5 years ago, Karina Pellicone made the decision to step out of a familiar corporate role and step into what she had always felt she was meant to do: tap into her talent for innovation, build her own brand, and create an original label.
At that time, Karina was not only starting a business, but also a family. She was determined to maintain her professional identity while keeping her role as a parent at top priority.
Her business, Plum Petal, began with a very simple business model and a particular jewellery line that was selling glass lockets. In the last year, Karina has worked to completely strip and evolve Plum Petal’s identity.
Today, Karina is passionate about helping curvy women feel beautiful and confident through the distinctive jewellery available on her online jewellery store, Plum Petal. She specialises in curating exclusive collections of statement accessories for women who want to feel good about their jewellery and their image.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
“The thing that I love about running Plum Petal is the ability to use my creativity and my imagination to create and lead my business through this period of growth. Finding that ability to be creative is really exciting. When you’re coming up with these ideas and concepts that you can put into your own brand, that’s probably one of the best things about it.”
What 3 pieces of advice do you wish you had been given when you started?
- Don’t worry about being perfect.
- Be fearless. You need to face the things that scare you most because if you don’t, they are going to hold you back.
- Sometimes it’s good to not know everything. If you don’t know, then you’ve got nothing to be scared of. You don’t need to spend time worrying about what you don’t know because you will eventually go out there and find the answers.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting a business?
- Embrace imagination.
- Throw yourself into your business. I think that if you are taking your business seriously you do need to obsess about it to some extent. If you’re not obsessing, you’re not going to be as focused.
- Have the mindset that you’re unstoppable. I have a very strong mindset that I am going to make it. Whether I need to evolve, modify, or diversify, I’m going to persevere and make it to the point where I am satisfied with my success.
What skills and knowledge areas would you recommend those starting out in business get acquainted with quickly?
- Consult an accountant regarding ATO business reporting and recording requirements.
- Insurance requirements for your business.
- You don’t know what you don’t know (which can be a blessing because if you did, you may not take the leap), so find someone in business who can mentor you to gain the skills and knowledge. Ask lots of questions to other business owners and don’t wait to be perfect or you’ll never start.
What does your IDEAL business look like? Even if you aren’t there yet, what would it look like if your business was ideal?
“Firstly, I want to get volumes onto my website, but I also want to see my brand out in some of the giftware shops and the evening and bridal wear shops. Then, eventually, I would love to be designing or have some kind of design component working specifically on statement jewellery.
I want Plum Petal to be the leading statement jewellery supplier in Australia. If you’re looking for a pair of heels you can just walk into the mall and find several shoe stores to choose from, but if you go to the mall looking for a bold statement piece of jewellery you’re going to struggle. Where would you go? There’s a clear gap there.
I want Plum Petal to be known as the store you go to when you are looking for that special piece of statement jewellery.”
What are some pros and cons to an e-commerce style business?
- You can easily update your product line.
- Sales are automated — stock-taking and numbers, in general, are managed by the website.
- About every 12 months you need to freshen up your website’s look — which takes time and money.
- Web traffic.
How do you go about researching and understanding the wants and needs of your target audience?
“I do a lot of work with my sister-in-law. She’s a curvy woman and she is very much on-trend, so we’ve talked about what she likes and what her frustrations are in terms of jewellery.
I’m not like my clients — I’m a smaller-framed girl. That’s just my makeup whereas my sister-in-law is beautiful and curvy and I admire that. So in saying that, that is something that I need to talk to the women about and say, ‘Give me feedback on this.’ I need to be talking to someone who lives the life of a gorgeous, curvy woman who loves jewellery so that I can understand how they feel when they put on the necklace or the earrings.”
Who is your favourite entrepreneur and why?
“I really admire — and I have for a long time — Richard Branson. He’s an incredibly fascinating man, and he’s constantly full of ideas and innovation. Not only does he really embrace innovation, but he also embraces completely out-there minds.
I love the way he works with his staff to listen to ideas. He’s truly inspirational in his thinking and in terms of what he’s brought to the world. If you can change a billion people’s lives, you’re going to be a billionaire; and that man changed more than a billion people’s lives.”
What problem does being a member of the HerBusiness Network solve for you and your business? And, how?
“HerBusiness helped me find a network of women who are serious about business, and also connected me with women that are willing to help each other without the expectation of getting paid back. It’s about supporting each other and genuinely supporting each other.”
You’re a part of the HerBusiness IDEAL Business Accelerator Program. What has been the biggest benefit for you and your business?
“I like that Suzi emphasizes setting your projects and staying on task. Setting the projects makes us think about what we’re working on, stick to the program, and just do it.
All the other components have been a big support in moving my business forward as well. This program is what made me completely strip my business and rebuild it in the first place.
Suzi has personally given me feedback and guidance, and even though she is an extremely busy woman, she still managed to find that time for me. That’s the important difference between HerBusiness and any other membership network: you feel that you are being individually addressed and that Suzi has taken a genuine interest in what you are working on. She made me feel important.”
This post was authored by MaryClaire Lancaster. MaryClaire is completing a journalism internship at HerBusiness. She studies communications and English literature at the University of Tennessee in the United States.