Tell us a little bit about Miss Marnie
Primarily we sell T-Shirts and apparel, but as I’ve learned along the way, it’s about far more than the physical goods. We represent a way for women being able to express themselves in their own unique way and show off their inner queen. Surprisingly a lot of my customers are rural and small town women, which at first you might think is bizarre, but makes total sense. These are woman who don’t typically have the opportunity to express themselves, and last year I drove a bright pink caravan around the country to meet them which reinforced my experiences of motherhood in the modern age. At first you feel like you lose yourself but then there is a huge journey of self (re)discovery. It starts with a breakdown but ends in a breakthrough where you suddenly find yourself thinking “who the fuck am I?”. This isn’t about selling t-shirts, this is about building a community.
What were you doing before this?
Before I had kids I was a journalist working first in newspapers then later in women's magazines, so I understand the importance of telling a good story. Anyone can put a logo on a shirt but when you facilitate the opportunity to connect through vulnerability and realness is when you start a movement.
What made you decide to break away from the norm?
Generally speaking, I’m creative and out-there but when I became a mum I actually started wearing beige clothes. I’m not even joking. Who the fuck am I? I quickly realised I wanted to break free from the stereotypes that having kids is about sacrificing who you are. I think I needed to start this business for myself. Don’t get me wrong, there has been times when running a business feels like it fucking sucks, but even the shit times are okay because I’m not wearing beige anymore.
What has been your biggest challenge?
There is an internal tug of war between keeping it simple, but also seeing how far I can take things. I am always powered by what should come next? Sometimes shit goes wrong, but it’s all part of the fun and a part of the journey. To quote Gary V, “if you aren’t a fan of the journey, why are you in it?”
What’s your biggest success?
Last year I was fortunate enough to collaborate with Lifeline and run a campaign for mental health awareness week. I heard so many stories from people who had lost loved ones to suicide, and I realised how I could have a positive impact. Despite all the money we raised, the biggest feeling of success came from realising the power of the message we are carrying. T-shirts with slogans are a dime a dozen, but my creative process is about feeling the shit and living it myself. It’s not just about making money, it’s about being genuine.
As a proud Kiwi, I try to not have regrets and I regularly celebrate “beginners mind”. When I first started the business I didn’t realise there were specific ways things were supposed to be done, so I just did it my own way. There is not one right answer to anything, you just give shit a go and then look back and ask yourself “how was that?”.
Advice to anyone ready to do the same.
First and foremost, understand that it’s a privilege that people are choosing to part with their own money to invest in you and what you stand for. Make it real and bold as fuck. There’s no integrity in faking something just to make money. If you have a why, know it really well and hold that in good stead. Business isn’t easy; so much of the time you are second guessing what you are doing. If you don’t have a why, it’s just a house of cards which can collapse at any second. The why is what gets you through the really shitty times.
Check out Marnies wares at www.msmarnie.com or follow her @msmarnie_is_here