I came across Mermaids & Unicorns during the course of last year. Because my business was just starting out, and I was ploughing all the money I made back into the business, there wasn’t spare cash to splurge on things for myself. But that changed this year, and I spoiled myself a few months ago with a couple of pairs of Mermaids & Unicorns leggings. I am so in love with my purchases that I had to reach out and compliment Chuzzy on her fabulous products.
I wanted to find out more about her business and her story, so I asked for an interview. She said yes, and I am super excited to share this with you.
Mermaids & Unicorns – The Story Behind the Brand
Q: Briefly tell us about your business journey. (What helped you decide to start your own business? What did you do before working for yourself?)
A: I have worked in my own clothing business since I was 20 years old. What started as a passion for printed bikinis back in 1998 developed into a large swimwear and activewear manufacturing company which supplied all the big retail stores with their in-house branded products. The rat race of the rag trade became a mundane task, and with regular retail buyers not wanting to veer from the conservative and easy sellers in terms of prints and designs, I decided I wanted to make things that I loved and supply other like-minded people with all things magical. Mermaids & Unicorns was born, mostly because I wanted to be a Mermaid and have the soul of a Unicorn.
Q: What was the process you followed when starting to set up your brand?
A: I think my process has been keeping passion and fun at the forefront of the process. I didn’t want to take things too seriously and place too much pressure on my financial well-being, so I started the website as a side-line hobby. I focused on creating prints and ideas I would love to wear and not worrying about their commercial marketability or if I would be able to sell thousands of products just to keep food on the table. It has been an inspiring journey, and so many people have loved what I do, which means that I have been able to do this as my full-time job.
Q: How do you manage your branding and make sure everything you do (from business cards, to packaging, to branding collateral) keeps in line with your brand?
A: Keep it simple and magical. The brand is Mermaids & Unicorns and that is my focus throughout my branding. If you see a product from us, it will either have a Mermaid, or a Unicorn, or both, on the product and the packaging. If a customer of mine is out in the “wild” and sees anything relating to a mermaid or a unicorn, my product needs to be the first thing that pops into their head.
Q: How do you manage your social media commitments?
A: I manage those myself, with the help of a graphic artist that I use on a freelance basis. Every day we look at each media platform and try to keep these up to date and related to things happening in the world right now. It’s a full-time job. When I am ready to employ my first permanent employee, she/he will definitely have to be a media guru.
Q: How do you motivate yourself to keep going when your inner critic’s voice gets a bit too loud?
All I need to do when feeling a little empty is put on a pair of magical leggings, harness up the pooches, and go for a run. This really helps to clear the foggy brain, seeing the pooches smile with delight as they run around the neighbourhood and say hi to the other dogs, and 9/10 times, someone will stop me and ask me where I purchased my leggings – this is enough to get me back into the office and motivated to create more.
Q: What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned since you started your business?
Time management is key! Manage your time right and you can accomplish so much more, more time to work efficiently and more time to relax for longer.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.