Name: Claire Lane
Business name: XM4
Brief background on you and your business journey:
I’m originally from country Western Australia and moved over from Perth about 13 years ago now. I threw myself straight into Fashion Design studies which led me to open 2 fashion retail stores after my course. We specialised in Australian & NZ designers with a strong emphasis on great cuts & fabrics as well as working on my own fashion & millinery label. When we closed the stores I went back to working in restaurants & could see an opening for some more casual wine and cheese venues. So not long after closing the fashion stores we began looking for the perfect location for our little wine and cheese bar.
And here we are….
How did the idea for business name come about?
XM4 was the name of my Grandfathers Farm brand. The farm isn’t working anymore but XM4 was the identifying tag that everything from his farm had to be identified with. The farm is located in Great Southern Western Australia and we think that using the farm brand helps tie us back to our local Aussie products and producers.
What motivates you?
I am motivated by the idea that I am building a company that will help myself and my staff continue to grow and learn. There is always a new experience every day and no two days are the same.
What do you love most about your business?
I love the feeling that is abuzz when we are busy and everyone is enjoying themselves & happy.
In one word, characterize your life as a start up/ business owner?
Who has been your greatest inspiration? Why?
Margie, my mum. Margie is my business partner in all things XM4. She is an inspirational woman with a long list of small business credentials & ideas, that I could never learn in my lifetime!
Where do you get your creative energy from?
As I have studied Fashion Design in the past, I source my inspiration from many different aspects of life. I’ve always seen texture and tone a great source of inspiration, in everyday life its everywhere!
What was a watershed moment in your business journey?
Hard to pinpoint when this would be. We have always received great positive feedback & reviews from our customers. I think having this positive reinforcement has helped us realise that we are on the right track and moving in the right direction.
How is running a successful business different to what you may have thought it would be?
It’s a lot tougher than I imagined.
I was under no misconception that this would be an easy gig. In starting out most of the hours and jobs fall back on a limited few and we cover a lot our hours & days.
What do you struggle with most as a business owner?
As there are a lot of hours involved I find it really hard to be up for socialising or being out and about on the time off. I feel that this does effect relationships both friends & partners.
What’s next in store for you and XM4 ?
We hope to work on getting our take away cheese boards & foodie hampers more out and about this year, As well as our cheese grazing tables for function catering which are starting to gain popularity.
We are looking at doing a few cheese matching nights early next year. They are always a great night using local producers that we feature at XM4 to match our beautiful cheeses.
Given your experience, what (three) pieces of advice do you have for women starting a business?
- Its important to outsource. Sometimes you can take on too much and even if you know you can do it, its important to give yourself the headspace to do each task as effectively as possible. Don’t take on too big of a load.
- Look after yourself. Assess if you are able to take a mini break prior to opening/launching your business. It helps to start fresh with a clear head.
- I doesn’t happen overnight. It will take hard work and time, you need to be prepared for your business to take time to build.
Any destination- where could we take you today?
Israel, we recently had a amazing staff member return home to Tel Aviv and i’d really love to see a city like that with a local guide to show me the great places only locals know!