Well haven’t I got some exciting news!?! I was interviewed for my very first podcast a few weeks ago with the lovely Cathrine Mahoney from ‘So I Quit My Day Job’, a podcast that travels the bumpy road to achieving your dreams and speaks to those who have successfully made the leap (it’s one of my FAVOURITE podcasts, I recommend you subscribe!). And it's just been released!
After winning the Global Honouree Award, I sent an email to Cathrine to see if she’d consider chatting about our story and how we started in business after ‘quitting our day jobs’. I was absolutely thrilled when she emailed me straight back and said YES! I was a bit nervous to be honest, as I’ve never been a guest on a podcast before, but I was super excited and really looking forward to meeting Cathrine.
I was booked in to meet her in her home at 12pm on a Wednesday. Given the super annoying roadwork on Bendalong Rd at the moment that can hold you up for at least 20 minutes, I left a little bit earlier to give myself some time - I didn’t want to be late! This meant that I actually arrived half an hour early, so I was standing on Cathrine's doorstep when she pulled into the driveway on the way home from a session with her personal trainer. Eager to get out of her lycra, she made me a cup of peppermint tea before we sat down for our ‘serious not serious’ chat! I told her how we got started, how Danny and I met and how our business has grown over the last 11 years… and then it was time to press RECORD!
We did a quick sound check and then the button was pressed. Eeeek! Things are about to get real. Don’t swallow too loud or it will show up in the recording! Haha!
I’m a bit of a shocker when it comes to speaking ‘off the cuff’. That’s why I like to write - I have time to think about my delivery and response and sometimes go back and forth correcting myself or making sure what I’ve written is exactly right. Today was not that day though… and I was definitely having to speak ‘off the cuff’. Already in the first few minutes I found myself openly talking about how I used to give my dad stitches (real stitches - with a needle and thread, not the laughing type!)… I also told Cathrine how I used to want to be a hairdresser, but I realised that massaging heads is not my thing… I just want to mention that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a hairdresser, that’s not what I meant at all, it just wasn’t for me! I love going to the hairdressers and getting my head massaged. Danny’s always asking me to give him a head massage and my first question is always ‘Have you washed your hair?' Poor Danny. But see? That’s where if I had written this answer, I most likely would have worded it a lot better than my spoken delivery!
Whenever I tell the story of our business journey, it’s crazy to think about how much we’ve done and what we’ve been through to get where we are today. There is absolutely no way I could 'tell all' in the short time of around 45 minutes, and afterwards I thought of so many things I hadn’t even had the chance to mention. We addressed the main points, but I could just keep rolling with the stories…
One thing I did want to clarify that I hadn’t quite addressed properly, and I’m sure I am over thinking this, but at the same time feel a lot more comfortable letting you know… is that afterwards, I was going through all of my answers in my head and I became extremely conscious that it may have sounded like ‘Mum and Dad’ had basically paid our way through this. This was definitely not the case… Yes, they gave us a loan to help us start our business as a top up to our own capital from the sale of Danny’s boat, but it was always our intention to have this paid back as soon as possible. I also forgot to mention that this loan was repaid when we bought the little cottage in Huskisson 2 years later - we managed to increase our portion of the loan against that so that we could repay the money we owed to Mum and Dad (by that time we had 2 years of trading history so the bank was looking at us a little more favourably!). So we were square after that! But to be fair, Mum and Dad have been an integral part to building our business. They have supported and believed in us from the beginning and have been very involved since the beginning. I still remember the day I asked Mum if she’d be interested in doing our bookwork (as a paid employee) so that she could finish up in the role she was currently working in where the workload was increasing and getting quite stressful… Gosh, I bet she wishes she had of just kept that job now! Sorry Mum. Love you ;-)
Oh, and if you haven't seen the photos of our renovation of the very first Few and Far Huskisson store... here are a few photos from waaaaaaayyyyy back then... I love the one showing Dad, Danny and I pulling staples out of the floor one by one... oh the memories... it was VERY hard work!!!
And the other mistake I made (a bit of a doozy!) was the size of our first trade fair stand… it was actually 3x7m not 6x12!!!!! How the hell did I come up with that? That’s huge! Not the small stand I was referring to… Our stand now is 6x18m… so yes, we have definitely grown.
Apart from those bloopers, I think I did ok. I guess I’ll have to leave you to be the judge of that!
Ahhh.... look at us... so young and ambitious! This was taken in our Huskisson store the first year we opened...
Although I've got to say, the podcast has been a great way to take a trip down memory lane… After telling the story of importing our first container from China, I had flashbacks of unloading it without a side loader that drops it onto the ground, instead it was almost like a game of Tetris waiting for the first piece to fall… and then all of the furniture that we unloaded was then stacked into the back room of Few and Far Huskisson. It lined every wall, stacked 2 high and formed a bit of a maze or rabbit warren… there were no warehouses in our business back then!
Or the time when we sold our first piece of furniture and the customer asked if we could deliver. Deliver? Yikes, we hadn’t thought of that part… how were we going to make that happen when I drove a hatchback? So we went through the whole process of borrowing Danny’s brothers van, which required them both to spend the afternoon taking out the back seats in order to make enough room for a piece of furniture… and one morning, Danny left early for a Sydney delivery (in his brother’s van) and hit a kangaroo, smashing in the radiator! Ah, the joys of growing pains… I could go on and on!
But I guess you’ll have to listen to the podcast if you want to hear more… Even though I’ve just given it all away!
The biggest thing I have realised over the years, is the value of having 'someone' as a sounding board or someone to advise you in the right direction when you have absolutely no idea what you're doing but really have the drive to succeed. I've had quite a few people approach me for business advice over the years as they've watched our business grow and thrive. So... even more exciting news... I've decided to host a 2 day retreat, a bit like a Retail Masterclass towards the end of the year so that I can be that person to guide you through the business process. I'll teach you the ins and outs of how we got to where we are today so that you don't have to learn the hard way (and waste valuable time and money). If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, I'd love to hear from you! Please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll also be offering this as an online course, open to anyone, anywhere, but because I love having that personal connection with people, I want the first class to be extra special! Stay tuned for more details!
On a final note, one thing I do want to say is that Cathrine made me feel so comfortable. Her warm, witty and friendly demeanour made me feel so welcome and I couldn’t have had a better ‘first pod’ experience than with her! Thank you so much for the opportunity Cathrine. You’re the absolute best!
I would love for you all to have a listen. And if you can go one step further and subscribe it would really make my day! xxx