My name is Katharine Jane Rattray born Katharine Fox in the UK five hundred years ago. I am a vivacious mumma to three crazies, a designer dog and live with my family in country Victoria…not on a farm!!!! I am qualified as an interior designer and tertiary Design teacher where I worked over a fifteen-year period. I now own and run my own children’s illustration and home wares brand ‘Kat & Fox’.
When did you start your business?
‘Kat & Fox’ began its magnificent roller coaster of a journey in August 2015 officially operating from August 2016
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
The truth is I was visiting Mrs. Fox senior (The mother) and the rest of my extended fam bam in good old blighty and on a shopping excursion to my fave department store ‘John Lewis’ I noticed a children’s bed linen range. ‘Quinton Blake’s’ quirky illustrations from the ‘Roald Dahl’ books had been printed onto bed linen and cushions…at this stage it had not been seen in the Australia. I was so thrilled to see hand drawings being transferred onto fabrics and home wares…could this be a chance for me to combine my passion for children’s book illustration and interior design under the one umbrella?
What are you most excited about in your business?
I would say the journey my passion for hand drawn lines mixed with vibrant colours is taking me on. I have a head filled with exciting new projects. The best thing for me is combining this with a great support team made up of a now supportive partner, incredible business coach, informative networking groups, other designers like myself and recent acquired business knowledge from study and experience. It’s really evolving into a magnificent reality with a distinct ‘Kat & Fox’ style.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
Lets get real here…I may be a master of colour and design but FINANCES and management are not my forte. I often wish I had gone further with my research at the start with a little less of the impulsiveness…but saying that my impulsiveness has bought its rewards too.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
- Make sure you have a strong steady home life. The full support of your partner/family is invaluable. With out this you could end up torn apart and lost.
- Research your industry, find similar business’s and study them.
- Educate yourself in your weaker areas, such as basic business knowledge. ‘Women in Business school’ assisted me in so many ways
- Build your support team. Mentor, bookkeeper, accountant, business coach, networking groups.
- Set up the scaffolding (systems) for your business on strong foundations (points 1-4).
Why did you choose to do the Women’s Business School Ignite Program?
I was gaining traction in the brand and behind the scenes things were a mess. I needed help and I loved being part of the ‘Ausmumpreneur’ network which reassured me that I was going to get a lot from working through this program…I craved scaffolding as my business was like jelly with no solid foundations.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the program?
The program speakers where inspiring, very approachable and came with a wealth of knowledge. The set tasks were relatable and assisted in developing ‘Kat & Fox’ further. I treasure the fact that I was pushed to address certain aspects I had neglected to do so prior to jumping in. The networking and contacts I made on the program have been invaluable to me even evolving into personal friendships!
What surprised you most about the program?
Learning that I could truly be me warts and all.
At the time I believed business was a very cutthroat experience where you only presented the shiny you. I was doing exactly this prior to starting the course by jumping in and creating weekly overly polished Face Book LIVE’s to an exhausting level. The program taught me to show my vulnerability to truly attract the right audience/customers. It has. I wouldn’t have thought it, but it has.
Which module was the most helpful and why?
They were all valuable but Module one addressing self and balance set me up for the rest of the course as it was intended to. It helped me to think inwardly to ensure I was using all my strengths effectively. Additionally overcoming my weaker areas that have now been outsourced or developed through education.
How did the program help you in your business?
The program has helped me to find the right support network providing wonderful opportunities in collaborating with others. It has opened many doors to new opportunities with publishers, other designers, business coaches, life coaches and marketers…all experts in their industries and invaluable to me.
What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
The best thing for me is understanding I have control of how much and or how little I want to put in, working my business in with my personal life. I mean my kids love it too! I still wake up and think to myself that I can’t believe that people want to buy my products and designs…it’s an unreal feeling!!
Would you recommend the Women’s Business School to other women starting a business? Why?
I would certainly recommend this course…. We all need a hand to hold at the start, as the first steps are scary. This course will assist in creating the right road map for you…with the added bonus of making new friends and contacts along the way.
What’s happening next in your business?
I am currently developing the Name Arts phenomenon to be more accessible with a range of options from the high end fully customized to printable pre designed themes with hand drawn names added.
What are your big plans for the future?
Look, I could start by saying I want the brand Kat & Fox to dominate the world but maybe a bit overwhelming. Lets just start with another children’s book written and illustrated by me myself and I and another colourtastic home wares collection that links in…adding in a mamma twist…I wouldn’t mind seeing my brand in UK stores John Lewis or Harrods…not aiming too high am I?
To see Kat’s gorgeous designs visit http://katandfox.com.au/
If you are looking for support to get your business of the ground 2018 Women’s Business School Program is open now www.thewomensbusinessschool.com/ignite