Mia Klitsas is the star of my 68th podcast and wow what an interview! 😍
In 2005, Mia co-founded her business, Millie & More and launched the ‘Moxie’ brand of feminine hygiene products six months later. Moxie is available at major retailers all around Australia and abroad.
Mia was also named Telstra Young Businesswoman of the Year for Victoria in 2014.
Her business story starts back in 2005 when she created a product that solved that embarrassing issue of intimate women’s hygiene products falling out of our handbags -the Moxie products are beautifully packaged in recyclable and reuseable tins. They have been sold in major retailers for some years now and have a loyal following.
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Ingrid: Hello, good morning, and here we are today with Mia Klitsas. Hello, Mia.
Mia: Hello, how are you?
Ingrid: Very well, thank you. And thank you so much for joining us, on what is a gorgeous Sydney morning, and I’m thinking you’re, where are you?
Mia: I’m in Melbourne and arguably, it’s maybe as equally gorgeous as Sydney today. I’m looking out the window and the sun is shining, so it’s a lovely day in Melbourne.
Ingrid: It’s a lovely day. A lovely day for a conversation about business start-ups and you have quite a story. So Mia, tell us what business are you in? What is your business?
Mia: I have a women’s hygiene business. So we make feminine hygiene products, tampons, pads, liners, et cetera in cute little purse-worthy tins. So they don’t roll around or fall out in your handbag.
Ingrid: Very, very nice. And when did you start this business?
Mia: Gosh, a really long time ago. 2005, we started … 1st of July, 2005, we registered our business. And yeah, long time ago, and six months later, Moxie was on the shelves in major supermarkets in Australia. So it’s a bit of a, yeah, quite surreal.
Ingrid: Quite a journey back then, wasn’t it? So why did you start this business? Tell us what the inspiration for that was, because this is where some of the hub of your story is, isn’t it?
Mia: Yeah, yeah. Look, it’s a funny one. I never really quite knew what I wanted to do as a career, to be honest. Like, throughout school, university, I did a marketing degree at uni and found that I was certainly a more creative person, but I never really had a gut feel for what I was going to do. So I was actually interning during my marketing degree at a major multinational. And I was working a lot with some of the world’s biggest brands, biggest FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) brands, and was looking into packaging and branding and design. And I really sort of started to develop a passion for it. And I think I started to get quite good at it too.
Mia: And the idea for Moxie was really just an off-the-cuff idea to better package an existing product, in quite a mature category, to make it functionally better than the offers that were out there at the time. And it was the one product that I carried around all the time, that my girlfriends carried around all the time, probably arguably maybe the most feminine product you have to carry. But I felt that everything that was out there at the time was kind of anything but feminine. And it’s such a small change, I thought it actually really made a difference to the user experience. And the whole experience behind periods.
And so the idea to put menstrual products in tins, it literally was an off-the-cuff idea that I had with my now business partner, actually at lunch. We were sitting at lunch and we were talking about packaging innovations, and thought, “Actually you know what? You know what needs some work? Tampons. Why has no one thought to package them in anything other than a cardboard box or a plastic bag that breaks open?” And the rest just kind of snowballed. Literally started as an off-the-cuff idea. And here I am, 13 years later.
Ingrid: Here you are. It’s such a gorgeous story. So what did you want from the business? I mean, you’ve talked there about the feminising of a product that every female uses, or pretty much every female uses, in this part of the world, anyway. What did you want from that business, from day one?
Mia: You know, I think my motivation was really to create something that I felt was truly needed in the market and see it come to fruition. I didn’t really have ideas of grandeur or completely taking over the market. But I really thought that it was something truly unique, truly disruptive. There was nothing like it in the world as far as I knew. So it was really about seeing that idea come to life. Because the more women that I told, the more women said, “Oh my gosh. Of course. Of course. It makes so much sense.” And so I thought, “Okay, well if I think it’s a good idea, maybe other people think it’s a good idea too.” And so really for me, it was just about seeing it come to life.
Ingrid: Isn’t that lovely?
Ingrid: So this is one of my favourite questions, because it just elicits such a different response from pretty much every interview I’ve done in the years that I’ve been interviewing people. When did you realise that the business was real? When did it feel like you were in business? Now I know you’ve said that six months later, it was on the shelf and stuff, but what made it feel like you were in business?
Mia: I remember being in a cab on the way back from our very first buying meeting with Woolworths, which is a major supermarket chain in Australia. And we had just met with the buyer, I was so nervous going up there. Anyway, we’re in the cab on the way back, and the buyer in the meeting had pretty much told us that he loved the idea and wanted to take us on in all of their stores. Which is like 800-odd stores. And I remember being in the cab on the way back from the meeting to the airport to come back to Melbourne, the meeting was in Sydney. And I just had that moment of, well, a lot of thoughts went through my mind, but I kind of thought, “Oh my gosh. What have I done?” And like, it’s on, it’s real.
Ingrid: It’s on.
Mia: Yeah. And then I think then I called my mum, and I said, “We’re in. It’s happening.” And from that moment, it felt very real.
Arguably, it also felt very real when we ordered a full container worth of tampons before we’d even sold a single one. So we ordered a container before we even went to Woolworths. So I’d say at that point, it felt pretty real.
Ingrid: Oh dear. Well, we’ll come to funding in a moment. That’s a pretty amazing, isn’t it, that Woolworths-
Mia: Ridiculous. I’m not sure if I’d recommend it, but it seemed to work out okay.
Ingrid: So you spoke to some of your friends and they said, “Of course. What a great idea.” And you went to Woolworths and they said, “Yes.” So is that how you knew that the idea was viable. Where did you get that sense that customers really wanted? Because this is something, people come up with these ideas for business, but where do you truly get that validation from?
Ingrid: I do feel like you’ve sort of answered that question, but just is there anything to add there?
Mia: Yeah. Obviously as a start-up, we didn’t really have the money to pump into massive amounts of market research and things like that, which is always a really great validation of your ideas, doing unprompted awareness surveys. I mean, there’s all kinds of things you can do, right? Qualitative and quantitative. And we couldn’t quite afford to do that upfront, but once we’d come up with everything and pretty much had everything ready to go, we thought, “Oh, we better do a sense check. Because maybe our friends are just being polite.”
Mia: So we did, we actually did pull together a couple of focus groups and if I think back to how we ran them, it was pretty rudimentary. But again, look, you do what you’ve got to do. It wasn’t perfect, but it was enough, and the one thing that really got me, and it stays with me today, and I still tell this story is that when the women in the meeting were asked to describe the person that would buy our product, they described me down to the car I drove! Without even knowing me. None of them knew me, like no one had ever met me, no one knew what car I drove. And they pretty much described me. And I had developed the product for me, for my friends. So, the fact that it resonated with them on that level, it really struck a chord with me, and I thought, “Okay, wow. I think we got it right.”
Mia: And I think part of that was just because it was, there was so much authenticity behind it. It was truly coming from a place of me, personal need. And it was a personal pain point. It wasn’t something I just thought up, that I thought that I could market and sell to people. It was a genuine, I really need this. And I think other people need this. And I really want to see it come to life. And so I think that actually came out in the end, and thankfully, yeah, the research confirmed it.
Ingrid: That’s just fantastic. Yeah. And from your marketing background, you knew how important it was to have focus groups for a product, an FMCG product like that, to actually go into that level of detail and not just wing it in the wind or try and wing it into seeing if it really was. Those focus groups are so critical, really, aren’t they, with that sort of..
Mia: Oh, they’re great. Yeah, look, if you can afford to do them, even on a small scale, they’re really valuable because people will tell you things that you’d never even thought of. Sometimes you’re so in it, that you just really can’t see what your customers are seeing.
Ingrid: That’s such a good point, yeah, yeah. That you are so involved and so attached to it. But how funny they would describe you?
Ingrid: That’s very precious.
Mia: Yeah hilarious. Oh god, I was sitting on the other side of the glass, it’s that one-way glass kind of thing, and I was looking out, like, “Oh my gosh.” And the person that was moderating it, they couldn’t see me, but they were looking into the glass, and just mouthing, “Oh my god.” Yeah, it was pretty funny moment.
Ingrid: Oh dear. And that’s one of the joys of business, isn’t it, you get these magic moments. So let’s go back to money, you talked about a huge commitment in terms of financially to this container load of product. How did you, and as much detail or not, Mia, how did you fund the business in the early days? And then how did you expand? Where does money come from when you’re starting out in a product-based business?
Mia: Yeah, it’s really hard. It’s really hard. Particularly because you’re dealing with manufacturers that you haven’t dealt with before, you’re dealing with minimum production quantities, and we actually run a side consulting business where we help other start-ups do what we did, pretty much with Moxie. And that is the struggle of so many start-ups is wanting to get into major retail, wanting to launch a product, but not being able to meet minimum quantities.
Mia: So ‘A’, we found a fantastic manufacturer who we still work with today, 13 years on. So we found a great manufacturer that was able to give us terms, really good terms, so we did bootstrap in the early days. We used our own savings, and then once we got that contract from Woollies, we went to the bank and got a loan. And I think things have changed a little now, with the banks. Not that it was easy, but it certainly doesn’t seem to roll that way anymore. But a contract from Woollies was a guarantee, pretty much. So we took that to the bank and we got the funding and then were able to payback the supplier within terms.
Mia: And then we’ve, yeah, depending on what’s gone on over the years, new product launches, et cetera, we seek external investment when we’ve needed to. But pretty much tried to bootstrap as much as we can.
Ingrid: Yeah. And that is such a good thing.
Mia: And reinvested, reinvested in the business.
Ingrid: Reinvested, of course.
Mia: Yeah, just continually reinvested.
Ingrid: You’re not just sucking the money out and doing-
Mia: No, I wish. Oh, I wish.
Ingrid: So thinking about your customers and obviously yourself as one of those ideal avatars, but how do you find new customers now? So 10 years on, as you’ve said, it’s a product that lots of people use but it’s still, there’s other competition in the market. How do you find new customers and how do you know who your customers are? Because you’re not for everyone.
Ingrid: Or maybe you are?
Mia: No. Look, I wish we were. (12:30) But I really believe, and I think this is the marketer in me coming out, but I really do believe that you can’t be everything to everybody. And I’m not sure that you want to be. I really do believe in focus. And for any brand. As I said, I see it with the other brands we work with now, focus is so important. It allows you to focus your dollars, your marketing efforts and all your resources. And so, for us, we knew when we launched, that we couldn’t compete head-on with the majors. Some of the players in our space are some of the biggest corporations in the world. And we knew we couldn’t compete head-on, I think our audience positioning was very much reflective of our brand.
Mia: And so our core audience is 18 to 25-year-old women, and I say that in terms of the way that the brand looks and speaks. Obviously, our users are much younger and much older as well. But in terms of Moxie, the brand, it sort of does target the 18 to 24s, which was great and quite easy when I was in that age bracket, because I was marketing to myself and to my friends, but I’m well outside of that now, so it is a little more challenging. But having national distribution in some of the major retail chains, or the major retail chains in the market is a great awareness campaign in itself. It allows you to reach so many customers. I mean, everyone goes to the supermarket, regardless of age group. So it is certainly very, very helpful.
Mia: But in terms of our marketing, we’re really, really fortunate to have a very loyal customer base, that have stuck with us probably from when we launched. There are women that used Moxy when they were 20, and are still using it. And there’s girls that are just starting their periods that are discovering the brand. And it’s mostly through social media, through socials and word-of-mouth, which is so powerful.
Ingrid: Well, and interestingly, 10 years ago, 13 years ago when you started, the social media was so different. Those 18 to 24-year-olds, well, some of them were hardly born. They were-
Mia: Yeah, that’s right.
Ingrid: … preschool or in primary school. Whereas now, that social media landscape is completely different.
Mia: Yeah, yeah, it’s a completely different landscape. It’s a totally different ballgame. It’s interesting in that Moxie’s been around throughout the last few iterations of marketing trends, I guess, in terms of, we went from kind of traditional billboards, magazine ads, TV commercials and now that stuff is kind of, I don’t know for us, I’m not sure we’d really consider that kind of marketing anymore. Because again, it’s not focused. It’s not as focused as we need it to be. Whereas with online, you can be incredibly focused and you really can reach … you can reach that person in that state that lives on that street. You know, you can be so specific. Which is a little creepy.
Ingrid: It is a bit creepy.
Mia: It really is, but it’s so highly targeted. And you know, it can be really cost-effective too. So I think traditional marketing and advertising has changed a lot too. And also, you know, consumers are super-savvy. People know when they’re being marketed to. I don’t think they necessarily like being sold to as such, so it’s kind of just about establishing a different relationship with the customers, I think.
Ingrid: Well, because it’s such a personal product, that obviously dictates. I’m no expert in that area of marketing or advertising, but I would imagine that that dictates a completely different way of communicating. There’s a product that I occasionally look at, because I think the building of that brand and that business is incredibly story-worthy, but I always look at it incognito because the nanosecond you click on it, it’s everywhere. It’s in Facebook, it’s on everything, the-
Mia: Re-targets you.
Ingrid: That retargeting, to me it’s almost trolling. That it just follows me everywhere. And it’s, “I don’t want your ads.” And it actually is –
Ingrid: And there’s a pair of slippers I looked at once, about a hundred years ago, and this did follow me sometimes. It’s like, I’ll never buy your slippers. Stop trying to sell to me, because you’ve actually annoyed me to the point where even if my legs were falling off in the ice, I guess maybe I’d would buy them at that point, but generally it just gets soooo annoying.
Mia: It does. And it’s really about understanding that balance. And again, understanding your customer and not just doing the hard sell all the time. Because yeah, it is irritating.
Ingrid: Now I do have a question for you that I know in our pre-discussion, we talked about this one, about your exit strategy. Now are you going to tell us what it is, but have you thought about what happens next? Where does this go? What’s next?
Mia: Yeah. I’m going to be totally honest, I can’t even sugarcoat it, I don’t have an exit strategy. It feels quite irresponsible of me, to be honest. And after 13 years, I’ve not thought about an exit strategy. Yeah, I think because it did really start up as a passion project and because I am still enjoying things so much, I’ve not really thought about what the future looks like. It’s funny, someone actually asked me this last night, and I think now more than ever, I’m probably really only just starting to think about what the future looks like. And even from a personal perspective, I’m not sure that I want to do this forever. And I’m okay with that, I’m not as emotionally attached to the brand or the business as I once was. Which I think is not necessarily a bad thing. So yeah, whilst I don’t have a strategy as yet, I’m hoping that by the next time you ask me, I will.
Ingrid: There’s some terrific examples of where people who’ve really loved what they do, and I think Peter Alexander is one of the best examples of that. He loved what he was doing, and then he just reached a point where he couldn’t do it on his own. So ended up joining, I believe it’s the Dangerfield group. And continued to work in his business as a brand ambassador and continuing on. So I think there’s, and I’m sure there’s dozens of examples similar. T2’s another good example where that’s continuing under Unilever as being a very successful brand. So it can be done with elegance and without disappearing. The reason I ask it, is it’s something that I do believe, as we start something, it’s worth having a think about. So anyway, thank you for your honesty, thank you.
Mia: No, I agree. And I think sometimes it’s funny, even when I speak to other business owners and young entrepreneurs, they ask me the same question and I really thought about it, and I think for me, I would happily see someone else take it over if it meant that they could take it to another level. I think there’s no ego in it for me. There probably was at the beginning, because it was just, here I was at 22, going, “Oh my gosh. What is happening?” It was so surreal. But now there’s just no ego in it at all. So I’d definitely be open to, I think I’d be open to anything really. I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point.
Ingrid: Well, if anyone’s listening, have a chat.
Ingrid: So if we have a bit of reflection now about the journey that you’ve been on, going back to the beginning, and I know it’s a long time ago, but is there something you’d wished you’d done differently at the beginning?
Mia: Goodness. It was a really long time ago, Ingrid.
Ingrid: I know. Yeah and if-
Mia: What would I have done differently? Not necessarily at the beginning, but oh look, it was kind of in its infancy. A few years in, we decided to start exporting. So by 2008, I think, we were in the UK. We’d launched in the UK. And that sort of came off the back of one of the major retailers saying, “We want your brand. And if you don’t give it to us, we’re just going to rip it off. And we’ll do it as a private label.” And so we said, “Oh my gosh, we’d better do it.” And at the time, we actually only had three tampon products. We hadn’t yet extended the range. And they wanted a full suite of products, which meant they wanted pads and liners, et cetera, so we developed a full range just to meet their needs. And look, ultimately, it was a really, really bad deal and I think, perhaps in hindsight, I don’t know, in hindsight, would I have done the same thing? Probably (laughs).
But yeah, I guess what I would have done differently would have been to not be bullied into something that the business wasn’t ready for. And bullied is perhaps a bit of a strong word, but we were sort of threatened into it. And I took the bait, I guess, and we went for it, and look, it probably was just a little premature for us, I’d say.
Ingrid: Yeah. Thank you for being so honest with that because it is very tempting to grow and everybody’s teaching people how to scale and all of that. And it’s very easy to get caught up in that excitement and that growth and just things that you’re all over the world and it’s very insightful. Thank you.
Now here’s a slightly different question. And you had a terrific background in marketing and FMCG. But is there something you wished you’d known from the start, or something you wished you known before you got into business that might have been a bit helpful along the way?
Mia: Definitely. I wish I had a better handle on cashflow, something that they didn’t teach us at school. Even now thinking back, it baffles me, some of the things that they teach. They’re just not practical life or business skills. Had they taught about budgeting and cashflow and interest, all those kind of things, it would have been a lot more valuable, a lot more helpful, but I kind of had to sort of muddy my way through it, I guess. And look, ultimately sought help where I needed it. But I think that would have been really helpful to better understand the numbers, better understand budgeting, forecasts, cashflows, all that kind of thing. Because it creeps up on you.
Ingrid: It does. But the thing is, it’s one of those areas that people don’t really want to know about until they have to.
Mia: And I was guilty of that, I’d say. Definitely. Yeah.
Ingrid: And that’s been my experience of working, because that’s one of my areas of expertise. And just helping people understand that, it’s like, “Oh, I’m not a numbers person. Oh, I don’t really want to.” Just-
Mia: Doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
Ingrid: Yeah, doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
Mia: Because that was me. I’m not a numbers person, I’m the creative. I’ll stick to what I’m good at. And yes, I agree, stick to what you’re good at, but you should, as a business owner, you should always be across your numbers.
Ingrid: Absolutely. Absolutely. Now you said that you started the business with a business partner. And you rang your mum and your focus groups. But who has been of greatest assistance to you and to your business. And you don’t have to name names, but just what sort of people have been of best help to you?
Mia: No, I am going to name and shame, I’m going to throw them under the bus just because they’ve been with me the entire time and I’m actually incredibly grateful so I do really want to name.
Mia: Look, the first person is my business partner, Jeff. Having a business partner has been, I wouldn’t have done it without him and I’d hope that he’d say the same. Yeah, he used to say that we’re greater than the sum of our individual parts. Which is really true, I think, because we complement each other in areas where the other isn’t strong. And look, it’s great to have someone there to go to war with, because sometimes that’s how it feels. When the chips are down and you feel like you just throw your hands up in the air and go, “That’s it. I’m out.” There’s that other person to just shine a light and go, “Hang on. It’s not that bad.” It’s great to have a sounding board and ultimately a partner-in-crime, really. There’s someone in the trenches with you all the time. So it’s been a really wonderful business partnership and obviously a friendship over the years. I’m actually very, very grateful for that. I met a lot of people that are doing it solo, and it’s tough, it sounds really tough. Like, I take my hat off to them. Because it’s hard enough as it is, and I can’t imagine going it alone. So, yeah, Jeff’s always been a great supporter.
And my family, well, my now-husband who was my boyfriend at the time, when I started, was always incredibly supportive and always really pushed me to take risks and as did my parents. Which I think I’m really, really fortunate for, because I meet a lot of people whose families don’t support their dream and it’s really disheartening. It can be really disheartening.
And look, I certainly met a lot of those people too who told me that I was crazy and that it was a stupid idea and who was going to buy tampons in tins? How ridiculous, what a gimmick. And I learnt pretty quickly to remove myself from those people. So for me, it was kind of about finding my tribe and finding those people who were going to support me. And yeah, they’re the ones I’ve kind of stuck by.
Ingrid: Isn’t that lovely? And when we talk about families not understanding, it’s often because they have no frame of reference. They just don’t understand it. I remember years ago, my dad saying, “Ingrid. When are you going to do something?” I think that was his words, like when are you going to be sensible? And me saying, dad, you know, yeah, I was sensible and that didn’t work. So now I’m trying something else.
Mia: Yeah. I think Australia in particular, I mean I say that obviously because I’m Aussie and I live here, but I think we’ve got a really great culture for fostering innovation and ideas and entrepreneurialism. I think it’s really well-received. And arguably, even more so than when I started, like I said it was 13 years ago and Facebook wasn’t even really around from what I remember. So times have certainly changed. But you look around and you see 14, 15-year-old kids, starting side businesses, that they manage after school. And that’s amazing.
Ingrid: And successful-
Mia: Successful yeah, and I just think that’s incredible. I just think it’s great.
Ingrid: It is. Who knows what it’s going to be like in the future?
Mia: I know.
Ingrid: So where do you get your feedback from? So you’ve mentioned Jeff and how you can consolidate each other and you’ve got your family for support, where do you get feedback from?
Mia: Feedback as in? From a business sense? Or product wise.
Ingrid: Well, business and personal. Yeah, because some people interpret this question as being about themselves and then others interpret it as being about the product, so yeah, just in general, where do you keep your radar for feedback?
Mia: From a product business perspective, I’d say our customers. Excuse me. So I pretty much monitor all of our social channels, I respond to every email that comes through, every message on social, yeah I actually respond most of the time. Which sounds a little crazy, and it can be at times. But I really love having that direct rapport with the people buying our product. It’s incredibly powerful and I’m really open to any kind of feedback and always have been. And I think that’s really important, because sometimes it’s not necessarily the negative, but it’s the things that you’re not sure you want to hear that help you the most.
Mia: And so brutal honesty sometimes is the best thing and I think brutal honesty in business is critical. Whether that’s internal or external, I’m all about brutal honesty. It’s actually one of our business values is honesty. And so, I’m always open to the feedback, so our customers are brilliant. They’re great, they’re really great, and besides that, I’m really lucky. Just over the years, I’ve established a really great network of people, and some business owners, some run incredibly successful businesses. Some are just great friends and great sounding boards that I know I’m going to get honest answers from.
Ingrid: I really like the way you said that about it’s the things we don’t want to hear that are the most useful. Sometimes that can just be. Because you know, I think sometimes there’s a danger, a culture developing where we don’t want to hear that. Like as you said, in the very, very early days, were your friends just saying that to be nice to you? I knew I had a great idea, but where do we get that really, the things that we might not want to hear, and we might go home and have a cry in our pillow, but at the end of the day, it’s actually more helpful to us than somebody-
Mia: Then how do you grow? Otherwise how do you grow?
Mia: You just keep doing what you’re doing.
Ingrid: Now my next question is what would you tell or recommend to someone starting their business? But Mia, this is what you do. As you said, you have a site now helping people do what you’ve done. We’re certainly not asking for free consulting, but what is the message you give those people? What is your key message to them, that someone who says, “Wow, I want to start a business too.”
Mia: Oh, this sounds so cliche, but the thing that just always comes to mind for me is to go with your gut. I think it’s important to make calculated decisions, but sometimes your gut just knows. And I really believe that I built my business based on my gut. But a part of that is being brutally honest with yourself. And if you know something’s not a great idea, it’s time to let it go.
And that probably brings me to the second point. Which is know when to let something go. Sometimes I think that we pursue things because, I don’t know, we’re stubborn, or our ego gets involved, or we’re scared of failure. But I would say, don’t be scared of failure. I think failing is how you learn. It’s how you grow. And without it, how do you know that you’re on the right track? So I’d say, don’t be afraid of failure.
And the third would be to not be afraid to seek help and to ask questions and to lean on other people in areas where you don’t have strengths. As I said, people will often go it alone and I tell people all the time, “Reach out. Yes, reach out to that billionaire on Linkedin, you never know. They’ll likely respond.” People are actually quite generous with their time if you ask. So I’d say, you know, don’t be afraid to reach out, speak to people, that have done it before you. Learn as much as you can. You never stop learning. Doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, how much experience you’ve had, you never ever stop learning. You can learn from anyone.
Ingrid: And I think that the testament to reaching our, is I read about you and I thought, “Wow, you’d be a fantastic for my interview.” And I thought, “Oh, Mia Klitsas, why would she come on my little podcast?”
Mia: Oh, you’re hilarious.
Ingrid: And there you are. You came straight back and said, “Love to.”
Mia: Of course, honoured to, honoured to.
Ingrid: But it’s such a good example of how you could think, “Oh, they haven’t got time for me.” Or, “This wouldn’t be on their radar.” Or something like that. And there are other people that I have asked who genuinely don’t have time or it’s not something they get involved in or there’s reasons not being involved, but I can’t take that personally because it’s them. That’s the other thing.
Now you’ve just given us three things you’d say to someone starting their business. And my next question, this is our last question really, is what are the three characteristics that you have that make you successful, and are they those things you just talked about?
Mia: Oh gosh. Maybe you should call Jeff and ask Jeff this question. He’d probably give you a more honest answer.
I’d say that I’m definitely a risk-taker. So I am, I’m not a what-if person, I am a dive straight in, see what happens, what’s the worst that can happen, type of person. And I’ve stuffed up a lot.
So I think I’d say also that I’m resilient as a result of that. I’ve certainly, yeah, had moments where I’ve just thought, “Oh gosh, what a mess. I’ve made a mess. What have I done?” But no, have managed to just kind of pull my socks up and keep going. So I’d say resilience.
And the third is, I think not taking myself too seriously, at the same time. Business is stressful, and you know, I’d say the last couple of years have probably been the most stressful of my life thus far. But at the same time, Jeff and I often look at each other and we’re like, “Why are we doing this?” We’re doing this, major reason for us, was not only to see the product come to fruition, but to just really enjoy our working life. To do something that we loved, work on a great product, work with great people, and so we really try and not forget that, even when things are really tough or really busy, I really kind of just bring myself back down to earth, and go, “Hang on. There’s life outside of this. This isn’t the universe.” And I think remembering that is really important. Because otherwise relationships suffer and your family and friends suffer. So I try not to take it too seriously and I do my very best not to work weekends. So I think being able to step away is really important.
Ingrid: And that can be tricky in the early days, can’t it, when there’s just so much to be done. But even in the early days-
Mia: Oh, all days. All days, to be honest.
Ingrid: … to be able to switch off-
Mia: But you’re right, you’re right. In the early days, particularly because you’ve kind of set a precedence for yourself. And once you’re in that routine, it’s really, really hard to get out of it.
Ingrid: Yeah. I remember interviewing William, the founder of Archie Rose and he said he wished when he had a bit more time, before he got started while he was raising funds and doing things, he had set a better routine for exercise and time-out. Because once things got started, he had no routine, and it just consumed him. And once you’re in it, it’s hard to say, “Okay, well I am actually going to go to yoga once a week.” Or, “I am going to go for a swim at lunchtime.” Or it’s something that you actually take yourself physically out of the business and do. Because you come back better. You come back feeling fresh-
Mia: You know what you do? And I think part of that, that actually resonates with me, sorry, so much, in that I’ve often thought that. Oh, I would love to go and do this and take time out. But I feel a sense of guilt. And I think a lot of people probably do, because you think, “Oh, I could be spending this time on my business.” But I’ve really learnt over the years that if you don’t look after yourself, everything else suffers. If you’re not good, if you’re not in the right head space, in the right physical mental emotional health, then everything suffers as a result. So it is important to take that step back, as challenging as it can be sometimes.
Ingrid: So not always that easy.
Mia: Oh, it’s not.
Ingrid: Mia, thank you so much for a lovely conversation. Now, helpful, some real gems, in this. I hope if anyone needs to, they’ll go back and listen to it again. Our show notes and the transcript will be on my website.
Ingrid: Mia, is there anything else you would like to add before we go, and is there any products that you’d like to mention or is there anything else for our listeners before we wrap up today?
Mia: Yeah, I guess I’d just remind people to have fun and enjoy the journey and as I said, things can get really challenging and serious. But sometimes it’s good to just reflect on why you’re doing it in the first place, and if it’s not satisfying your personal goals, then it might be time for a different path. So just enjoy it, have fun, it is a wild ride, it’s not always sunshine and roses. But yeah, it is good fun. But yeah, no, check us out. Check us out, Moxie online, moxie.com.au, M-O-X-I-E. We’ve just launched a subscription box as well for busy women on-the-go, so I’d urge people to check it out and please don’t hesitate to reach out, if anyone has a question, wants to ask me anything, I’m on Linkedin, just look me up, and yeah, I’d be happy to chat.
Ingrid: Yeah, for those aspiring people who are looking at having a business similar to yours or have got some really great ideas, sounds like there’s some useful help from you to get them going based on your experience. Sounds terrific. Okay. Thank you so much Mia.
Mia: Thank you.