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When I stumbled across this mindful puzzle business, I loved the fun, bright designs – and the ethos behind the brand. So, I invited the creator – Kristy O’Kane – on the podcast.

Kristy O’Kane is the driving force behind new Australian brand Okay Lady. 

A Melbourne based business that’s turning out cleverly packaged and beautifully designed mindful jigsaw puzzles by women, for women.

In mid-2018 Kristy stepped out of the corporate world to start Okay Lady. Now everyone who works on the brand is a lady, from the creatives through to the contracts lawyer.

As far as Kristy’s concerned, building a female centred business is just as important as creating products of outstanding quality in both the design and the message they deliver. 

You can listen to this episode below, or on your fave podcasting app!

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Highlights from this episode:

  • Kristy started her business after struggling to find jigsaw puzzles that she loved.
  • Since the conception of her business, Kristy has involved female artists to design the artwork for her puzzles.
  • “I’m not an artist so I found myself some good ones who are willing to let me use their artworks and be paid accordingly” {Kristy}
  • Artists are paid an advance on their royalties during the design phase. Once the puzzle is out in the world and sales surpass the initial advance the artists begin earning royalties.
  • Kristy does not commission designs but instead chooses from artist’s portfolios of work.
  • “It’s best to just choose things I like, I literally just go by gut. I just get a feeling when I like something. Art is so subjective” {Kristy}
  • Self-care is at the core of Okay Lady as jigsaws can work as a mindfulness and meditation exercise for many people.
  • Product development takes time. For example, Kristy spent substantial time determining the size of her puzzles so they are big enough to be a challenge but small enough to be enjoyable.
  • “We deliberately keep it in this slightly smaller piece count…because they’re supposed to be something you do to replenish and not supposed to be overwhelming” {Kristy}
  • With the pandemic this year, Kristy saw a surge in business as people were sheltering at home though this has now settled.
  • With her puzzles made overseas, Kristy has a very lengthy production lead time and has to carefully predict stock.
  • Once the puzzles started selling, Kristy received lots of enquiries about framing. This was not something she has considered earlier and created a series of blog posts about this topic to assist her customers.
  • Kristy identified at the beginning of her business where she had gaps in her skill set and outsourced these tasks including the puzzle artwork and social media marketing.
  •  Her social media manager has developed a schedule for posting, collaborations and images which has been a big success.
  • “(The social media planned posts) created a bit of a vibe and a bit of a community…that allowed us to share the kind of messaging and philosophy behind the business and the brand” {Kristy}
  • Kristy’s number one focus is selling on her website but she does have around 35 wholesale customers.
  • “I think that confidence is really important. A lot of people who are starting out in the small online business world don’t have any of that experience and so they really lack confidence that is possible for them to figure it out because it is very steep learning curve” {Jess}

 

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