Lizzie Renkert successfully made the transition from being the editor of Madison to a fashion designer with her stylish We Are Kindred label, which she runs with her sister Georgie. Here, she tells us how she made the successful transition from a high profile role in publishing to becoming a designer.
Tell us about your business and how you got started.
Owning my own business is not something I ever thought I would do. I was very much of the employee mindset and it wasn’t until I was made redundant from a high profile job in magazine publishing that We Are Kindred was born. My sister, best friend and now business partner, Georgie, and I had been joking about launching our own label since we were little girls playing dress-ups, but I don’t think either of us thought we would ever have the courage to leave the security of our jobs to enter the start up world. But two and a half years ago that’s exactly what we did and it’s been an exhilarating, anxiety-inducing, humbling and rewarding ride thus far.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever got (and why)?
Every challenge or roadblock teaches you something so should never be viewed as negative (even though they can feel like negative experiences at the time). It’s actually really great to be learning so much and because this business is new to us, we’re learning a lot through the mistakes we make. In our previous careers Georgie and I had both plateaued a little when it came to learning so the challenge of running our own business and being responsible for building a brand from scratch is pretty amazing.
What’s the best secret you’ve learned to running a successful business from home?
Never having an “off” button and essentially working around the clock could be viewed as a drawback but I choose to see it as a positive. Kindred isn’t just my job – it’s intrinsically connected to everything I do. And it gives me so much in return.
What’s the best money habit every smart businesswoman should adopt?
I’m very good at spending money and I’ve had to really curb my spending now that I don’t have a regular pay check coming in and now that someone else isn’t paying me. My best money habit would be to not spend money that you don’t have. I’m getting much better at that!
What’s the secret to keeping your career and home life in balance?
We launched the brand when I was six months’ pregnant with my second child, so for the first six months or so I worked from home. But I found that really hard and prefer to leave the house to go to work so I can focus properly. In my previous career, I constantly felt that I wasn’t doing a good job at home or at work because neither were getting the attention I wanted to give them. I’d have early morning meetings to attend and there’s no way I could leave the office at 4.30 to get to kindy pick-up in time so I had to rely on others to do it for me.
With We Are Kindred that’s very different and I can honestly say that even though my days are long and frantic, I don’t feel any guilt as I’m there for kindy drop off at 9.30 and pick-up at 5, I’m there for the evening meal and bedtime stories and then I log back on and work. There’s not a lot of time for getting stuck into a book that’s more than 100 words long or immersing myself in the latest TV show, but I’m so happy that I’ve found a way to be fulfilled at work and also give my family what they need, that I’ll forsake my own leisure time for the next few years.
What’s your advice to others thinking about becoming a Mumpreneur?
Exercise patience! It’s difficult not to want everything to happen immediately, but in my experience things really do take time if they’re going to have longevity.
The Carousel would like to thank Lizzie Renkert for her story and encourages you to check out We Are Kindred here.