INTERVIEW | NATALIJA
Natalija launched her self-titled brand in spring 2014. She has built her brand on years of marketing experience, taking her business skill-set to compliment her creativity and design work. In December 2015, she launched her debut bridal collection of robes and intimates as featured on The Lane and Hello May. Oh, and did we mention she is the loveliest of ladies with some big ideas for her brand? We sat down with her recently to talk all things about her brand, her experience and some words of advice.
Name: Natalija Bouropoulos
Location: Sydney, Australia
Current Title / Company: Founder, NATALIJA
What was your first job out of university and how did you land that position?
First job was as a Marketing & Communications Coordinator at EnergyAustralia (electricity and gas retailing company). I landed this role via a friend from university who recommended me! It was a great start to my corporate career, having exposure in different industries helped me grow and develop.
What inspired you to create your business?
I’ve always had an urge to work for myself and market my own brand. After 7 years of having a wonderful corporate career in marketing, I found my passion for what I was working on no longer there. I saw an opportunity in 2012 to shift my creativity into designing luxury night and loungewear; there was a gap in the market, which I believed, I could fill - and from there it grew. The NATALIJA label was born in spring 2014, people fell in love with my designs and so I decided to quit my job and pursue my passion!
Take us through a day in the life of your business?
I’m a creature of habit so where possible I try to stick to a routine, but no day at NATALIJA is ever really the same. It can go in any number of directions: from meetings with mentors to discuss business; creating magic with my textile designers for new collection prints; planning out our social media posts; to catch ups with other creative for collaboration opportunities; and packing orders for all our lovers of the brand!
Has anything surprised you about the journey to creating your business?
How strong and resilient I have become! The toughest thing about starting your own business; is the uncertainty associated with it and fear of judgement. When you begin your journey, you don’t really know whether you’ll be successful or even if people will love what you do. Fear of failure could have held me back. Though I had to quickly learn to view failure as a momentary set back; realise that the universe was NOT against me; and be brave and trust my instincts.
Obviously, your business has grown! So, let's talk money. Tell us about the intimidating process of finding funding for your business. Any advice for women who need to find funding for their own startups?
It can be tough for start-ups in any industry to get funding. I was blessed to have launched NATALIJA with my own personal money and the support from my husband (then fiancé), George. Though not everyone has family or friends willing to take a chance on you and invest money to get you off the ground; so crowd-funding with sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo is a great way to start! While raising funds for the launch of your business, you will also be connecting with the public and building a loyal community – people who want to see the company flourish and it’s next steps!
Your business has developed quite a following. Can you tell us a little bit about marketing your business? How did you spread the word?
At the beginning it's important to create a brand identity, define what is unique about your product and keep it focused. I would definitely recommend Instagram! Make it diverse and engaging - do not stick to just promoting your own brand, instead show what inspires and excites you, and mix it up (but be consistent). You should post every day and evaluate what you have posted on a regular basis to ensure you are not being repetitive. Use an online platform like ScheduGram to help manage your Instagram; it allows you to upload images or video, and automatically schedule posts for times when they’ll be seen by most of your followers.
What do you think is the key to the success of your business?
Keep going! What is that saying? “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.” [Chinese Proverb]. No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don’t look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time. And you’ll be surprised to find you are closer to achieving your goals than you think!
Best advice you ever received?
Instead of letting the fear of failure hold you back, get empowered! View failure as a momentary set back, realise that the universe is not against you, and come back even stronger and more determined!
I wish I knew how to….. teleport, waking up at a Bungalow in the Maldives is exactly what I need right now.
What is your coffee order? Skim flat white, no sugar
TV show do you wish was still on the air? Beverley Hills 90210 (the 90’s version) – no explanation needed, ha!
Next travel destination? No plans as yet, but would love to go to New York for my 30th next year!
What advice would you give your 23 year old self? Be the best possible version of yourself.