Christina Fedders

City: Melbourne, Australia

Business: Design Stuff

What: Online Homewares Retail Business

1. What was the catalyst for you starting your business?
Gosh, even as a little girl I remember being interested in design, home wares and interiors. Growing up in Copenhagen, Danish and Scandinavian design was just a part of our everyday lives. I really have my lovely parents and grandparents to thank for instilling in me a strong appreciation for good design.

As an adult the appreciation became a passion, at times – maybe even an obsession! In 2012 I was working in fashion, and travelled a lot overseas. And without fail, on every single trip I came home with a suitcase crammed full of home wares – I just couldn’t help myself. Back then there were hardly any genuine Scandinavian designs or home wares available in Australia.

After the birth of my daughter Clara (now 4), I realised that I needed a career change. Fashion was hectic and crazy and wonderful, but not always family friendly. Suddenly 70 hour+ work weeks and constant overseas business trips didn’t seem feasible. I decided I wanted to start my own small business, and starting a Scandinavian focused online store felt incredibly natural.

2. What do you love most about what you do now?
Definitely the flexibility that comes with this type of business.

I have 2 young kids now and can adapt my hours to suit them and our busy family life. Some nights, after I get the kids to bed, I can head back into the office and do a couple of hours of solid work. Other days I might wake at 5am before the kids wake, to answer emails or make phone calls to suppliers in Denmark.

Also, I love my team! We’re a small team but everyone is so passionate and dedicated – I’m really lucky. I love working in our little open plan office where we work hard and share lots of laughs. And of course I have to mention “The Product”. The thrill of working with all these beautiful pieces certainly hasn’t worn off. We still squeal like little girls when a new delivery arrives!

3. Describe the biggest setback you faced when establishing your business? How did it affect you and how did you push through?
Being an online business, the biggest challenge has been web development and finding the right website support. It has been a very steep learning curve. Costs can get out of hand so quickly, so you have to educate yourself and try to personally manage all projects and upgrades yourself. I definitely had to learn the hard way. Now I make it my job to attend seminars, liaise with the right people, network, pick the brains of industry experts, and read up online.

4. Everyone has days where they feel flat or uninspired – do you have any tricks or tactics for overcoming these feelings?
Absolutely. You can’t feel on top of your game everyday. I like to take a walk in the fresh air with my husband, read my favourite magazines, listen to an inspiring audio or simply go to bed! The next day is always more positive, and another chance to start again and do better.