Brief background on you and your business journey
My working background is in buying and stock management. I initially began Derby & Power as a hobby outside of work, and looked at any income as a bonus. Even as a child, I’ve always been interested in running a business, so I got a lot of satisfaction out of my side hustle. I took a few courses in millinery, again, as a hobby, and the business continued to grow. Taking the business full time ended up being more of a lifestyle decision than a business one, and two years later I can definitely say that I love everything about the self-employed lifestyle.
How did the idea for Derby & Power come about?
I’ve always been interested in running my own business, but the idea of starting a millinery label came about out of personal need. I was never able to find pieces for myself that were on-trend and yet still affordable. I felt that there was a fantastic selection of Australian apparel labels offering unique and good quality designs at a mid-range price point, but when it came to headwear there wasn’t much choice.
What motivates you?
As a small business owner, all of the successes of the business come directly back to you. Seeing growth from year to year is incredibly rewarding and motivating.
What do you love most about your business?
The variety. Being a seasonal business, there’s a clear timeline throughout the year, which means every month has a different focus. Some months are totally design driven, while others are focused on marketing. I love that I get to do a bit of everything.
In one word, characterize your life as a start up/ business owner?
Who has been your greatest inspiration? Why?
I can’t say there’s been one stand-out person. I am constantly aware that there are a number of people from whom I’ve taken different learnings, which manifest in the way I make desicisions on a daily basis. These would include my parents who have a lot of experience in running small businesses, ex-colleagues who have incredible work mindsets, and friends who are navigating their own creative pursuits.
Where do you get your creative energy from?
In terms of design ideas, my creativity is sparked from a lot of different areas. Sometimes I will stumble across a piece of jewellery which might trigger a new idea, other times a design will pop into my head in the middle of the night. But without a doubt my biggest source of inspiration comes from my customers. Every year I run a pop-up store during the spring carnival period, and seeing first-hand the way in which people interact with the designs is invaluable. I end up designing about 50% of the new season range (in my head!) during this time, based on feedback from my customers.
When it comes to business creativity, I get a lot of inspiration from listening to podcasts or reading books. I may not necessarily take on board exactly what is being preached, but more often than not the concepts being taught will trigger another train of throught, which inspires me in its own right.
What was a watershed moment in your business journey?
I feel like every spring carnival is a bit of a watershed moment – there are always so many new opportunities that come up during that time! But the stand-out turning point for Derby & Power would have to be making the decision to leave my full-time employment in 2017 and accept a pop-up store opportunity. I haven’t looked back since!
How is running a successful business different to what you may have thought it would be?
One of my main learnings over the past few years has been the importance of putting my ‘face’ to the brand. Linking your personality to your brand wasn’t really something I had thought about before starting Derby & Power, but connecting with customers on a personal level is such a big factor in growing a successful brand.
What do you struggle with most as a business owner?
I’m actually finding this question pretty difficult to answer! There are definitely some draw backs to being a business owner, like not having the security of a fixed salary and sick leave, but for me it’s all worth it!
What is next in store for you and your business, Derby and Power?
Next year I’ll be spending a month working from Bali, which I’m incredibly excited about! Coming up in the short term is my spring racing pop-up store which will open on Chapel St on Monday September 30th. AND I’m looking at introducing a new product line in the very near future – stay tuned!
Given your experience, what (three) pieces of advice do you have for women starting a business?
PLAN – You will probably be tempted to jump straight into things when you’re just starting out, but try to remember that taking the time to plan is really invaluable, from both a budget and a timeline perspective. Decide on what you want to achieve in the next 12 months, then come up with 12 months worth of action points that will help you achieve those goals, and allocate a budget for each task.
KEEP LEARNING – There are so many ways to access new information these days, and there’s always something new to learn. Listen to podcasts, read books and blogs, talk to people within your network. You never know what a new piece of information might spark in you.
SAY YES – As long as you have the time and money required, say yes to as much as you possibly can (collaboration opportunities, networking events, guest blogging etc). I’ve found that I literally always get something valuable out of saying yes, even if it’s not exactly what I may have expected.
Any destination – where could we take you today ?
I’d really love to explore Scotland and Ireland at some point!