Anna chats to Academy student Chloe Watts from Blueberry + Co about how embracing her big picture vision has taken her business from hobby to its own fulfilment centre.
She will share her story with us on how she’s reached the half a million dollar mark in her business in just over 2 years, with 2 babies in tow.
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TUNE IN TO HEAR ABOUT
- A real-life case study on how Chloe has reached the half million-dollar mark in her business
- How she is now living out the big picture vision she set out for herself back when she first started with The Elevatory®
- Why she has no regrets on her bumpy ride to success
Anna Jonak: [00:01:01] Welcome to episode 5 of the Raising Her Game Podcast. Now today we're shaking things up because you've got me, Anna Jonak, taking the helm as I chat to the formidable Chloe Watts who has taken her business Blueberry Co from a hobby to a half a million dollar business in just a couple of years. Now for those of you who don't know Blueberry Co they make awesome, modern, fun and stylish memory books to help you document the crazy highs and lows of parenting that yes, we all experience, but so good to look back on. Now Chloe trained as a landscape architect and in 2015 when she was on maternity leave she created the very first product for her business, the very well known monochrome baby book. Now soon after that Chloe's husband Dave entered the business which is super exciting. I know within that time as well there's been another baby. You've done some moves, but the bottom line and I guess what we really want to get to is the fact is that you started with a business that you were running from the dining room table to taking it to where it is today - this award winning business and today is particularly exciting for me because you know, we've had the privilege to kind of share in your journey right from the very beginning and I was looking back at the Skype calls because you're on Skype today and I could see the last few times we've conversed and it's just so exciting to have you on and to get to talk to you about your journey in your words over the last few years. So welcome!
Chloe Watts: [00:02:29] Hello thank you so much for having me.
Anna Jonak: [00:02:30] Very excited and Chloe was telling me she's a bit of a podcast virgin.
Chloe Watts: [00:02:34] Yes
Anna Jonak: [00:02:35] A first. So we're very excited to be hosting you on ours, because we know that you've got a story to tell. So what have you been up to this morning. We've got a bit of time difference. So you're already like a few hours ahead of me.
Chloe Watts: [00:02:48] Yeah. So nothing much usual house stuff, just doing washing and managing your kids and yes juggling everything.
Anna Jonak: [00:02:58] You've got to haven't you? How old's your littlest?
Chloe Watts: [00:03:01] Nine months. And I also have a three year old.
Anna Jonak: [00:03:03] I was going to say I remember that, time just flies cause I remember you talking about being pregnant with the second and you're over in New Zealand and you moved there. How long ago was that, before second bub?
Chloe Watts: [00:03:14] Yeah just before, so March last year, so we have been here just over a year.
Anna Jonak: [00:03:19] And that was definitely a big part of the big picture vision wasn't it which we shall get on.[Chloe agrees] So yes Chloe has been through lots and I'm definitely going to be asking her lots of questions to share in that. And the reason we wanted to invite Chloe on is because of the success that she's had and we really wanted to give you guys a real view on her journey, like we know that running a successful business, it doesn't happen overnight and it's certainly not easy. It takes blood, sweat and tears. You know there's some really ugly bits to it and there's also some really amazing bits. Our view is to try and connect with women out there that have been doing amazing things and really start to understand the steps that they've taken, the WHY that's been driving them, the risks you've taken and you know, how you've handled the mindset side of stuff and all the juggle because as we know, running the business with the kids is pretty crazy.
Chloe Watts: [00:04:06] Yes it's hard work.
Anna Jonak: [00:04:08] Yes. It's definately not easy. Are your kids in day care or you got them home?
Chloe Watts: [00:04:13] So the little one's at home all the time and the three year old is in day care two days a week.
Anna Jonak: [00:04:17] And you've got the hubby on hand every day as well.
Chloe Watts: [00:04:19] Hubby's at home all the time.
Anna Jonak: [00:04:21] Which is pretty awesome. I did that for a year. My husband was home the whole time and it was just amazing. So why don't you tell me, I'd love to know where you started with your journey and I guess the reason that you started your business.
HOW CHLOE'S BUSINESS JOURNEY STARTED
Chloe Watts: [00:04:33] Yes so, Blueberry Co came about, well I mean, really it started as a hobby. It was me just wanting to make a little bit of money and I, initially started just hand screen printing clothes. So yes I started doing that and I was just selling a few things on Instagram here and there and I started putting together this baby book for Rosie, my eldest. She was about four or five months old. So like I was on maternity leave I was getting the itch to be creative again and I couldn't find a book that suited me. So I started doodling and pulling it all together. And when I did my first test print I was still screen printing clothes and kind of, you know, getting into the Instagram world and realising that I actually don't really like screen printing clothes [laughs] the handmade side of a business is not for me. The marketing and the presentation of it though I really liked. So I really liked doing the flat lays, I liked talking to my customers. I liked setting up a website but I hated doing the screen printing.
Anna Jonak: [00:05:49] There's a key indicator for you then maybe that's not the way you want to go.
Chloe Watts: [00:05:54] Exactly. So when I did my first test print, I looked at it and my husband and I were just like whoa, this is, like this is good, this could be, this looks really good, like it looked good on the screen. But yeah it was one of those things 'ok I think we might have something here' and because I was kind of selling things on the side I thought right, let's see if we can sell this. So that's where the product came about and I think when I went on maternity leave, the idea that I should run my own business was there, and then coming from a service based industry. I mean that was one of the biggest reasons why I studied landscape architecture to begin with because it is a service based industry. It could potentially give me flexibility and I'd watch my mum struggle as a single parent trying to find work that gave her the flexibility to look after us and carry that through to my career. But when I was on maternity leave it really came down to trying to find flexibility and we were really unhappy where we were. So we really wanted to move to New Zealand so it kind of all snowballed in to us having a consultancy on the side, like me as a landscape architect and then watching this little product based business, slowly growing and I think that's when - I mean it was you who called it out to me when we had our first Skype call when I signed up. You're like - hold on like what are you doing, doing this landscape architecture business that's not going to let you move where you want to go. Like if that's where you want to go [Anna agrees] start pouring your heart into the business that is going to get you there. So yeah that's what we did. We just like I think it was like a massive light bulb moment for both of us. We were just like oh yeah well why are we so focused on doing a consultancy when this business is on the side and its growing and we're having fun with with. And it could give us everything we want. So
Anna Jonak: [00:08:03] Yeah I remember that phone call because I remember speaking to you about your big picture vision and you got so excited about all the things you wanted to achieve and moving and having another baby and having this flexible business but there was this association with the feeling that, and I think a lot of us see it, that we should be holding true to what we trained in and where we should be [Chloe agrees] You know should we really give ourselves permission to kind of go and do this [Chloe agrees]. And yes it was I remember you kind of thinking why actually am I not going for this. Why am I not giving it a good crack [Chloe laughs]. And so from there how long, like how much energy, I mean you obviously had the consultancy. How did you go from the consultancy then to kind of pouring more energy in and I guess manage financially at that stage because I'm assuming that the consultancy would have been providing more income.
Chloe Watts: [00:08:47] We were really lucky at that time because we were living with my mother-in-law so our expenses, our living expenses were really low. So that meant we could live off a lot less money and save a lot more than you could normally, so yeh we were really lucky in that respect. We had a lot of help and it just gave us the financial freedom to, I mean we didn't have to worry about not having a house to live in, that we could just kind of give it a go and see where we ended up. So it probably took, well actually I finished my last landscape plant the month that we moved here. So we were probably running both side by side for about 18 months.
Anna Jonak: [00:09:31] So did you find that the landscape was enabling you to pour the money in, so you could take money from that, and pour it in from a marketing perspective and development and all those kind of things.
Chloe Watts: [00:09:41] Yeah and also I mean I think, actually Blueberry was kind of, it didn't take too long, I mean our expenses were really good. I mean we didn't have rent, we were sharing food bills you know so we could live off not much money but Blueberry was kind of paying for all of that and paying for itself, but the consultancy was pouring money into our savings account so that we could actually move. So yeah the consultancy was our piggy bank so just all the fees from that, and because you know it's just my time really. So we didn't have any expenses coming out of that side so that just went straight in the bank.
Anna Jonak: [00:10:23] Well you know you're onto a winner when you're starting out and obviously you're not sitting in a hole with the business and you're kind of making money relatively quickly.
Photo credit: Hipster Mum
Chloe Watts: [00:10:31] Yeah. And I think it helped as well like we print in Australia. So I could slowly increase our quantities as the business grew so it wasn't as if I had to outlay a whole lot of money like thousands and thousands of dollars and then slowly sell them, and just think about how I wasn't making that back, but printing locally really helped us grow organically and meant that our overheads weren't too big and we didn't have the pressure, you know, debt or, we could just kind of run it on the cash it was making which was really good.
Anna Jonak: [00:11:05] Well that's an interesting insight for people because I think a lot of people feel the need to when they're starting out, go and buy big or go and print big or you know they're developing a product to go and get tons and tons made because obviously it ends up as low cost per unit. But ultimately there's a lot of, there feels like there's a lot more risk in that [Chloe agrees] whereas if you're kind of testing the waters and whilst it might be more expensive to print locally obviously per unit. The fact is your margins will be a bit different but you think like you said you can grow your own pace without feeling like you know you have to make a certain amount of money you can kind of track and measure as you go [Chloe agrees] Are you still printing locally? I was going to say from last time I'm sure you had things going into a warehouse I'm sure, I'm sure I've seen all of that. So talk to me about that bit.
Chloe Watts: [00:11:46] So yes we still print in Australia and we distribute from Australia, we're based in New Zealand and our printers are amazing. Yeah. I mean it took a while to get the right printer, so that was one of our hurdles is just trying to find the relationship that we needed with those, with different printers so that now the printer manages our books and they ship directly to our fulfilment centre and they distribute all of our products so. So yeah we don't, we don't touch our products for the most part.
Anna Jonak: [00:12:19] No more packing and sending for you hey [Chloe agrees] At what point in the journey did that happen?
GETTING HUBBY ON BOARD AND INVOLVED
Chloe Watts: [00:12:26] After we'd moved. So we, Dave, that was one of the first things that Dave took over in the business, the packing and I guess one of the biggest things we realised together was that he is a stickler for detail and I'm the creative one [laughs] so he'd get really frustrated watching my processes, packing and you know be all over the place. He would get quite annoyed at how I was doing it so he took that over pretty early on and that was his job. Initially he was doing packing of all of our orders. And that was really good because he's a stickler for detail, his record keeping and you know making sure that everything is done a certain way. So yeah that was really good.
Anna Jonak: [00:13:12] That's awesome that you've got someone, well obviously your partner, has come on board in the first place and it's great when you've got someone who's got the complementary skill set to yours. [Chloe agrees] It definitely works. I've got to say Flori and I are the same. She's not so details orientated, she can get very big picture and I'm like whoa whoa how do we make this happen lady.
Chloe Watts: [00:13:30] How is that going to work [laughs].
Anna Jonak: [00:13:30] Yeh exactly, let's break that back down, but it is really good to have the kind of grounding and the complementary skills. So how did the conversation go to the point where you were like getting him involved in the business and he decided to kind of you know, come on in.
Chloe Watts: [00:13:47] So he, I mean he's always been a huge supporter. Like our first print run was 20 books and it cost us, god it was so expensive, like 20 dollars per book or something to print and then he had to package them. Yeah. So there wasn't much margin then once you took out your costs. But when we sold all those he was the first one to say well we sold 20 why can't we sell 100 let's order 100 and so we ordered 100 and we sold that 100 and he was like well if we can sell 100 we can sell 500 and why don't we order 500. And so he's always been, just able to see the potential and just say it really clearly. He'd be like you're selling them we can do is, there's no problems. And then he was really unhappy in his job that he had. He's an arborist. And he just didn't like where he was, it just wasn't getting him fired up inside and that year we had a bit of, we had lots of loss in the family. He lost his granddad and two uncles within twelve months and that really shook us up. We looked at these amazing men that we admired that we loved and they were in the prime of their lives, in their 50s, and they just died suddenly and it wasn't like they had children they were doing amazing things and were just whoa, that can happen. Like we've got to start living the life we want to live now. We can't wait until we are retired. That's ridiculous.
Anna Jonak: [00:15:40] So it was a bit of a wake up call for you guys to I guess go for it just like said live the life that you want [Chloe agrees]. Really kind of, it's now or never. What are you waiting for.
Chloe Watts: [00:15:51] Yeah. That was a big thing for us. So yeah so he left his job in October 2015 and he was doing a bit of stuff here and there to bring money in because, I mean we weren't making that much money off Blueberry still. I mean we were packing under 10 orders a week so it was still very much hobby scale and we were trying to get work as a consultancy so we're doing like landscaping, like building paths [laughs] and gardening you know anything to just bring some money in. And I think he kind of watched me with the whole e-commerce side and he started watching videos on YouTube and decided to build his own website, because he's a really crazy mad fisherman. And so he built a Shopify site from the beginning as I'd already done the bulk of the work with Blueberry by that point. And I think that's when he was like, oh everything he'd learnt to built his site, is the thing he was interested in, well we should do that on Blueberry. So he jumped in the back-end of Blueberry and changed the code or you know all sorts of things, and then, and I think that was the turning point, where he was like, it doesn't actually matter what I'm selling, I really like this and we get the benefit of it. So yes and it's just kind of grown from there. As we've gotten bigger he's taking on some of the more arduous task that I don't like. [both laugh]
Anna Jonak: [00:17:28] Well I think it's really important for people to hear and I'm going to reiterate this is that, he, both of you were like doing other jobs to make ends meet. It was very much like you had a vision you knew you wanted and you were doing anything and everything you can to make it work [Chloe agrees]. And I think that's important because as much as you are at a position where you're at now, it's not like you didn't have to fight for it [Chloe agrees]. And I know that when I came home and or we bought we move back from Perth with Bo, and I went full time on The Elevatory®, you know I was the sole breadwinner. He'd been earning a lot and he's out of his old career and you know we were coming back to Sydney which is more expensive and it was really intense at points and he did Ubering. He went out and had to Uber on the weekends especially over Christmas when you know for our industry, people aren't going to be investing [Chloe agrees]. I think it's really important for people to see that it's not easy and you it doesn't just come to you, you're doing all the work, you know you're making sacrifices, you know you're making big decisions and you have to work together as a team. Whenever we do big picture vision exercises we always encourage people to connect with their partners and their family and have them all bought into the same thing so you're kind of working towards a common goal and you know why you're doing it.
THE BIG PICTURE VISION
Chloe Watts: [00:18:44] Yeah. I mean we still have a photo of my vision board that I did at The Elevatory® and it is so insanely powerful, like we literally, the day that I did that at that lunch at Coogee, we moved to New Zealand, must have been six months after that and we rented off Trade Me this little cottage on the top of a hill overlooking the ocean and it was almost exactly the same as the picture that I had cut out of my magazine and stuck on this board and it was like, this is what I want with photos of little girls around like you know, and I got it, you know it's just it's so powerful it literally informs every decision we make in life, and we filter it against 'is this going to help us get where we want to be even if it's a good opportunity', or not, like we've had amazing opportunities presented to us but if it doesn't meet our big picture goals then we try to evaluate that and think well is that time better spent getting us in the direction we want to go.
Anna Jonak: [00:19:58] Yep I think it's great for you to have like a guidepost so that you can run things against it and say is this in line with the values or the picture that we have [Chloe agrees]. So one thing I'd like to ask and obviously we've talked about things not being easy at the time but what's the biggest hurdle that you've had to kind of overcome in your business.
Chloe Watts: [00:20:18] I think we've kind of touched on it. One of the biggest things for us to really put our maximum energy and effort in to our business has been really letting go of our professional identities [Anna agrees]. I remember when I first started it was quite hard I guess coming from, like same with Dave he's an arborist, I'm a landscape architect, coming from professions that have, we have a title, that title implies that we've done tertiary education up to a certain level, that we have worked on big projects, that we are experts in our field, going from that to, like an e-commerce owner, we're owning our business it doesn't quite I don't know, that letting go of the ego around our training in our professions was a massive hurdle for us because we come from a family all really highly educated. You know there's lots of doctors you know everyone's very set in their career and they are career focused and it started at university and they work all the way through.
MINDSET AND PERCEPTION
Anna Jonak: [00:21:34] So it's a perception essentially of what you think it means to be like this, what the small business owner looks like as opposed to staying in your field basically with that title.
Chloe Watts: [00:21:44] It's so silly because it's not, I mean it's not as if I meet that many new people and say 'Hi my name's Chloe Watts. I'm a landscape architect' like that only happens when I'm working as a landscape architect. It's just like it was really silly, it's not anything that was really real in our day to day lives but it was just our own.
Anna Jonak: [00:22:06] It's a mindset thing though and I think it is important because these little hang ups do hold people back and it might just be from, you know you can look at it and minimise it from it being a small title but ultimately if you've had your identity and your family history and everybody you know looks at education and your profession in a certain way and you're kind of going against the norm there is definitely a sense of you breaking away from that and I can imagine a fear of what will people think [Chloe agrees] how am I going to be judged. What now. And a lot of people have those feelings and whether it's you know, not in relation to having a title but just generally a lot of people what will my friend's think, I saw it the other day, one of our lovely students Belinda, was talking about something on one of her Instagram feeds and she was saying not everybody knows what I do, she's not open about it cause you worry what people are going to think [Chloe agrees]. And we need to get past that because that stops you from backing yourself and going all in and saying this is what I'm doing and I'm going to kill it because if you're doubting yourself you're going to project that to people around you and people are not going to be like, people can't buy into you, if you're not backing yourself.
Chloe Watts: [00:23:11] Yeah yeah. I mean Dave's experienced it a bit, since we, since Blueberry's really taken off and it's kind of funding our lives, we still get people asking 'when's Dave going to get a job' when he's got a job [laughs]
Anna Jonak: [00:23:27] We've got a job and we're rocking it. Thank you very much.
Chloe Watts: [00:23:31] Yep I know [laughs]
Anna Jonak: [00:23:32] It's so interesting the outside perception of people and I mean I spoke about my WHY in one of the earlier episodes and it is that sense of people around us, do have this view on what they think one should do [Chloe agrees] and that view of 'you should be working' or 'you should be staying in your job for X number of years' and I do think that we see a lot of that in our families and it's really interesting that you're still getting that and perhaps people don't realise quite how much you're killing it [laughs] [Chloe agrees]. If only you knew. So another question I have got is whether there's anything that you would do differently.
THE MISTAKES YOU HAVE TO MAKE
Chloe Watts: [00:24:10] Yeh I though about this question and I don't think so, I think, every lesson we had, we had to have. And I think you have to make mistakes and take risks. And I think we've been really lucky that our business has grown organically. I mean we've invested money in it and marketed it, but really we've got to take those lessons that we've learnt along the way and implement it so that when we grow bigger we don't make those same mistakes. Yeh so there's no regret. I don't have to front up to a manager and say really sorry [Anna laughs] about that thing 3 months ago can you please give me a pay rise. We can just own it and say we're not going to do it again and we're going to learn from it and let's move on and make sure that we don't do it again because we get the benefit of those losses.
Anna Jonak: [00:25:11] Absolutely. I think it's another key insight in that mistakes need to happen. [Chloe agrees] You can't run things perfectly. And actually the failures and the mess ups are the things that do grow your business because when things stop working or you get frustrated or you hit a roadblock - these are all things for you to start thinking a bit differently and kind of stretch your thinking so that you can kind of step up to the plate and attack it from different angles [Chloe agrees]. It is obviously frustrating though when things don't work. How have you handled that side of things from a mindset perspective when things just haven't been going the way that you wanted them to.
Chloe Watts: [00:25:49] So I guess we talk it out like a lot. So between the two of us we're always rehashing things, lessons that we learnt, and even you know like mistakes in our professional careers that we remember making how we're not going to make the same mistakes with Blueberry. So we're the same as everyone. We do get down about stuff or you think oh god why didn't I see that coming. Why didn't I pick it up earlier. But again it's like we have spent times in our life when we have been really really unhappy and we're determined not to let that happen again and we keep saying to ourselves, I mean we literally say it every day, we just we have to be positive. Look at the big picture and just take this for what it is and not not kind of think that every mistake or every down time is going to last forever. And just you know, just keep going and do it with a positive focus.
Anna Jonak: [00:26:56] Yeah absolutely if you're focusing on the things not working and getting caught up in the negatives then that's just where you can just end up drowning in it [Chloe agrees]. And it definitely takes a skill to be able to re-frame that into okay what can we learn, what can we do different, how can we move forward. And as you said just keep going regardless [Chloe agrees]. And I think that's important for people to see it. It is and I see some great visuals of the journey of the entrepreneur where you kind of you know, you hit a mountain and then you get the top and then the massive dip and another one then it's like oh God it doesn't end [both laugh] it just keeps going but ultimately if you want to grow your business that's what's going to happen unless you want to plateau. You're always going to have to come across something new that you've got to learn to get to.
Chloe Watts: [00:27:36] Yeah and it's actually quite a nice thing to do it. I mean it's hard doing it when you've got small children. I mean that's what parenting is like. Every little thing you overcome like, oh great we just solved this problem and then...
Anna Jonak: [00:27:51] ...what's the next one [laughs]
Chloe Watts: [00:27:51] That's what parenting is like and so you just have to always think that's always going to change. You just have to make it through not drowning the 'Oh God today is so bad' you know. That's a big thing that out kids have taught us, to help us, you know to help us just kind of suck it up and not wallow in things too much [Anna agrees]. I think both Dave and I have the tendency to do that and we try and bring each other out. Luckily we don't often do it at the same time.
Anna Jonak: [00:28:26] Yeah. Flori and I are exactly the same which is wonderful actually because we'll both have moments when we get really like 'oh my god I can't believe that happened' and you know like you need, sometimes I need it and I'm totally all over of my mindset but sometimes I need a day just to like defuse and have a 'wrahhh' about things but she's great because she's always like you know come on man and then vice versa. So it's great. So tell me with all of that how do you juggle the kids side of things obviously you wanted to have a certain lifestyle, you had a picture of what you wanted for your family and the flexibility. How do you manage the juggle in amongst it because it's obviously something that's very real with time management and managing the kids and trying to find that balance. I hate that word but between being there for the family and knowing that because you're running your own business, you kind of sometimes can be quite hard to just switch off.
Chloe Watts: [00:29:18] Yes yes. I mean it is hard especially when you run the majority, well all of our businesses online. And you do kind of have to be present all the time. It's not just like oh well I can answer e-mails or comments from customers between 8 and 10 in the morning and then my job is done for the day. It just doesn't really work like that. But I mean yeah like the last year particularly has been really hard, I think. It's just yeah having Sophie our second, tip the scales of crazy. [both laugh] The last bit of the pregnancy was like really hard and her birth was hard. And the newborn phase was really hard and just [laughs] and I think we kind of, I mean, luckily we knew again, that it would change when you're feeling just drowning in everything [laughs] [Anna agrees] but you just push through it. Yeah I mean we still honestly don't have it sorted. We tried we sneak minutes here and there and yeah I do have visions of getting three to four hours of solid work in a day and just be able to go somewhere where it's my work oasis where I have a desk, that's all tidy it's not mixed in because I do honestly I do a lot of my work with the laptop in the lounge room when I'm watching the kids or on the kitchen bench while I'm cooking dinner, on my phone all the time.
Anna Jonak: [00:31:00] I hear you [laughs] it is in and amongst it and I think it's not unusual, Hamish Blake's wife, I forget her name, but I was reading an article the other day and she said the same thing she was running her business or kind of her writing from home and she made the decision to go and get an office space and she said she found it much easier to create the separation and feel like she could switch off when she came back. [Chloe agrees] And I can see the appeal of that. But ultimately I guess it's another expense isn't it. [Chloe agrees] It's another expense at a stage when when we're growing and doing other things. Is it warranted. You kind of got to balance that up.
Photo credit: Hipster Mum
Chloe Watts: [00:31:40] Yeah. So I mean I think our goal is to definitely have a dedicated office space but we just, I guess it comes into that mindset, that we have had to embrace the fact that we have small children, and that we are doing this so that we can be here with our kids.
Anna Jonak: [00:31:59] Yep for them, with them.
Chloe Watts: [00:31:59] So we can jump in and out and say yeah it's it is a big part of our WHY to be with our kids even though that jumping out is really difficult it's really difficult to be consistent and to do the job that you want to do especially when you have a vision of what it could be like [Anna agrees] and you just have to make a call and like some emails I sent out like if they've got a spelling mistake or grammatical error or some weird repetition it's just saying oh God that just went out so many customers and that's awful but I mean part of our branding is that I am a mum with small kids and I created this business like we really have tied in our lifestyle into our branding and that's something that I think a lot of our competitors haven't done. And I know a lot of businesses are afraid to do, but for us it's created a really passionate community of customers who that may understand [laughs].
Anna Jonak: [00:33:05] Yeah absolutely. We definitely encourage people to bring themselves into their brand and their story and we see a lot of people who are a bit scared to put their family or themselves on social media and kind of really say this is who I am [Chloe agrees]. But ultimately, like you said, people buy people, people they get you and they appreciate the authenticity and the fact that you can just be like man like I was up feeding all night, I had no sleep or like the worst week of my life right now and everybody was like that's okay that's okay they get it and they appreciate the honesty and the rawness of it all and I think that we definitely as a business as well like try to lean into that as well because you know we are. It's not easy. We don't want to sugarcoat it. Let's be honest [laughs] it really sucks sometimes but it's also really amazing sometimes and let's just wear it all out there and other people who appreciate that will come and find you. You know you're going to find the right people and you certainly do have a big following. Talk to me a little bit about your audience your target audience.
Chloe Watts: [00:34:13] Yes. So I mean I've got my customer avatar on my wall right now. She is posted all over our house.
Anna Jonak: [00:34:19] Beautiful. I love it.
Chloe Watts: [00:34:21] Yes she is. I mean there are a lot of similarities with me in my life. Our customers love a sense of humour. They want to be creative but they are time poor so that's like me, you know they like working on projects they don't necessarily want to sit and scrapbook for 18 years. They love coffee for the most part and catching up with friends and it's just I mean yeah you know a lot of the generic mum life stuff, it's applicable to so many women and it is just a crazy intense time of life [Anna agrees] and yeah I think as a brand we really connect with our customers in that way because we're living it too, so our customers really really respond to that.
Anna Jonak: [00:35:21] So do you find that your audience share quite a lot of their own stories with you.
Chloe Watts: [00:35:26] Yeah. And like I just I'm blown away by how emotional people can get over our products. I mean I created it for my daughter, so like that's understandable that I'm really emotional and I'm really attached to this book that I created. But like I got an e-mail from a customer last night saying that she opened her book, her baby's three weeks old and she cried because it was so beautiful that she could fill it up with all these things and she could create it and colour it in and style it for her child. So it's just you know it's such a crazy crazy intense time of life. And so many women just want to pour that energy somewhere.
Anna Jonak: [00:36:09] Oh completely.
Chloe Watts: [00:36:10] Yeah. And you know doing it in a way that they can pass on to their child even if a child actually doesn't care [both laugh]. It's a documented time of their lives.
Anna Jonak: [00:36:23] I think it gives people a purpose and energy and something to pour themselves into and an outlet for creativity. Certainly with what you've created [Chloe agrees] and I think we all know that not everybody I guess, but a lot of people in this experience I had with the life coaching I did, a lot of people feel a bit lost when they're first starting out with their babies and you know who am I, where am I going. And if you give them this focal point for them to kind of really connect with something special and help them keep in the moment [Chloe agrees]. That's just so moving and so crucial for people who kind of get a bit lost in the crazy of it or to give them a really great focal point.
Photo credit: Hipster Mum
Chloe Watts: [00:37:01] Yeah. And I think that's one of the things I learned when I had Rosie is that, if I could just focus on the wins for the day and I mean that's not to sugarcoat everything and say you know what an amazing day or you know, we weren't up twelve times that night [laughs] but just the think, well you know we're up twelve times that night but I did get to go for a walk and I got a coffee [both laugh] and I took 13 hundred photos of the baby on the way like that. It does all connect in with how you know, women just want to, I mean this is what I do on my personal Instagram and on Blueberry's account. I just want to document this because you just watch your kids grow up and it happens so quickly and all of a sudden you don't have a baby anymore, you've got a toddler and then you've got a toddler and you're just watching them and they're a child and thinking like what happened. [Anna agrees] You know they've got their own quirks. And I don't know I think there's something really nice about being able to document how that happened. And so yeah I think our customers really really resonate with that process and when we try and really push the fact that we're recording memories, and it was a big thing for me when we were growing up especially with my dad, my parents separated from about 10 so the weekends that we had with my dad, he was really big on creating memories so we'd always do something extravagant. But yeah I just remember him always saying that it's worth the money if we're making a good memory. [Anna agrees]. And that really stuck with me, I mean I do it in a much more low key way because I, we take the girls to the beach all the time or you know it's for me in everyday things that I really want to remember, the things that we eat, the craziness we get up to, like the amount of times that they woke up during the night because that's the kind of stuff, you've got to laugh otherwise you cry [Anna agrees]. So recording all of that just kind of helps that emotional management, I guess when you're so tired and yeah I think you know our customers really get into that as well. I push that in a lot of our marketing. We really just talk to the personal side of memory keeping.
Anna Jonak: [00:39:30] Well I know Flori's spoken to me about how impressed she is with your email marketing and bringing you into your brand and kind of having that conversation. And it's definitely something that we encourage people to do and I think that you do it particularly well with how you kind of say here you know this is me this is my journey this is what I'm creating and you take people on that journey with you which is awesome and no doubt part of the reason that you know, you are so successful. But I would love to know in your eyes, your view on I guess why you feel the business has taken off and you have created that success so quickly. What do you think sits at the core of that?
AT THE CORE OF CHLOE'S SUCCESS
Chloe Watts: [00:40:11] I think it's having a partnership is the biggest thing because there's so much to running a business [Anna agrees] and being able to grow it. I mean it would have been a lot, I could have done a one person show as a consultant [Anna agrees] there's not too much to manage, it's really just my time and dealing with clients and just managing. I guess just managing a smaller number of transactions in terms of the bookkeeping and stuff but definitely having Dave and have him take like a whole part of the business, that if I'm really honest I probably wouldn't have to addressed [Anna agrees] like there's no way I'd have proper bookkeeping, especially not to the account, or type like he does because he goes through every single one of our transactions. But yeh there's so much that you need to grow a successful business and a business that is worth money. We always talk about how we have to have our financials, like other than the fact that we need to know how much money we are making. Otherwise you just have money coming in and out and have no idea how much we're actually making, if this is worth it. But also just creating a record for our business so that so that in itself is worth something. It's not just the product and my turnover and what it's worth to us but we can build an amazing business that might be worth money to someone else. I mean we have no intention of ever selling it but it's just there its value...
Anna Jonak: [00:41:52] ...in an asset you're creating is an asset.
Chloe Watts: [00:41:55] Yeah exactly. And we're really, I mean other than the fact you're legally required to lodge tax returns and all that stuff but it's just I mean I would have, I just don't think I would have looked at it. To be honest it just does my head in going over numbers and I would have done it in a much more haphazard way.
Anna Jonak: [00:42:17] There are definitely several facets of business and I think for you obviously you're saying it's a partnership where you've got different roles happening. And you know Flori and I are in the same position. We also have outsourced a lot. So we've got to a point where we've outsourced - we've got a bookkeeper, we've got an accountant, we've now got someone coming in and doing more closely around Facebook ads with us, we've got a graphic designer, we've got tech support. We're exactly in the same position, where whilst we have each other, the fact is as you said there are so many facets to your business and for you to really start to grow and scale it you need to be able to have people fitting into other areas to help you and realise that it's not just you in this, and if you want it to be successful you have to get help and it becomes more about you taking that management role and being able to feed things down.
Chloe Watts: [00:43:04] Yeah exactly. And we have contracts, our printer and our fulfilment centre so there's a whole lot of things that we have passed off so that we have time to put into our graphics and email marketing. I mean that stuff, where we really try and look at it and think for us, what we don't like about the business and we'll outsource those things first. [Anna agrees] But again we also we were really passionate about learning as much about something as we can before we outsource it because I want to be able to ask the right questions of someone I'm going to pay so I know when they're doing a good job. I am at the end of the day, I am accountable for anything that they do. So it's not just that I can say 'hey you did a crap job [both laugh] can you make up for all my losses' like you yeah you have to know what you're talking about first and so that's been a big learning curve for us, especially coming from a service based business because it's so much easier keeping track of those, just numbers. Yes so I mean all of that has been really a good thing for us.
Anna Jonak: [00:44:22] Numbers.
Chloe Watts: [00:44:24] Numbers [both laugh]
Anna Jonak: [00:44:25] But it is so crucial. Do you do much tracking out of interest? Like with regards to your marketing, ROI and all those kind of things? Is that something Dave does?
Chloe Watts: [00:44:35] Yes Dave does all of that. Yeah. So he's a big expert, Excel master, so he has you know graphs and numbers and he's in here every day updating his spreadsheets and same with our financial goals in terms of turnover. All of that like we have to know what's going on in the business to know if we're reaching those goals and then we can move forward in our life like we really want to buy a house so we have to know how much money we're making so we can save some [Anna agrees]. So yeah it's all of that it's a huge huge thing and I just think that working with Dave has been a huge part of our success.
Anna Jonak: [00:45:18] Oh we need to like bring Dave on and just say Dave do you feel love. Well he will when he listens to he'll be like Wow. Yes. There's my kudos. Well that's awesome. Ok well I'm really keen as we start to wrap things up for you to tell me or give me some words or some wisdom to inspire people on their journeys. Because you kind of got the point where you made some big decisions you went all in and you backed yourself, you've learnt along the way and you are living a version of your dream [Chloe agrees] and I know that you are aspiring towards more and you've got this focus. And I'm really keen for you to deliver some words of encouragement for people who you know maybe they're kind of trailing at the moment or they're doubting themselves or they're kind of wondering whether they can do this or like we said even have that doubt or fear of judgement or what people are going to think if they really go for it.
Chloe Watts: [00:46:08] Yeah. I mean I really think you have to make a vision for your whole family where you want to go. You have to find, I mean you have to find what fires you up what what gets you going and where your passion is if you're, I mean I think it's fine to have a big vision and say I want to be here but you have to reflect on where you are and really weigh things up and say is, you know, I could go down this road or I could go down that road, which one is going to get me there [Anna agrees]. I think people can definitely get fixated, I mean even in small business you can get fixated on what you've built so far, and think we'll I've put so much effort into this, do I want to give that up. But I think you kind of let that go on and just look for opportunities. Yeah.
Anna Jonak: [00:47:05] It's an evolution in that respect isn't it. But what you think at the start of what you're creating doesn't often end up the end result. And even that just keeps evolving and completely appreciate that the vision that we had changes but in the best way as we learn more and we have more experience and you get more feedback from people. It just it is an evolution. [Chloe agrees] Well yeah, I'm pro getting everybody, we gave everybody a big picture vision on WHY exercise when we first launched the podcast so I trust that this conversation, will really, for those that didn't kind of do the exercise inspire them because that was really your starting point is getting that clarity and getting your partner involved and having this vision. And as you said holding everything accountable to it and did it make sense. So it's a reason we started our podcast with that and you've really just kind of hammered home the importance it has made for you. So we definitely encourage people to go and check that out and where can people find you and more about your beautiful book, where can we send them to.
Chloe Watts: [00:48:04] Oh yeah well if you go to www.blueberryco.com.au. That's where we are and you'll find us @BlueberryCoBaby on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest - yeah all over the place.
Chloe Watts: [00:49:25] No just thanks for having me. It's been lovely.
Anna Jonak: [00:49:28] It's been great having a chin wag. Thank you so much. I'm going to wrap things up with this thought today 'before the plan there is an idea before the idea there is a purpose before the purpose there is your spirit aching to express itself' by Paresh Soha. I thought that was very you know kind of ready in line with where I thought the conversation might go today. Okay and everybody remember to be brave in your business.
HOW TO CONNECT WITH ANNA AND FLORI
Business School: www.theelevatory.com
Phone: 1300 634 230
HOW DID WE DO?
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