Tell us a little about yourself 👋
OK, let’s speed through my 42 years! Born & raised in Yorkshire, England, I spent my early years climbing trees, dreaming of overseas travel and meeting a Walrus. I became interested in Photography and always loved the arts, including painting & the theatre. After 6th form, I got my first job selling cameras! Well, if I ‘couldn’t’ be a photographer, I could work with cameras! So ten years in retail took me from cameras to clothes and accessories. I worked for Monsoon, the 2000s version of an eco brand! I was shocked at how much plastic we threw away daily into the bin.
I went travelling, fell in love and had my first baby, Mylo, at 31. With motherhood, I grew self-belief and found the courage to follow my passion and become a wedding photographer! I had my second baby, Otis, at 34 and moved to my wonderful now-home in Melbourne, Australia. Wedding photography turned into family photography, which finally turned into my very special niche, Fresh 48 newborn photography, which I still do as my other business.
When did you launch your business? 🚀
What makes your products unique? 🤔
Firstly and very importantly, my products are super cool. Equally importantly, they’re all designed in Melbourne or Australia, and 95% of them are made in Australia. Those that aren’t made here give back to their community in a meaningful way, like the ‘give a pair of school socks to a schoolchild in Africa, for every pair of Sexy Socks sold’ initiative.
Each of the suppliers I chose for SUSSD had to be giving back to People or Planet. So you won’t find anything that hasn’t been lovingly crafted to be appreciated for years or lovingly devoured or used in some way!
What was the inspiration behind launching your business? ✨
People and Planet.
Personally, I need to play a part in bringing my community together, supporting small and local businesses and helping whoever I can to grow however, they need to. I want to be a part of the change to treat our planet more gently with the respect our home needs.
My plan with SUSSD is to open stores that will nurture the community and provide space for their communities to come together – perhaps holding environmental talks, knitting clubs or jam sessions!
I also want eco-consciousness to become mainstream. We are expected rather than the exception. We need to drive the change.
What does a typical day look like for you? ⏰
Ooh, I run two businesses now, and organisation isn’t a natural talent!
I begin most days walking the dog, followed by a run or gym session, a BIG brekkie and coffee and then I sit down to plan the day.
I often do a photography job around 10am and get home around lunchtime to work on SUSSD. This could be managing orders, of course, but largely right now, it’s about building the brand and getting my message out there. There’s no point in having a shop and keeping the proverbial curtains drawn! I need to tell the SUSSD story in a true way that people can relate to.
What are your top tips for small business owners for running their business? 📝
Growing a business is like growing a plant. You research and decide on what seed to plant, what soil you need and how to look after it. Then you plant your seed. You water it, keep it in the right conditions, wait, water, wait and water, until one day, after much tending, you see a tiny green shoot. This is the point that we’re led to believe the business growth will happen… But now you’ve got to switch up your tactics if the green shoot is going to survive. Keep the snails away and support them with sticks, food, water and sunlight. The plant’s needs will continuously change, just as your actions must also adapt.
There is no ‘done’ when you own a business, which brings me to my second, most important tip: You-time. Set your work hours, protect your own or family time, and never let your business rule you. You own your business; it should never be the other way around. You still need time to be a person with interests outside your business. Keep up with your relationships, health and personal growth. If you don’t grow, your business won’t.
What are your business goals for the future? 🎉
I’d love a SUSSD store in various cool towns across Victoria. Each store being a little different from the next, run by fun folk with big hearts and supporting its community in a meaningful way. A community-based chain is where I see SUSSD’s future, but with a big heart and none of the big-chain brutality. Think T2 staff meets Lush ethos with the inspirational actions of Patagonia. Small steps, though!