I’ve known Fleur Richardson (pictured right with business partner Leina Broughton) for more than ten years. Fleur and I don’t really run in the same circles, but whenever we get together we piss ourselves laughing and I walk away buzzing with excitement, ideas and energy. Fleur is incredibly hard working, driven, creative and stylish, with a raucous sense of humour. She always inspires me to just be that bit better. Fleur has formed a professional business collaboration with fashion designer Leina Broughton and built a luxury fashion brand that has garnered a celebrity following, with the likes of Giaan Rooney, Samantha Armytage, Melissa Downs and other Australian TV personalities proudly donning their chic garments. Take it away Fleur…
Forming a new business partnership
Gillian asked me to contribute on 10 things I know about going out on my own. As I considered myself always on my own, but just intensely invested in working hard as a hound for someone else’s business I really didn’t think it relevant to offer my insights from that direction. Now, get me talking about the unimaginable – forming a successful fashion business partnership – and you won’t stop me. And it’s all good, thus far.
- If you’re two hot chicks no matter how much you emphasise: “This is my BUSINESS partner,” everyone will assume/fanatisise you are lovers.
- Having a partner in crime makes you more courageous, you have that immediate sounding board, devil’s advocate, back slapper that listens and encourages your sometimes random and off on a tangent thought process (now, this could be seen as a bad thing, but they also have the ability to rein you in).
- Choose a partner that has complementary skills to yours so when you’re on fire, you’re ON FIRE! Leina is Creative Director and I’m the Business Ops Director – never the twain shall meet – we slip straight into our roles and responsibilities BUT we can cross over to either side from time to time just to be nosy and see what the other is up to. But by simply knowing your strengths within your roles, allows for open clear communication and unnecessary angst or involvement.
- Whilst you have your specific roles, share your knowledge and DEFINITELY do not think that because you don’t like numbers you don’t need to know what’s going on in your business. I keep saying to Leina (or students visiting our studio, or anyone who will listen really!) that knowing your cash flow gives you ultimate creative freedom. Leina and I meet once a month to have an overview on real cash flow and projected. We call this the ten minute pull finger meeting!
- You’re more open to opportunities as there are always two beautiful minds digesting information on a daily basis. Having a relationship where you respect each other’s view points I believe allows for your own personal mental evolution.
- You have to have the same work ethic and belief system for what you consider a good work/life/style balance. And thankfully in our partnership we’re all across it! A business that does yoga together grows together! We make a point of nurturing our personal creative souls as well and go off on little (inexpensive) adventures in order to “reboot” our business brains before we hunker down for the next wave of brand development and production.
- Networks! We have both opened up our networks to each other on a professional and personal level and this has allowed for some amazing connections to eventuate. As you’ve been the chosen other half, this automatically gives you security clearance for others to engage and embrace. Truly awesome and we consider ourselves blessed with the strengthening of relationships that have ensued.
- I can honestly say you increase your capacity for taking the piss when you work closely with a business partner. This is usually my sole domain as I love a good piss-take but something’s shifted this last week and maybe it’s due to the blood moon this weekend but Leina has amped it up and has been giving me heaps! Needless to say there is plenty of necessary laughter in the workplace, which is vital for our sanity.
- One of the biggest things I love about our business partnership is the strong feminine energy. We are conscious of ourselves and the energy we bring into our work environment but embrace all the positive and problematic and make it work for all that come into contact. Whether it’s Bennie the Australia Post man who drives his motorbike right up to the front door to hand-deliver our mail, or Casey our gorgeous neighbour helping us out with yet another key to be cut – for free. We share our gratitude with all we encounter.
- We paid heed to all the naysayers about forming a business partnership (and there are a LOT of ghastly stories out there). So our business entity is watertight to the point of ridiculous BUT we can charge ahead knowing that it’s all fair and even stevens. And frankly you don’t not get married knowing the divorce rate statistics, do you – so why not start a business partnership?!
With a combination of 35 years experience within the Textile and Clothing industries of New Zealand and Australia, Leina Broughton and Fleur Richardson’s professional collaboration is an alliance of complimentary skill sets. As Creative Director, Leina is the creative mind behind Leina Broughton, with her proven and sought-after technical skills forming the cornerstones of the label. Director of Business Operations, Fleur Richardson, brings to the table an unparalleled wealth of knowledge and demonstrated business acumen, her expertise spanning production, distribution, retail operations, and financial management within multi-million dollar fashion houses. Leina and Fleur’s business compatibility is unique and their combined achievements in the fashion field across wholesale, retail and ecommerce platforms results in extensive first hand knowledge in order to achieve great success for the growth of the Leina Broughton label.
Find out more on the Leina Broughton website.