Can you tell us a bit about Round She Goes Markets and how it got started?
Round She Goes is a market event dedicated to women’s preloved fashion that I started in Melbourne in 2008. Initially putting on markets was just as a hobby because at the time, I didn’t feel like I’d ever found a market to on-sell my preloved fashion that had all the elements I wanted: aimed at my demographic, was indoors and just for women’s fashion, but also had jewellery and accessories makers too. I’ve since expanded Round She Goes to Adelaide and Sydney and it’s held 3-4 times per year in each location.
What is it about your work that you love?
I’ve always had a love and appreciation for second hand things. I’m much more drawn to old items with character, a story, made of quality fabrics or materials than I am to anything new, or cheaply manufactured or disposable. The part of my work that I love is getting to work with and share the appreciation with like-minded people, both the sellers and shoppers who attend Round She Goes.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to start their own business?
My advice is to choose something you really love doing, because you’ll be motivated to keep going (and growing) more so than something you feel so-so about. I’d also suggest perhaps starting out with a partner. It can be much easier to have someone to share the journey with in the initial stages, as long as you both know what your expectations are.
I would say it’s important to learn a bit about every aspect of the business. Often business advice says you should outsource the tasks that aren’t your strengths, but I think it’s important to learn a bit of everything, outsourcing can come later when the funds are there. You’ll learn more if you do things yourself.
What has been the biggest learning curve about working for yourself?
Ah, working from home can be a wee bit lonely after the novelty wears off. You need to be strict with routines. And again, I would say know a little about a lot. Don’t just get a bookkeeper and have no sense of your financial situation, or don’t get a website developer who doesn’t show you how to make changes yourself.
Can you recall a time when something you set out to do has failed – how did you overcome it? What did you learn from it?
I’ve certainly had ideas (and dreams) that didn’t turn out as I expected. But I don’t like to think if things are failures (and maybe that’s because I’ve worked in PR for so long!), I’m much more from the Richard Branson school of thought, in that failures are just learning experiences. And you definitely have to go through these times to get where you’re going. Sometimes it feels like a run of bad things can happen in business, things you can’t control, things you misjudged. These are the times you need a partner/mentor or friend to talk to and help stratergise how to move on and what’s next. Failure is normal and happens to everyone.
Why do you think we are so reluctant to talk about our failures?
I think we are naturally our own publicists/spin doctors, especially in a society where we’re all under pressure to tick those boxes of achievements. Talking about failure goes along with all the feelings of not being good enough, not meeting other people’s expectations, or having to address bigger questions we’re not comfortable with or ready to face.
What inspires you?
I feel inspired when I travel or go to new places. It doesn’t have to be far, sometimes all it takes is a new cafe in a new suburb or a really good conversation about a new idea with Lee (my partner) over an aperol spritz! And some days it’s just going down the rabbit-hole of Instagram for an inspo-kick along!
I’m fairly business-centric (a debatably good/bad thing), but I think that is because I’m a dreamer and that leads me to be fairly focused on new ideas to improve my markets. I get a strong sense of accomplishment from what I do.
What has been your greatest challenge?
It has been launching an e-commerce website. I’m so proud of the site, it works just like ebay/etsy site where sellers can set up a shop and sell directly to the public. No other market in Australia has a site like this. However the challenge has come in giving it the resources and time it needs to keep growing. I’ve realised over the last two years that my main talent is putting on events and the world of e-commerce is a big evolving, complex world. I’m not the type to give up, I’ve just got to plot ways to make it work. I’m yet to investigate cloning myself!
How do you deal with feelings of self-doubt?
I very much follow my gut when it comes to business decisions. It’s taken me a few years to remind myself that it’s okay to trust that I do know enough to trust my gut and don’t always have to listen to self-doubt. Experience has taught me to take criticism on board where it is helpful and constructive, but that it is also important to remember that you can’t be everything to everyone.
So it’s important to learn to accept that not every person will love your business and that’s okay. The social media age means that many people can feel very free to share their opinions and it’s not always constructive, it’s in their self-interest. I think that as long as the vast majority of customers like your business and are happy, that’s enough. Pleasing everyone is actually impossible so don’t try.
How do you switch off? What’s your favourite way to relax?
I’m pretty terrible for not knowing how to switch off on a day to day basis. But I do like to plan holidays and then give myself permission to switch off when on holidays. Planning holidays can be a fun way to relax, sometimes as much as the trip itself.
Any tips for anyone looking to become a stallholder at Round She Goes?
I’m interested in stallholders’ stories and the reasons that people are parting with their items, so the more detail you can provide in the application form, the better.
And finally – where can people find you and get involved in the markets?
Check out our website for dates and stallholder applications: roundshegoes.com.au
Check out other interviews in The F – Word Series.