Taking a leap of faith and making your passion a reality is daunting at the best of times. Katrina shares how she did just that while on maternity leave and dealing with a tragic loss. This mama has practical start up tips and the shoes to help you get there.
Can you tell us about your career journey so far?
I’ve had a long fulfilling career in media sales with the last 12 years spent at News Corp Australia. I had the honour of working across some amazing brands including lifestyle brands such as Donna Hay, Vogue, taste.com.au and the mastheads of Herald Sun, The Australian and news.com.au. It was an incredibly rewarding chapter of my life. When I left to have my daughter, Billie, I knew returning to the ‘big job’ wasn’t going to be sustainable for my family. It was time to go out on my own and create something I was passionate about that worked around the hours I needed.
So you’ve had a long career in media spanning a variety of sales roles. How did you come up with the idea for your business Cammino?
The idea for Cammino was very much inspired by the many years I spent in a corporate environment. I absolutely loved and still do love heels but like so many of my colleagues, I didn’t find it sustainable to spend the entire day in them. Working in the city we walked to see our clients, to the shops at lunch and the daily commute. Popping on flats was part of the work uniform for most of us. A common challenge I encountered was that we all searched for a shoe that was as comfortable as it was stylish but also stood the test of time. Hard to find! So this, coupled with a love of the quality workmanship of shoes made in Italy inspired me to create the label.
You were on maternity leave at the time. What motivated you to quit your job and take the brave leap?
Unfortunately, the role I was in did not lend itself to a flexible working arrangement. My hours were long and would mean I wouldn’t see my daughter Monday to Friday. With my husband working six days a week, I couldn’t justify my daughter not seeing either of her parents. I was also pregnant with my second and knew it was time to create something that would allow me to work around the needs of my family.
You had the idea for your business well before you launched it. How did you take it to the next stage and make your dream a reality?
I created a business plan and found a mentor through Small Business Victoria. After presenting my idea, crunching numbers and receiving some wonderful feedback, I felt I had something I could really make a go of. After doing some market research on a large group of girlfriends in my target demo, I enrolled in an online course and embarked on a global search for a manufacturer.
You experienced a tragic loss at this time. What advice would you have for other women out there going through the same thing?
We lost our second bub at 13 weeks of pregnancy and during the very early stages of starting work on the business. I was surprised by how much I was affected and found myself quite consumed by grief for many months. I channeled this into motivation to drive forward with the business.
It was a truly hard time in my life and I would advise any women going through it not to underestimate the grief and loss you may feel. Enlist the support of friends and family. It can be an incredibly heartbreaking and lonely time but know that there is some truth to ‘time heals all wounds’.
What is one dream you have that you have yet to accomplish?
Sailing around the world. But I will settle for just making it around the Whitsundays!
Favourite time of the day is… first thing in the morning if I’m lucky before the house wakes up. My mind is always clearest and I’m at my best.
I’m happiest when… I’m at the beach preferably with a drink in hand and some music playing.
I’m addicted to… my morning walk with an iced latte.
Favourite wardrobe staple for work… a pair of Cammino’s – Classic Range.
Favourite wardrobe staple for weekend… a pair of Cammino’s – Colour Range for a bit of bright fun colour. Can I say it twice?!
Heels or flats? I truly love and believe there is a place for both in every women’s life. But given I have started a label dedicated to ballet flats, I’ll have to go with the latter.