Aucklander Ruby Dreifuss, 27, discusses how she finds being her own boss and what it's like splitting her time between running two very different businesses.
What does your business do?
I have an online store called Ingenue that is essentially a collection of boutique homeware and lifestyle goods, many of which weren't previously available in New Zealand. I started the business in August last year with the intention of being the online gift destination. I have a warehouse based in Eden Terrace in Auckland.
What was the motivation for starting it?
When I was a student I worked part time in a beautiful gift brand homeware store and that was always a time that I looked back on quite fondly. The owner was inspirational and her store has withstood the test of time - her store has been open longer than I've been alive. Over the past few years I've been really fortunate to travel to some exquisite destinations around the world and on those trips I was always drawn to independent homeware and gift ware stores and somewhere along the way I started taking photos of products and keeping a running list of brands that I really adored. I used to always make reference to the store I was going to open one day and about a year ago my partner said to me: 'One day is today' and it gave me the gentle nudge to put it into action.
How difficult did you find it to set up the store?
I was lucky that I had the skills to do all the branding and the website myself. In terms of sourcing products, I reached out to the brands on my list and most of the product I import myself; anything from kitchenware, children's wear, jewellery, natural skincare, books, around 180 different products. Most of the products are imported from Europe.
How big is your team?
It's just me. I actually have two businesses and so I split my time between Ingenue and Girl Fridays Co which is a one-stop shop for busy people where by we help busy people by doing tasking on their behalf such as planning a holiday to, streamlining productivity in a business, writing blog posts and building websites, among other things. I started Girl Fridays Co in April last year.
What's it like being your own boss and do you enjoy it?
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Although running a small business comes with challenges, I find the positives outweigh any negatives. I love having control of my own time, and the flexibility of balancing work and life is one I wouldn't give up.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced?
The biggest challenge I've faced is time - starting two businesses within a short span of time isn't for the faint hearted. I look back on that and think 'wow, what was I thinking', but in saying that I always do my best work when I'm put in challenging situations. It helped a lot when I was starting the businesses up to really split home and work life.
What are your long term plans for the business?
I want to be the online and lifestyle destination for every occasion, rather than focusing on a future brick and mortar location. I want Ingenue to withstand the test of time and still be in business 20 years from now.
I'm exploring opportunities of doing a couple of pop-up stores in Auckland which I think will be really fun, especially in the lead up to Christmas. If the opportunity arises and market demands, I may explore opening future pop-ups in niche areas, this could be in Waiheke Island, Raglan or the Hawke's Bay. I'd also like to raise the profile of some of the really amazing brands we stock. A lot of the brands I import they are really well-known overseas but relatively unknown here.
What advice do you give to others who want to start their own business?
Do it and don't be afraid to fail. Go out there and don't give up. If you really believe in what you're doing other people will as well.