Last blog post we heard about the beginnings, this time we move into the world of Oishi-m evolving from a one woman show into becoming a small business. Juggling young kids and running a business is no easy feat, as you can imagine! It’s hard enough to get your head around finishing a cup of tea, let alone working on growth strategies and developing systems.
During this time, Miyo came onboard to focus on the business side of things to enable Fi to create, design and focus on the product. In these years Fi and Miyo met at each other’s houses on weekly basis juggling new babies, nappies and occasional tantrums in-between talking strategy about business. We started to flesh out our business model, our product strategy, revamped our website and branding, began photoshoots, started our blog and started hitting the pavement to get retailers on board.
Before long it was time to leave our dining room tables and move into our first office in Jan Juc. Sharing with none other than the amazing Bellroy Wallet brand. Starting a business is a steep learning curve, there are mistakes, and there were plenty of challenges along the way, trying to get our heads around the many facets of business – but interesting and rewarding one none the less. All the better doing it with the amazing people around us. There’s nothing like being at the playground and having a stranger see your kids in Oishi-m and they tell you how amazing Oishi-m is and how much they love it, thinking that we’re another customer with the same tastes and brand devotion. It’s crazy to look back on those years which really weren’t that long ago.
We’re so fortunate to be living in Torquay, with it’s amazing beaches, laid back lifestyle but also the home of the Surf Industry and subsequently many skilled and talented people with amazing experience in apparel/product based businesses. Our next jump happened rather quickly from moving into Jan Juc, bringing into our team some exceptional staff, moving into our own shop/office, then taking over the shop next door so we could extend our beautiful store and have a bigger office.
Over the last year we’ve really recognised the beauty in our limited edition roots and have loved seeing our customer base grow. We love being able to produce garments locally and we also love the interactions that we can get when we’re small enough to be a part of each touch point with a customer.
The shop has definitely been an amazing line into having first hand experience getting to know our customers and getting into the shoes that our retailers walk in each day. There’s nothing like hearing someone who is about to become a grandparent entering the store and excitedly declaring ‘we’re pregnant!’. These days we have an amazing team of largely working Parents who between us we have 25+ kids, with many preggie bellies working with us too. Our own kids are in our photoshoots, which adds to the craziness of them.
Who knows how the next period of the Oishi-m journey will go, at least in the meantime our succession plan seems to be solid with children (even if they some of them are unable to read or write, but at least they can scan at the register) who aspire to work in Mum’s shop.