If you’re anything like me and spend too much time scrolling through Instagram looking at adorable kids bedrooms, you’ve no doubt come across Incy Interiors.
The Australian brand of designer children’s furniture is famous for it’s brass cribs in lush rose gold (Serena Williams has one) and the yummiest gelato shades that are at once modern and retro.
Launched in 2011 by a mother in search of the perfect big boy bed for her son (what do they say about motherhood necessity being the mother of invention?!), today the brand boasts an annual turnover of over $7 Million and has expanded from beds and cribs to a showroom full of lust worthy pieces.
Today on HHJ’s #MomBoss feature, we catch up with one of the Queens of the Kiddy Bed Kingdom, founder Kristy Withers, to get her tips for building a million dollar business (while juggling a young family) as well as decorating your kids bedroom (or even your own) to perfection.
We hope you enjoy!
P.S Don’t forget to enter our competition to win a $250 Incy Interiors Gift Card! Details Below.
They say necessity is the mother of invention…how did you end up launching a children’s furniture line?
The Incy story began when my son (now 9) was 2 and was ready to move into a big boy bed. At the time I was working at eBay Australia managing their marketing team and I was travelling regularly to the US/Europe and seeing all the amazing products available there. I had an image in my mind of a dark brown iron bed. I searched high and low for it. I tried to get one made, I tried to buy old ones off eBay but they had lead paint and I tried to import one but I just kept coming up with barriers. I harped on and on at anyone who would listen about my quest for this bed. Finally, my husband said to me one day ‘for god sake stop talking about it and you just doing it’. This was the push I needed and from then Incy was born!
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started the business?
“No one else knows what they’re doing either”
What do you wish you knew when you were starting out?
I was always confident in my vision for Incy but I honestly winged my way through the first couple of years. Eight years later I can now appreciate that everyone else is doing the exact same thing, and I can tell you there is nothing more comforting than this. Pre-self-assured me had this constant niggling feeling that some big burly businessman was going to expose me for the rookie I (thought I) was, because I quite literally had no clue what I was doing. Aside from my inner anxieties telling me I was a fraud, another element of business I wish I was more in tune of was logistics. The freight industry is a virtuously male dominated field and it took me quite some time to feel I had a place in this realm. I knew how crucial it was for Incy’s success to have an adequate logistics system in place, but my lack of understanding was something that really set me back initially. As well as managing all the trials and tribulations that come with launching a new business, I made it my mission to become the queen of logistics.
You have a background in marketing, what did you do before starting Incy Interiors? How did that help?
I was previously working at eBay, and am so grateful for my time there. The job showed me the importance of strategy development, before launching into execution as it saves so much time and money in the long run.
Some of the biggest e-commerce stores now (Deals Direct, Kogan) were just getting started on eBay when I was there so I got to see see first-hand how they were structured, what was working and not working. This exposure gave me the tools and skill set to apply to Incy.
What are the 5 most valuable things you do to market your brand?
From an emotional standpoint, the biggest asset in marketing my business is PASSION. If there is no passion for your work and your product, there is no way you’re going to be able to market yourself in a way that convinces anyone to make a purchase.
A close second in marketing Incy is sticking to our roots, personally and professionally – we strive to be consistent in what we set out to do and maintain our brands look and feel throughout all content.
Thirdly, we know how highly people regard word of mouth as a marketing tool and we aim to keep this as positive as we can through our huge focus on customer service.
The final two are social media (obviously) as well as growing our customer base through email lists in which we can generate our own detailed content.
How important is social media?
It’s absolutely crucial in today’s society. Social media has completely changed the way in which our consumers shop and engage with Incy. It enables us to directly reach our customers and showcase the collection.
It’s visual, perfect for those want to see a stylized representation of the product.
Serena Williams is a HUGE fan, she posted a video documenting the arrival of a special piece from your collection for her baby daughter- what was it and how did that come about?
I have always been a big fan of Serena’s. She’s such a strong, empowering and fearless woman who is well respected. When she announced her pregnancy we quickly reached out to her and showed her the Rose Gold Ellie cot and she loved it.
What is your No.1 bestseller?
For us, our best seller without a doubt is anything rose gold. Cots or beds, people just can’t seem to get enough!
In addition to be the owner/manager of Incy Interiors, you have two kids Oscar and Polly and you’re a wife- how do you find that balance day to day?
Like every mother, regardless of being a business owner or not, I have good and bad days. I find however, now that the business is more established and the kids are at school, I have a much better handle on it all. I am also extremely lucky to have such an amazing and reliable team which makes balancing my life less of a struggle. In 2017, I spent the year prioritizing my family with several overseas trips. My husband is a business owner as well so fleeing the country is a must for some family bonding and a genuine recharge.
Do you ever suffer from the dreaded “mommy guilt’?
I feel like it’s only natural to suffer from mommy guilt and I think anyone who says they don’t is absolutely having you on. It comes hand in hand with motherhood. I had to miss my daughters first day of school because I was at a Trade Show in New York and it absolutely broke my heart but I am lucky my kids are now at an age where they understand that I work hard and at the end of the day, everything I do is for them.
You started as online retail business and now boasts an online store, a physical store and well over 170 stockists nationally and internationally- how did you go from online to bricks and mortar?
Shifting from online to having our own Incy Interiors store was quite a natural progression. In addition to having our products in various stockists around Australia, the first Incy store opened when I moved back to my hometown of Bathurst, NSW. A few years and a stack of experience later, we opened a second store in Chatswood when we couldn’t find any stockists who had the floor space for our products in Sydney.
In the beginning- did you meet with potential stockists personally?
Because there was such a gap in the market when it came to baby and children’s furniture, we actually had retailers coming to us rather than us going to them. One week in, I had to employ someone just to manage the stockists.
So many momepreneurs have great ideas for businesses, but get overwhelmed and don’t start because of the cost and the time commitment, what advice would you give them?
I think my biggest piece of advice would be to decide whether you want your new venture to be a hobby or a business. If you want it to be a viable business, make sure you have all the have numbers right so that its profitable and worth the hard work!
What’s next for Incy interiors in 2018?
To continue to dream big and sleep easy!
We are currently also working with a company in Canada who are developing an app for us which will revolutionize room design. The digital landscape for us is really exciting and we can’t wait to see how this will complement the Incy user experience.
What’s more, we’ve just launched The Mod Collection- which features a desk, play table, side table, chairs, dresser and loft bed, the collection has been inspired by modernist trends of the 1950s and honors its roots in Modernism. The range was created after we had been asked repeatedly for the above products. We wanted to create a collection that honors 1950s shape and futuristic sensibility and helps to tie all ranges together. It’s just beautiful!
What are your top 3 tips for creating a stylish kid’s bedroom?
- Transitional Furniture is important and will save you money in the long run for when baby grows. Select versatile pieces of furniture that can adapt to the stages of change. Teeny cots feature rounded corners and sturdy, removable sculptured side rails that can be transformed into a ‘big bed’ as baby grows.
- Select a ‘big bed’ with clean lines such as the Incy Interiors Four Poster Bed which will give you the creative flex to add individual sparkle to the frame as child grows. Either hang fairy lights, lanterns, flowers or garlands to recreate your own piece of fairy-tale magic. Its strong silhouette, high shine finish and sturdy frame provides a signature statement to an otherwise bland room, and at the same time has a strong decadence that doesn’t require ‘further fluff.’
- When designing a nursery, more often than not a non-gender specific, neutral paint is typically preferred. Paint should be your best friend. Use it. Don’t be scared. It has impact, can change as your child does and is cost effective!
Biggest mistakes parents make when decorating a child’s room?
Less is more.
Some may go a little OTT with colors and accessories which have the potential to overpower and overstimulate a room. We also recommend selecting one theme for the room rather than overcomplicating it with layers of different genres.
WIN A $250 INCY INTERIORS GIFT CARD! High Heel Jungle has teamed up with Incy Interiors to offer our readers a $250 USD Gift Card To enter the draw simply follow @HighHeelJungleOfficial on Instagram and "LIKE" our related post. Tag a friend and you'll both be entered into the draw twice! Good Luck!