushions, mugs and screen printed posters are just the beginning. The lovely Natasha began the company a little over five years ago and has grown the business as well as caring for her family, she was more than happy to answer a few questions for me as I love learning about companies that I admire.
Why did you start your business? Initially, I found it hard to find part-time marketing work that would suit my family lifestyle and needs. I thought with ten years international London brand management experience I would be snapped up in a heartbeat. But, I was only offered full-time work and nothing on part time basis that would suit my family, so I decided to start my own business, give myself flexible working hours, no commute by working from home and still be there to pick the kids up from school and available for kinder duty when required. It was one of my dreams to start my own business, so I thought now is the right time and Make Me Iconic was forming in my head…..
We brought many beautiful souvenirs and artworks from our stay in London. Everyone who came to our house always commented on how wonderful our artistic souvenirs were from London and, of course, they meant a lot to us as well. Then when I was shopping myself for a Melbourne based gift for a friend, I realised there was nothing like that for Melbourne. There were only kangaroos and Ned Kelly-inspired souvenirs and nothing at all which you would want to display proudly in your home. So I started designing homewares that I would want in my home that were urban, fresh, cool and of course Melbourne based.
What are the biggest hurdles you have faced and how did you overcome them? I only have 3 dedicated days a week to work on Make Me Iconic, so I try to fit in as much as I can. I also multitask (as any mother does), and I work my flexible hours – which means once the kids are in bed (and I have been there for them the entire day) – I can then get some more work done in the evening – undisturbed! But the hardest thing is being able to switch off and get that magic formula right of being a working mum. Sometimes I have had to take calls and hide in a cupboard, so the kids don’t find me for a few minutes and interrupt my important call! And then there is also the cash flow nightmare that any small business faces. So far we have been able to manage it well…
What brands and business do you look up to? One of the business women I look up to are Natalie Bloom from Bloom Cosmetics and I think her business is inspirational. I remember when she first started with her candle making kits at least 15 years go. I would love to pick her brain about how she started so small and was able to grow her business into such a successful company.I also love Australian retailing, and I think Australian brands stand-up internationally. There are so many beautiful brands that I aspire to such as Kikki.K, T2 and Kit Cosmetics. I especially love their branding and design – mainly because that’s my background too.
What sites do you love and what inspires you? Apart from online shopping sites where you can purchase any time of day I am totally getting into Instagram. I kind of avoided a lot of social media use for my business for a while as I wanted to refresh the look of my website first. But now Instagram and Pinterest is like a whole new world of beautiful and fun images at your fingertips. I am inspired by the city of Melbourne. It feels so good to be home again after ten years living in London, and it’s like discovering a whole new city all over again. I love all the quirky shops and the hidden laneways. When I get time, I love just walking around the city and taking photos. I also keep a scrapbook of ideas from things I have seen in magazines or photos.
Do you have any tips and mantras you would like to share? The hardest thing is actually just starting and putting a “stake-in-the-ground”. Sometimes you get so caught up in the developing of the idea and how you are going to do it – and just need to press the button and go for it, i.e. spend money! This challenge was the initial stock investment and the uncertainty of not really knowing if you can move it all. I remember when boxes and boxes of stock were arriving in of things that I had ordered and literally sat there with an entire packet of Tim Tams and my Rescue Remedy Stress Relief herbal drops thinking “what am I doing?” I had a gut instinct that other people would like my products but knew the hardest thing is not getting started or making products but “selling” your products. Of course, you need to have a business plan and make sure it is a viable business and not just a hobby. You can also never afford just to sit back and feel you have really made it. I think that is when you lose your drive and takes things for granted. I am really grateful for every sale I make because without customers buying my products I have no business.