Marlee Watch Co is from the heart and soul of two Gold Coast sisters Jessica and Rachel who both had a love for children’s fashion and a desire to buy contemporary and very fashionable timepieces. We spoke with Jess from Marlee Watch Co about how her and Rachel started their business.
What was your inspiration to start your own business?
My inspiration to start Marlee Watch Co came from my son Charlie. After he was born I grew a really strong interest in children’s fashion and was surprised that there were no contemporary timepieces on the market for kids. They were all plastic, brightly coloured throw-away kind of pieces that just didn’t fit in with his wardrobe. My sister Rachel and I really wanted to create a watch that would not only be stylish but could also serve as a special keepsake for years to come.
When did you know the timing was ‘right’?
Rachel and I had discussed the concept of Marlee for many months before we decided to bite the bullet and order our first samples. We found it hard to believe that no one had started such a business already and we are so proud to this day to be the Original Contemporary Children’s Watch Company! I’m not sure if timing is ever 100% right! I think you just need to believe in your idea and jump in feet first!
How did you make your big break?
In the big scheme of things, Marlee is still a baby, having only launched our business a year ago. Things that have helped us to grow and be successful thus far are definitely the recognition from fashion bloggers and influencers on social media, as well as features in print publications, such as Vogue Magazine.
What was your training prior to starting your own business?
Prior to Marlee Watch Co I was a primary school teacher and a Japanese teacher. My sister Rachel who makes up the other half of Marlee also has a background in education as a director of childcare centres. Her knowledge of finance, accounting and business management has proved to be very beneficial. whereas I have taken on more of the marketing and social media side of things.
What are the biggest challenges of being a mum and a businesswoman?
TIME (funnily enough). Finding the time to dedicate to both my son and my business is a challenge at times, and I am very lucky to have my sister there to fill in the gaps when needed! I think another challenging aspect is being conscious of putting my phone down and stepping away from emails and social media when I am with my son, as he is the most important part of my life.
Whilst being able to manage most aspects of your business in the palm of your hand is convenient, it can sometimes mean it is hard to switch off. There’s definitely no set hours with both my business and being a mum.
What is your top tip for maintaining a work/life balance?
Always make sure you take time out of your day where you step away from your phone or computer and pour yourself 100% into something you love, whether that’s your kids, exercise or sitting down for a wine coffee.
What is your biggest learning since starting your own business?
Don’t expect people to have the same morals and judgments as your own.
And working with family can be both rewarding and challenging; the pros far outweigh the cons, but keeping the business separate from our personal lives is sometimes difficult.
What do you do in your spare time to keep yourself sane?
My favourite way to end the day is take Charlie for a walk by the beach with my husband (as cliche as that sounds!). Sunset is the most beautiful part of the day and it’s nice to just take some time out with them before the chaos of cooking, dinner, bathtime, bedtime etc ensues. I am also guilty of a little retail therapy and a nice glass of wine to keep this mama sane.
What’s one thing other mums should do who are looking to start their own business?
Just do it! Believe in your idea! If you’re passionate about it, others will see that and you will succeed. Look to others in the industry to help you grow, they are the most powerful mentors to anyone starting out. Collaborate with established companies wherever you can, so many good things come from working with and helping others. Engage with your customers and /or followers! Seek feedback and always aim to grow and evolve. Keep knocking on doors and don’t stop until you get a YES! Not everyone will “get” your idea, but not everyone has to. I applaud anyone who has the determination and courage to start their own business!