The 29-year-old Aucklander behind the brand making productivity fashionable tells FQ how she launched An Organised Life and all of the career highs and lows along the way.
Can you explain your career path to date?
Before I started An Organised Life I studied graphic design in Auckland for 4 years. When I graduated I worked in fashion (fast fashion, luxury and designer) in Auckland for 1 year and then Sydney for 5+ years across e-commerce, social media, marketing, graphic design and PR. I started An Organised Life as a hobby when I was 24, while I focused on my career. Fast forward 5 years down the track and I’m now full time on my business and absolutely loving every minute.
What made you start An Organised Life?
I always relied on a diary year after year to write down my important dates, lists and goals. When I moved to Sydney I wanted a diary – however, I couldn’t find one that was functional yet had an element of style to compliment my monochrome and minimalistic aesthetic. I realised there was a gap in the market and this was when An Organised Life was born. From there I have slowly developed the brand, content and the product offering in between my career in fashion. I did not have any previous business experience so there has been a lot of learning and growing along the way.
How did you start to turn the idea of AOL into a reality?
My initials steps when starting An Organised Life was designing the diary. I wanted it to be functional and luxe, with a monochrome and minimalistic aesthetic that would be recognised as the brands ‘signature’ look and feel. My background was in graphic design and this was the easiest area to start and the ‘core’ of the brand. From there, I started sourcing printers and manufactories and sampling the product until it was right. I was very realistic as to what my strengths and weaknesses were when I started. I knew I could handle the design, e-commerce, social media, marketing and PR, however, production, dispatch and accounts were all new to me. I also started by writing a huge list and a timeline of tasks, research that was needed and contacts I needed to make. I slowly worked away at it.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that I am constantly challenged and that I always feel so motivated and passionate to grow my business more and more. There is nothing more humbling and inspiring than seeing a customer using your diary and knowing all your hard work is making someone else’s life that little bit more stress-free and organised!
What is your biggest accomplishment at work or a moment you’re most proud of?
To be honest, I’m very proud of the fact that I am now full time on my business. Coming from a 100% creative background, I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone to learn all areas of my business including sales, production, dispatch, accounting and business skills in general. Taking the time to thoroughly learn all those areas on my own, has allowed me to be able to make the dream of being fulltime a reality and I can’t wait to see what is next.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome, as it relates to your career or industry?
I can’t think of one specific obstacle as such, but I know there have been a variety of obstacles (and tears!) along the way that I have had to overcome both with my business and my career. However, I think it’s all about trusting your gut, and growing from the experiences.
What motivates you?
My love of organisation and my customers!
What do you believe has been the key to your success?
Hard work, patience and determination. There have been a lot of highs and lows but I have constantly felt so passionate about An Organised Life that I have always learnt from the bad and embraced the great! I’m always looking forward.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your business?
Ohhhh so many things! I was so naive but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I think it was actually a bit of a blessing. Looking back now, I definitely threw myself in the deep end. But I was always in it for the long game and was happy to learn, develop and grow. I’m a very realistic person, so to lower the risk I launched An Organised Life with x1 single product that I felt really confident about. I only did a low amount of units & because I came from a creative background it gave me the space to learn all the business & operations side while not being to stressful & overwhelming
What is your life motto?
Be kind and work hard.
Everything happens for a reason.
Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Know your point of difference, work hard and be patient. Learn from your customers.
How do you find the ideal work/life balance?
I’m actually a bit of a workaholic, so I’m not the best person to ask! It’s something I’m working on. However I think as long as you make time for loved ones and yourself, that’s the most important thing.
Who’s your female icon or inspiration and why?
I have so many! I’m inspired by my mum, Cheryl, she is such a hard working, generous and very kind woman. I am also inspired by so many of my friends – they are so strong, loving, supportive and hard working – I’m lucky to have them in my life. And I’m inspired by a lot of other women in business taking risks and doing incredible things in their industries.
In another lifetime what would you want to do for a job?
Good question – maybe an interior designer? or a dancer?!
How do you relax away from work?
I love going home to Marlborough to spend time with my family and have some R&R. Now that I have moved back to New Zealand, I’m hoping I get to do this more frequently. It’s my favourite place.
When do you go to bed and when do you get up?
Now that I’m full time and not doing my crazy work and side hustle life I go to bed and get a good 7-8 hours sleep! I work long hours during the day – so having this much sleep is the dream! My bedtime is usually 11 pm and I get up at 7 am.
When did you last act fearlessly?
I think I act fearlessly every single day, having your own business is a risk, but you have to be fearless at the same time. I’m very realistic and calculated so I always know the best and worst case scenario’s!
Who do you turn to when the going gets tough?
I’m lucky I have such a supportive boyfriend, family and friends. I always turn to them when things get tough.
What are your favourite traits you are drawn to at work or when hiring?
I love it when someone is a go-getter when they are hard working, respectful and motivated and they love to learn and grow. Those traits can take you a long way.
You have already achieved so much, but what’s next for you?
I have some exciting new products in the pipeline, workshops and more. My main goal is to continue to grow the brand offering and continue to organise busy lives. Watch this space.