“I think I started with zero business nous,” Anika says. “I just didn’t know anything about business. I rocked up to Rose Street Artists Market with a bunch of things that I’d made and just started selling them. And I actually think that that was a nice way to start. Because I didn’t have any business skills but I also didn’t know that I should have all these business skills. I probably would have scared myself off if I’d thought of it as a big huge thing.”
She concedes she was very unsure about what she was doing for quite some time.
“I didn’t get any more sure. I just got more comfortable with being unsure,” she says.
“I wish I knew at the beginning that that was okay. I think it’s helpful to know you can structure things however you like.”
Starting small expecting nothing beyond a bit of pocket money was central to her early success at design markets. “I didn’t really think I was starting a business,” Anika says.
“I just thought I was making a few little things and selling them for a bit of extra cash.”
Trello has won Anika’s heart. Shockingly (to this lover of the humble Sticky Note at least) it has actually overtaken Sticky Notes as her preferred method of communication. She and her staff use Trello to track what they’re working on and share everything from to-do lists to progress on an upcoming collection. It’s visual, instantly shareable (bye-bye unnecessary meetings) and presumably doesn’t fall off the wall on hot days like actual Sticky Notes.
“It’s sort of like a visual board on your phone,” Anika says. “It’s been fantastic because it means it’s not in your head anymore. It’s actually written down somewhere and not on a million pieces of paper that get lost, but in a nice little format that looks good. And you can put pictures on there, which is important for a visual person.”
Why Thank You, I Made it Myself is a new interview series by Melbourne freelance writer Kath Dolan that explores the nuts-and-bolts of running creative businesses with local makers, craftspeople and artists.