This week’s interviewee is Lyneke Harris, Founder Aurum Fashion. Aurum Fashion combines the West African style with European styles, by using Dutch wax fabric to accent the classic polo shirt. The line was inspired by a need to combine two cultures in one. The aim of Aurum Fashion is to make a difference, both in providing a new style but also in supporting those less fortunate by donating 10% of the profit of each sale to charity.
1.Biggest Mistake you made in the last year & how you fixed it?
Though I would not call anything a mistake, rather a learning curve I would have to say one of my learning moments was, like many, due to lack of knowledge and the continuous want to get the “ball rolling”. I knew that to sell my product it would be important that the images on my sites showed the true colours of my products, but faced with a very very tight budget, listening to people telling me not invest money into useless endeavors I chose to go ahead and get a local photographer to take the first product shots. This photographer had no experience whatsoever in this field but as I said I did not have the budget and hoped he could provide some ok pictures.
This was not the case, in fact, they were horrendous, and only after being pushed to complain did I get him to redo them (not providing much better images). The mistake I made was to listen to others views rather than trust my own knowledge of the importance of good quality product photos and to spend less money on a worse product. This meant that I myself felt ashamed of the pictures I put online, presenting them to the world and potential partners, making my product seem less professional.
I naturally realised my mistake soon after the reactions of consumers and family/friends and therefore decided to get new shots made asap. I invested this time, to get the correct photographer and get shots that I was proud of that represented my brand justly.
2. A lightbulb moment
My lightbulb moment came in a time that I was in a rut. Starting to try to create a company and name is difficult and people who do so need a lot of energy and faith that their vision is something that can be made into a reality.
At the end of the accounting year, I took the time to review all the costs going in and out for the company to evaluate the ‘damage’ (as I knew I was not making a profit). After calculating all the costs the amount I had spent without realising it shamed me, and made me so upset. I was shocked I hadn’t realised I spent this much and that it was that easy to get carried away. I got to the point I thought it was just time to pack it in, to stop while I could still ‘survive’. Speaking to close family members stopped me in my tracks, and gave me the light bulb moment I needed to get more energy than ever to go further rather than stop. They helped me see what had been accomplished in so little time and how relative the costs were in comparison to other businesses. Something clicked inside and I knew that you have to loose te be able to gain, and appreciate the gain as small as it may be.
3. Tip for tomorrow
My tip is to surround yourself with the biggest support ‘team’ you can. With support, I do not only mean people (family and friends) but also encouraging books like ‘ Wake Up And Change Your Life’ by Duncan Bannatyne and watching relevant programmes (Dragons Den) or reading magazines/articles. Anything that can give you the boost you need to continue going, not give up and conquer your goals.