One simple question… Seven inspiring answers… We talk to our favourite small businesses

Ever dreamed of starting your own business? Well, before you do you must read this.

We rounded up a selection of Australian small businesses that we adore and admire, and have asked them a simple question:

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Here’s what they said…


Starting out as a bright, colourful bedding brand, Kip&Co quickly expanded into a vibrant lifestyle concept with a cult following. The Melbourne business now brings their fun and stylish aesthetic to apparel and homewares for every corner of the home, and every member of the family. 

“If I go back to me at university (I studied arts/law without any particular career plan), I would tell myself that even though the future might not seem crystal clear, everything you learn will come in handy at some point, so head down, bum up. If I go back to when my business partners and I were dreaming about starting Kip&Co, I would tell myself to go for it! Don’t worry about the naysayers. Half the fun is in just giving it a whirl anyway, and that in itself will set you apart and bring you lots of happiness.”

-- Alex McCabe, co-founder and creative director at Kip&Co

Kip&Co founders: Hayley Pannekoecke (left), Alex McCabe (centre) and Kate Heppell (right)


The Design Files 

The Design Files is Australia’s most popular design blog – reaching 180,000 people each month, and covering Australian homes, architecture, design, art and more!

I’d tell myself to back myself more, trust myself more, and 'fake it til you make it', basically!  I, perhaps like many women entrepreneurs, have a tendency to assume everyone else is an expert, and to feel a bit like an imposter at times. I’ve learnt that actually, most people are just winging it!”

-- Lucy Feagins, founder and editor of The Design Files


 Lucy Feagins


Olieve & Olie

Olieve & Olie is a Mornington Peninsula family business producing quality body products made from Australian grown olive oil. 

“I would tell myself that things will go wrong all the time. On a daily basis, there will be a problem you will have the deal with. And you need to come to terms with that, accept it, and realise it’s not a reflection on you, your business or your success. Every problem will pass. Just face it, deal with it, learn from it, and move on.”

-- Sarah Kirk, owner of Olieve & Olie


 Sarah Kirk


Emma Kate Co.

Emma Kate Co. is a stationery, lifestyle + travel brand for curious wayfarers. With simple brush strokes and words to stir the soul, they weave conscious, considered, generous details into every little thing they make. 

“I’d tell my younger self to trust in my own power a little more... to remember there can always be joy and gratitude, no matter the situation. And mostly, to LOVE the unknown (because that is where the magic always happens!)”

-- Emma Kate Codrington, founder of Emma Kate Co.


Emma Kate Codrington


Pumpy Jackson

Pumpy Jackson creates chocolate indulgences for the health conscious. After years of countless testing trials and refinements, they make a uniquely clean chocolate that is as healthy as possible and tastes truly amazing.

“I would tell my younger self that when things don’t work out the way I want them to, something better always comes along. This has happened time and time again, so today I trust it. I work hard to create the opportunities I want, and if one doesn’t work out, I let it go and keep moving forward knowing something better is coming.”

-- Charlie Goldsmith, founder and managing director of Pumpy Jackson



Charlie Goldsmith



Hardtofind is an online marketplace that celebrates fun, innovative design from the best small creative businesses in Australia and all over the world. Stop, look and 'where did you get that?' pieces, made by talented people who love what they do.

“I'd tell myself to let go of the fear. Running a business is fun and exhilarating and energising and hugely satisfying, but it's also scary as hell and full of unexpected (often unwelcome) twists and turns. I wish I could go back and tell myself that it was all going to be OK, and that I'd find a way through the difficult patches and still have a successful, thriving business 10 years in!”

 -- Eri Stewart, founder and CEO of Hardtofind



Eri Stewart



Ovae is a luxe leather and accessories label that blends style with conscience. All Ovae products are Ethically handcrafted in their own production houses in India, Indonesia and Nepal. Ovae celebrate unique leather goods and natural fibre accessories that have been crafted by talented hands and shaped by rich cultures.

“I’d tell myself that self-belief is the most important thing to have when rising up and pushing boundaries, and that I should trust myself. Starting and running your own business is certainly not an easy road – if it was everybody would be doing it – so you need to take the good with the bad. The trick is to celebrate the good, and use the challenges as an opportunity to learn, grow and better yourself and your future decisions.”

-- Jackie Jennings, founder and creative director of Ovae


Jackie Jennings

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Such a great reminder of how challenging but rewarding running a business can be. I hope this inspires any budding business owners to believe in themselves and go for it. And for those that are in the thick of running their own small business I hope this helps to keep their passions alive.

And, this festive season consider supporting these and other creative, hardworking and inspirational small businesses. As the saying goes, “When you buy from a small business an actual person does a little happy dance.” Let’s get them boogieing!

Love Kez

Ovae’s Resident Blogger




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