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Talking Small Business & Motherhood in the time of COVID with Lily from HERE.

If you've followed the Miann & Co journey, you would know that we very seldom have stockists for our Womenswear. A collection that's so close to our hearts, we wanted to find the right fit and style for our brand - that's where HERE. Home, Style & Design comes in.

When Lily first approached us to stock our womens line, it felt like a no-brainer. They were passionate about small business, ethical production and sustainable living and we knew our womenswear belong in her store.

Join us today as we sit down with Lily to talk all things small business, motherhood (she's recently welcomed her first child) and facing 2020 head-on in the time of COVID.

 

You guys are so passionate about independent brands – where does that passion come from?

When opening HERE, I named it that to ensure that I always focused on Australian brands. The fact that I could support other small businesses by stocking them in my store felt like a very meaningful thing to be able to do, especially after years of working in the commercial fashion industry. 

I wanted to bring brands to my customer that were new or less commonly known within our area and we've kept that concept going for over three years. I've absolutely loved watching my customers become fans of labels that we've helped them discover!

Also having this space gives me an opportunity to make a difference when it comes to promoting the world of slow fashion and by supporting independent brands, we're able to have that conversation with the designers directly, and therefore able pass that knowledge onto our customers, which is so powerful! 

 

HERE! Has such a unique and eclectic style – your feed and ‘Friday Styling’ is very uniquely you, how did you develop this sense of style?

I have always embraced my own sense of style, I love the process of creating different combos and putting outfits together in a more unexpected way. I think this comes through both in store and on our socials which from day one I have put so much time and effort into creating content that is individual to us. There are hours and hours spent capturing and editing our own photos because the goal is to paint a picture of HERE on a digital platform, I hope that when people come across our feed they connect with it as if they were shopping in store. Paying close attention to detail is also very important to me, those who see me at work will know that I go back and make the tiniest if changes until I'm 100% happy. 

With Friday Styling, a dear friend was constantly telling me that people wanted to see more of 'the face behind the brand' but it really only came together once Emily joined my team and we could build the concept together. Our main goal with the photos and videos is to show our followers how the same pieces can work for many different bodies, ages and styles. We so often see fashion portrayed on a narrow spectrum, so we wanted to showcase a couple of real women wearing clothes in a way that is relatable to our customer's lifestyle while also giving her inspiration to wear pieces different ways and educate her on what it means to build a sustainable wardrobe. 

 

COVID and lockdown has affected everyone differently this year, we’re curious to know how you guys pivoted your small business to accommodate all the change we’ve been going through...

It's been the most unpredictable year imaginable. Not only was HERE being impacted by COVID but I was also pregnant and needed a lot of personal time away from the store. We were so fortunate to have a beautiful and established online store which became our main focus throughout April and May, and then again in July and August. To encouraged our followers to support our online store during this time we offered free shipping or local delivery and of course kept up with socials to promote new arrivals or sales.

It certainly hasn't been a smooth couple of seasons for the businesses but we did what we needed to do in order to stay open, whether that was being online only for several weeks or opening the brick & mortar store for special trading days like Mothers Day, we simply did what worked for us. All the while our loyal customers continued to support us and understand that it wasn't business as usual, which I am incredibly grateful for!

 

What advice would you give to other small businesses trying to pivot at this time?

Stay true to yourself! I found that zoning in on the things that our customers loved most about HERE is what worked for us. The personal elements of shopping with us continued even when operating online only because our customers were able to call, email or DM for advice. We kept up the Friday Styling so customers still felt connected to us each week. Every small business has struggled through this time so if we can focus on what we do best as an individual store, we will all be better for it!

 

Lily, you’ve recently welcomed your beautiful baby boy, Fletcher – what are your top tips for running a small business while embracing the newborn season?

Surround yourself with amazing support! I could not have got through the past few months without my support network. My partner and family at home and staff member Emily in the store. My pregnancy and birth was a bit of a rollercoaster with a lot of time spent in hospital so I have had to actually take a big step back from HERE over the past 6 months. Which is never easy when you're used to spending half your time running a business, but knowing that my business was in the very talented hands of a trusted team member was invaluable! It's the most wonderful experience becoming a Mum and I have really prioritised this time with Fletcher, allowing myself to just be his Mum. But again, I've only been furtunate enough to do this because of the amazing people around us!

 

And finally, taking time for yourself when running your own business is so important! How do you take time out to care for yourself, and what are your favourite things to do?

Well as a new Mum there isn't a lot of spare time but when the chance arises and is perfectly timed around breastfeeding, I do love to treat myself to a hot bath filled with essentials oils & dried flowers, a good book or podcast and a glass of red wine - bliss! 

I am a very creative person so as long as I can continue to have some kind of creative outlet whether is fashion, interior design, art or reading & writing, life is good. 

 

Thank you so much Lily for taking the time out to chat with us, we so appreciate it! You can follow the lovely HERE. team via their instagram: https://www.instagram.com/herehomestyledesign/

 

All our love,

Miann & Co x

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