We can't believe it's been 4 years since we opened the doors to our first store in Mount Hawthorn. But our journey to becoming Entrepreneurs started long before then...
What is an Entrepreneur?
For me an entrepreneur will always be someone on the front line of selling, meeting customers daily, dealing with staff issues, managing money and always thinking of new ways to grow their business.
I’m sure many people are born with an entrepreneurial spirit and are creative by nature, but the business acumen, ambition, decision-making skills and people skills required to successfully run a business are most likely learned from your family. I grew up in a busy household, my parents ran and still run a business back in Ireland. I had a younger brother and an older sister (neither of which own furniture stores…). For anyone who had parents who ran a family business you’ll know that from an early age you can’t help but be immersed in the day-to-day operations. My parents worked in their Supermarkets everyday, the phone was always ringing in the house (this was before mobile phones). I remember Sunday was the only day the stores were closed, and the phone wouldn’t ring unless there was an emergency. Growing up in this environment by osmosis you’ll pick up certain life skills invaluable to running a business later in life
I had spent years thinking of ideas on how I could start a business, what type of business, I've considered anything from restaurant to beautician to interior designer to renovation project manager. I honestly believe 4 years ago was just my tipping point and the right time in my life to take the leap from office worker to business owner.
I had just had Henry and was on maternity leave when I began soul searching, everyday I would desperately think I different ideas for businesses and try and visualise what this might be like. I always knew that one day I would run a business I just had no idea what that would be and then when Henry was 8 months old I fell in love with the idea of opening a furniture and interiors store.
What Type of Business Should I Open?
I knew I couldn't work from home as I much prefer meeting people and being on my feet and so the idea of opening our first retail store Henry & Oliver Co. was born. I opened the doors to our first store in October 2015 with a very supportive husband who was still working as an Engineer but with the eventual plan of joining me in the business if I could grow it enough to support us as family.
One year later the business was definitely growing but out future was still uncertain as we were still learning how to run a business, developing new product and getting busier everyday. We took a huge risk, with no family here, very little money in the bank and just the gut feeling that this was going to work I convinced Robert to leave his stable job and come work in Henry & Oliver Co. Having Robert working with me everyday wasn't easy but it turns out we make a really good team. With the additional support and our sheer determination we drove the business forward together...
The Business Journey
Eight years ago we moved to the other side of the world, we left behind our family, our friends, our home and started a new life in Perth. Since arriving we haven't looked back! We've met some very special friends, built our own home and welcomed our little boy Henry into the world.
We had always wanted to run are own business and since having our baby boy Henry, it became even more important to both me and my husband Robert to create a future for us as a family that was fun and flexible.
We started from humble beginnings in a small store in Mount Hawthorn, turned The Little House on Jackson into an industrial estate for a short time as we couldn't afford to rent warehouse space. Developed our own range of products and eventually opened a larger store in Osborne Park with a warehouse (so I got my garage back). So each year as Henry's birthday approaches our business grows another year older. When I look back on all we've achieved and how far we've come I feel so grateful and proud to have made the decision to open Henry & Oliver Co. We've met some amazing people and been through some challenging times but to us it's all been worth it!
Here's to the next chapter... And we hope to see you in store very soon.
Elaine, Robert & Henry XX.