Hi Georgia, What inspired you to start your business?
Talking Red was started in 2012 when a friend and I noticed a gap in the market for girls clothing that didn’t follow the traditional, pink frills style and boys clothing in general. Originally we started the business to do handmade, quality clothing at markets to fill a gap there.
Do you have business partners/employees?
The business started as a partnership. I took over the business as a solo operation at the beginning of 2016 but Julia (my previous partner) has stayed on as an employee. It is such a luxury to have an employee who knows the business inside out and is passionate about it.
How much start-up capital did you have and where did you invest/spend it to get yourself up and running?
As the business started as a hobby no start-up was involved. It has been a very natural progression.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am a full time Mum to two children, Xavier 4 and Maria 2. A typical day involves me caring for me them as my number one priority, sewing and managing other business affairs during afternoon nap time and at night.
How has social media benefited your business?
Social media has changed my business, particularly Instagram. 90% of my customers are from Instagram – it drives a lot of traffic through my website. It is also my only current source of marketing. I don’t pay for any advertising. There is a strong presence on Instagram of “brand reps” which isn’t something I participate in. I do however at times send items to people in exchange for photography. This can vary from just product photos to pictures featuring their children dressed in Talking Red clothes. The effect this has is excellent. It gets my brand seen in a variety areas and also gives me great content.
I heard you did an influencer post through Rebecca Judd, how did this come about and what effect has it had on your business?
Rebecca Judd has posted pictures of her daughter in Talking Red twice. Neither have been paid endorsements. The garments were sent to her as a gift and it is incredibly humbling that she appreciated these gifts and liked the garments enough to share them with her enormous following! The effect this had on my business is significant. When she initially posted in January of 2015 it changed our operation from a hobby to a business. The Rebecca Judd post on Instagram was within one month of Sophie Cachia (The Young Mummy) and Megan Gale also posting photos featuring Talking Red. Sophie was a great supporter of our business and gifted items to Megan Gale that we custom made for her. She also included us on a blog where she featured her favourite boys clothing.
These influencer posts were significant growth triggers.
What shipping methods do you use?
I use Australia Post. It is cheap and easy. I have only ever had two parcels not arrive at their destination (fingers crossed I haven’t just jinxed myself!!).
Has Shopify been a good platform for you?
I have only just this month moved from Big Cartel to Shopify. Big Cartel has been an incredible platform to start with. It is both cheap and easy to set up. I am in no way tech savvy and have always managed it myself. Shopify is the next level with more features available, including building a customer contact base, exploring abandoned carts etc. It also has the capacity to have AfterPay which is currently very on trend in the online retail world and I believe a critical offering to customers. I look forward to this platform helping me grow the business.
Talk me through some obstacles you’ve faced.
I am currently faced with an obstacle of maintaining production. Having a handmade business is very time consuming and not profitable enough to encourage wholesale orders which is a significant part of growing a business like mine.