How a Love for Handbags Becomes a Global Business
Be inspired by Amanda George of Borne Naked and get your handbag organised at the same time!In our latest installment in our series celebrating women making their own small business dreams come true we're catching up with Amanda George of Borne Naked.

Sydney based, family in New Zealand and plans for going global have Amanda working a full schedule and learning loads of crucial business lessons along the way. Thankfully this talented lady took some time out of her hectic schedule to share some of her secrets with us and I'm so glad she did, I love learning from women like Amanda and I'm sure you will too. So read on and be inspired.  

Tell us a little about yourself; what's the day to day life like for the small business owner of Borne Naked and who makes up the team?  

My typical day involves starts in the office around 8am. I catch up on emails that come from customers, potential new stockists within Australia and overseas and other business contacts. Looking at my social media accounts to see what is happening and chatting to people via them. I do this throughout the day. I am always looking for new opportunities to grow Borne Naked so am currently talking to distribution houses overseas.

I definitely have help! Last year I employed two fabulous staff to help with sales and marketing. I have a distributor in Australia and in New Zealand who handle the packaging and distribution of Borne Naked's to stockists and customers, Liz from Ikandee Web design who keeps my website looking fresh and cute, Tim from Poloko who looks after my branding. I'm surrounded by a fabulous team of people who help make Borne Naked what it is.

What (or who) inspires you, that encourages you to reach out and make things happen?

I am constantly reading case studies of local successful people living their own dreams and I find their stories really inspiring. I think if other people can do it so can I.

My friends and family also inspire me. Mum and Dad have always been there for me, they are so supportive of me living my dream and are constantly giving me encouragement.

What led you to starting Borne Naked?

I was in a job that I wasn't challenged in so I found myself constantly networking, researching and going to interesting seminars.

It had always been a dream to run my own business and I came up with idea of the Borne Naked handbag liner to solve my own handbag issues. I knew that other women in Australia must have similar problems so I decided to take my idea and make it a reality.

What do you enjoy most about the business?

Click to go in our free online competitionsThere are so many positives I can't list them all, but the main one is that I am doing something for myself and achieving my goals personally and professionally.

In the short term one of the negatives has been the need to invest all my profit back into the business to grow it and being a keen shopper (particularly in handbags) I have had difficulties curbing my shopping addiction!

What's been the hardest part or experience you're had since starting the business?

One of the toughest things and my biggest lesson so far is that you need money, a lot of money, more money than you think you could possibly need. If you are thinking of starting a business take that dollar number in your head and double it. I was told this but didn't believe it but have learnt it is true!

In the initial stages you incur numerous unforeseen expenses. Money is often hard to find and sadly it doesn't grow on trees so finding it can be tough.

What's been the best thing for the business that you just stumbled upon?

Networking! I surround myself with like minded people and other small business owners who have given their insights and learning's which I have found invaluable. I attend networking events, seminars and other events where there is an opportunity to meet new people.

Remember every person you reach out to and communicate with is one more person that knows about you and your brand.

What do you think has been the most successful promotional activities you've explored to getting the word out about Borne Naked?

PR was so important in the beginning for building the brand. PR cost me an arm and a leg and PR is always a huge risk. I was lucky I had a unique product and a new story to tell.

I remember it was the weekend of 17 August 2008 and I was back in New Zealand celebrating my Mum's 60th birthday. Sunday Life featured Borne Naked in its then Filter Section. Within the space of 2 days I received online orders that covered my PR costs for 2 months - I thought all my Christmas had come at once!! That was my lucky break!

Since then I have received lots of positive press and have had a lot of interest from the media. I truly believe this is because I have a unique product.

When I first started the Borne Naked franchise, people would cut out press clippings and take them into retailers asking for product.

However not all products lend themselves to PR, and you can't keep going back to the media with the same unique story. So PR has a shelf life unless you introduce innovation.

You have a flourishing number of followers on Facebook - what do you think has been the best way of getting your name out there on Facebook?

Promote Facebook everywhere you promote your website and every time you communicate with your target audience.

I believe Facebook allows you to engage with your customers freely and have more fun with them. So when you do they respond in a positive way and it shows on their Facebook page their friends join in too.

The great thing about social media is that it's inexpensive and great when you are a start up business working with a limited budget.  

What do you think has been a really important activity with your social media that's helped you grow?

Facebook and Twitter have also been incredibly important for me. I have a growing number of Facebook fans which allows me to promote my business to a larger number of people, and not just in Australia but worldwide.

I have also found many Borne Naked brand advocates as well as stockists via Twitter. I think being consistent and honest is really important.

It's no good having a Facebook page if you don't do anything with it and communicate with your 'likers'. I also think keeping the content fresh and interesting helps too.  

What are the hopes and plans for Borne Naked this year?  

Going global! Every business person's dream! This is necessary for me to keep growing the Borne Naked brand and also to offer me an opportunity to significantly expand the range of products to offer my customers (dedicated band of followers).  

What would be your top 5 tips you'd give to someone starting out?

I don't have 5 tips but I can just say GO FOR IT, I can honestly say that launching Borne Naked has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I have learnt so much from this experience already that I know what ever I do can only get bigger and better as a result.

I also think you need to be clear on the reasons why you want to start your own business and make them real reasons. Don't do it because you want to become well known. You need the drive and the passion to carry you through when the going gets tough.

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Meet Amanda George of Borne Naked

Meet Amanda George of Borne Naked

Meet Amanda George of Borne Naked
Follow the continuing story of Amanda George and Borne Naked on Facebook and Twitter.

To get your stash of fabulous handbag organisers check out the online handbag store at BorneNaked.com and make it ever so easy to change over between handbags.

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