From country girl to primary school teacher to cot designer, this driven mama-of-three shares her journey to business ownership and all that comes with it. Krystal’s beautiful biz, Sweet Elephants, exists solely to bring exquisite, versatile, functional pieces to you and your little ones with their extensive range of decor, furniture, gifts and toys.
The Sweet Elephants Vision:
“Sweet Elephants aims to bring to your homes and schools unique baby gifts and versatile and long-lasting kids educational toys that instill a love for learning and ignite childhood memories through play. We love to encourage kids to do what they do best-play, but not just any sort of play. The play that inspires the imagination, that is open-ended, that challenges, that is hands on, that engages the senses and that produces nostalgia when one reflects on one’s childhood. It’s important to us that our gifts, décor and toys will be treasured for years to come as they are passed down from sibling to sibling and each generation.”
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in a small country town in Victoria known as Merbein surround by acres of grapevines. My days were filled with the adventures of the outdoors and sport. My memories of my childhood are bliss. It was there that my Grade 5/6 teacher inspired me to become a Primary School Teacher. So on completion of my schooling I moved to Melbourne to pursue my dream.
In 2004 I met an incredible man at my 21st birthday party who became my husband 6 years later; funny really considering my initial encounter with him was a little unexpected. My son was born in 2011 and almost 18 months later we completed our family with the arrival of my identical twin girls. Totally crazy right?
How did you get started with your biz?
My story isn’t a very romantic one. Sweet Elephants was founded simply because I didn’t fall in love with any convertible cots on the market whilst I was pregnant so I designed and imported one. When the girls were babies it was challenging getting out of the house on my own so online shopping became a lifesaver. I spent hours goo-ing and gaa-ing over educational toys from overseas and frustrated that I couldn’t access many of them. So when the girls were 6 months old I turned to my husband one night and proclaimed, ‘I have an idea’ and the rest is history.
The phrase “Sweet Elephants” comes from my dear Grandpa who for unexplained reasons says “sweet elephants” as an alternative to “sweet dreams”. My Grandpa has been my number one fan from the day I was born supporting every journey I chose to embark on so I love that fact that we could entwine the bond of family and our products under our brand.
What (or who) are your biggest influences?
The biggest influence in my life is my Mum. From an early age she owned her own business but still managed to go above and beyond for my brother and I. She has taught me to have faith in myself and my abilities, to be brave enough to try new ideas, embrace times when things don’t quite go to plan and learn from them and to value relationships-whether they be business or personal. Not only has she been the ideal role model, she is my hero.
The other major influences in my life are the Sweet Elephants’ team. We may be small but the initiative, dedication and passion each individual displays on a daily basis really drives our growth and makes owning a small business a whole lot more fun and less isolating.
Do you experience mum guilt and how do you tackle that?
Most definitely! Mummy guilt and even wife guilt is something that I struggle with and an area I am working hard at this year; I’m really trying to achieve a much healthier work/life balance because my attempts at duplicating myself just haven’t been that successful. For Christmas I put together 13 red envelops for my husband. Each month he opens a new one and inside is an activity that we do together for the month. This way the activity has already been organised and we just go and enjoy ourselves.
With the kids I try and be as present as possible. I have allocated periods each day that are dedicated to them. It was important for me to block these times out on the calendar for all to see, it made me more accountable as I didn’t want to disappoint the kids by not sticking to my word. During this time all electronics are switched off and we treasure whatever that special time brings.
If you could sum up your day in three words what would those words be?
Dynamic, industrious, sprightly.
What does your workstation look like?
It may sound strange but I’m a floor kinda girl. I love to work on the floor.
Give me your best kid distraction strategy:
Tuning into and supporting your child’s interests. My kids will build for hours using Magna Tiles. Recently my son spent several months fixated on creating the ultimate paper plane. He tested weights of paper, different designs, precision of folds and ways of launching the planes-all this was child-led, focused and independent we just supplied the resources and encouraging words and he was encapsulated for hours on end.
Oh, and food! Food is always a winner!
What are you most proud of achieving biz wise?
It’s the small things. Every time I can add another person to our team or increase their hours or wages is a real buzz for me. The weeks we smash our targets are also thrilling. These moments really reinforce that anything is possible.
What are your big goals for the next 12 months?
Our main goal is growth whilst keeping our customers at the heart of everything we do, we will be focusing on affiliate marketing, conversion optimization and collaborations.
EXLUSIVE READER OFFER
Spend over $100 at Sweet Elephants and receive a sweet gift with your order. Simply use the code SWEETNESTLINGCOLLECTIVE in the coupon section during checkout.
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