Alexandra Blakemore

City: SA, Australia

Business: French NavyThe Happiness At Work Program

What: Online Retail Business

1. What was the catalyst for you starting your business

After living abroad for a few years, and being used to having exquisite stationery at my fingertips, I encountered issues finding stationery of the quality and design that I enjoyed writing on once back in Australia.

This, combined with my background in advertising, lead to the development and launch of French Navy, a boutique online stationery and etiquette business.
As etiquette is ostensibly all about making people feel welcome, when the opportunity to collaborate with The Happiness Institute came about it was a natural fit. This led to the development of The Happiness at Work Program, a 6 week program designed to improve personal happiness and positively impact productivity.

2. What do you love most about what you do now?
All of it! French Navy is about making people feel welcome – so what’s not to love? Thank you notes and etiquette training are an extension of that as is The Happiness at Work Program.

3. Describe the biggest setback you faced when establishing your business? How did it affect you and how did you push through?
I started my business just when the GFC hit and everyone’s spending habits changed to be much more necessity driven. I had invested a lot of time and money in this business, so not continuing with it was never an option. I just had to find different ways to market it, to see if I could tap into markets that were previously not considered worthwhile and also listen to the market and what they wanted. Adding the ‘design your own’ part to my website was a result of that.

4. Everyone has days where they feel flat or uninspired – do you have any tricks or tactics for overcoming these feelings?
I’m a firm believer in a quick coffee break and having a laugh. Both do wonders.

5. Words of Wisdom / Personal Quote:
Everything happens for a reason.


The ‘happiness industry’ has come a long way over the past year, encouraging us to delve into this mood as much as possible from our personal to public lives, home to the office, and the relationship with have with ourselves and others.

Seemingly only reserved for those who ‘love their job’ a positive work environment has been shown to improve mental health and impact productivity — a win for employee and a win for employer.

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