Doodlefish is a small but perfectly formed bricks and mortar store based in the very lovely city of Dunedin, NZ, and now you can shop their range online too! Their aim is to bring you beautiful things at prices that won’t break the bank. They buy from all over the world, but a large selection of their products are handmade in New Zealand and they’re proud to support local makers as often as they can. We spoke to business founder Kirsty Marsden to find out more about how she got started.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your own business?
There are a few factors which led me to have my own business.
I was pregnant with my fifth baby and realised that I couldn’t go back to a 9-5 retail management position.
I really enjoy interacting with customers, and so having a small retail business of my own would allow me to have my ideas for excellent customer service. Being able to sell products made locally, and in New Zealand, become a reality.
Being my own boss would also allow me flexibility with the needs of my family – my children are 19, 15, eight, two and six weeks.
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I have worked in many areas of retail – from being a sales person, to operations manager to managing a large store. I have always wanted the opportunity to have a store where I had complete control over what products were stocked and how they were displayed and promoted.
When I was six months pregnant, I sold my house in Wellington, and moved the family to Dunedin and began the search for an available business option. I found the perfect small store which sold gifts and homewares and knew this would be a great place to start.
The Innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough with your business?
The biggest breakthrough has been the realisation that my instincts are good and that I can trust the decisions I make.
I have had to come out of my comfort zone to get advice from others and to learn new skills.
Now I feel confident that the changes I have made and will continue to make will enhance both my business and my family.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Balance is a work in progress. Whether you are an at-home mum or a working mum, there are daily challenges to overcome.
Planning in advance and good time management are a big plus but it is still a balancing act.
My children are all involved in their own way. My eldest son helps control the online orders and any technical issues, and the younger ones enjoy helping unpack new stock and arrange on display. They also make suggestions about things they think we should sell.
I am able to be flexible with opening hours and this is helpful when children need to be picked up or dropped off.