Happy Friday, everyone. I hope this week has been great for you! Today, we’re beginning a series of features about inspirational business women. I wanted to really get to grips with why, how & what women in business do & see as their reasons for success. And we have a real treat for the first in this series – someone I admire greatly as an absolute role model for vintage business women everywhere – the ever brilliant ReeRee Rockette. I’ve always admired ReeRee’s attitude towards business & how amazingly successful she’s been at changing direction with her pursuits. I have to say I wasn’t surprised to find out she had been a teacher – so many entrepreneurs seem to be!
Over to ReeRee – prepared to be inspired!
Name & business name
ReeRee Rockette – Rockalily Cuts (hair salon), Alternatively Lovely (Blog), Wonderful Women Minding Our Own Business (business group)
When was your business established?
Rockalily Cuts opened in May 2012, prior to that Rockalily Lipsticks were launched in April 2011. I’ve been blogging for years and years, not sure how many!
What was the inspiration behind your business name?
I just knew it was right! No inspiration as such, apart from the obvious connection to the word Rockabilly.
What was the original inspiration for your business?
Rockalily Cuts was always meant to be the sort of salon I wanted to go to. I’m not a hairdresser and so the whole concept was driven around my own customer experience, rather than a knowledge of how the industry is usually run. I think my outsider’s viewpoint means we do some things differently to the majority of hair salons.
Did you have an initial start-up investment or funding?
Well yes, of course I needed some money, but it wasn’t an investment or funding. I borrowed the money, and am in complete control of each and every business decision. No reporting to anyone else!
Did you have any input from family/friends?
My mother and step father have been amazing sounding boards, and although I don’t always go with their ideas, I always talk everything through with them. I also use my own business support group as another place to air my concerns or dilemmas. It’s nice to just have a cheerleader or two sometimes!
Which field did you work in previously?
I was a primary teacher and also a secondary school librarian. Prior to education I worked in the standard sort of young person’s roles – bank call centre, bar work, aupair and retail. I like that every job has taught me something different about business.
Did you continue to work in a different field while building your
When I quit education to start Rockalily Lipstick, I had a part time job in a burlesque bar behind the scenes. It was a great way to just begin a brand new chapter, and I met a lot of awesome ladies.
What was the hardest part about starting a business?
In one way the obvious answer is money. Getting it and knowing how to spend it most effectively. But as the business grows, its the responsibility that comes with it. Rockalily Lipstick was a one-woman band, but now I have an awesome team of people that I am responsible for, and that can feel a little scary at times!
Who has been your biggest inspiration in business?
So many that I couldn’t really say. I devoured, and still do devour, business books. I fill my mind almost 24/7 with business, success,ambition and motivation. Podcasts are great too, so I listen to these while I commute.
What would you say are the three biggest keys to success?
1. Having a drive for it. It isn’t enough for something to just seem appealing, I think you need to live, sleep and breathe it. You need to know exactly where you’re headed, and what it will look like when you arrive.
2.The ability to make a decision. Time waits for no man, and sometimes the worst decision is making no decision. I have a very strong gut instinct, and so far it has never let me down. I think you need to be able to make decisions swiftly and firmly to move forward.
3. Being willing to put in the work. People who work harder and smarter also tend to be the luckiest. We really make our own luck, but it isn’t easy, or everyone would be doing it.
What is the best part of running your own business?
Being in control of my life, and having 100% responsibility for my own success. I created a job for myself that fits in with how I work best. I don’t leave the house most days till past 9am, as I prefer working later in the day/evening. I can work remotely a lot of the time, enjoying coffee shops and a laptop trip regularly. I get to pick the people I work with, and we’re a close Rockalily family.
And the worst?
Dealing with the legal paperwork and accounts. Having to be ‘the boss’ can suck sometimes too, when you employ people who you call friends too.
What would be the biggest lessons you’ve learnt?
That we can take control of ourselves and make massive changes. I was a teacher who decided she needed a new challenge. I got a part time job stage managering in burlesque shows, changed my dress sense, and found a brand new passion for business. I am a different person because I decided I wanted to be.
What would your advice be to other potential business start-ups?
It may sound mean, but to remind yourself that our businesses can’t just be about what we love. We may love making papermache volcanoes, but that doesn’t mean we’ll make enough to pay your rent selling them. You need to find a balance between what customers want, and the job you’d love to have.Working hard at something isn’t enough, you need to make sure you’re working hard on the right idea!
A huge thank you to ReeRee for such honest & informative responses.