Hey Lauren! Tell us your purpose here on planet Earth.
Ohh yes. Good start. My purpose is to grow. It’s so simple yet it can break you at times. I am obsessed with personal development, growth hacking (both digitally and in life) and my personal and professional growth but constantly being in a growing phase can be hard, sometimes you just want to be the super awesome expert and something.
How did you come to be where you are right now?
This is a novel right here! I guess the best way to explain this would be to my curious personality and again, my desire to grow. I have always investigated ways to expand my experience and that would probably be the broad explanation of how I got to be where I am now.
On a more granular level, I grew up in North East Victoria and always had a drive to see the world i.e. not live and die in a country town. I ended up in Noosa for 9 years where I connected with some of the best people from all over the world and was inspired to travel more. I lived in Indo, South America, travelled to UAE, Europe, Asia, New Zealand. Noosa also led me to meeting my current CEO who led me to a role in Brisbane. From living in Brisbane I wanted to be more active and well, I guess the rest is history…
Why did you decide to start your company, Inactive Wear?
It actually started as a bit of a joke at my gym. I was posting slogans on Facebook during a challenge and people just seemed to respond really positively. Inactive Wear was all market driven. People kept asking for shirts so I thought ok, let’s do this and see where it goes.
What is your dream-level goal for Inactive Wear?
I want Inactive Wear to be the most likeable, recognisable and charitable active wear brand in the world. I want to see Katy Perry in Hot Mess, I want J-lo in Booty Gains. I want Chris Hemsworth in my arms but also in For Quad Sake… I have big goals…
Tell us about the journey to get Inactive Wear in your hot little hands. What did it take to go from idea, to design, to production?
Well actually the idea was put on me from people at the gym rather than me sitting and thinking “Oh what do I want to do?” After that all happened I investigated how I would take it to market. Having a career in start-up I knew a few things about taking a product to market for example: MVP, minimum viable product. Essentially, you test the market before you go to market. This was my pre-sale. I did mock up designs, I created my own website and I promoted via social media to see what would sell first.
When it came to production, it was very important to me to use an ethical manufacturing company and I chose a New Zealand company that has transparency all along their supply chain. And finally, my favourite little quirk is our packaging, which I won’t share as it’s always a fun surprise when people receive it but it is recyclable too. I really wanted this to be a fun brand with a big heart and be as ethically responsible as possible.
What does your current business model look like?
Sole trader, online, with the occasional pop-up location. Next steps will be partnerships and brand affiliates.
Talk us through what typical day (or week!) in the Lauren Jane world might look like.
I am crossfit training right now so I am up early. It’s really hard. Like, scared to get out of bed hard. But this morning I was gifted a pair of shoes by an amazing team member, so I am on top of the world. I also hit a PB on my deadlift so I can’t complain too much. I normally touch base with a girlfriend and my mum. I’m then onto my Inactive Wear work in the mornings. That could be promoting, connecting, responding to email etc. I love to listen to podcasts in the morning; they get me jacked up for the day.
I am then off to my job at Tappr. There I could be doing anything from SEO, to content creation, event management, website updates…anything digital marketing or communications. In the evenings I try to get some work done but often I am beat and want to Netflix so hard. I may write some notes but it’s normally a hot shower and a deep sleep (fingers crossed). I am pretty low-key during the week to get this stuff done. On the weekend I NEED to do nature things. Walk with a girlfriend or head up the coast. I need trees and water and sun. Will surely die otherwise.
Any advice for the many of us who are juggling a start up business with a job?
Have no shame.
There’s so much entrepreneurial guilt about having a *gasp* JOB but like, guess what? I am paying my bills, building my business with no stress and learning transferable skills. I enjoy both, why would I not what to do both? Sure, over time when I have built the brand to a sustainable level I will move into it full time but right now it’s all pretty perfect.
My other advice is to be present with whatever task you are doing. You get nothing done thinking about one thing while you are trying to do another.
Set yourself goals. My goal is to work on Inactive Wear 2 hours a day. That takes my workday to 10 hours. That’s fairly achievable. You time schedule will be different, plan it to work for YOU!! Be realistic and time -manage yourself with Pomodoro method.
Remember when inspiration wears off you need discipline. Write EVERYTHING down. You WILL forget! Evernote is my saviour.
Ok, so I was just making it rain with advice but there’s a lot to learn and you have to know where you are and what information is relevant to YOU.
The work vs life balance – how do you keep this in check?
Don’t they say its work-life harmony now? Haha. I don’t know, actually. I go hard when I can and have time away to the coast or the hinterland the other times. I have chosen an awesome selection of kick-ass friends all who understand me and thus support my aspirations and me. I am a huge fan of rest and recovery so any sort of mediation or relaxing music, I am all about it. Laughing at yourself and constantly check in to see if you’re actually ok. You have to do what works for you, find that out and you will be winning.
What three key lessons have you learnt in your entrepreneurial path, which continue to carry you forward?
Learn your MVP on each project/launch/product/service and take ACTION to refine!
Work out how you can build SYSTEMS to make your life easier!
When inspiration fades you need DISCIPLINE!
Also just one more: GIVE A SHIT about yourself and your customers. It goes a long way.
These aren’t very romantic statements, well except the last one but in my experience you need more than quote to go pro, bank cash and give back.
What doubts or fears have you had to face through running a company?
The usual suspects:
Will anyone like my gear?
Will someone steal my ideas?
Will I turn into someone with no friends or be a woman who is un-dateable due to success?
Am I doing it right?
Can I keep this going?
All the standard shit you got to bop on the head to keep going… punch fear in the throat, but cry a bit first if you need.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
START. Honestly, ACTION is the only way to move forward. Each thing leads to the next even if you can’t see the bigger picture right now. I only knew how to build my current website because of a website I had built for my consulting business, of which I had no clients. That could have been seen as a failure but it’s got me here, now. Reframe failing to learning and you will be much easier on yourself and go further for sure.
What's next for you?
Expansion, both personally and professionally. I am always on the look out for new opportunities for Inactive Wear and myself. I have my sights set on winning some award in my field and I would love to win Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year, but I have a lot more to do before I am recognised there. More of this too please universe, this is really fun to be involved with such a great publication with such high vibes. I love it.
Please tell us your favourite:
Book: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. It was my first love.
Website: Google, sorry but it’s the gateway to everything.
Early morning activity: Podcasts
Late night activity: Errr, um…self exploration?
Gourmet snack: That bloody beautiful goats cheese from Meredith Dairy. Last meal thanks.
Lauren Jane is the founder of Inactive Wear - ethical active wear for the super fun!