During this time (and always!) it is so important to support local and small businesses in our communities. Plus it’s great for the economy too! We are constantly inspired by the ambition and resilience of small business founders. We feel that the risks that they take lead to innovation and help in moving the world forward.
Inspired by these entrepreneurs and their stories, we recently chatted with Joelene Trichardt – owner of Stuck On You, about being an entrepreneur, running a small business while also running a family, and how she has adapted to the changes that Covid-19 has brought to her business.
What is your business about and why did you start it?
Stuck On You is the coolest and original personalized labels, school essentials and gifts. Stuck on You is a 100% family-owned Australian company selling personalized name labels and products. The company was born in 1995 when Aussie mum and now CEO Carrie Felton saw a gap in the market for cute personalized name labels for children. Fast forward two decades and the company has evolved from a small business operating in Carrie’s spare bedroom to a well-recognized, internationally successful powerhouse helping busy families in over 120 countries around the world. As a business, we have developed a strong presence in the UAE and Gulf states and are always looking to expand our presence in the region by finding like-minded partners.
The Smudge Collection has been proudly distributing Stuck On You for the past five of the fifteen years, we have been active in the Middle East. My two partners at the time, invited me to join them in the business so I am truly humbled to say that ‘Stuck On You’ found me.. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave the corporate world as I honestly was very happy with my achievements, work culture and future career prospects however my obligation to my family ultimately was the ‘gentle nudge’ in the right direction that was needed. Having my own company gives me the flexibility to be more available for life’s precious moments that no amount of money can ever buy (e.g. sports days, swim galas, assemblies, etc). I can make up the hours lost pitch side at a team game in the evenings after I have put the kids to bed. It gives me the best of both worlds: mental stimulation and emotional reward.
What do you love about your business?
The personal touch.
For us, personalisation is not about algorithms or cars or phantom dresses. It’s about products that are unique to the kids who use and love them. This connected-ness with something that truly reflects children’s identities and makes them care about their possessions is what’s most important.
It’s about announcing oneself to the world—at the same time as being responsible by promoting long-lasting, high-quality products instead of disposable items that are used once and then forgotten. As a result, this treasuring of personal items has the other effect that we adore—and that’s sustainability.
If kids care about their stuff, then they’re less likely to lose it. That saves you time, hassle, worry and money, but it’s also a huge benefit for the environment through less waste. Our favorite example of this is through our Bento Box, which can save up to thirty kilograms of waste per schoolchild per year!
It actually goes much further than this too; we’re talking about the kind of personalisation that truly is just that—personal. We create products that are perfect for every individual child. Our products cater to specific needs, names and personality traits.
They also serve practical purposes through personalisation. They make your life easier, safer and more sustainable.
How do you manage your time between running a business and a family?
Use Family as Fuel and your Foundation will be Strong.
As we all know, it is a tricky balancing act at the best of times and not one that always goes according to plan as we recently found out with ‘Homeschooling’. My husband and two children not only keep me grounded, they actually encourage me to be more productive and get more out of day. I am a firm believer in having structure and routine. I split up my day according to the kids’ schedule. Leaving my admin to the evening where possible and doing my planning on a Thursday for the following week. The upside of our current social distancing is the introduction of Zoom. I have almost an extra hour every day from not having to travel to appointments.
Making daily ‘To Do’ lists keeps me focused. As much as I like to be flexible, I am also very protective of my private time to enjoy quality of life. This is paramount to ongoing success! If I do not manage my health and mental well-being, I won’t have a business, nor my health which would undermine all my efforts to provide for, support and enjoy my family. I also wouldn’t have been able to achieve everything I have or be able to do what I do without the unconditional support of my husband, which I am very grateful and humbled by.
How was Covid-19 affected your business and how have you adapted?
It is heart breaking to think of the severe affect Covid – 19 has had economies worldwide. We understand that we are all facing extremely challenging times, both financially and emotionally, so we are genuinely appreciative of the loyal support we have. Fortunately, personalisation has taken on an even more important role in recent times. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all become more aware of the need for health, hygiene and overall safety.
Stuck On You products are perfect for kids and adults alike to use personalisation as a way to keep themselves protected at school or work in conjunction with critical health advice. A pencil with your child’s name on it will not get mixed up with anyone else’s; nor will someone mistake a meal that’s in a personalised Bento Box! We have also launched a new category of “Family Safety” which offers the most adorable Face Masks and the cutest Social Distancing Stickers.
So, there you have it—there are so many reasons to love personalisation. It’s what we’ve been doing for the past twenty-five years and have every intention of doing for the next twenty-five!
Any piece of advice to other small businesses owners or anyone wanting to start their own business?
Believe in yourself. Passion is everything. If you do what you love, you will never work another day in your life! Don’t let a setback keep you down. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!
Be authentic. No one in this world nor its history as ever succeeded in faking sincerity. Lead with credibility. Always over deliver and under promise. If you can’t meet a deadline, be honest and proactive in managing expectations. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you can’t be on time, be early! Add 15 minutes of travel time between meetings. Being late is disrespectful.
Your vibe attracts your tribe. If you want to see your future, look at the company you keep! Connect with like-minded small business owners. Always add value to secure your seat. You are your brand!
Businesses do not plan to fail but if businesses do not plan, they will fail. Set aside at least one day a week to plan ahead and always reconfirm meetings 48 hours before to maximize your time. Time is money!
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