- Meredith Young, Director at Young The Label, tells us about her journey of starting a luxury handbag business in Australia.
- We cover it all - from what inspired Meredith and her sister to start a business together and the major hurdles they experienced, to family support and how their lives have changed.
- Keep reading to Learn about Meredith's and Ainslie's journey of entrepreneurship.
Tell us a bit about your business
Young The Label is a designer handbag label focusing on travel inspired handbags which are handcrafted for the audacious traveller. Each collection is designed with style and timeless quality in mind. Each handbag is handmade in Sydney, using only genuine leather.
With only a limited number created of each colour combination, Young The Label provides each ‘Young Lover’ (as we call our customers) a touch of luxury as each bag is leather lined and adorned with quality hardware. To ensure our Young Lovers get the most out of their travels, each design features a removable clutch, allowing ladies to move straight from the plane to the cocktail lounge with ease.
Why did you start up your business?
Ainslie and I started Young The Label in 2012 to fulfil our lifelong dream of creating something together. As sisters we are insanely close and as our lives started to evolve to include our partners, we really craved a creative outlet outside of our 9-5 jobs and something to tie us together on a different level.
We have a passion for travel but always found it hard to find the perfect handbag which was both fashionable yet functional to take on our adventures. We started telling our friends about our idea to create travel-inspired handbags which married the two elements together. As it turned out the issue of finding the right handbag for travel while helping others.
So we combined our love of travel with our passion to create and innovate and started Young The Label. Our business lets us fulfil our dream while solving a common problem.
What are the major hurdles you experienced when starting up your business?
We experience the same hurdles as most start-up’s do being time and money. Ainslie and I both work full time and we are a self-funded startup. It has taken some practice, but we are getting better at managing our funds by being more resourceful and using what we have.
We also make every minute count. We work on the premise that when we are not at our full time jobs, 90% of our free time is spent on our business. This isn’t as bad as some people may think, as we love what we do so it doesn’t actually feel like work.
What tips can you give other Savvy SME members that are thinking or in the process of starting up their business?
It is pretty simple really – start now as there will never be the right time to start your business, surround yourself with those who know more than you and be organised from the very start.
We found that the longer we left starting Young The Label, the harder it was to talk ourselves into actually believing we could make Young The Label a success. You lose courage the older you get, so don’t worry if the timing doesn’t feel right. Just start.
Ainslie and I are lucky to have a great tribe of people around us. We sought these people out really early in the process and we are glad we did. Our business mentors, solicitor, graphic designer, tax accountant etc have all imparted invaluable knowledge and have saved us from making costly mistakes. So seek the professionals out as early as possible.
When we first started we had so much going on at once that our administration activities took a back seat. The minute you start your business be organised. Make sure everything has its place and you know where everything is. This will save you time and in some cases money.
What made you decide to take the jump and focus on your business?
We both agreed that life is too short to have regrets. We knew that we would regret not giving Young The Label a crack, more than we would regret giving it a go and having it fail.
So when we spoke about what we wanted out of our lives, Young The Label was a massive part of that picture, so we knew it was the right decision to start.
How did your family and friends react?
At first, our family wasn’t overly keen on us starting Young The Label. They thought we were crazy as we both have stable nine to five jobs and our family is very risk adverse. But their reaction was coming from a good place – they wanted to save us from the disappointment we’d feel if we failed. It’s also a new concept for our family, as we are the first people in our family to set up our own business. But the more we involved them in the process and showed them the end product, they couldn’t be more proud.
We are so lucky to have such generous friends. All of our friends were excited and supportive and have done everything they can to help. They have put us in touch with relevant people throughout their own networks, given us specialised advice within their own fields and pitched in with activities from everything including photoshoots to accounting.
How has your life changed?
Since starting Young The Label we have become more grateful, resilient, confident and outgoing. Our network has expanded, we’ve gone places, done things and met people we never would have dreamt of doing or meeting in a million years. We recently went skydiving together which is something we never would have entertained, but starting Young The Label has given us the courage to do things which would have normally been out of our comfort zone.
It has really changed our outlook on life as we are now always excited to start each day, challenge ourselves and to grow.
What success have you experienced since starting your business?
We’ve had some nice successes so far. We had some early press in the Sunday Telegraph’s Body and Soul magazine which went national which led us to other press opportunities before we even launched our business.
We gained a strong following through our social media sites which was interesting as we started our Facebook and Twitter pages long before we had any products to show.
The amount of support and interest we had through these communities was truly eye-opening as it led us to release our collection early via Facebook and we started making sales right off the bat while our website was being built.
What is the vision for your business going forward?
Going forward we are planning to expand into clothing and travel-inspired accessories which match the high quality of our core product being our handbags. We’ve also had a lot of feedback asking us to craft bags for men, so that is also on the cards.
We would like to build the Label into being a nationally loved brand yet globally recognised by being stocked in flagship department stores like Barneys, Selfridges and Lane Crawford. We aim to create Young The Label into our legacy as we are the last two to carry the ‘Young’ name in our family, so it would be nice to know that a part of our family name will be around for the future.
What tips can you give other SavvySME about motivating yourself to push through the challenges that rise up while building your startup?
We’ve overcome so many challenges already. In business it feels like you take one step forward and three back, but we were quick to realise that this is the nature of the game. I think the quicker you realise this, the quicker and easier you will overcome the challenges. I know that by coming to this realisation we have become more resourceful and resilient.
For motivation, we look to our social media communities. The comments and feedback they provide us is a key driver for Ainslie and I to keep creating quality pieces that will love and cherish.
We also invest in business training courses, books and online courses to learn new skills and to continually evolve. We also try to surround ourselves with other entrepreneurs as we find their enthusiasm contagious, which motivates us to do better.