MOST BUSINESSES HAVE AN ONLINE PRESENCE NOWADAYS, EVEN IF THEY HAVE A BRICKS AND MORTAR SET UP TOO, BUT THE THING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA IS THAT EVERYTHING CAN LOOK SO PERFECT, SO CURATED, SO GLOSSY FROM THE OUTSIDE. I WANTED TO GET BEHIND THE CURTAIN, INSIDE THE MINDS AND INTO THE HEARTS OF SOME OF MY FAVOURITE BUSINESSES AND FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT RUN THEM. I FIGURED IF I WAS CURIOUS TO KNOW MORE, MAYBE YOU COULD BE TOO?
WELCOME TO MY REGULAR SERIES THE FACE BEHIND THE BUSINESS. COME BEHIND THE SCENES WITH ME, BEHIND THE PERFECT IMAGE WE SEE AT THE STORE FRONT LEVEL AND MEET SOME WONDERFUL KIWIS DOING WONDERFUL THINGS (AND LEARN THEIR SECRETS TO SUCCESS).
Amy from Hello Stranger is one clever cookie. She’s got two very young children and a very successful kids clothing business. As someone who had a semi-successful kids clothing business with similarly aged children I take my hat off to her… it’s hard slog when you’re in the thick of it with little ones. Her designs and stylish threads are clothing some of New Zealand’s trendiest little people and it’s not hard to see why. Monochrome goodness with touches of colour here and there, Hello Stranger is a range that works for everyone, but is best suited to cool people who like to get on with life and get busy doing stuff.
Amy shares with us today the story behind her business and how she finds time for herself in amongst the chaos of family life and running a business.
Find a few spare moments and a cup of tea, and read on to learn more about the face behind this business.
Where did the original idea for your business come from & a little about how Hello Stranger started.
Hello Stranger was an idea I’ve had for sometime, but one I didn’t previously I have the courage to jump into. I actually started a paper design company with my sister prior as I loved designing, and this was an outlet for my ideas, however I always knew my love was with fashion, clothing & especially kidswear. It wasn’t until I had my first boy that I decided to take a risk & jump into bringing Hello Stranger to life. I had both the Paper Design & Hello Stranger on the go for a while before I realized it was too much (especially with a newborn), which led us to decide to sell the Paper Design business.
Not many people know this, but when I first started I only had the intention of Hello Stranger being a hobby that I sold online & through markets. With a newborn in tow, I would literally drive around Auckland, picking up fabric, delivering cut fabric to manufacturers & screen printers, working with label makers, and returning home to cut fabric at night in my garage. It was very full on & at times I thought I was nuts! However, I started to receive regular wholesale enquiries which brought me to a crossroads of where was the business headed? So with the support of my husband, we decided to take Hello Stranger to the next level, change the way I was doing things & shift the business into retailing in stores.
Now if you know me, you would know that I love to wear black, white & grey (probably a little too much) so I wanted to design a collection of kidswear that was based around my own style, yet still fun for kids. Hello Stranger kidswear is kidswear that is made to be worn, and like our own, is for a life less styled for photos. The style of kidswear has now transitioned into street/surfwear which is more reflective of our families lifestyle, rather than the babywear Hello Stranger initially started out as.
Where did the name Hello Stranger come from?
Something I always get asked! Hello Stranger was always going to be the brand name if I ever took the plunge. I had always imagined when I met my baby for the first time, I would be secretly saying to myself ‘Hello little Stranger’.
What are you most proud of with the launch of your company?
How quickly Hello Stranger has grown and where it is leading. The response to the brand has been overwhelming from retailers & customers, and seeing your garments out & about on kids throughout NZ…… this is seriously so exciting & never gets old!
What has been the most difficult part of your journey?
I think most mums in business (and probably most mums in general) will agree, it is definitely being time poor. Obviously my 2 boys always come first, so I work around their awake times, and with the transition from a hobby to a wholesale business I had to smarten up the way I was operating. I am lucky Roczen goes to daycare 3 days a week, which allows me to work during Reeve’s nap times those 3 days & then once they hit the pillow for the night. I’m normally at my desk after my husband & I have fitted in some exercise. Luckily I love to work!
What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?
There is nothing more rewarding than receiving messages from customers about their experience with Hello Stranger & myself. I try to engage with customers & followers whenever I can, that’s why I love people tagging their Instagram photos. I have very high expectations about our customer service , if someone is going to spend their hard earned money on my products, I need to provide the best quality products I can.
Do you have plans to expand your range?
Right now I am happy with the size of the range as its something that is manageable for me alone & working around being a mum first & foremost, but who really knows where it is headed.
What’s your mantra or the one piece of advice that has stuck with you through the process of starting your own business?
You get out what you put in, work hard & treat people the way you would like to be treated. I always remember the saying – if the shoe was on the other foot, what would you do.
Tell me a little about you or your family.
I have an amazing family of 4, my hubby & 2 young boys Roczen (2) and Reeve (3 months). We are what my husband & I like to call (& joke about), an ‘Active Family’! We are lovers of activities & seem to have every weekend filled with something on, its organized chaos! Not your average sports seem to be our thing – wakesurfing, surfing, motocross, fishing, diving, we love it all.
How do you juggle being a Mama and running a business?
I truly love to work & be busy. However my 3 boys always come first and I try to exercise daily, I find this is the only time I get to myself, whether it be 20 mins or an hour, it’s a great way to clear my head & think. I have also joined some amazing mums in business groups online, & love to read articles & listen to podcasts as its so refreshing to know others are in the same boat.
Do you have any tips on how to make a successful business work with a young family?
There will be times you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it, and make sure you always have a support person.
What’s your favourite (family) activity or outing?
Hand’s down the beach! You can’t beat a white sand surf beach.
How do you get ‘me time’ and what do you enjoy doing to achieve that?
As above, exercise – it’s a must. A run or just a workout in the garage, it clears my head, gives me energy, & gives me time to think.
What words of advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Do what you love and love what you do. Reach out to other mums in business and speak to others in the same industry for advice. I still speak to other mums in business frequently, and speak to established industry insiders for my advice.
Your go to meal?
More a go to dish – right now is a broccoli salad or corn/tomato /avocado salad. No cooking involved at all, 5 mins prep max & all in season.
Your children’s favourite food?
For Roczen it has to be Spaghetti Bolognese
HELLO STRANGER IS OFFERING A $100 WEB SHOP VOUCHER! TO ENTER, PLEASE VISIT MY INSTAGRAM PAGE AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS.
You can find Hello Stranger online via these channels, so please pay Amy a visit:
SEE YOU SOON WITH ANOTHER INSPIRATIONAL BUSINESS OWNER!