Vested Capital
Vested Capital

Episode · 2 years ago

Christina Symes: Aussie Completes Elite Interior Design Course In Florence Then Launches ‘We Are Triibe’, One Of The Fastest Growing Design Firms In Australia

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 [ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] About eight years ago I was out in my old neighborhood in West End, Brisbane, at a lounge-bar called ‘The End’. At the door to enter the lounge was a friendly lady named Christina, who was checking IDs and […] The post https://yaro.blog/28969/christina-symes/ (Christina Symes: Aussie Completes Elite Interior Design Course In Florence Then Launches ‘We Are Triibe’, One Of The Fastest Growing Design Firms In Australia) appeared first on https://yaro.blog (Yaro.Blog).

We downloaded this business contract,but then we edited it, and we basically put this paragraph in that. If eitherone of us is feeling like we in the one to Oteo of the business, we need tosend ourselves on a retrieve for a month and which is perfect. It's still actuallyin our contract. Today, we've left it in there welcome to Yar's podcast, where you'lldiscover the stories behind world class, performers, business builders andenlightened leaders. Today's episode is brought you by inbox done com who provide a human being to take over your email in boxes.That's right! Someone else can handle your email for you. This company wasstarted after I went to a networking dinner with some other entrepreneursand explained to them that I only checked my email once per month. Theylooked at me quite shocked, so I had to explain that I actually have someoneelse handling about ninety five per cent of my messages. That's why I onlyneed to go into my in box once a month that is the origin story of the in box.Donem Company we've since gone on to launch this business. To help otherentrepreneurs and successful people like you who spend way too much time ontheir email when they should be doing other productive tacks for theirbusiness or fun things in their life. If this resonate with you, if you'regetting too much email, you're spending too much time in your in box- and youknow having someone dedicated to handling your email, your customerservice and doing proactively e chasing up clients over email than in buck doneis, for you check it out at wwhile Yaro and welcome to a show. At the day, Ihave a guest who is going to talk about her business and I'm excited about thisbecause her business, unlike almost all of my guest, actually has a physicalpresence in the real world and she does things in the real world as well. Soit's at an offling slash online, certainly from the marketing sideinterview today, and it's also someone who I met in Australia back when I livethere. I will share that story in a moment. But let me work on my guest,Hello, Christina Sin: it Hi. How are you yeah, I'm good? I should have askedbefore I I'm getting your last name wit. Did it Sims or seams or sciences,Pashico, Asti, so Christina and I go way back sort of. We have a definitelyhave the most unique meeting story for all my guests. I can't say this aboutanyone else that I met you because you were kind of like the. What do you callit? I the hostess, the door girl? What is it do? Girls Yeah at a bar inBriston called the end, and it's crazy that we met at that time, because thatwas a very pivotal point. In my life, where you know I was changing careers.I was working on the door as a second job to save money, to move overseas andstudy interior design in Florence, and you met me a couple of months before Ileft and now I'm here with my business and were chatting online, which is a Maziris now.What is that business? So people know you know what you're here to talk about, so my business is called. We are triedand I've run it with my best friend Jess and we interior design and styling,but we kind of call ourselves a bit of a multi platform business because we doproduct design. We do brand partnerships, we write articles andyeah. We basically you know our businesses split up into two sides, onebeing service based and the other side being more educational, where we, youknow, try and act as a bit of a voice in the industry. So for those listening who want tocheck out some of Christina's work.

It's we are tribe com with two eyes intribe and I'm sure you could Google we are tribe and that would come up in asearch to recommend you go to the portfolio page, so you can stare at thebeautiful designs and all these different stores around Australia bylooks and things yeah globally now to which is yeah been amazing. So thebusiness is about five and a half years old now and we launched it in Siy whenI got back from living in Florence, and I did a stent working in Berlin aftermy studies as well and then, but my whole plan was to go study the coursewith the idea of coming back and starting the interior design businesswith my best friend. Yes, so she came to me before I went away or decided tostudy and she was like. I want to start a business with you and I we were bothat this phase in our lives of not really being content in our currentjobs. Mine was, you know, working and marketing and styling, and I wasrunning a production company with another woman at the time which thatbusiness didn't work out, which was an amazing learning curve, pre starting,we are tried and yeah. I just said: Look if I'm going to start doinginteriors with you. I want to know what I'm talking about, so I you knowapplied for this course and only fourteen people get. You know selectedevery semester to world wide to go and I got accepted and within three monthsI had my bags packed and on my way- and so I studied there- did the one year intensecourse, which was phenomenal and got back, and we launched tried in insiding and from there we've just kind of been building it into what it istoday. It's an amazing story, especially given I remember because wewere at this, this kind of cocktail, lounge kind of Bar- and I rememberspending more time outside, probably because inside was loud and noisy anddifficult to have a conversation plus you are very friendly and hearing aboutthe Florence story ever thinking that sounds so exotic you're, going to an interior design course in Florence, ofwhich only you know a dozen and a half people get to participate so fardifferent from standing outside a bar in the west end of in Brisben Stralia.So we go back a bit first, like you saidyou had a failed business or maybe let's call it a not quite out come youwant to business, because I don't really believe in failure. It's alearning experience, but even before that was there this desire to be yourown boss. When you were younger like how did you see yourself in the future?Even when you were a teenager and deciding should I go to university oryou know what should I do for a living yeah, a hundred percent? So when I wasin high school, I didn't really apply myself, so I was very sports focusedand very creative, but I just I always had this underlying thing. Where I knewI was going to run my own business one day it was, it was funny like my marksat school were atrocious and you know mom threatened me. You know at the endof every year, when I got my report card that she was giving me to send meto you, know the terrible public school and- and you know I went to a terriblepublic school. So it's not that now exactly and you know, publicschools are great. So you know I probably would have been better offsending me there, but I just didn't know what I wanted to do when I wasyounger- and I didn't you know- really have put an emphasis on my strength yet.But when I finish high school I knew I wanted to work and either fashion or inInteriors and my dad's an architect and I always had an interest in interiors.But when I finished high school I decided that I was going to keepinteriors as more of a you know like this, a personal passion and things,and I went into the fashion industry...

...and I was working as a stylist and youknow one a small scholarship in Sydney for a short course and then went fromthere and was working. You know with some really good brands and doingamazing shoots, but along that journey I met another woman who was a stylistand she'd already had a production business, so organizing campaigns andbig productions shoots for brands right from start to finish, and so shebasically was working alongside me and a couple of projects and asked me tocome on board as a business partner. I D fifty and at the time I was likeamazing. You know this is what I want to do and you know we got along reallywell and we've worked really well together and I basically just you know,quit my part time, job working and I was doing a marketing job or juggling acouple of jobs at that time. This is my early ties and I went into businesswith her for a year. But what went wrong with? We had no business plan. Wewere just getting clients. Whenever we could. There was no structure to it.There was no, you know, kind of overseeing finances and what was comingin and what was going out and you know sure enough, and understandably it fellapart in the end and we weren't bringing enough income to support. Youknow two wages, and so we decided to part ways, and it really crushed me forabout you know ten to twelve months. I was just so heavily invested in runningthat business and I was emotionally invested, and so, when it didn't workout, I was I was feeling really deflated and it just kind of you know.I didn't really know what my direction was for a bit, and so I had manyconversations with my best friend Jess and I was like you know. What do I wantto do and, and she was like you know, what do you love like? What do you? Youknow? What do you interests and I was like you know what I was like. I don'tactually even want to work in the fashion industry any more like it. Ihad become a job for me, verse, a passion, and I was at this fashion weekand Sydney, and I remember sitting there when I was trying to contemplatewhat I was going to do next, and I saw all these girls like buzzing aroundworking at the event and also like these girls love this industry, and I'mjust you know I like wearing jeans and a t shirt. I don't I'm not passionateabout season or clothing or what designers release things and, and thatwas kind of this big realization moment is like I actually don't want to pursueanything else in this industry, and I realized that you know when I wasgetting on a plane. I was buying vogue living or you know, interior magazinesto flick through verse, Fashion Magazines. I was like you know what.Maybe this is something I need to do and just my business partner. She hadalready studied interior design and we were actually living together when shewas studying interior design and I would sit and I'd help her with herassignments and she just turned to me and she was like you know what you havesuch a keen eye for interior. She was like a honesty. I think we need to dothis and she was by that stage, R, already working as an exhibitiondesigner in Brison, for an amazing gallery called Goma, and so basicallydesigning these amazing exhibitions and she's. Like look, I love what I do, butI want to start something on my own and I want to start it with you and at thattime I was so hesitant because I was like you were my best friend I was like.I just had a business partnership fall apart and at that time you know when weparted ways give my old business partner. We didn't talk for a very longtime. It was one of those you know kind of both of us feeling quite scared fromthe experience and not that it was a bad falling out at all. I think youknow after that experience you just kind of feel like you need a bit ofspace and her, and I are actually on you know very good terms now and movedpast that, but I was like. I can't go...

...through that again. If something fallsapart and if it doesn't work out- and we just kind of said to each other werelike, let's just give it a go, and friendship comes first and foremostlike right from the start, and we downloaded this business partnershipfrom online, which is at you business contract, and it was hilarious. We justgoogled it, but then we edited it and we just said in, like we basically putthis paragraph in that, if either one of us, you know is feeling like we in awont oft out of the Business, we need to send ourselves on a retreatfor a month and which is perfect. It's still actuallyin our contract today, we've lifted in there it's amazing, but yet we need togo on a retreat for four weeks and then come back and read them because weactually want to brim up down. That's great, very yeah, very yeah, it'samazing, but she was the one thing that encouraged me to study it and when Iwent over to Florence I assumed that first day and the lecturers werephenomenal, like nothing I'd ever experienced in Australia. You know themy lecturers were working for like the Crimeland over there and you know:They'd come in just lecture us for an hour but then go off and you know beworking for Italian brands. Like you know, Moroso, and you know my interiordesign lecturer. His Dad is a famous architect, and you know it was just thelearning from the best, and I was such a sponge and I ended up completelyacing this course, and you know getting basically a pluses for every singlesubject and like a hundred out a hundred and my mom was just like. Whycan't you get this at high school, yeah and yeah exactly, and you know whatit's like as soon as you find your thing, your niche, it's like everythingfalls into place and it was just like I was just taking so much on board and Iwas like cool. If I've found my thing, I got to stop you too many questionsand we're going to into the next phase of the story. Just yet so firstquestion is: I know people this thing will be like what is the name of thiscourse that you did in Florence, because perhaps I want to do it at whatis it called? It's called the Florence Institute of Design International, andso it's an English skin course and anyone can apply from around the worldand I think they've they've expanded the schools since I've been there. So Idon't know if it's a just fourteen people per semester for her class, butit's incredible, like I highly highly recommend I've had people contact me onlink in and Facebo that have seen me complete strangers. You know that'veseen me like linked to the Florence's set of design linked in and they'relike tell me about it, and I cannot rate about it like enough. It's anintense course. I only did a one year diploma, but it's five days full timeand you basically go in you learn. You know within an hour or two certainsubjects and they're like great. You need to bring back this assignment nextweek and you also need to self teach yourself like additional amount fromthese. You tube videos that we send you, and so you constantly like I was, I didmany all niters, but it's the most phenomenal city to live in and to havethat experience, so I had a recommend and how hard was it to get in like?What's the secret there to be one of the fourteen lucky people I just had toput together a portfolio, and so you can work in anything. You don'thave to studied interior design before I hadn't and but I just I basicallytold a bit about my background with my...

...work and then I put together. I thinkfrom memory an interior came and a for plan and basically just showed my styleand got accepted from that. Thankfully, so I remember the couple of days afterputting in the submission and I could barely sleep and I kept on waking up inthe middle of night and just checking my emails, and it was, I think, aboutthree a m in the morning when I finally saw that I've been accepted, and I am awoke up my partner at the time- and I was like- Oh my God look, I'm going it was wild cool personal pit of a cheeky questionis for fun. I was curious. You and just living together, both girls interestedin interior design and making things look Nice. How Nice was the apartment.You guys live together. It was my parents place sor, so my parents actually were my dad wasworking as an expert over in Korea at the time, and so it was quite funny. Idon't know why they let us live together straight out of high school,but yeah. It was hilarious year that we were living for the cat, EAUT O. Notquite a blank can, but you can't miss with your parents house too much, but I know exactly okay, more seriousquestion, though so going into this new business with jest. So we can talkabout in a moment having had such a rough experience, especially with theending of the previous one, and I can already see you you put in this clauseand you had this contract. You rearly took away some lessons from that andyou were talking about managing finances and you know having a businessplan. Can you maybe talk a little bit about the one or two or maybe threevery most important lessons you took from that business that you broughtinto making the next one? Okay, so I think definitely having a business planor just a vision, because I find that business plans constantly change andyou need to evolve as you go, because you know certain jobs coming board thatyou weren't expecting and stuff. But I think, having you know like whether it's evenjust a six month, you know visioning that you can kind of work towards, andthen I highly recommend. Even you know, right from the beginning, even if it'sa bit of an expense getting a good financial team or just a financialstructure around you. So we were really fortunate that a friend of ours ran afinancial planning practice and he took her sunborn. He wasn't actually even afriend who just went to the same high school as us, and we knew that he wasrunning this business in our accountant at the time said. I think you shouldspeak to Darren and he had taken over his dad's business, which was a like.You know, kind of just a regular financial planning practice, but thenremodeled it to work with younger entrepreneurs. You know we start upbusinesses and he's doing incredibly now, like a lot of his businesses, thathe looks after a just, you know, booming and right at the beginning hesaid, look girls, I believe in you and I'm not going to charge my servicesuntil you are actually successful, which was amazing, and you know we justgot a bookkeeper straightaway to kind o. You know, make sure all late of tax andeverything was in place, and then we also signed up to a program called zero,and so we have all our finances and things in that that we can see so andwe work with Darren to kind of you know, set targets and stuff, so I think,having your own little business plan and having a financial like team, youknow that's big, that's accountant, bookkeeper, an advisor all three ofthem if they can all work und of the same umbrella. That's great! It justmeans they can all talk to each other and then. Thirdly, I think it's justyou know be a dreamer as well. I think,...

...like I think, think, big and don't letother people you know, deter you by their own fears. I think it's kind ofyou know you can have the plan in place, but I also think constantly evolve yourideas and you know believe that anything's possible yet be interesting,like I said, because I know you would have probably had some big dreams forthe first company, but the lack of the plan and the accountability with thefinances and that sort of thing kind of would have in the downfall. I wouldassume- and you would have taken a Omau approach to the the financial realitiesof running a business, perhaps exactly second one yeah. So let's go into thatstory. So you finish your course in Lipoman Florence. I know I have no clue whether after you have adiploma you, what do you do to start a business like does that you must havehad some sort of plan in place, you're thinking, okay, just and I going to. Idon't know rent an office or do we just try and get our first client what whathappened? How are you thinking about this? Okay, so we both moved to Sydneyat the same time as soon as I got back from overseas, and we both got part time jobs. We werelike okay, so we obviously need to still if a round and food while we aresetting up the business, but our first interior job will really fortunate. Itwas a friend of mine who has a retail brand and it was like Heyei heard thatyou're back and you've done interior design and we need a fit out for ourstore. Do you mind designing it, and so that was our first client, which was itturned out to be amazing. We ended up doing three three more of their stores,but we just kind. We definitely under quoted at the time, because that's oneone thing about starting a business. You have no idea, like a majority ofpeople, have no idea what people charge. So it kind of I laugh at how little wemade from that job, but we got it professionally. Photographedstraightaway, once it was done- and I had a website built- and you know, we'dset up a instar and I think our main thing right from the get go was just tomake ourself present in industry as fast as possible. Without you know,obviously you know having that much to show for it, because I just ask you onequestion about this: First job before you move on because I'm a complete like,I have no understanding of how they even potentially price a start, a job.I would assume in my mind it's like okay, so the client says here's ourspace and they say make it look beautiful and of course, you probablygo back and forth with them to get a feel for their brand and what they'relooking for. But it's not simply case so going to the local furniture store,buying some random pieces, sticking it in there and then charging a consultingphase. It there's more more to this, can you kind of explain like whatactually does an interior designer do and and how does that work yeah? So well we our business, becausesometimes we get mistaken for being interior decorators, more so and then,but we are actually a guess, interior architects. So we handle everythingfrom the initial concept, with a client through to free the rendering and constructiondocumentation, project management with the builders. And then you know alsogoing through to you know ordering materials and all furnishings. And soyou know we handle everything from you know the back o doing the wholeconstruction build, and you know anything structural, basically and thenyou know go going right through to the end of styling the space for them. Soit's basically handling majority of the touch point so that first job can yousay what their business was like? What...

...type of business they had yeah. So itwas a fashion, clothing brand, and so it was for the one of the flag, shipretail spaces in Brisbane. Actually they were based in Sydney, but theywere opening another space in brisband. So there sounds like quite a lot oftechnical aspects to what you're just described the rendering. How did youfeel like delivering this? To this? FIRST CLIENT? I mean you were fresh outof school. I know you had some previous experience with the other job, but wasit daunting? Were you kind of building some of this on the fly, or was it justall natural to you guys? Thankfully, because Jess had worked in the industry?Previously, we you know had quite well. She had quite a good understanding ofclient engagement and obviously putting together presentations and the processof creating the concept getting that signed off and then creating theconstruction documentation and in handing the final documentation packageover the builders for build and then making sure that everything's obviouslyorganized and that everything rides to sit for build. And then you know beinga point of course. So we had that kind of process and I learned so much fromJess like she was phenomenal. You know right from the start and because I'venever worked for another interior design film, but we kind of you know aseach project evolved. We you know definitely stream lined up process alot better offered. You know very clear phases for plient. So now we work inyou know a five stage process. Where there's you know two conceptual phasesat the beginning and then, once you know, phase to is complete, whichincludes freed renders of the space. If the client has a really clearunderstanding, what of what that space is going to look like at the end of theproject, so you know they sign off on it. They can see. You know exactly howit's meant to look and then we go into a construction documentation and thenwe do. It's called a furniture finishes an electrical package and that's youknow all finishes, or materials or furniture lighting fixtures. Everythingin that package and that's you, know, pricing and lead times and then we handthat over and then we order everything to sit. So it's already for builds andeverything gets completed on time. Okay, thank you. I feel so much clearer nowand like sin, you do that's very helpful. What I am curious about- and Iguess this is what you were just describing before you're entering asomewhat specialized. I don't know if it's a crowded space, if there's a lotof people who do what you do, but it does seem like it's one of those areaswhere there's it's a lot about your creativity and you know it is a designbusiness. It's not like a nuts involved. You know we always do the same thing.So a lot of it comes down to not just your own skill set that all love itcomes on to reputation and I'm assuming word of mouth. So when you're startingfresh you're up against the established players, I would assume in a space likeeven this, for example, in fashion retail is probably a handful of peoplewho are companies that do interior design that people just naturally go tobecause they've been doing it for the longest it's who they went throughpreviously. So how do you break into this space and create a presence and dowhat you've just done? I guess over the last few years and go to business yeah,so I think you know one of our biggest objectives at the beginning was to makeourselves seen and to create a presence and to give ourselves a voice in theindustry because, as you said, you know it is. You know a highly saturatedindustry. There's the interior designers everywhere. So it's like howdo you stand out from the crowd and we set up instar account straight awaywhen we launched the business and initially we just started posting image,o reference, and so I just you want to show that as a just wear tribe atwodrow yeah, we are tried so go wait,...

Ouli and yeah, and so we, you know,launched the Instar m account and started well like okay. We want tocreate community, that's where we got the name as well. You know tribe. Wewanted to basically attract like minded people and that's basically a slogan aswell of which is designing spaces and products for the that we love lot werelike minded, and you know that's still to this day stands true. We, you knowwant to create spaces, you know we love and that other people love and soinitially with star Agram account and started posting just reference imageryand tag. You know obviously referencing the photographer or whoever on one thatimage and creating you know our look and field, and you know people startedfollowing US based on you know, liking what we liked, and you know whenever wecould post our own imagery. We would as well and then we started this thingcalled tribe tips, and it was this hash tag that ended up actually getting somuch traction, and you know, probably you know, built our following quitequickly, because we started dissecting the images and you know explaining howto get that. Look in your own space, and so what we found through theinterior design industry is a lot of designers, keep their cards very closeto their chest, and you know they don't tell people where something where theycan find a certain lamp in a picture like you know, people be like ohwhere's that chair from, and you know they wouldn't answer, and you know theythat kind of basically would want people to pay for their services tosource those things for them essentially, and so we're, like youknow what we don't want to be like that. We want people to feel inclusive. Wejust want to tell Peoplee, you know as much information about the industry andwhat we do is possible. So we started doing these tribe tips and you knowgiving people as much advice and tot saying you know like ask us anyquestions as well, and you know we were answering in comments and it just kindof gained a lot of traction from that, and we also launched the brand withthese handmade candles that these ceramic candles that we had made overin Bali that cost of fortune- and that was definitely experience. It was moreso a marketing to all verse, profitable O that you know we launched five with thesebeautiful handmade Terema that we had the sime ceramics made over inIndonesia. We then had them, poured the Wax Board in Adelaide and we had theperfume custom made in Brisbane and sent to Adelaide, and then it was justlogistical ly, the worst like not like. We did not think of that at all and Ithink the candles like to get them like the landing price of the candle. Soit's like thirty S, which is what you can buy a candle for, so they ended upcosting us a fortune. But- and you know, we've still got to a Otoya exactly ahundred percent, but you know what that it was amazing because we launched thebrand of these candles and we sent out the candles to a bunch of press likethere's new many press contacts that we could get a hold of. And thankfully Ihad a few friends in par who shared the you know, press list with us and wejust we ended up going off Florest and getting these beautiful floralarrangements, but kind of a little bit more like a little garden in a traymade and then placed the candle in that and then hand delivered to. You knowdifferent magazines and with a little note and then so all these editors formagazines were taking photos and...

...putting them on the Instar, and so thatactually ended up being amazing and then they ended up featuring the candlein the magazine and and so it was just like a roll on effect from that. And sowe gained a bit of traction and then from the tribe tips. We actuallystarted doing downloadable free tribe, tip guides on an ar website, and sopeople were going on the site and downloading them and they be ondifferent topics like you know, tribe tips on how to do a kitchen, renovationor tribe tips, and how to choose the best flooring for your home, and youknow all different kind of topics or yeah, so it was kind of just. We werejust trying to give as much advice as possible at the beginning, so that youknow you just gain people's trust, and you know people believe in you and whatyou're saying, and so you know when you do build up your own imagery of yourproper projects and you share them with people and stuff people. A lot more.You know responsive to it and supportive and so yeah it just did didquite well from the stop. I love it. You're doing, content marketing, whichis my world and you're, triggering there's a concept that I learned over adecade ago called moving the free line which simply means giving away what youmay have charged for in the past. In my case, it's usually giving awaysomething like a book that you might have charged for, but now you give itaway for free as a way to what you just talked about. Build Trust, demonstrateyour expertise, get attention from a marketplace, build your authority andso on, and it sounds like you guys did exactly that with and when I just wantto clarify tried tips is mostly instar posts. Initially, then it was moredetailed guides on your website and yeah. You moved to free line, becausepreviously the interior, decorating or designing companies would have beenkeeping that information as only available. If you hire us and you'resaying no, let's move this to free content in order to build thatfollowing get our presence in the market place and then, of course, I'massuming you can tell me, did you see that turn into paying clients as wellyeah? Still to this day, we get out o the most referrals through people whofollow us on Instar, and so we- and actually you know now it's building upto more clients that continuous clients, so retail spaces which are rolling outmultiple stores, or you know, residential clients who have multipleprojects, but initially a lot of those people contact us through finding us onsocial media. Do you know how that works is a case of following? I guess,various people in the design space and then is it your Hash Tag, and I wascurious to discovering process. I know once your discovered for they tike thefollow button at keep sing your images there in your world, but t that initialcontact point. Are you versed a little bit on how they're first discoveringyou or is that a little bit of a word of mouth mystery? I think it might be alittle bit of a weathermost mystery. It's definitely yeah. It definitelyamazes us how people kind of discover us or the amount of times if I've justbeen out at dinner, and I meet some brand new brand new that I've never metbefore and they're like Heah. What do you do for work and I'm, like you know,have company we are triven like I follow you and it's just a what is sostrange when you know I'm still flown away, and you know what I'm in the darka little bit to how people find us, but it's okay, it's working, don't stopdoing it right. So yeah the social world is amazing. Younever really know. Sometimes I mean there's tracking tools in sure you canrun a campaign and assume it comes from that press article or something, but Ithink the the social nature of something especially like Instar, whereyou kind of fall into these holes of...

Hash Tags and following people, and youcan find yourself following someone like yourself, without really realizinghow you came across you. So you know that's cool to check US forward. You've got this sort of starting upphase where you're releasing content, I'm assuming the clients are startingto knock on your door. Again, I don't know how your industry, where yourservice works, but can you get overwhelmed or I can only imagine youcan't be doing fifty of these stores at once, especially during the early day.So did you have a kind of a growth spurt and struggle to maintain thedelivering services or how did it roll out a hundred percent? I think thefirst year, obviously trying to get in enough work to give us a substantial oreven just a income that we could get by on was you know, definitely tough. Wewere still working part time, for you want the baller income to begin with bythe sounds of things Christine know what going from having a full time wageand then working for yourself. Those first couple of years are tough andit's you know the some people like you know, might launch a brand or a product,and you know be earning heaps straight off the bat, but when you're building aServir space business, you have to build. You know a reputation as well sothat first year, when we completed that first retail space and it was for abrand good age- we had that photographed and then we ended upgetting a couple more projects off. The back of that which is great with youknow, got a restaurant and then it's a couple more smaller things. But at thattime we were just building the brands. So much- and you know on all touchpoints, so obviously the marketing side of things, social media, making surethat we're posting every day making sure that we were trying to get as muchpress as possible as well. So we were, you know, contacting a lot of mediadirectly and just kind of pitching different story, ideas to them as well.So that's another way that we've had a few referrals is from people seeingarticles and stuff that were by ther, Britain or being featured in. But itwasn't until the end of that first year that we went full time and I stillremember the day that just called me and she said, look you know because shewas working at a cafe when we were setting up the business and she wasgetting up at five am and then I was working as an Interior Dialis for acompany, and we were both working part time, but we would, you know finish theday and then either go to my house or her house and continue working untillate at night. So we were burning the CANTLE Major Y O. U K O both ends rightfrom the get go and the day that she rang me to say she was like look. II've quit and you know we're Goin to without talking to you first well well like there was talk around it, butshe was just like no I'm not getting up a FIVA anymore and working till youknow close to midnight. It's you know both of our personal lives, ofsuffering from it both of our you know, partners of the time where you knowjust like we don't see you enough, and it was just kind of it was so stressfulon, like you know, trying to build, build a company that is so passionateabout, and she rang me and she just said, look Tis so I've quit, and Ithink that we have enough coming in in the next three months financially tohold us over and that that was I'm talking. Like probably, you know threehundred four hundred bucks a week, each or like not some weeks not but likejust enough to cover round rent and signe's expensive friends like itwasn't, and that was a lot of like you know, Gosh our partners were amazing.You know during that time and supporting us a lot, so you know we'revery fortunate in that sense that they allowed us to build the brand but yeah.So I was like okay cool, like four...

...hundred bucks a week. Let's do thislike and I yea so I quit as well and then sure enough. The soon as we bothwent full time, it just changed significantly like we just had so muchmore time to invest in it and you know more work came in. We had more time topitch PROJEC. We had more time to contact people, and it's just liketaking that plunge. Is You know it's so daunting, but we turned around thebusiness and managed to you know, increase our salaries. You know about afew hundred bucks like within a you know, a few months and so in to get itup to a wage. That was, you know, manageable. You know to get by for awhile and then we, you know slowly increased it, and then we ended uphiring our first staff member. I think it was probably about two years and twoand a half years in we managed to hire our first full time e bit pride of thatwe had interns, so we did kind of build it. So we had support and but ainitially we kind of paced ourselves in terms of paid staff, so it yeah. We gotit to a stage and then yeah now we've got you know a couple of officers withan in Biron and I'm based in Melbourne. I've just left living in Sydney, and Ifly in and out of Sydney every month now so yeah tell me about this firsthire what was the first job that they did so the first high we actually goton board was a graphic designer, so one area of the business that Jess and Iknew that we should step away from that was absorbing a lot of our time. WasOur social media present so doing instar and then also these tip sheetsand running the website and building that so developing it. So we there was actually a girl thatworked with jess at that part time job when she was at the cafe that she metand we've kept in touch with her, and she had done a little bit of work forus, and so we hired her to help us out and she would schedule all our socialmedia posts and she would build our try, tip shit downloadable streets for usand then basically, we build web content and anything graphically thatwe we required yeah. Can I ask what that looks like today in terms of youronline presence? It's obviously Instar, but are you on interests? Are you on itface book? Well, what does it look like yeah, so we've actually had allplatforms right from the beginning, so interest we've got FACEBO K we're notthat active on face book. We never really pushed that platform. We didn'tfind it was the best for us and personally jest. I don't really useface book too much, so it didn't really feel right for us to try and push onthat platform. When we felt that Instar M was, you know, doing a great job, wewould share images and content from instar M to our face book page but yeah.Now we just the platforms that we mainly use a interest in instar right,I was going to say at the instar obvious and pinchots is obvious, sogoing forward with the rest of your team that maybe you could feel us in onwhat it looks like today. What is we a tribe as a company WHO's part of theteam? You said you're living in Melbourne, flying to Sydney to servicecustomers. There you got a Byron Bay Office is that where just in the restof the team are like, what does it look like today, yeah so one of the otherfull time staff members that we got a board in Sydney. She was originallyfrom Melbourne and she still works for us, but she's actually just gone overseas for six months, but she came on board and after a year she said to usshe's like look, I'm really missing...

Melbourne and I'd like to move back,but I'd still like to work with you, and so she ended up working remotelyfrom Melbourne and then a girl that jess an studied with was moving backfrom the UK to Melbourne, and so we hired her as well, and so our expansionto Melbourne was actually really organic and amazing because we trustedthis stuff, and so we were flying in and out of Melbourne from Sydney andnow my business partner Jess, he has moved to Byron Bay, which is actuallypart of the plan. The whole time she's always wanted to live there and we'revery big on you know supporting kind of our personal goals as well, and youknow it wasn't my desire to live in Byron, favor O. I love it and I canvisit it all the time. I don't think I'd live there just yet. I definitely asippy person, but she felt pregnant actually at the beginning of this yearand that kind of changed our plan. This is what I was saying earlier. You canhave a business plan, but you can't always stick to it. So the plan wasthat I would stay in Sydney. I would hire more stuff in Sydney. We'vecontinued to have our Melbourne office and she was going to move to Byron andbuild a team there, because his actually amazing work and Biron andQueens, and- and we actually get a lot of work up that way so we'll like itjust made sense, and then I would just fly in between or three officers, whichwas definitely Alis, definitely ideal, but when she felt pregnant and we weretrying to hire a new staff and we're looking for a new office space inSibley to move to because our lease was up and it nothing was reallyeventuating the way that we had planned and we had these interviews back toback one day about you know. I think it was like six interviews and you know weweren't quite finding the right fit and we had a lunch bag in between andjustice turned to me and she said, would you consider moving to Melbourneand it was- and it was just so funny because my apartment lease that I wasliving in a finishing in two weeks time and it was such a fast turn around. Ijust turned to H R and I was like yeah. Maybe I should move to Melbournebecause it just we eliminated in fifty grand worth of office friend in Sydneyby me. Moving to Melbourne, we already had two staff full time stuff andtelbin. I could build the team there. We'd already done our leg. where I cansidney. You know we had a present people knew. You know we had client, westill have lots of clients there and I could just you know most of my meetingswith them site visits. So I go to their place or you know if I was meeting anew client there's plenty of amazing co working office, spaces that you canhire meeting rooms, and so you can still have that professional front, butyou don't necessarily have to outlay. You know fifty grand of annual officefriend and then it this means we can, you know, expand the team in Melbourne,so she's moved to by a bay and she's going on the turning leave in October,but then, when she finishes up the tune, leave and ebry she's gonna get a newoffice space and Byron and higher up there. So and I'm just going to flybetween all three you mentioned of air, that you might have some overseas jobs,or maybe you already do as go perseived job. So as we go, try going global yeah,we have been for a little while now, so we are working on seven holiday homes,just outside Mexico City at the moment, in a little town called Vale de Brave,and that did that happen. How does this club my you, sons of random? Okay? Thisis actually an amaze me. I studied one of the guys that I studied with wasfrom Mexico in Florence, and then he introduced us to his friend who cameout to Australia and was studying architecture, and he came and did aninternship with us for about six months...

...and then you know we kept in touch whenhe went back to Mexico and he contacted us and said I want a partner when he'dfinished his architecture degree. He started his own architecture practiceand he was like. I want to collaborate with you guys and so now we're workingon this amazing holiday home project with him, which is unbelievable, and wewent over in January and saw how everything was progressing and then wehave a client, a retail client over in Oakland at the moment and then, as Imentioned to you, I've got a project in Toronto, which is a high and cannabisstore, which is the most interesting fun project. It's definitely a booming industry andit's an interesting kind of client and all the obviously legal side of thingsand a building. A space that you have to you know at the moment weredesigning glass. Canisters that you show case the flower and that you know,people can't touch it, but you need to be able to smell it, and you know theclients specifically said to us. We want to design a space, that's notmedicinal at all. We want it to be. You know a wellness spaced, you know andjust like it's honestly, it's going to be like a day, spar, yeah, it's pretty funny interesting, isclear. Your company is growing and you're going so global. How do you two,as founders, managed to keep delivering? You know your level of quality that youwant to when clearly you're getting cold all over the world, and you can'tpersonally keep going to every single clients space. You know many times atsome point in the future may be never so it is the idea to hire a team thatcan I basically do what you girls have done as founders and become thecreative designers of spaces from the start, or is that already happening?That's already happening, so we've definitely been really mindful of this,because right from the beginning, we were definitely the front of thebusiness. People were hiring us because of Jeff, and I and our you knowparticular style and aesthetic, but you know now we are really evolving ourteam. You know we are rehiring a moment. We've got another girl starting fulltime in a week and we work with a lot of subcontractors. So you know werather than hiring someone full time and house. We have a lot of people likeglow Ale, that you know do construction documentation for us or you know, withthe Toronto Project, I'm actually were partnering with it and in anotherinterior design, from a girl actually studied with in Florence, he's one ofmy best friends and she lives over there and she came to us with theproject and she was like this got. This project is perfect for you guys and I'dlove to collaborate. So you know we work with different designers and werequite collaborative in that sense, but we do outsource a lot of work so at themoment, especially with just going on maternae with really been restructuringthe business so that I obviously don't get to snowed under when she goes awayand we're building a team at the moment of designers that I can really trustand that will you know, run the projects from start to finish. Have alot of client contact. I will you know, schedule Justin meetings, to look overconcept and give any feedback, but you know I can primarily then have thefreedom to obviously run the back. End of the business obviously make sureeveryone's wages are getting paid, we're bringing in you know more projectwork. So I think at the moment it's just kind of bolstering our team to youknow have really trustworthy stuff. You know really creative stuff, who youknow inspire each other and have a...

...really good creative vision as well, sothat it's not just reliant on jess and I and then you know going from there. Ithink you know we want to build up. I think our goal isn't to necessarilybuild a business with you know a huge team, like you know, we don'tnecessarily have the desire to have if it does go that way, then incredibleand if it scales and in that direction, but we don't necessarily need a team offifteen to twenty staff. You know if we're bringing in the projects and haveyou know enough, you know manageable stuff to handle it and can outsource.You know work when required. I'd prefer. That than to you know really like feellike. We need to scale fast and just get you know multiple staff membersyou're talking about so many subjects that most people in my space would besaying. Oh, I studied this book on how to grow a team, or I took this courseand had to grow my instar. Have you ever done any formal training on youknow scaling up a business. I can think of a few books myself. I've readrecently one called built to sell, which is all about building a team thatcan do what you just talked about run. The business without you even in acreative role and, of course, social. You know that's a skill set in itself,so have you either of you as founders like gone through training, besidestraining in the craft of interior design itself? Yes, so I actually, ofcourse I did straight out of high school. I just did a one I should havementioned that before, but I did a business in event. Management coursestraight out, the high school before I went into the working field, and so Ilearned a little bit around that and then just while I was overseas, andFlorence actually did an online course called the Bisco by Moreteh, and so Imean we did structure the business slightly based on that, like we did,you know some of those kind of tasks, and you know the things that she givesyou to build up, like you know, will write down what your ideal client islike, and you know what do they called? What do they do is a career, and youknow it kind of helps. You streamline your marketing and your voice, and youknow what you're saying and we found that kind of helped us at the beginningto create our look and feel and things like that, but then yeah. I do read alot of business books as well, and I get like a little bit of advice frommentors. So I'm reading a book at the moment called the emus. Have you heardof that? One Michael, be Oh yeah, that's one of the very first businessbooks I ever read when I was about eighteen nineteen twenty plus years ago,actually had him on the podcast at one point: Yeah it's a clashing yeah, soI'm actually, I only just got told about it recently e, but an ever yeahaexacly. I am actually happily surprised that I'm breeding through itand I'm like already. I already know that ye already applying it sounds likeyou're doing it all. So you know it's great and it's inspiring Chasin afew couple of questions before you wrap up here last lot of five minutes forthe the listener here: Who's thinking, I've got a creative skill. Maybe it'sin the similar industry to what you're doing, maybe not, and I know they're,probably thinking well, I'm not sure if I'm good enough, I'm not sure how tocreate that presence, because I don't know you know, what's my story angle,what's my Hook, how am I going to get pressed to talk about me because Idon't feel like I'm that special or maybe I'm not, that talented all thesesort of self doubt thoughts in their brain, not to mention just the daunting task of all those elements ofgrowing a business like you said the controlling of the finances, the hiringof a team. It can feel very overwhelming very quickly, especiallyin an interview like this, where we've...

...kind of covered years of your life- andit's almost like. Oh my God, there's so much to do and learn what do you say toa person who's? You know who's Christina and Jen right back at thestart, who are about to try and find their first client and go into acrowded space, that's difficult to stand out, and what do you advise themto do, whether it's minse or even studies or the practicality of doingthis? What would you suggest to the most important things? I think one ofthe things and I've had this conversation with a few people who havebeen starting their business and asked the same question. You have to reallybelieve in what you're putting out there and I think, going back to whatJess and I asked Logan of designing spaces and products that we love forthe like minded. Well, like you attract your tribe and I think, whateverproduct or you know, service you want to put out there, don't do it becauseyou just you, think it's going to bring you a lot of income. L things becausething is people see straight through that which is what I've found it's. Youknow what you are kind of what you believe in and what your product thatyou're putting out there like you need to laugh of it and you need to. I thinkyou know, whatever, that we were saying on our social media, whatever we'redoing for our clients, and you know, products that we were creating like wepersonally like would by then ourselves or you know we would buy into that orwe would believe in what we were saying you know hearing. So I think it'sthat's one of the key things and then I think, as well get as much as ouradvice as you can write from the start, talk to people that have started theirown business. You know get advice about, you know what they did wrong and sothat you don't make the same mistake and then you know and how theystructure the beginning. I know that people like, I don't even know where tostart- and it's just like put your idea down your idea down on paper and justsee how it can work, and you know, even if it's just a one on plan initiallyand it's like okay by the end of this month. I want to contact this manypeople and you know- or I want to try and earn this much income or make thismany sales and just work towards that, and it's just stepping stones, but Ithink it's talked to as many people as possible to get advice right from theget go and talk to people that you believe in. I think you know an youvalue their advice, so I think there's also that you know fine line betweengetting too much advice or also taking on negative advice too literally. So Iremember reading when I finished my studies in Florence and before I movedto Berlyn, I actually read the alchemist and you know one of thethings I took away from that is you know. Life is always going to give youhurdles, and you know it's almost like. How are you going to take on thatlesson? Is it going to deter you from the next step or you know? Is itbasically giving you that lesson to go? Okay, that wasn't the course I was meanto you know right course. I was meant to be on you know. What steps can Itake next and you know don't get knocked down like always pick yourselfup and take it on as a lesson rather than a set back m. what's your adviceregarding partnerships? Do you recommend them? Do you think it's okayto go so low? I highly recommend it right from the beginning. That was onething you know saying before of like negative advice, the amount of peoplelike our parents, close friends, were like. I don't think this is a good ideagoing into business with your friend, and I think that, because jess and Iwrite from the beginning, put our friendship first and we just said toeach other were like you know what communication is key and we had thatopen conversation. It's like, even if one of us is annoying each other or youknow you don't agree with each other. I think it's like you need to workthrough that and you need to learn how to o talk to each other and listen. Soit's basically, even if you don't agree...

...with something that that person issaying or putting forward or you don't like something. You know that I likesaying aesthetically, you know you still need to take it on board and thenmeet in the middle and that's what we've kind of the best thing about Jess,and I is that we've, you know definitely right from the style of justbeing really honest with each other and we don't take offence to each other'scomments, so we're not rude to each other, but we definitely listen to whateach other say. And so you know, I think it's just work perfectly. Thatway final question: What's the future, for we are try, but is there a big exit,possibly one day? I know you love what you do, but maybe you won't forever.What have you thought about that yeah sure? So we have a few different plansand whatever way kind of goes we're happy, but I think you know if we dojust decide to kind of build up the business we kind of see ourselveseither partner with another design firm, whether that's an architecture Sim andyou know kind of having a business that hopefully can run itself essentially orbuild the team that you know we can step back from and kind of, not have asmuch involvement down the track or you know just kind of being more borderdirectors. And then we can, you know, work on other things like you knowwhether we have different accommodation that we want to build all around theworld, so whether that's Bruti quotes and so still all underneath the samebrand. But you know where there our service side, we don't have to be soheavily involved. You know, because that's what really you know it sets usback sometimes, and that's what we're building the brand at the moment is. Ifwe are heavy in each project, you know there's a ceiling of that you hit withhow much you can actually take on board. So I guess it's you know, building abusiness that can kind of function with US overseeing things. You know a bitmore intimately and then you know if we do global kind of a commodation. We'vealso got idea for a really great, a noninfectious online platform, so thatwould be going more into the online realm and, like I know, I know so that that is amonster in itself. That idea it's an amazing idea, but we would need to beable to have a really functioning business that wouldn't rely on us beingthere every single day in the office to get that new business off the ground.So if we could work towards that, that ud be amazing, but we've always beenquite strategic with how we grow the business and make sure that we're youknow, building it at the right time and scaling and bringing on stuff. When weknow it's, you know the right time for us, fantastic CASINA. Thank you for sharingthe detailed story. I'm looking forward to seeing the future of this as well,whether you know one day I'll be walking in Canada and, seeing we aretribe offices, possibly or certainly stores with, we are tried fit outs. Iwon't know they'll, be kind of the stores that Iwon't know a Otani walk into any kind of a stories,but anyway, who knows but yeah. Thank you for sharing a smoking Peschon thesestores, but yeah Canada's definitely the place to do it.I feel like I'm, not Canadian. If I don't an, I have it yet so, but yeahawesome. Thank you for showing the story. I do appreciate the backgroundand diving deep. It was really cool to hear how it all came together andhopefully, the audience benefited we are Tribeca with tribe two eyes. Tospell it that's to where to find you any other resources. Obviously yourinstar is linked from there. They can download some of those handouts. You'vegot to help with their own interior design projects. Is there anywhere elseyou'd like to send them to? I think...

...those two are probably the best placesso yeah awesome great to talk to Cristina a taxing thanks for listening to Yar's podcastfrom our episodes visit, Yaro Dalang and subscribe on. I tunes or Google T.

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