INTERVIEW | THE SISTERS
Name: Esther and Naomi
Age: 25 and 28
Location: Our office in Cronulla, and studio in Bangor.
Current Title / Company: The Sisters
What was your first job out of university and how did you land that position?
Naomi: In a flower shop down South, I knew I didn’t want to stay in school until year 12, so my parents lined up a job with a lady my dad grew up with.
Esther: I left school and got promoted from servicing in a Tradies club, to being in customer service and organising community projects for the club to be involved with.
What inspired you to create your business?
We are lucky, in that it has naturally morphed. We started out as buying the store that Naomi worked in for 6 years, we ran that and just naturally progressed down the Bridal route. We found that the space wasn’t big enough for the volume of work we were getting, and also we saw that this is where we were the most passionate, so we branched out, re-branded that side of our business, and The Sisters was born. These days, we dabble in the store, and do all the boring behind the scenes work and the rest of the time we work doing what we love for The Sisters.
Take us through a day in the life of your business?
A Friday is a fun day, we get up at 4am, and drive into the markets, we usually then plan the day ahead on our way back, grab a coffee, and head to our store, unpack all the flowers that are for the store, and debrief with the shop gals what the plan is for the day and weekend. Then we head to the studio, unpack all the florals for the weddings we have on, and then spend the day/night floraling up a storm for the next days events.
Has anything surprised you about the journey to creating your business?
I think the most surprising, yet obvious thing is the ever learning process. it’s part of being a grown up, but also is so important in business, is to remain open to learning and changing your processes so as to encourage growth. Simple and obvious but was surprising in the early days.
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?
Oh man, it was the hardest, we were literally 18 and 21 when we started so who in their right mind would lend us a high chunk of money?? No one would, except our parent, which made me so nervous, but we did it, and we just knuckled down and worked soooo hard, so we could pay it all back as soon as possible. We also wrote up contracts for the loan and paid interest too, we didn’t want to feel like it was a freebie or that we weren't going to take it super serious.
Your business has developed quite a following. Can you tell us a little bit about marketing your business? How did you spread the word?
We really let our reputation do most of the advertising. We worked hard, took a lot on, sacrificed a fair bit. We also commit to doing one bridal fair (One Fine Day) a year, and saying yes to lots of photo shoots which is also great exposure.
What do you think is the key to the success of your business?
I think genuine love for what you do expresses the best kind of creativity, and I also think being prepared to sacrifice for a reason and work hard.
Best advice you ever received? To have a couple of business mentors or good people around to push you and encourage you.
I wish I knew how to ….. Naomi: to make epic ceramics, watch this space…
What is your coffee order? We both love a cappacino.
TV show do you wish was still on the air? Oh ,we are both suckers for trashy tv…so shameless (don’t judge!!)
Next travel destination? India!!
What advice would you give your 23 year old self? Have a rest, take some time for yourself!