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If you’ve never been to Barwon Heads, it’s a place that simply bleeds beauty. The coastline can take your breath away, the river can turn your head and the architecture can make you wish you won tattslotto. Arriving at Kylie’s home is no exception – everything about it makes you want to rehaul your Pinterest board and move seaside stat.

it’s located on a quiet corner in a new estate, and i soon find out that the house wasn’t built there – but moved from an old property.

“They cut it in three, delivered it and simply put it back together. They made it look so simple!”

The retro, airy feel suits Kylie to a tee. Her charismatic, cheeky personality instantly shines as soon as I meet her. Her parents are also there, with her mum enthusiastically asking about my pregnancy and her father working hard on Kylie’s new project – @honeyiboughtacaravan.

“My husband didn’t like it. He told me it’d be rotten and too much work. Turns out he was right but I still love it. And he’s slowly coming around – he’ll say things like, ‘next time we get one…’”

Her mischievous grin cracks me up.

Her plan for the caravan is to turn it into a retro 70s family van. Just follow her Instagram account to see her op shop trips and quirky finds.

But Kylie’s main passion is her business, Birdy Num Num.

“I started about 8 years ago on Etsy. It was pretty new back then, not many people knew about it. My first customer was a Spanish lady and I had to use Google Translate to communicate with her!”

Kylie’s specialty is her custom made nursery mobiles – something that started when her friends started having babies.

“I made them as gifts then when I had my first child, I got told I should start selling them. So I did.”

Starting off on Etsy proved to be a good idea for Kylie. It gave her a wider audience and the confidence to build her business.

“I’ve been doing this for 8 years and the last 3 years have been full time.”

Kylie’s approach to her business is to keep it solely online. That means her products aren’t stored in any shops and the only way to purchase them is through her online store.

“I felt I had to get offline and do a few markets, which I did, but they weren’t as effective as online. Instagram is where most of my customers come from.”

Kylie was the first Geelong Creative member to be featured in the new Cotton On store in Geelong – an opportunity that surely was too good to be true. I asked her how it helped to boost her business.

“Well, the general exposure was great. If anything, it confirmed to friends and family that I was serious about my business.”

Incredible – 8 years later and it took an exciting collaboration with Cotton On for friends and family to see the value of her business. It’s something all creatives can relate to.

“I’m lucky to have customers. I have a wait list, currently limited to 10 with a 6 week turnover. I don’t like to deliver any longer than that so sometimes I have to turn orders down. I’m never going to make millions but that’s not what I want.”

A surprising fact Kyle notes is that she has a lot of repeat customers.

“My products make great gifts and the fact that they are customisable, makes them a little more special. Which is what women want for their girlfriends having babies!”

it’s here that Kylie gets philosophical.

“It’s the personal touch that keeps my business alive. I spend time building a relationship with my customers and I believe that’s why I get repeat orders and why I’ve got a waitlist.”

It’s true – customer service is essential to keeping any business alive, something many creatives struggle with. Kylie leaves us with one last piece of advice:

“Be consistent, but don’t be something you’re not. People pick up on that.”

Feature: Kylie Wiffen

Website www.birdynumnum.com.au

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Author: Kate Toholka, House of Sage

Photography: Monika Berry, House of Sage

Geelong Creatives Member