Marie Morrison, this year’s Telstra Northern Territory Business Woman of the Year, started Troppi-Kids as a hobby. The company, which now sells its garments through boutiques around the country, has recently been awarded a $30,000 government contract to provide uniforms for the Arafura Games.
Where did the idea for Troppi-Kids come from ?
When I moved to Darwin I had small children and couldn’t find anything for them to wear that was suitable for the tropical climate. I started making things for them out of pure cotton and interesting bright fabrics. At the time there were no department stores in Darwin and there was a huge gap in the market for cool, bright kids clothes that suited the climate, so a partner and I started up Troppi-Kids.
What gave you the courage to make the move into your own business?
It wasn’t so much a definite move. I did it slowly and the courage came from my business partner who said let’s give it a go, and the positive feedback we got from people. I was also studying fashion part time and was looking for some income and a business interest. The first year our collection sold $300 worth in a weekend and the second year it jumped to $5,500 in a weekend. It has been steadily growing over the past 10 years and we now sell several hundreds of thousands of dollars worth a year.
What has been the biggest hurdle ?
Fitting in family life, a partner and kids, and trying to find any time for myself while still doing justice to the business.
What is the motivation?
To be successful, within reason. I would like things to grow, however, I’m aware bigger isn’t always better when it comes to profit. I also love the fact that my things are being sold to people I don’t know, in places I haven’t been.
Who are your mentors ? Inspirational books/people etc?
Early on, when I took my clothes to Queensland for an expo there were some kids clothes businesses there that inspired me. The women who ran them were so creative and that showed me not to get bogged down in the business side of things. Also, someone was selling their clothes internationally and that inspired me to sit back and balance the creativity with the business side of things.
What is your top strategy for success ?
When you’re in a competitive industry you need to be flexible and ready to respond to new directions. As a small business that’s where you’ve got an advantage over large businesses, which have a harder time adapting to customers’ needs.
Marie Morrison first started Troppi-Kids from home and what began as a part-time hobby has now turned into a full time career and a very profitable business. Troppi-Kids is a company that manufactures unique clothes to suit the Northern Territory’s conditions. Marie is also responsible for designing a very popular garment called “skorts” which combines the design of skirts and shorts in one garment for schoolgirls.