What do big businesses and small businesses have in common? They all started with a cool idea. We chatted to three business owners, all killing it in their chosen fields, about their long – and sometimes rocky – roads to success that each started with that one good idea.

Meet Mahiya’s Alex and Ryan Hutchinson…

Alex and Ryan were only dating when they conceived their brainchild, Mahiya, during a trip to Bali.

“I had been designing bags and wallets for another label for a couple of years but wanted to start my own and see how it would go,” says Alex. “So, in July of 2013, I designed a small collection and we launched our online store.”

First, the pair ran their business out of their spare room and sold products at their local markets. As their list of stockists grew, they upgraded, moving their stock from their spare room into their double garage. It wasn’t until 2017 that Alex and Ryan finally got a warehouse, complete with a showroom in the front to allow local customers to come and shop their range of bags, shoes, clothes and jewellery in store.

“We currently have around 100 stockists worldwide,” says Alex. “I never thought we would grow to what we have become.”

Despite having plenty of local celebs often donning their wares – take a look at Bachelor in Paradise’s Tara Pavlovic’s Instagram page and you’re sure to spot some Mahiya goods – Alex and Ryan say their ‘pinch me’ moments happen every day.

“We are so lucky to have so many amazing customers – they’ve allowed us to live our dreams and got us to where we are today,” says Alex.

In terms of their road to success, Alex says it’s more than just one ‘wow’ moment. Rather, it’s a lot of hard work and determination behind the scenes that lead to lots of their little wins. One thing they can put down to luck, however, is the role that social media played in their business’s success.

“I do think we were lucky that we started around the time Instagram was becoming popular,” says Alex, who is also a professional photographer. “We put a lot of effort into our photos to make great content, and I think that grew our following fairly fast. Plus, the majority of our wholesalers have found us via social media, so we definitely feel lucky and blessed for that.”

So, what would they say to those hoping to follow in their footsteps?

“We found collaborating with influencers to be a great way to get our brand out there,” says Alex. “But definitely do your research before agreeing to work with someone – some are definitely not worthwhile. At the end of the day, believe in yourself and your business and you’ll find that your dreams really can come true.”

Click below to read more stories about business owners who are killing it!;

Anastasia White

Anastasia White  

Anastasia (‘Anny’ to her friends and family, thanks to some nickname experimentation in year 4 that unfortunately stuck) is a born-and-bred Brisbanite with a love of coffee and her cat, Olive. Having recently finished a degree in journalism, Anastasia loves being able to learn and write about so many different topics for a variety of audiences.