Just a year after starting Island Trading Co., Aussie blogger and online shopping queen Kathy Sheeran had two of her candles and bedding products in the stars’ $328,000 gift bag.
This incredible businesswoman proves that it is never too late to switch career or follow your true passion.
Who knows, it might even lead to you ending up at a prestigious awards ceremony, hanging out with your favourite stars from the big screen.
Here she tells us how she pulled off the coup and got to rub shoulders with Oscars royalty.
How did you come to be included in the Oscars goodie bag?
I received an email asking if I would be interested. To be honest, I thought it was a spam email at first then after a bit of research I realised it was for real. At the time I was doing Facebook ads, which happened to appear on their feed.
Tell us more about Island Trading Co.
Just over 12 months ago I launched Island Trading Co. I wanted to bring chic back to island homewares. I had no design or manufacturing experience. I asked people a lot of questions and Googled a lot.
The range consists of candles and bedding. All the packaging is re-usable, even the swing tags are made of antique brass which people are now using as keyrings and posting pictures on social media.
Just a few weeks ago it was announced by Target Australia that we have collaborated and been working on a range together; Island Trading for Target. We launched two of the 13-piece collection at the Oscars Gifting Suite.
The cost to be a part of the event was thousands. I couldn’t afford it so Target came to the party and helped with the cost. I love that Target support up-and-coming Australian designers.
What inspired Island Trading Co.?
I was a finance broker for over 20 years, less than five years ago I gave it up and started my blog Shopping Confessions which still continues to run and it is quite successful, then 12 months ago started Island Trading Co.
I left school at 15. I have had no design or media experience. It all comes from the heart. I’m now 46 years old and working harder than ever but love it. You are never too old. I have at times wanted to throw it all in, there have been some really hard times, but I have worked really hard to keep my passion alive.
To be noticed by Target and the US has made everything worth it and boosted my confidence. Now I believe that I have made the right choices.
What does this mean for your company?
The exposure was huge and the reaction to our brand was amazing. I’ve had orders from the US before but since the event it has increased dramatically. It was quite funny when I mentioned to the celebrities about the Target range they were all high-fiving me and I was like yeah but you’re an Oscar nominee. Rob Steinberg, who starred in Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave, gave me his number, as he wants to buy our bedding for his B&B in New Orleans, which was pretty cool.
What did you wear to the pre-Oscars?
I wore all Aussie designers. The beautiful red dress was from Nicolas and my shoes were from Shoes Of Prey. My favourite artist Tania Wursig ( I have about six of her artworks) printed one of her art works on silk and made me the most beautiful shawl.
Were you star-struck by anyone in particular?
I don’t really get star-struck, I treated the event as a way to get our product noticed; I had my business hat on. I did however get a kick out of meeting Sofia Milos from CSI Miami and The Sopranos. She was a doll. Keesha Sharp from OJ Simpson series was obsessed with our product. Nia Sanchez Miss USA was adorable. Sammi Rotibi from the Batman v Superman movie was really sweet.