Brooke and Shane Rudzis agree that starting a business is exciting, exhilarating and terrifying all at once! Despite the fears and level of risk, it seems more and more people are embracing the opportunity to take the plunge and showcase their talents, handiwork or ideas with reports showing over 1.2million sole-trader businesses in Australia and growing. Sunday Minx is proud to be one of these!
Brooke recently chatted to Carolyn Cooke from Creative Consulting who makes a point of unearthing many of these brave folks and sharing their stories on her blog The Side Project. You will find an amazing array of talents and stories from all walks of life that Carolyn has carefully curated to show that any dream is possible to create. It is a real delight that Sunday Minx is featured within the interview series.
For those of you wanting to know more about the Sunday Minx story and Brooke ... read on and enjoy!
“IT ISN’T THE DRESS REHEARSAL” SO TO NOT SEIZE OPPORTUNITIES, EXPERIENCES AND THE TALENTS WE ARE GIVEN SEEMS SO WASTEFUL.”
Where do you live now?
My husband Shane and I now live in Annandale in Sydney. We love the Inner West community and village atmosphere, whilst still being only 10mins from the city.
What inspires you?
Trying to be the best version of myself keeps me driven to achieve more. Mum often says, “It isn’t the dress rehearsal” so to not seize opportunities, experiences and the talents we are given seems so wasteful.
How did your project/business idea come about?
Following the completion of an Interior Design Diploma, I was waiting for the right idea to present itself before seriously considering leaving media to enter the interiors world.
A shopping expedition for new Bath Towels uncovered a gap in the market. I was looking for beautiful quality towels featuring contemporary patterns in bold colours and found very little available. I returned home with Missoni Home towels and my husband nearly died when he saw the price tags! We agreed there had to be a way to combine superior quality materials and playful designs at a price point that was aspirational yet achievable for a mass market.
And so the journey began.
What stage is your project/business in?
Sunday Minx launched to market 2 years ago. We have created two colourful, fun and contemporary Bath Towel collections during this time and are focused on brand awareness/recognition and growth opportunities.
In the big scheme of things I still see the business in its infancy with endless opportunities ahead.
What were you doing before you launched your business/project?
I worked in media for nearly 10 years prior to launching Sunday Minx. I was a Group Sales Director at News Corp, managing a large team who looked after the advertising needs of many global blue chip companies. I loved the fast paced nature of our business and the constant demand to innovate and do better. I learnt so much and couldn’t have started my own business without the discipline and commitment I had been taught at News.
When I resigned, I only had 5 months until my 10 year anniversary! WOW! Many questioned my decision, yet the drive to pour my passion and energy into my own business was unwavering and I don’t regret my decision for a moment.
“MANY QUESTIONED MY DECISION, YET THE DRIVE TO POUR MY PASSION AND ENERGY INTO MY OWN BUSINESS WAS UNWAVERING AND I DON’T REGRET MY DECISION FOR A MOMENT.”
When was the moment you thought, I might be onto something here?
We often fantasised about the day we would need to call for help to pack orders. Around our 1st birthday, we secured a significant order from a company in the US requiring a very fast turnaround. Those phone calls were made and with the help of amazing family, we created an assembly line and packed and packed. Those volume levels are by no means the norm; however, it was definitely an ‘ah-ha!’ moment realising how many homes would be welcoming Sunday Minx towels into their bathrooms.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Our lifestyle motivates me. Shane travels a lot for his work in motorsport and without the flexibility of running my own business, I wouldn’t be able to travel and explore with him. I’ve learnt that the camaraderie, love and support we give each other is mutually beneficial for our career successes and maintaining a strong relationship.I know how fortunate we are to constantly be exploring new places together, which serves as a huge motivation to put in the big hours when no one is looking. I have become quite the expert at working on a plane, at a race track or if I’m lucky … besides a hotel pool!
What was the biggest opposing force that you encountered and how did you overcome it?
Not compromising on quality was challenging. I was adamant the quality of our products had to be a truly luxurious experience. Our research told us Turkish cotton was the superior material we needed for both a unique sensory experience and to ensure we created a good, functional towel. Yet with quality comes investment. Cheaper materials provided significant savings and couldn’t be ignored, yet our decision to remain true to the brand values we had established triumphed and we found the dollars to manufacture in Europe. Every time a customer comments on the quality or softness of our towels I am reminded we made the right decision.
What has been the best piece of advice you have ever been given and who gave it to you?
Shane always reminds me “There is always a solution.” Try this motto – it is surprisingly calming.
How do you want to make your mark and what legacy will you leave behind?
If I can pass along a small piece of experience, wisdom or learning that helps someone else on their journey I’ll be absolutely thrilled. Without all the people who shared their little nuggets of entrepreneurial gold with me, I wouldn’t have known it was possible to create Sunday Minx.
“I HAD TEARS OF JOY HOLDING MY FIRST BATH TOWEL SAMPLES! HAVING AN IDEA, IMAGINING A PRODUCT, CONVEYING THE IMAGE ON PAPER AND THEN PHYSICALLY HOLDING YOUR IDEA IS A PRETTY AMAZING FEELING.”
What’s the most challenging aspect of your project/business and how do you overcome it?
Trying to be an expert at everything is challenging at best … overwhelming and exhausting at worst! We all have our areas of strength, yet running a small business requires you to know and be everything – from finances, marketing, social media, manufacturer negotiations, shipping, importing laws and customer service, to name a few. I’m always pushing myself to learn as much as I can, yet have recognised when I need to put my hand up and ask for help. I’ve become much better at asking for help and have learnt it can be a refreshing and rewarding experience.
In the beginning, how did you fund your project/business and were there any major financial hurdles to overcome to get your project/business off the ground?
We used some of our savings to kick-start the business plus applied for a small business loan. It was an anxious time making the decision to invest our money into an unknown venture, yet was the only way to make it happen quickly.
Finance Tip 1: In hindsight, I would have applied for the bank loan whilst still working full time. As soon as the banks knew I was self-employed the loan process became a lot more rigorous and drawn out.
Finance Tip 2: Don’t assume the initial funding is the hardest financial task. Learning to manage cash flow is a skill I have needed to learn very fast!
What is the most satisfying part of your project/business?
I had tears of joy holding my first Bath Towel samples! Having an idea, imagining a product, conveying the image on paper and then physically holding your idea is a pretty amazing feeling. We are fortunate to have also created a product that we use every day too! After every shower, I look at my Bath Towel and know it was something I created. It makes me very proud.
Where do you see your project/business in five years’ time?
With any luck, Sunday Minx will be operating from a beachside office somewhere on the beautiful coast of Australia! Ha!
Our ambition is for Sunday Minx to be the towel of choice. We want people to aspire to have our towels in their bathroom and enjoy our superior quality materials and fun, playful designs.
We have goals to expand to Bath, Baby and Beach Towel products in future collections.
Do you have other projects/business ideas for the future?
I would love to do property renovation/flipping at some point in life, however, for now, am happily focused on growing Sunday Minx, our regular travels and hopefully at some stage welcoming a new addition to the family.
What advice would you give to others who are thinking of ditching the day job to follow their entrepreneurial dreams?
I always encourage others to follow their dreams and dive in – it is the only way you can find out if the dream can become a reality. My Top 3 Tips would be:
- Gear up for a LOT of hard work and celebrate every small win, no matter how insignificant.
- Use business success stories as inspiration, however, be equally aware of business failures so you can learn and avoid their mistakes.
- Surround yourself only with people who make you smile, laugh and provide support. It is a vulnerable experience and there is no time for negativity.
Does your project/business make you more productive/happy in other areas of your life?
Yes! Every aspect of life is better when you are personally fulfilled with the work you are doing. I feel more involved and present with family and friends, I take the time to look after myself and our house has a sense of calm rather than chaos.