6 Successful Byron Bay Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets

When I first moved to the Byron Shire a few years ago, I was absolutely amazed at how many people worked for themselves. It was really inspiring, this underground movement of self-employment was huge, and it all stemmed from the need of creating a lifestyle that they love. I want to share with you six successful Byron Bay entrepreneurs who have grown their businesses while keeping their dream lifestyle alive.

I have to admit, I am now putting my lifestyle choices first and my business second. Don’t get me wrong, I am working hard on my business when it is dedicated office time. But, when it’s time to get to the beach and soak up the sun, I am there, if I need to retreat to the hills and let nature swallow me up, I am there or if it is family time with friends I make the choices to live. Keeping the balance of work and lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at what these amazing and inspiring women have to say.


 

Nicole Farrell 

Sisters And The Sea

www.sistersandthesea.com

Sisters and The Sea make handcrafted, lovingly curated gift boxes for women’s celebrations. Be it a sister circle, blessingway, bride-to-be gathering or holistic pregnancy/ post natal essentials.  It’s all about women, community, and connections.

Why did you start your business?

Because I believe in and love what I do! S&S also allows me to continue an amazing and balanced lifestyle. With two small boys, I wanted to be able to revolve my work around spending time with them.

What do you believe has helped you grow your business? Advice and guidance from entrepreneurial friends have definitely been very helpful. We have such a supportive and inclusive small business community here in Byron, and I’m very grateful for all the incredible business minds that I’ve been able to pick while embarking on this journey.

What is does your routine look like?

Ha! Routine! This is a tricky one! My days are pretty full juggling a business and my family life with two small boys. I have three ‘official’ work days a week (where I also fit in cooking, cleaning, shopping, socialising and “me” time) and two days off with my boys. Weekends are family times. I generally start my days with yoga/surfing/exercise and I now (after learning the hard way and hitting rock bottom with adrenal fatigue earlier this year) take the time everyday at lunch to meditate with a guided relaxation.

What’s the best advice you have been given and why has it helped you keep your lifestyle at the forefront?

My parents have always instilled in me that family is everything. In 1986, they dropped everything, threw caution to the wind and moved to Byron Bay.  They were searching for a better lifestyle for our family and the area certainly provided that.  Growing up here and continually meeting people who placed such importance of a balanced lifestyle inspired me greatly.

When you get overwhelmed or frustrated in your biz, what helps you stay motivated?

Stepping away and spending some time doing yoga, surfing, reading or playing with my boys helps keep me grounded and puts everything in perspective.

What would you share with someone who is just starting out?

Have confidence and believe in yourself. Get your flag in the sand! Just start!

 

Karen Jeffery 

Red Ren’s Hairdressing

redrenshairdressing.com.au

Karen (aka Ren) has been in the hairdressing industry for 16 years and after managing busy salons in Sydney and the UK, she settled in the Byron Shire six years ago to work as a freelance hair and makeup artist. As well as having a long list of loyal local cut & colour clients, Karen also specialises in wedding styling and recently branched out into photographic work and is enjoying her creative side!

Why did you start your business?

I started my own business after years of long busy hours working in various big name salons for little pay. I wanted to slow down and enjoy my work, do better work and earn more money.

What do you believe has helped you grow your business?

I believe my management skills that I picked up from previous employers gave me a good basis of how to run a successful business. A good work ethic and a willingness to work hard always helps too! Because I now enjoy my work more, I feel I create better work and therefore happier customers. In a community, like here in Byron Shire, word spreads fast so my lovely clients have done all my advertising for me by way of recommendations.

What does your routine look like? 

My daily routine goes something like this… I must have 2 cups of tea before I do anything! Then I check my diary for the day. Work on my business social media pages for about 30mins. Chase my 2-year-old daughter around the house trying to get her ready for daycare. Take her to daycare. Then either make my way to my first appointment location or head back home to set up my private salon for clients coming here. When I’ve finished all my clients for the day I check and reply to emails and texts before heading back to daycare to pick my little cherub up! I usually check all social media again whilst cooking dinner and post any worthy photos from my work day to Instagram. Finishing out the day with the usual family evening activities.

What’s the best advice you have been given and why has it helped you keep your lifestyle at the forefront?

The best advice I’ve been given is to have enough faith in your ability to know you can be successful. And if you work hard enough you really can achieve what you want.

I always used to freak out during quieter periods where the work slows down, thinking I wasn’t good enough or popular enough and that I’d lost all my clients to another hairdresser. Now I understand the ups and downs and relish the downtime when it comes as I’m usually so busy!

When you get overwhelmed or frustrated in your biz, what helps you stay motivated?

My clients help me stay motivated when I know they are genuinely happy and grateful for my service it’s a great feeling. Whenever I receive a call or text from a new client that’s been recommended by someone else or someone that’s been following my work on social media it all just makes me want to keep creating better and better work.

What would you share with someone who is just starting out?

To someone just starting out, I would say have faith in yourself. Work hard and keep working on your skills and learning to be the best you can be at your craft! 🙂

 

Kim Crichton

Foundling

www.foundling.com.au

Two sisters plus one little indie folk brand from Byron Bay. Shipping ethical fashion worldwide.

Why did you start your business?

My sister and I started Foundling in reply to the growth of fast disposable fashion, we love the timeless styles and folk influenced designs we grew up with and wanted to prove they could be reinvented and made with individuality and integrity in each and every part of the process.

What do you believe has helped you grow your business?

Undoubtedly the business model has grown because of our loyal customers, I think the label and what it stands for speaks to them and where they are in their own lives.  We understand that for our customers, fashion isn’t a deal breaker, rather, they are interested in quality and technique and love the folk influences of all different cultures. I also think that our particular customer doesn’t want mass produced, they really like that Foundling is a very boutique label and that we create our own fabrics and embroidery designs from scratch or from vintage designs. We hope as well that our transparency and ethical platform has been something that sets us apart.

What is your routine look like? 

We are both really busy mums so the week pretty much looks hectic between work in progress meetings, specifying pantone colours, conference calls with India or the Philippines, booking work trips all mixed up with the usual suspects.. music practice, soccer training, groceries etc.  There’s probably not as much time as we would like to enjoy Byron Bay but it’s still a beautiful lifestyle.

What’s the best advice you have been given and why has it helped you keep your lifestyle at the forefront?

We have always loved the Anita Roddick quote ‘being good is good business’, it’s something we try and practice at every level of Foundling from suppliers to customers, we are both big believers in karma.  I’m not sure if that mantra has kept our lifestyle at the forefront, sometimes our lifestyle is time poor to be honest, but we wouldn’t change it for the world and we feel very lucky and grateful for how the business has grown and allowed us to be (largely) stay at home mums.

When you get overwhelmed or frustrated in your biz, what helps you stay motivated?

I’m not sure there are many jobs that don’t have moments of frustration or of feeling totally overwhelmed, I think that’s part of the course…what keeps us motivated is the brand, that as the big faceless conglomerates and high street labels move in with robots picking and packing orders, we are still hand crafting and working with our makers who are also all family owned and run businesses, they very much rely on us as well.

What would you share with someone who is just starting out?

Being good is good business 🙂

 

Lauren Phillips 

Avalon Lane Photography

www.avalonlane.com.au

Lauren uses her images to create beautiful stories and captures the little moments in life that make you look a little longer and smile a little wider. Her photography is less about what she sees and more about what she feels.

Why did you start your business?

I guess you could say that Photography was my calling. On the creative side of things, it was almost a therapeutic, healing process for me, to create. My photos are my words and my way of expressing how I see the world. Business wise… It was a yearning as a mother to create a lifestyle that worked for us as a family. The opportunity to be in control of the life that I wanted to create for my daughter.

What do you believe has helped you grow your business?

First and foremost, it was having the passion for wanting to really make it work. If you don’t have that, then the workload and commitment of a dream will fall through the cracks.

For me, there was definitely an aspect of magic and it happened organically. However, what really made it grow was finding like-minded people in the photography community, reading reading reading, I have constantly read and tried to learn every tiny aspect as much as I can. Not only the ‘photo-taking side of things’ but the business side. You need to surround yourself with people in the same boat. That has been a huge learning curve and being a part of social media groups in the industry has helped with that immensely.

What is your routine like?

Ha, what is a routine? It’s a bit hit and miss having a small person! There is not much consistency in my routine, which is just the nature of my field (and probably my disorganisation). But I can say that finding the time in the day that you work best is key. For me, it’s the mornings. I try to prioritise what’s most important for the day into a time frame into the morning, after that I tend to procrastinate!

What’s the best advice you have been given and why has it helped you keep your lifestyle at the forefront?

The best advice that I have been given would have to be to look after yourself. You can get totally lost amongst the chaos and you need to be vigilant setting time aside for you and your family. As business owners and entrepreneurs, we need to remember to give ourself office hours just like anyone else. Switch off that brain for your well-being. Make days and hours that you work and stick to them.

When you get overwhelmed or frustrated in your biz, what helps you stay motivated?

I can only speak from a creative point of view here, but I always find that when I’m overwhelmed (which happens often) or losing sight of where I’m at, I go out and take photographs just for me. I don’t care about the perfect shot or straight lines. I see the beauty and admire it again… Wether that be of my daughter or just things that inspire me. It helps to re-draw the road of what I’m all about and re-spark the creative love for what I do.

What would you share with someone who is just starting out?

Value your worth!

 

Joey Juarez 

Dona Cholita

www.donacholita.com.au

Dona Cholita is a Mexican food company that produces authentic corn tortillas that are organic and gluten free. This family run business serves up traditional tasting foods like their totopos and tostadas (corn chips that are highly addictive). Joey is the woman behind the scenes of the business while husband Jefte working his magic in the Tortilleria.

Why did you start your business?

Since I first started working at 15 I knew that one day I wanted to be my own boss. My husband (Jefte) and I had talked about starting a business since we first met, we’d talked through loads of different ideas & knew that one day we would do something. So when I fell pregnant with our second child (no1 was 8 months old) we decided life had to change. There was no way we were staying in the city to work full-time jobs just to pay for child care. So taking advantage of my maternity leave we took the plunge and moved (home for me) to the Northern Rivers to have child no2 and start a business all at the same time! Phew! Wouldn’t do that again in a hurry!

What do you believe has helped you grow your business?

Jefte & I are an awesome team! We complement each other really well, one of us can always be the voice of reason or the risk taker (it swings in roundabouts). We have very different skill sets and we totally believe in each other’s abilities. I think above all we communicate with each other, we’re on the same page, so despite it being very challenging (there are definitely times we’re at each other’s throats) we can talk through just about anything.

Amazingly all the things both of us had done in our lives before Dona Cholita has set us up beautifully to run our business. So many transferable skills! And we have an AMAZING team, I’m a great believer that you can’t be awesome at everything, but there is always someone who has the skill you need – so find them.

What is your routine like?

I get up at 5am two – three days a week to go to crossfit & I try to do yoga one other day, this is what keeps me ticking! If I don’t go everyone notices – I get short tempered & stressed out. Having small children, now 4 & almost 3 means I am forced to stop work and have fun with the boys. They do spend a lot of time with us while we’re working, but I guess this is part of the joy of having your own business. We usually try to eat out once a week to break up the routine.

What’s the best advice you have been given and why has it helped you keep your lifestyle at the forefront?

It will get easier! (and it has).

I think living in such a beautiful area it makes it impossible not to keep lifestyle at the forefront – We aren’t surrounded by busyness. When your office view is paddocks & rolling hills there is a certain sense of calmness that ensues.

When you get overwhelmed or frustrated in your biz, what helps you stay motivated?

Focus on one thing at a time – choose 3 tasks to complete each day and complete them. I recently read this great book “The Power of Less”, it’s really helped me get back to the essentials and not try to do everything at once, and feel good about it.

What would you share with someone who is just starting out?

I think it’s essential to have someone to talk things through with, your partner, a good friend a mentor your business partner.

Stick with it! If you know in your heart it will work, stick it out because there is nothing that will help more than your passion. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

 

Kaidee Peel 

Kultcha collective

www.kultcha.com.au

 

Kaidee Peel is the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Kultcha Collective, she thrives on finding new embellishments, fabrics and manufacturing techniques from around the world – taking these back to her studio in the hinterlands of Byron Bay, NSW, Australia to create quality garments, jewelry and wearable art. In 2009 Peel met Bulan Casley, who Co-Founded Kultcha Collective and the couple’s creations are now stocked in several boutiques and emporiums around the globe and online.

Why did you start your business?

Kultcha collective was born in 2010, inspired by our travels and is run by my husband and myself. Before we had children and we were footloose and fancy-free we traveled around the various countries and having a background in art, design, and fashion we were constantly inspired by many cultures from around the world, especially while in northern Thai Hmong and India.

We love learning about traditional techniques of embroidery, embellishments and why fashion in different cultures is so important as a part of identity and pride.

What do you believe has helped you grow your business?

Being based in Byron bay has been a wonderful incubator to start a business, it is known for being abundant with creatives and artists.

There are so many local artisan markets and a place that brings visitors from all over the world, we started at local markets which gave us an outlet to meet our customers, see how garments fit, tune into what catches their eye etc and the label has evolved simply from there. We always advertised our online store and collected emails for our newsletter database so that we can follow up with customers and they can shop even when they are back home on the other side of the world.

What is your routine look like?

The weekly routine starts with playing games with the children and getting our oldest daughter Inca Mitzi off to school. Our youngest Ari Uki comes to the studio with us. Gardening and adding to our creative building project.

Then into the studio to follow up emails and updates online and social media.

Pack an send any only orders from the previous day, Sometimes items out of stock are made to order in-house.

Working on new samples and sourcing fabrics, trims and accessories. All of our designs are first sampled in-house (I am also a pattern maker).

I am in communication with our production workrooms at least three times a week. We manufacture 90% of our products in Australia, some in Indonesia. All of our production workrooms work under fair trade and ethical conditions and are mostly small family businesses just like us that we outsource for the bulk production.

Sterling silver is all made in-house, so I am working hard filling wholesale orders and keeping our stock filled in store, along with our exclusive local stockist Name in Lawson street Byron Bay.

We are currently fitting out our new boutique/ studio lifestyle concept store in the beautiful hills of Byron Bay. Most of our time over the next month or so is focused on an epic new store that all are welcome to come and visit and experience, We will also be running silver smithing workshops and other fun things so please watch this space for an open day!

What’s the best advice you have been given?

The best advice is all around, I am always asking my peers and other designers advice, You can never know too much so constant learning is essential!

I recognise I am a creative and the business accounting side of things is defiantly not a strong point!

Therefore I would say the best advice I have received is to recognise your strengths and weaknesses, find the right people to complete certain tasks and areas within the business to have a fully rounded well-run label.

When you get overwhelmed or frustrated in your biz, what helps you stay motivated?

Writing lists are the best thing you can do in your business and personal life, It gives you clarity on whats important to complete, stops you from being distracted and feeling fulfilled when you can tick off the tasks from your list.

Make sure the lists are a mixture of both boring and exciting things so the list doesn’t look so ugly that you want to ignore it!

What would you share with someone who is just starting out?

Find your Niche! It’s crucial, especially in the fashion industry. Be true to what you love to do and I would strongly suggest doing a business and marketing plan, It is fun it helps to brainstorm, gives you a voice and you will discover so much about yourself and your new business within that time period.

Be open to evolve and change and know that your business will probably not look like the business plan you wrote five years ago.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. I love love love this Lizzie, thank you so much for sharing the stories and tips from these beautiful entrepreneurs. 🙂 xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *