We love shoes. And we love stylin' quality shoes. Our new favourites. hello zef. Super cute Oxfords and Sandals for your babes. Designed to handle the demands of a busy toddler life but with comfort and style in mind. We have a pair for both our little ladies. They love them. And we have been eyeing off a pair for Mama too.
Suzie is the beauty behind the brand. A single Mama to cheeky chops Max, living on the surfcoast of Victoria, rocking small business designing shoes and a new range of clothing. We had a chat to Suzie about how it all began. Her biggest business hurdle. And what is planned next for hello zef.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW IT ALL BEGAN.
The story of hello zef is part of the journey of my life. Pre-motherhood, I felt like life was going to plan. I was General Manager of a large fashion group, had been in a long term relationship since I was 21 and spent my time divided between work life in Melbourne and home life in Torquay, on the Surf Coast of Victoria.
When I decided that I wanted to leave my career and embark on family life, I fell pregnant quite easily. What should have been a time of planning for the future, turned into one of coming to grips with the fact that I was about to become a single Mumma.
It took another 6 months after the birth of my son, Max, until I told anyone about our separation. It was a time of facing a lot of fears head on whilst being thankful for the gift of my son.
o add to life’s upheavals, I was then made redundant whilst on Maternity leave. It was turning out to be a year of the greatest highs and the greatest lows. What I did not realise at the time, was that these life events would all be the maker of my future.
For the first few months, I ran a stall at the local market and sold to friends and family. I was then approached by a store in NY and sent the collection across in March. They sold out within a month. The more I worked on the brand, the more I saw the opportunity to turn this into something bigger than my market stall. I was loving being back into familiar territory with work and excited by what I could create. I am proud that we now have a number of stockists throughout Australia.
I struggled with the thought of returning to work, I did not want to lose the time with my son when he was so young, knowing that another child was not on the immediate horizon. I launched hello zef in November 2014, to give myself a creative outlet, some income and flexibility with working hours whilst I tried to figure out my next move.
THROUGHOUT YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT.
Just start. You will not have everything perfect at the start but you will be able to figure it out as you go along. You can’t fix the mistakes that you haven’t made.
AND YOUR BIGGEST HURDLE.
Getting my supplier base right. If I started a denim brand, I would have had a number of suppliers to call on. I have had to work with a few suppliers to find the ones that meet my quality standards. So many customers comment on the quality of our Summer collection, it has made all the hard work with it.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING A SMALL BUSINESS.
Do something that you truly feel passionate about and work collaboratively. As they say, your vibe attracts your tribe.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE MUM LIFE WORK LIFE BALANCE.
I have my son, Max, in child care 2 days a week, these are my work days and the other days are our days together. If I need to get something done, then I work around his sleeps. You may find my driving around with coffee in hand to get him to nap!
AND WHAT IS PLANNED FOR HELLO ZEF'S FUTURE.
I would love to expand our wholesale base here and internationally. It makes my day to see our product on the shop floor and even more so, when stores reorder as they have sold out.
We have launched a small women’s line and I would love to see this grow. It’s matching kicks for the modern mumma and is all about celebrating motherhood with your mini.
I am all about collaborating with like-minded creatives. Right now, I am working with Gypsy and Co to add some leather bags to the hello zef offering. They will be released later this month on our online store.
GET YOUR STALK ON.
GET YOUR SHOP ON.
TOP FIVE TO FOLLOW.
I have a lot of time for Fiona McPherson, creator of Oishi-m and all round legend.
WORD THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH.
When something isn’t working for my 2 year old, he’ll look at me and say “oh dear” with such sincerity that it cracks me up everytime.
WORD THAT MAKES YOU CRINGE.
People who think the world owes them a living.