Where did you get the idea for your business? / why accessories?
The idea came about because I love jewellery but found the buying process inconvenient. Because I was buying from independent designers, it was often just one person designing, sourcing, making and then marketing, selling and shipping the products. This meant that delivery times were very slow. I decided to start my online store to solve that problem, at Maxine McQueen we pre-purchase the products so that when a purchase has been made, it is ready to ship right away. It is also a great place to discover new talent.
How did you get your business started?
Research – I did a lot of research on my potential customers, how much they earned, where they shopped, what they did etc. I also researched other options that were out there, where were people buying their jewellery?
Planning – I entered a couple of competitions which required me to plan out my business with a business plan, this really helped me to see how I could make the business viable.
Money – I needed money to start my business, I needed stock, so I started with start-up money from the RMIT Business Plan Competition where I won the lord mayor’s award for creativity and also from RMIT’s New Enterprise Investment Fund.
What lessons have you learned so far on your business journey?
Stay on top of your health – go for walks, eat well, take some time out, see your friends. You’re no good to your business if you can’t work to your full capacity.
What was the best thing about your participation in RMIT Bright Sparks?
The best thing about being part of Bright Sparks was definitely meeting everyone else that got in. We were all from different backgrounds and disciplines, and we learnt so much from each other. I am proud to be part of such a diverse, encouraging, smart, interesting group of women.
What are your top three tips for starting a business?
1. Stick to your budget – money disappears so quickly!
2. Use the people around you – get as much help and support as you can.
3. Give back – pass on your knowledge to someone else starting their business, create a community!