Jess: I studied early childhood education and worked as a nanny, and then I became a stylist and ran my own business for two years. I shared an office space with Marissa and Nadean and between the three of us we realised there was a gap in the wedding event arena and that we had the ability to launch an event. This was in 2011, when none of us had children. Our first very first event was in May 2012 and I was three months pregnant! I hadn’t told anyone because I was worried that we’d just started our own business and I didn’t know how it was all going to work out.
One Fine Day, our wedding fair, was our first event – we were hoping for 500 through the door but we had 1500! We all loved it so much. It all flowed. Even though none of us had ever run an event before, especially something of that scale, it worked - all the guests really loved it and we had a fantastic response from vendors. It was our team work and our passion that created the success. We were hoping to make money from the venture but it wasn’t our end goal. Marissa was already running two businesses, Nadean had her business and I had mine, so One Fine Day was a sideline, a passion – there was no real pressure which perhaps helped to create the end result. We realised we were onto something and then it became full steam ahead.
We registered One Fine Day and then we registered One Fine Collective which in hindsight was of great benefit because it created an umbrella for One Fine Baby and hopefully for other brand extensions in the years to come. The girls were so excited when they discovered I was pregnant and that really led to the creation of One Fine Baby. Harriet is now nearly three. I had placenta previa which meant I had to work from home for about three months, but I came back to work when Harriet was five weeks old. My mum would come into the office two days a week and I would work upstairs while Mum looked after Harriet, and I would duck downstairs to breastfeed. I loved the business we had created and I had to be involved, and I was restless at home anyway. I felt comfortable in the office and it was a good balance for me. I had Harriet with me but I was still connected to what was going on and still in control. I was so grateful to my Mum. I’m now pregnant with my second child and this time I plan to take six months maternity leave and experience what that’s like.
Making the move in to working on the business full time was very fluid, and with the three of us working together we’ve been able to manage our hours and support our life stages. At first we were doing two days a week, and then three, and now Nadean and I do four days a week in the office (it’s pretty much 24/7 anyway!). Marissa has just had a baby - when she gets back from maternity leave we’ll reassess how things work.
One Fine Day runs in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra and Adelaide and we will be in Queensland next year. We grew each year, expanding from Sydney to Melbourne and then the other states. We launched One Fine Baby in Sydney in 2014 and it took around nine months of planning to set it all up. We’ll be in Melbourne in October and then in the other states over the next few years. We really love going to Melbourne – everyone there is so supportive of each other. It’s a great network of people. We know the Sydney network so to find it replicated in Melbourne and also the other states is amazing.
The main challenge for me as a mum in business is trying to switch off. Out of everyone my husband probably suffers the most in the equation because he gets the last bit of me that’s left at the end of the day. Travel is a challenge and if I didn’t have my parents and my in-laws and my sister – a whole community of support – I personally wouldn’t be able to go to all the other states. Harriet has sleep-overs which she has done since she was born –she’s very adaptable so I’m very lucky. My second child is due in early January – Marissa and I will tag-team with maternity leave. All three of us support each other with growing our families as well as growing our business.
As a team, our key is that we communicate really well. Nadean has a really strong business background so she’s held everything together. She’s very grounded and she’s driven the hiring of staff and the expansion of the business. Marissa has been amazing – she’s developed the website and the graphics from the ground up. She’s been responsible for the look and the feel of One Fine Collective and keeping it consistent. She’s so creative and well connected in the Interiors industry. We manage to do everything in-house, all the photography, the design, everything to do with the Fairs – so we keep control and keeps costs down. I’m the dreamer who wants to pursue exciting opportunities.
For other mums wanting to start their own business, just do it! We’ve never had a plan, we just wing it which sounds really irresponsible but it works for us. We have an idea and we put it into place and make it work. One Fine Collective will continue to grow. We’re hoping to launch another brand extension next year and we’re looking to go to New York and the UK in October 2016. The business is our future, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Nadean: I was a chartered accountant working for KPMG and when I was living in London I decided to have a life change. So I moved back to Australia, studied photography at University and then launched myself in the photography industry – mainly with weddings. That’s how I met Jess and Marissa, and we decided to share an office together. We were asked for lots of advice all the time about photographers, florists, everything to do with weddings, so that’s how One Fine Day came about. We knew so many people in the industry so putting together a wedding fair seemed to make sense.
Our business continues to surprise us with all the opportunities that present themselves. Originally it started with an idea to bring our friends in the industry that were top of their game together under one roof so couples could find their dream vendors and create the best version of their wedding day. It was aimed at providing an experience they could share with their friends and family, ensuring a great day out to celebrate their engagement. After the huge success of One Fine Day we realised the next big step in life was starting a family and hence One Fine Baby was born. It’s a logical step and means our customers can come with us on this journey. Whilst these events are continuing to grow we have also set up One Fine Business which looks after the vendors involved that participate in the fairs to ensure their business thrives in an educational sense.
I was engaged when we launched the business, and I now have Maximilian who is two years old. It thought it would be so easy just to pop out a baby and he’d tag along to things, but it doesn’t quite work out that way especially when sleep is involved. A lot changed after having Maximilian but the main thing was my priorities. It’s an incredible bond and love you experience for your new born child and above all he now comes first. Gone are the days I can sleep in, randomly catch up with friends, indulge in late nights out etc. There’s a definite routine and structure. I am more efficient with my time and I make things happen a lot faster. I appreciate life so much more and I am very grateful for all the good things. It also changed my thoughts about the future we are creating for our children in terms of community, environment and values. I hope he will get the same opportunities and experiences we were all lucky to have. I did have nine weeks maternity leave away from the office but I never really checked out. If I had my time over again I’m not sure if I would/could change that however next time I am definitely not going to put so much pressure on myself. You just can’t underestimate what lack of sleep does to you and the needs of your baby!
I can’t help but be passionate about my business. I love what I do and it is who I am. qI think the main pressure for me is not letting the team down whilst also putting my family first. Guilt may be the feeling I struggle with. If my child is sick and I have important meetings he is my number one priority so the guilt piles up the more work commitments I miss. That said leaving my son also gives me masses of guilt so either way it works out to be an interesting dilemma. I just have to remember I am building a better life for my family and also maintaining my sense of self. I definitely love the flexibility it gives me. I know if there is something important on I will be able to attend it and hopefully see more milestones as they happen.
We are very lucky as a team to have such a diverse variety of skills, which ensured a lot of the initial work was completed in-house and helped us to launch our business with low overheads and a good sense of strategy. Marissa is also a photographer with a graphic design qualification and Jess has a wedding planner/stylist background. We all have different tastes and backgrounds so bring together a holistic view of how we see the lifestyle and events industry. One Fine Collective is now a national brand in the events industry and we look to take it international in 2016. We are very excited about the future and thrilled to see our team growing.
The key is to find something you love and work hard at it. The intrinsic value it brings is immeasurable. Keep your overheads low and ask your friends and family for help. It’s important to know when to switch off and be present in your family’s life. When you’re home be home. It’s easy to mix the two together when you run your own business. Get off the mobile phone…. it can wait.
Marissa: My background is graphic design. I worked in the industry for around 10 years and then got interested in photography. I self-published a book about Norfolk Island and another photographer saw it and wanted to work with me, and then I started my own wedding photography which I operated for about four years during which time I met Jess and Nadean. My husband and I had started a wedding registry called From The Owl and rented a space and wanted some creatives to join us, so Jess and Nadean shared the space with us.
We all bring different skills to One Fine Collective. From the start we didn’t need to hire anyone as we did everything in-house, so there were no expenses really to get everything off the ground. Nadean has her financial experience, Jess has her styling, PR and people skills and I did the graphics and the website, so the three of us together worked well. We have taken it in turns to have children which has been amazing, first Jess, then Nadean and now I have Kingston, who is only a few months old. I am currently on maternity leave. I officially have six months off, but I still like to know what’s going on. We have meetings every few weeks so I can keep up to date with what’s going on. The best part about having your own business is definitely the flexibility, and being able to do what you like and explore your own creativity. It’s still such early days for me so it remains to be seen how I cope with having a baby and working in our business. I’ll let you know!
One Fine Collective brings together a hand-picked selection of the best creative vendors in the industry.
One Fine Day is a refreshing alternative to the traditional bridal fair, showcasing sought after vendors in the wedding field. A perfect outlet for creative couples to gain inspiration from unique vendors in the planning of their big day and a fun way to spend a Saturday or Sunday with your friends/family/bridal party.
The team behind the successful One Fine Day bridal fair launched One Fine Baby, a baby and children’s fair with a difference, aiming to bring together a handpicked selection of the best and most stylish vendors in the baby and child- related industries. One Fine Baby emphasises stylish, creative and beautiful ideas in a fun and interactive environment with fresh, creative ideas and products for parents across a range of baby and child related industries. While parents discover new ideas to love, children will be kept entertained with craft activities, play areas and a petting zoo, making One Fine Baby a brilliant day out for the whole family.
MELBOURNE: 17th and 18th October
SYDNEY: 14th and 15th November 2015
Finding the right team and getting the right support is so important. Business Mamas can help you with collaborating and networking, and guide you towards building the support structure you need to make your business a success story too.