Kelli, the creative genius behind Anarkid has a chat with us today and divulges the story behind her rapidly growing business and where her inspiration lies.
Life Instyle: What is the 15 second elevator pitch that defines your business?
Kelli: Organic and ethical fashion needn’t be dull. Our ranges are dynamic and design inspired, are the highest possible quality whilst being 100% organic and made by people that are treated fairly and ethically.
Life Instyle: The theme for Life Instyle Melbourne this season is Return To The Source, what does this mean to you and how did your story begin?
Kelli: My story began over 30 years ago. I first saw a graphic design studio at 15 and new that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was right, but a few years ago my passion changed course slightly after having two babies in two years, and I moved from the printed and digital medium to the fashion world. I had two babies crawling around my feet and a passion in my soul, and out of the chaos Anarkid was born.
Life Instyle: Where do you find inspiration?
Kelli: Everywhere! Words, colours, art, cartoons, other designers, patterns. My inspiration is still very graphic design orientated, and in a way my previous lack of experience in fashion and textiles means that I have no path to follow but my own. So I definitely go my own way.
Life Instyle: What was your biggest challenge when starting your business and how did you overcome it?
Kelli: Growth has been my biggest challenge and still is. As a small business you are the owner, the designer, the investor, the marketer, the production manager, the accountant, the warehouse manager and so on, as well as being a Mum and running a household. As a small business you live or die, succeed or fail on your own merit. This is awesome in a way, and one of the things I love most about being my own boss, but also a huge responsibility and the multi tasking is at times completely overwhelming.
Life Instyle: What was your best YAY US! moment?
Kelli: I’m not sure I’ve had it yet. However last year my father came with me on one of my production trips to our manufacturers in India. After spending a few days watching the process my Dad told me he was blown away by what I was doing and what I had achieved. Despite all that Anarkid has achieved, it was making my Dad, who is one of my hero’s, proud that has been my happiest moment so far.
Life Instyle: What advice would you give to a new designer/retailer reading this post?
Kelli: The reason so many retailers / brands come and go is because it is hard. Getting it right season after season (and coping when you get it wrong), riding the economical highs and lows. It is a difficult industry to survive in. You need to be strong and to believe in yourself, find your own niche and keep your eye on your own goals. It will be hard, but it is so worth it. To wake up every morning and be excited about what you are doing and what you are creating, is beyond measure.
Life Instyle: Where do you see the future of retail heading?
Kelli: Excellent question. I think everyone has an opinion on where they think the industry is heading, about the big players versus the little guys, on-liners compared to bricks and mortar stores etc. But I tend not to think that way. I think you have to be flexible and you have to move with the times. If something stops working, you need to stop, reassess and change direction. Whatever way retail is heading, I believe it is up to us to keep up and move with it.
Life Instyle: What would a tarot card reader find in your future?
Kelli: No doubt lots of challenges if history repeats itself, and maybe Playtime New York!
Life Instyle: How has your business grown over time?
Kelli: We started just over 2 years ago with 4 onesie designs. We now produce two ranges a year with up to 40 styles per range, and manufacture about 20,000 pcs a year. I have gone from not knowing the difference between one fabric and another, to designing our own cuts, patterns and artwork from scratch. From stocking our first store we now stock over 70 stores in Australia and overseas. I still feel like I have such a long way to go, but when I type that last paragraph it makes me pretty grateful and proud of what we have done.
Life Instyle: What are you looking forward to most at Life Instyle Melbourne, 2016?
Kelli: I love meeting the retailers in person that I have a cyber relationship with. It’s also great to get direct feedback on what we are doing, and see first hand people's reactions. And of course I love the awesome community feel you get at a show like LIS with so many other like-minded people!
Life Instyle: What would the title of the book on your business be?
Kelli: “3 steps forward, 2 steps back”
Life Instyle: What was your childhood dream?
Kelli: To be famous! It took me years to realize I actually have to work hard for that. Some guy in a limo is not going to drive up next to me and wind down his window and offer to make me a star. It would have been nice though!
Life Instyle: How do you unwind?
Kelli: Unwind? What is that? Well if you ask my husband I never do, I have to physically turn my phone to silent and put it away so I don’t answer emails, stalk IG etc. But I do love a good TV series or a good book.
Life Instyle: Which Instagram account are you stalking at the moment?
Life Instyle: What is your favourite blog or mag?
A or B?
Instagram or Facebook? Instagram
Tacos or Spaghetti? Tacos
Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? Steve Jobs
Beach or Snow? Snow
Prince or Michael Jackson? Prince!
Online or In-store Shopping? Both
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