We were interested to hear from successful business owners about what are some of their personal driving factors when making a purchase and how this influences the way they run their day to day business operations.
We were lucky enough to have Anna Fahey Co-Founder of Baina, Mikeila Scheckenbach Owner and Creative Director of Bandit Design, Holly Ryan Owner & Creator of HR Jewellery and Laura Tyrie Co-Founder of Tulsi Label share their insights with us.
Loess: What were your reasons for starting your business and what are you most rewarded by each day?
Anna Fahey: BAINA was born from a shared desire to create our own brand, company, product and culture. After careers in fashion, we wanted to create product that was season-less, practical, but kept us within the realm of design.
Working together is endlessly rewarding, we are first and foremost friends, and this journey has only strengthened our bond.
Mikeila Scheckenbach: I loved working as an in-house graphic designer, and within a team, however I always craved more freedom than any of my full-time jobs at the time could give me. So, I started Bandit to give myself the choice and freedom I needed in day-to-day life. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to dream big and live out each day on my own terms. I’m most rewarded by the culture and team I have cultivated, at the end of the day Bandit is nothing without our team.
I’m a huge advocate for work-life balance, following your dreams and enjoying what you do with your time. Honouring the fact that we spend so much of our waking lives ‘working’, I strive for each day to be rewarding and enjoyable for everyone in our team.
Holly Ryan: I always knew I wanted to be a designer, but a few things I learned studying fashion at QUT in Brisbane, led me to a new surety; I wanted to be a responsible designer.
Laura Tyrie: My business partner, Megan, and I both have backgrounds in fashion – her in styling and retail management and I modelled for 8 years and worked in retail also. We started the business because we both worked in corporate Sydney at the time and missed being creative. We always talked about the type of clothes we wanted but couldn’t find anywhere, which bore the thought – why don’t we just make what we want and maybe other people will want it too? So we did!
I am most rewarded when I see our customers in Tulsi. I recently had the pleasure of seeing a girl wearing tulsi in the street as I walked by and it just made my heart sore.
L: What consumer changes/trends have you noticed that have influenced the way you run your business today?
AF: Obviously a big one was the shift to online sales. The pandemic has really made consumers more open to committing to product online, more than ever before. As well, we as consumers increasingly care more and more about where our product comes from, the materiality, and see a shift from fast-trend focused fashion/objects.
MS: I believe that consumers don’t just buy a product, they buy a brand and more importantly they buy the story and values a brand holds. For example, more and more in today’s markets, consumers are seeking sustainable and ethical brands to purchase from. They care about brands’ impacts on the planet and social responsibility is high on their list. This influences the way I run Bandit in the way of working sustainably and doing what we can in the studio to have less impact on the environment. We are completely paperless and also striving to be B-Corp certified in the coming years. As designers, we have a responsibility to guide our clients in making sustainable decisions as well. Packaging is a huge focus point for us and we ensure to only recommend reusable, recyclable or compostable products.
HR: There were a few years there where everyone went minimal, sleek clean lines, little to no colour, just denim, white and black mainly. This left a very blank canvas for jewellery to really have a moment and I felt the urge to go big. Statement sculptural jewellery that made an impact. I think it was at that time that influencers and bloggers such as Sara Donaldson, Carmen Hamilton and Talisa Sutton all really championed my jewellery and gave the brand its spotlight moment. I learned then that designing for me is a combination of reading the room, trusting your gut and following instincts. Sometimes I design to give people what they want, other times it’s to give them what they don’t know they want yet.
LT: The biggest one is the online trend. We toyed with the idea of having a brick-and-mortar store as we had both worked in retail stores in the past but couldn’t decide where we would want it located and it seemed so limited. So we decided to start out being an only online store and it’s worked so well. All our marketing is online also. Both these things have been a huge money saver. We would love to have some Tulsi stores in the future but right now we are happy with being online as it allows us the flexibility to work where we want, when we want.
L: What do you look for when purchasing from a new brand?
AF: What they stand for, accreditations, ethical standpoint and their contribution to bettering the environment.
MS: I always look for a story behind a new brand. Being in the business I am, I love to know why people have launched new businesses and why they’re passionate about their particular product or service. It helps to connect with the product on a much deeper level and ensue, I have more trust that it has been lovingly crafted and is quality.
HR: A brand’s values are very important to me. For example where they stand on caring for the environment, their moral and ethical behaviour and a deep respect for artisanal craft.
LT: When I find a new brand that I like I always check their sustainability policy as that is very important to me. If a brand doesn’t have a sustainability policy or is in the process of changing their practices to be most sustainable, I get a little concerned as it’s such a big issue in the fashion industry these days. I also usually like to buy natural fabrics when I can, so I always check the fabrics of anything I am buying first. There are so many brands out there with beautiful clothes so if I can choose a brand that does good, I will.
L: What do you think is most important to consumers in 2021?
AF: Permanence. Thoughtful consumerism, purchasing quality over quantity.
MS: In the current times we’re living in, with shocking events happening across the globe, I believe brands who are doing good in the world are the most loved by consumers. They can actively feel like they’re helping by backing brands who are actually taking steps to fight for the causes they care about.
HR: Transparency, I hope.
LT: Looking and feeling great in what you wear is always important but I really find that sustainability in a brand is becoming the most important thing to consumers in 2021. When we started Tulsi we said from the start that we wanted to use only natural fabrics, ensure our factory workers are paid fair wages and work fair trade hours and to always use recyclable, compostable and natural packaging.
L: What is your biggest pet peeve about purchasing in store as well as online?
AF: I really love physical retail, I believe there is such charm in being fully immersed in the 3-dimensional brand experience. Peeves about it, I can’t say many. Other than thoughtless customer service. Online, again I adore the ease of online shopping. But for the reasons why I love physical retail, there is an absence of human connection, unless very done well.
MS: My biggest pet peeve in store would have to be customer service which is too far to one end of the spectrum, either over the top friendly, or too cold. Being in a store is an experience, and quite often the sales people can either make or break it. Online would have to be a poor website experience. If it’s too hard to checkout or there’s too many marketing pushes and distractions, I’ll abort mission pretty quickly.
HR: Pushy sales assistants or the opposite; being completely ignored also sucks massively, it’s just rude. Online is brilliant, but not being able to physically inspect something you’re about to purchase is an experience that the deep dark web can not yet facilitate.
LT: I love buying in store as you have that instant validation of taking what you bought home with you but living in Byron Bay, I find I have to travel quite far to shop in the stores I love. When buying online my biggest pet peeve is not being able to try something on to make sure I love it on my body before I buy it but that’s why a good refund and exchange policy is important to me when I buy online.
L: Guilty Pleasure – What online purchase can you not say no to?
AF: I think I can be influenced by social media – which potentially can be a trapping for buying things because it reflects the lifestyle of the person of which is the influencer, only to discover it was not a purchase grounded in my needs. But as a category, natural skincare is my weakness.
MS: I can never say no to the latest beauty supplements and products. The promise of glowing skin and killer packaging gets me every damn time.
HR: I always buy books and records online. I definitely prefer visiting the record store or record fairs to truly hunt because it is truly such a thrill to find a rare or original copy of one of your favourite albums or books. But I am impatient so I hunt the internet for things on my wish list. I finally tracked down Nigeria 70 Funky Lagos on vinyl and it arrived yesterday so I am currently in heaven. I am also unhealthily addicted to Booktopia.
LT: Shoes! Because they always look good!
We’re passionate about promoting businesses who are using their platform for good – so we asked the ladies to tell us some brands that they think you need to know about. Below is what they shared.
Mare Perpetua, Nanushka, Not Wasted, Who Gives A Crap, Worn For Good, Good Citizens, Nagnata, Shades Launay, Marle, She Made Me, Scarlet, Foile, Miyako, Cooke & Kin, Avenue The Label
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