OUR WOMEN IN BUSINESS: The Crowning Glory
Did you ever dream of being a Disney Princess when you were growing up? Like many of you I’m sure, most of my formative years were spent watching Beauty and the Beast on repeat, wearing a Cinderella costume and desperately wanting to be “part of their world” like Ariel!
Enter Natasha Pitkanen…making our childhood dreams of feeling like a princess come true! Natasha, the star of our latest campaign, is the founder of Sydney based business Crowns & Wreaths creating stunning, handcrafted quartz and flower crowns. Each crown is unique and made especially for you, your crowning glory for any special occasion!
Having adorned heads on the runway, racetrack and even red carpet (not to mention my own fabulous Baby Shower 😉) Crowns & Wreaths is going from strength to strength and Natasha is now looking ahead at an extremely bright future!
Following our recent shoot I sat down with this budding (excuse the pun!) entrepreneur and got the inside track on her success..
What inspired you to start Crowns & Wreaths?
I started Crowns & Wreaths as a way of supporting myself through the final year of my Art Education degree. I'd always been extremely creative and an avid flower and crystal lover. For years I had been making headpieces for myself and friends every time we went to the races or to a fancy dress party and always received lots of compliments and so it occurred to me that there could be something more in this. So, I kind of fell into it, but looking back I think it had always been my destiny!
What does a normal work day look like for Crowns & Wreaths?
There is no normal day! Some days I wake up at 3:30am to get to the flower markets for a wedding or event I have coming up and I'll spend the morning prepping, de-thorning and arranging flowers. Other times I'm chipping away at my quartz crown orders well into the night. I’m happiest being creative and hands on, however running my own brand means I have to deal with all other facets of the business from replying to customer enquiries to updating our social media platforms to sending out orders….I spend way more time than I'd like to on admin!
What tech do you use?
My iPhone and a MacBook Air, I’m constantly on the go and need to have both of them with me at all times so that I can deal with anything that crops up…running your own business is a 24/7 job!!
What’s more important….Style or functionality?
As a creative I've always been more about style over function however since starting my own business I’ve learnt that functionality is also extremely important! That’s why I was so excited to discover Code Republic as finally there is an option out there where you don’t need to compromise! I often have to attend meetings with clients and so it’s important for me to look professional however I also want to maintain my own unique personal style as that’s also such a big part of my brand. I love that these bags are made in premium leather and the jewellery inspired hardware is such a great feminine detail for a laptop bag that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.
Which Code Republic Bag do you wear?
I usually always go for black bags but once I’d seen Lisa in grey I had to have her! She’s perfect for me as the dove grey with rose gold hardware is so on trend right now and the tassel feature gives this bag such a unique feminine edge that is synonymous with my own brand. She pretty much goes with most of my wardrobe, so I use her for work in the day and then can easily transition into drinks at night!
What does your workspace look like?
I have a home studio in my apartment for my crystals and headbands- we are currently looking after two foster kittens so they're loving all the fun objects to play with! I've also just acquired the garage attached to our unit which I'll be using to store flowers. Each new wedding I take on is getting bigger & bigger so it's nice not to have to rent a space or beg family for their garage. It feels great to be expanding! The traditional office workspace is not compatible with my business, I need space for my creations and I also need to have the ability to work remotely as I’m pretty much “on call” 24/7. I love that I have the flexibility to catch up with friends for a coffee and be able to quickly reply to emails and update Instagram all at the same time!
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs, all of us have or have had their own business. My mum was an artist, so she worked odd jobs to support herself between exhibitions and my Dad had a project management firm so that entrepreneurial spirit has been engrained in us all from a young age. I felt like their work ethic rubbed off on me, but my husband thinks I just don't like being told what to do!
What’s the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
To know your worth. It’s actually something I'm still learning.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
This is a tough one as I come across new challenges all the time. It's been a huge challenge in itself learning how to run my own business. Every time I take on multiple jobs at one time, juggling brides and custom crown orders alongside the everyday tasks, I try to remind myself not to heap so much on my plate! When you love what you do it’s very hard to say no!
What do you do to forget about work? How do you recharge?
I like to travel down to the National Park with my husband for a day trip or catch up with family & friends. Travel is really important to me, both locally and overseas. I love discovering new places and it not only recharges my batteries but also inspires me creatively. Spending time with the important people in my life is also vital, they keep you grounded and also remind me what I’m working for.
What’s next for Crowns & Wreaths?
More staff! Now that we’re established, I’d love to be able to concentrate on the creative side, building the brand and our exposure. And ideally an international buying trip - finding new gems in foreign places would be the ultimate dream!