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6 quick questions with Anna Ross, Founder of Kester Black (part 2)

by Female Startup Club
February 1st 2022
00:17:25
Description

Today on the show we’re learning from Anna Ross, the founder of Kester Black.

We’re chatting through the pivots she made early on when she saw traction in a different space, how she deals... More

are you on the lookout for a new podcast to listen to. Being boss by Emily Thompson is brought to you by the hubspot podcast network. And something I love about this show is getting the chance to support my community of fellow creators and business owners. Being boss is an exploration of not only what it takes, but what it means to be a boss as a creative business owner, freelancer or side hustler. And I know it's going to resonate with so many of you who are listening in. So if you like female startup club, trust me, you're going to love being Boss. Welcome back. Here are the six quick questions. Mm hmm. So question number one is what's your, why? Why are you doing what you're doing? I think my answer to that is why not. You know, I don't know. I don't know if I believe in this like purpose and why I think that and you can express yourself and cast a black is definitely an expression of me and my interests. And um the main barrier for people starting their own businesses is that they think too much about it.

Just get going. Why not do it otherwise, I'll just have another full time job and I wouldn't be making any kind of impact on the world. 100% Amen. Mm hmm. Number two is what's been the number one marketing moment so far. Mm. Mm I think it was actually it's like a broader but when we started facebook advertising in house, that's just when stuff really started to change and that really was fast growth. Mm hmm. Love that. Love that for you. Question number three is what's your go to? Business resource. Could be book podcast or newsletter. I have so many. Okay. Um gorgeous. It's G. O. R. G. I. S. It's like a customer service management platform. It's the best. These guys are the best, it's cheap. It's awesome. The same with as in they manage your, they do your customer service. No no you do it. But it's a platform that manages all of your, all different emails, all of your instagram, all of your facebook messages and it pulls it all into one and then you've got templates prewritten because the prewritten response because often we get the same questions so why not automate that a little bit more.

Um It also loops into Shopify and pulls out all of the order history. So just within the one screen you can see how many orders they've made, what orders they've made and then it says you know there's all this like pre filled stuff that you can customize and one of the best. Um the other one is a kendo. Of course I'm sure most of your listeners will know that reviews are one of the most important um proof points for customers, especially these days. What do other real people think about your product? So a kendo. Is this incredible? Reviews plug in for Shopify? Um that's a lot like yat po, there's another one called Jacopo. But I was looking at your post and it was $4000 a year and I think a kendo is like 400 a U. D. A year or just some way cheaper. And the guys there are so nice and so helpful and they do all the customization and implementation on your website and it's been one of the best things I've ever done in my business. I love both of those.

Thank you so much. I can't wait to check them out and spread the good word to everyone who will listen. Question number four is how do you win the day? What are your am or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and successful? I meditate every day Between one and 2 hours and it sounds like a lot of time. But since I started meditating my business has grown my relationships in regards to business and with staff and other suppliers become a lot stronger and I don't get so stressed out. And it's probably been one of the main things that I've needed to do to manage this chronic fatigue Issue. Not that its as bad as it was in 2016 but I reckon I'm about 80% recovered through meditation wow. How did you like? Where did you go to learn? What are the kind of resources that you started looking at? I started it with TM meditation which I wouldn't recommend because it's just because it's thought.

It's using thought, which I think is not the point of meditation? Meditation is to not worry about thought. It's not not to think but it's not to use thought to get into a state of heightened state. So I actually use an app called undo app. And um I also go on the undo retreats which run once or twice a year. And so the first time I truly learned how to meditate was I went on a 2.5 week meditation retreat in Perth and it was one of the most wild experiences of my life. So it was silent. You weren't allowed to talk to anybody but there's no religious or spiritual um concepts in this meditation. It's literally the point of meditation is to just sit there and be still and don't stress yourself out and then your body just heals itself. And that's what that's what meditation I think is supposed to be. I have it really high up on my list of things to do a silent meditation retreat.

I think it I would really enjoy it. I can't wait. I have to get the recommendation from you. I'm going to one in three weeks so I will send you data where are um it's actually being run in Estonia and you can find the details on the website. Quiet retreats. So that is the retreat side of the business to the app undo. Got it? Let me check it out. Thanks Question # five is for you right now, where is the most important spend of a dollar within the business? That's such a trick question. So it's if we've got stock it's on marketing but if we don't have stock it's on stock because last year we um had supply chain issues and we were sold out of the top six bestselling colors um products. Sorry and I reckon it affected our revenue by 40%. So we were marketing But then people would come into our website and trying to buy and we don't have the stock to buy. So it's always a catch 22 marketing or stock. That's a tough one. Holy Moly And question # six, what has been a major fail that you can share and how did you deal with it?

Um I have a real doozy. Oh my god, I love a doozy. Please give us a doozy. It's not a quick fire question though. How much time do we have? I'll give you the short version. Um Oh my god no give us a long version. I um started a second business and skin care about three years ago with a woman that I met at a conference. Um She was very successful and had had a business previously but had sold it and wanted to come and do something in the skincare realm. So we started working on this beautiful brand together, we're 50, 50 shareholders. And um what I didn't do at the time was get everything in writing. And so we had all these agreements or I did have quite a lot of writing actually. Um you know how much I was going to get paid, you know, that, that I was an employee and also a shareholder. So we were business partners and I was working for the business for a wage.

There was an understanding that I wouldn't get paid until the business was turning a profit, which was fine because you've got to work hard at the start of business to like make any money. So I did all the branding, all the website, all the formulations, essentially all of the work for three years. And then I didn't understand the difference between having a company in new Zealand and having a company in Australia and I thought that the responsibilities of directors were essentially the same, but they're not this slightly different. So I really only understood the Australian law. And then what happened was um, that partner, my Boss, business partner, diluted my shares from 50% down to 0.02% and said that she didn't show me any money and essentially I have no stake in the business anymore. Um, and I have no oversight of the business and I haven't been paid and this is all these things, it's just this ongoing drama, We've been going through holy ship, that's crazy That it's around $330,000 of unpaid, just wages, right?

That's not even accounting for any kind of brand value or anything like that. And so we've been through this like consistent legal battle where we've just filed with the employment relations agency in new Zealand and one of the most amazing things that I've learned through this process, it's been really interesting to go through a full court process because often it's a really terrifying thing for people who don't, you know, you're only really afraid of the unknown and what I've learned is even if you win and you get positive rulings and you're on the right and the money is owed to you, there's absolutely nothing you can do to ensure that the company or the person pays the money to you and there are no repercussions for that. So the legal system, what after we've paid, That's crazy. You know, and we've paid legal, I've I've personally paid legal fees Up to, I'm sitting at around $40,000. I've paid a lawyer or different lawyers to try and recover this money.

Um I've just kissed all that money goodbye and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. Isn't that why we deal with that? Like mentally and like how do you like come to peace with her doing that to you and do you have any contact with her like that's just so mindless, that was so close. And I think the reason why I didn't get anything in writing was because I truly trusted her and she was a very close friend and an incredible mentor and we spoke to each other about three hours a day so we were like inseparable almost. But what I learned through the processes that she set it up from the start, it wasn't just like there wasn't anything that fell apart. We didn't have a fight. There wasn't really, I think it just got to this point where she didn't need me anymore because I've done all the work and then um she just sort of started playing a game and it has been very upsetting. It's taken a lot of energy out of me. That's three years of 20 hours a week that I could have been focusing fully on Caster black that I wasn't.

So there's not just the loss of wages that I haven't been paid. There's a massive opportunity cost as well for my opportunity cost is crazy. So um I hate that for you on so many levels. I meditate a lot. And I've like had to do a lot of work because the feeling is why does this person hate me so much. I haven't done anything wrong. Could she do that? And I just wanted fear. Not not what even was what it's not even what's fear because fear would be you know share of the business or something like that but just what minimum minimum I guess is what I'm asking for. So it has been really difficult and like just I've always thought this, I've heard so many other entrepreneurs have stories like this where they get an investor or this is the whole reason why we didn't do an investment around for such a long time because I was terrified of them of investors because I didn't want anybody having control of my business or shares in the business or I was worried about going to court if I spent $2 on a coffee, that wasn't a business expense and then I would be embezzling from the company.

You know, there's all these risks around becoming a being a company director and be having shareholders to report to. But look, I've learned a lot, I don't think I have fully resolved it yet. I'm still hurt and um, but it's been a fantastic growth opportunity for me because initially I would have been really aggressive and reactionary and now I get an email from my lawyer saying PS and if we even win, we might not be able to recover the costs anyway. And then I just get upset for about half an hour and I think, oh my God, what have I wasted all this time for? And I think the thing is, I just would never ever have, I don't know, A 5050 business with anybody else. And when we did the capital razor only sold 10% of the shares of the company, so I still maintain major control And of course we went through virtual. So it's not like having a single solo investor. There are. Yeah restrictions I guess that that apply in capital raise capital public capital raise office like through virtual for example.

So it's been really hard and I probably would have had it takes more energy to a Big Doozy Business. Real Tough one. My God. Well thank you so much for sharing that with us. That's obviously something that everyone can learn from is to really. Yeah I mean I don't even know how you would avoid that. That's just truly like One tough one. Like a really good like a bit of advice around that um like a smaller version of this right? And a smaller example of this is if you're a brand and you get a graphic designer to build your brand you need um legal paperwork called a data VIP. Or date of release to say that you as the brand owner who has paid money for that owns it because actually in regards to I. P. And legals we probably tried to spend not very much money on legals initially and that's probably the best spending money ever. So I had heard of a friend of mine she started a brand. Her graphic designer did the entire brand.

She spent heaps of money on it. And then she doesn't actually even own that. The graphic designer still owned it. So she'd spent all this money building a brand. That's crazy. Yeah, it's really crazy. It's something that you've got to check up front when you start working with the designers and to get working files because often designers only give updf pdf and that's like almost irrelevant to a brand. I think we always get our graphic designers to send us, you know that in design files or the Photoshop files all set up and established so that if we need to change one bit of copy, we can. It's not a problem. I'm exactly the same because especially like especially if you're able, if you have the skill set where you can just whip something up, you don't need to go back to your designer and be like, Oh, can you just shuffle this a little bit to the left or like just change this word? It's it's so key to have the working documents. 100%. Oh anna, this was absolute gold. You have just shared so many cool things in this episode. Thank you so much for coming on the show and for making the time and yeah, thank you so much.

It's been like the highlight of my week. So thank you so much for having me and I hope that we can hang out soon at a meditation retreat. Oh my God, I would love that. Yes, please. Cool. Thanks so much. Hey, it's Doom here. Thanks for listening to this episode of the female startup club podcast. If you're a fan of the show, I'd recommend checking out female startup club dot com where you can subscribe to our newsletter and learn more about our D I. Y. Course the ads, N B A. I also truly appreciate each and every review that comes our way. It might seem like such a small thing, but reviews help other heirs find us. So please do jump on and subscribe, rate and review the show. And finally, if you know someone who would benefit from hearing these inspiring stories, please do share it with them and empower the women in your network. See you soon. Mm hmm.

6 quick questions with Anna Ross, Founder of Kester Black (part 2)
6 quick questions with Anna Ross, Founder of Kester Black (part 2)
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