Employable I was not. Between my pink African braids, eyebrow and lip piercings and tattoos I wasn’t what you would call a ‘prime candidate’. I went to Uni and managed to get an Advertising Degree thinking I’d easily slip into a creative role. I was wrong. I even sent one CV in on a toilet roll (I’m serious) and still couldn’t get a job. (Who could resist that job application!?).
I managed to get trial jobs from all of the following … and subsequent firings within 48 hours of each position. I shall rattle off a few; Karen Walker, Trelise Cooper, Moochi, in a nutshell, every fashion boutique there was in Auckland in the early 2000’s. I quickly learnt standing outside the store and smoking during my breaks wasn’t a good look (have since quit!).
What I learned very quickly was that if I wanted to make any money I was going to need to do it on my own. By 24 I formed my own PR Company managing some of NZ’s biggest rising fashion stars … however, I was young and naïve and by 27 my business partner had completely shafted me taking everything I had to my name even going as far as forging my signature removing me from a large Fashion Week contract. However, I’m a stubborn pain in the ass with a memory like an elephant so while I sorted my shit out and got back on my feet again I patiently waited and 5 years later managed to get so-called business partner done for IRD fraud (revenge was very sweet!).
Miss Lolo was born out of a complete fluke a couple of years later. There I was getting my own pieces of furniture reupholstered as I couldn’t find anything “fun” enough in the shops. People commented so I started a teeny tiny little Facebook page for friends within 6 months we had 10,000 completely organic followers. At that point, I thought “Holy crap I might be onto something here” … and from there on it took on a life of its own and ever since I’ve been holding on for dear life. A good friend of mine said to me recently “Running a fast growing business is much like learning to fly an aeroplane while building it at the same time.” She was bloody right! I know we still get loads wrong and we feel total crap every time we do! But with every mistake we refine, tighten procedures and make sure not to repeat it.
I guess the moral of today’s blog is even if you haven’t followed that traditional route of education or employment don’t be afraid to just do it your own way. Start your FB page or your business plan, sign that lease or register that company name you’ve been thinking about. There is no right way or time to start a business and as the saying goes “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
Miss Lolo xx