We talk to mum of two, Kristy Withers of Incy Interiors, about her business, her inspiration and how she juggles work and motherhood.
Kristy Withers used to have a high-stress corporate career managing the marketing and advertising team for eBay. After going on maternity leave with her first son, she saw a gap in the market when she was trying to buy a 'big boy' bed for him.
So Kristy bit the bullet and decided to start up her own retail business selling quality designer furniture for children and babies - and Incy Interiors was born. Today, the business is booming and keeps Kristy even busier than her corporate life once did. But she wouldn't change a thing.
Lifestyle.com.au finds out more...
1. When growing up, did you reach for the calculator or crayons more? i.e., do you consider yourself to be more creative or business-minded? How has that changed?
I grew up on a farm with lots of cousins and lots of freedom so we were forever making tree houses and getting into mischief. This allowed me to be creative and think outside the box. In saying that, I have always loved numbers and even did 3-unit maths for the HSC. Now that I am a grown up I spend the majority of my time in ‘business’ mode and rarely get to be creative but when I do I blind everyone with my creative brilliance ;)
2. What's the best and worst thing about running your own business?
It sounds so clichéd but I truly do love that I get to do what I love every day. The worst thing about running your own business is that the buck stops with me and some days I don’t feel grown up enough to make the decisions I have to make.
3. How would you describe your style? Both home and fashion.
I get asked this question often and for a long time I always struggled to identify my style but with age (scary) also come confidence in who you are so I can now confidently say that my style both at home and fashion wise is classic with a twist.
Fashion-wise I love brands like Sass & Bide and Zimmerman that are classic enough that they will never go out of style but also have that point of difference. When it comes to homewares, I’m obviously a big fan of Incy but also love brands such as Country Road.
4. How do you see the homewares industry has changed over the years? How do you see it’s going to be in the next 5 years?
The homewares industry has drastically changed in the 5 years we have been around. People have moved away from the traditional and no longer buy sets of furniture and are more likely to take risks with colours, patterns and mismatched items. In the last 12 months we have seen the emergence of the chain stores now playing in the homewares space – Country Road, Target and Kmart have all had a renewed focus on homewares.
I hope that the next 5 years bring more conscious spending with people making choices on products not just purely based on price but also on the conditions products are made under, the design that goes into the product and the quality.
5. Can you ever switch off from being a business owner? If so, how?
I don’t think you ever switch off from being a business owner, my brain is working constantly thinking of new ideas, ways we can do things better/different but I have finally (after 5 years) found a way to manage it. It does involve sending myself e-mails in the middle of the night or whilst I am out for dinner but it means I can then keep thinking about the idea once I have time instead of laying awake all night or ignoring my dinner companions.
6. How do you approach your To-do List when Monday rolls around? Where and what do you start with?
I normally try to get a head start on the week by doing my e-mails and to do list on a Sunday night so that come Monday I can get straight into it with WIPs with the team so we are all off to a flying start. All of that works well in theory but then you get Mondays like today where it starts with a ginormous coffee after a weekend of unpacking boxes from moving house and an inbox overflowing with e-mails.
7. My role model is…
My mum. She managed to raise 4 children (reasonably successfully), work full time, support a husband who runs a family business whilst always being the most stylish woman in the room.
8. My favourite quote is...
work hard and be nice
9. If I wasn’t doing what I was doing I would be…
thinner, saner and a lot less fulfilled!
10. If you could visit anywhere where would you go?
Egypt. I studied Ancient History, specialising in Egypt whilst I was at school. We raised money to go but unfortunately a travel ban was bought in just before we went…. And we had to use our hard earned dollars to buy the school a PA system! I still haven’t been and would love to go.
11. When have you been the most proud of yourself?
The thing that makes me feel the most proud is seeing my team exceeding. A lot of the team started their careers at Incy and it is so great to see them taking ownership, increasing their confidence and skills.
12. Do you prefer entertaining at home/ or going out?
I love entertaining in any form so I am happy to do it at home or out. We have been living in a hotel for almost 6 months (whilst we built our house) so I have perfected entertaining out so I am now looking forward to more dinner parties at home.
Incy Interiors prepares to open its doors in Crago Mill’s handsome property, 23rd and 24th July, 2016. Located in the centre of Bathurst, this charming, heritage-listed icon, built over 100 years ago,will house a selection of contemporary high-fashion furniture split across two levels. Shoppers will have an opportunity to select from ex-photoshoot and sample stock at bargain prices.