how mosey me scaled during super-tough times
This colourful homewares label is on the way up, up, up.
As we’ve all been relegated to spend more time than ever in the safety of our homes (thanks to you-know-what), folks are curating their cosy spaces to find some peace amongst the chaos. One biz you may have spotted on the Instagram side table shots or in the background of a pal’s Zoom party is Mosey Me.
Founded by Melbourne-based textile designer, Eliza O’Sullivan, this cool and colourful homeware brand has managed to grow over the past 18 months despite regular blows to small businesses (thanks for nothing COVID).
We had a chat with the talented textile lady, to learn more about how she’s keeping her small biz thriving.
Hi Eliza! Tell us how Mosey Me began. In 2016 I was working full time as a textile designer. I was waiting until I felt ready to start my own business but then I thought, “I don't know if I'll ever be ready” so I just put a deadline on it and said that I had to do it by the time I was 30. I launched when I was 29!
You’re a textile designer – what made you want to create a homeware brand rather than fashion? It's funny, because I'm more influenced by fashion but I feel drawn to creating homewares. There was always so much apparel that I enjoyed whereas I didn’t feel the same way with homewares. It’s also not as seasonal and I really liked that because it doesn’t box me in to anything and from a business sense my stock can last longer – it's not “last season”.When was the point where you realised Mosey Me was growing? It was the end of 2019/start of 2020 which seems bizarre because it feels like that’s when the world ended! We had just clocked over our third year so we had a bit of momentum to understand what our customers liked. It takes a while to grow a business without having a huge amount of capital behind you so it was a lot of showing up and consistency.
What was it like expanding from tableware to then creating bedroom and bathroom products? What prompted the expansion? It’s fun to experiment with new product lines! I dream up possibilities all the time, however I have to remind myself that we don’t need to do it all. I find the challenges with range expansion always lay in the sourcing, production and marketing approach. New categories usually mean new factories and suppliers which is always daunting. It can also mean a new customer which then filters back into a new marketing and communication approach to reach them. For example, our tableware customer isn’t necessarily our bathroom customer so we have a few segmentations we need to speak to and nurture. I choose to expand and experiment as it’s part of my process and evolution as a designer. I’m always thinking of what could work for Mosey.While you mostly operate as an e-commerce store how did you go about getting your products into various stockists? When I started the business, I let wholesale happen organically, so if shops wanted to stock us they would reach out and we’d go from there. After a year or so of that, we participated in a few trade shows to secure further wholesale accounts. Then 2020 hit so all trade shows were off the table. When we stood back and looked at the business and strategy at the beginning of the 20/21 financial year, wholesale presented as a growth opportunity for us. Being three months pregnant, we decided it was time to try and find a wholesale agent [someone who communicates between brand and retail stores] to represent us. We now work with a lovely agency who helps spread the Mosey love all around Australia.
One thing many creatives struggle with is the numbers. How do you organise the accounting side of things? Numbers were never something I was ever into so when I started on my own, I just kept it really simple. As the business grew and things needed to be tighter for the end of the financial year I started working with a bookkeeper and moved to Xero. That allowed everything to filter through instead of using manual spreadsheets, which was great because it makes you understand the process of keeping expenses and tracking stock.
You have a lovely, colourful Instagram feed that you use to document the design and creation process. How important is utilising social media to you? Having such a visual brand, it works really well for us because there's so many things we can talk about or show all of the prints we’re creating. It's everything. It's our main point of contact to the customer. I get more DMs than emails!
As well as Instagram, what other forms of technology have you implemented to scale and grow your biz? Any recommendations? We operate through Shopify, use Klaviyo for our EDM and email subscriptions, Later for Instagram scheduling and planning, Trello for online to-do lists and Xero for all of our wholesale and invoices. Moving to Xero for our accounting changed everything because it was super easy. All my bank accounts are connected so there's no more manually going through receipts.It’s been a tough time for businesses over the past 18 months – especially small business. What’s helped you adapt and continue to grow? I think part of it is due to the journey that we’re on but I think it’s been a good time to be in homewares! People are looking to make their home more comfortable and fun to be around. That’s been the focus for everyone over the last year and a half.
Also by listening to our customers and trying to engage with everyone to see what they want while being sensitive to what everyone's going through as well. We would do interaction through Instagram polls and just checking in on people in lockdown. I think people always felt that we were quite approachable in that way because it was just me running our Instagram. We encourage people to reach out to us and tell us any feedback – I think a brand that does that is being real.
If you could give any advice to other small business owners who are looking to grow, what would you say? Consistency pays off. You just have to keep plodding along, whether it feels like you're falling over or you don't know how you're going to finance the next range I think keep showing up and continuing to try. To scale and grow, you need to take yourself away creatively and look at it as a business; that’s the only way to continue the flow of business, design and creativity.
This lovely chat was brought to you in partnership with our pals at Xero. Whether you lead a small team or are going it alone, Xero’s online accounting helps you do business, but better. Find out more on the Xero website.