• Interview with another creative business Mum...... Katharine Rattray from Kat & Fox

    I had the pleasure of meeting Kath at this year's Life Instyle. She was preparing to launch a product range of her own and was doing some research as well as profiling other designer-makers at the trade show for her blog. She vey kindly interviewed me, so I decided it was time to find out more about her venture, Kat & Fox. To fill you in, she designs whimsical children's bed linen, referencing her beautifully illustrated story books. 
    As a Mum of young kids myself I am always interested to know how other Mums manage the juggle of work and kids. I sent a series of questions to her and she kindly sent me back some answers below.
    1. Have you always been creative?
    Yes from a very early age. I always had textures in hand and was encouraged by my parents in every way through the purchasing art and craft supplies and by taking me to arty events and exhibitions. I’ve never not been a creative!
    2. How did Kat & Fox come about?

    Encouragement from those around me when I was child.  The funny thing is, my parents were not creative themselves.  I also think it had a lot to do with the fact that my brother was 10 years older than me and my parents were very busy, so I was left to my own devices. My head was always the clouds.

    3. You have 3 kids? How do you make it work ie. being a Mum and running your own business?

    To be honest, sometimes it can feel all too much, but when it does work it works well. Emily my youngest has always been by my side in the studio. She is very creative too, so this makes it easier for me. When it works, I am a list writer; lists, list and more lists. Within those lists I allow time for my kids, my partner and my self, but the ebb and flow of creativity can be over whelming when dead lines are tight.  Sometimes washing builds up, floors remain sprinkled with crumbs, and the sink looks like a nuclear explosion has occurred. Overall though, its the list writing that helps ...... and celebrating the achievement of goals with my family!

     4. What have you learnt about running your own business that you didn't know before you started Kat & Fox?

    Oh my god, so much. It has been the steepest learning curve for me..... I tried to run a small cottage businesses prior to Kat & Fox but this is so different, as I am taking it to another level. I have been exposed to social media, finances, getting a team together, and setting clear goals. For the first time I have a clear business management plan. I wouldn’t have been able to do all this without the guidance of business mentors and other people in my industry. The goal setting and creation of a strong team has been the major thing for me. I’ve learnt that my industry is very competitive. I’ve travelled to China and learnt about international business and trade… it's just mind-boggling…but I think I’m getting it! I don’t think you are ever done learning though.

    5. There are many aspects to designing and producing your own product range and it's not always (or in my case rarely) the creative side of the job. What are you focusing/ working on at present?

    It’s insane for me at the moment. I am illustrating the book, finalising my bed linen designs to send to the manufacturers for sample make up, teaching courses to help raise money for my business and preparing cost projections (as I have to apply for business loans). The finances are not a strong point for me so thank God for my excellent Bookkeeper, Accountant and great accountancy package called XERO.  I am focusing on preparing for Life Instyle, Melbourne, this August….. which includes attending workshops, designing the stand, finding a team to help set up and run the stand, making sure all the products are perfect and doing SOOOO much promotion.  I now have a fantastic chick who is in charge of all the social media and marketing.  We meet once a week to discuss direction and now it’s all about the final product launch and the trade show.

    I started in august 2015 by renting out a small room at the back of a financial advisors in Wodonga.  I walked in the there knowing I wanted to start a business combining my skills and education (in Interior Design and Illustration), but really at that stage I had no idea what type of business.  From that start to where I am today, so much has happened. I have come so far by never letting go of my dreams. I have had to face many struggles, financial, loss of support from some friends and family..... struggling, juggling my 2 day a week job as a Design Educator and being a Mum and wife.. but now it's starting to open up like a beautiful, delicious flower and its all coming to together...... and I LOVE IT!

     The quote that drives me is simple:

     ‘Curiouser or and Curiouser’ from the Book Alison Wonderland and many Dr Zeus quotes..

    Katharine Rattray 

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