Since its inception in 2013, under Tamzyn’s creative vision, Miss Lolo has emerged as a bold and colorful disruptor in the interiors market, challenging the mundane with its lively designs.
Tamzyn’s path to success is as unconventional as it is inspiring. From her early days as a fashion stylist to her leap into the entrepreneurial world, she has blended her artistic heritage with a keen business acumen.
In our conversation, Tamzyn reveals her journey through the dynamic world of design, the challenges of reshaping a niche market, and how her unique blend of creativity and strategy has propelled Miss Lolo to new heights.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
I started Miss Lolo back in 2013 when I was working as a full-time fashion stylist. However, I’m from a family of established NZ artists and also have an honours degree in design so anything to do with art is just in my DNA. I haven’t taken a traditional business journey nor did I start with a clear plan or any idea that a business was going to form.
I started out upcycling retro furniture in super bold colours and patterns and it grew ridiculously fast across Facebook. We had 30,000 followers within a month or so, then it was a case of “OK. How do I monetize this audience?”. Not coming from a business background I entered into an entrepreneur incubator in Auckland and had a financial offer from an investor within my first meeting.
Being naive I took the offer and formed a partnership that ended up being incredibly damaging to the brand. We had very different visions for the company, and it ended up creating this very confusing position, with hundreds of SKUs and no direction, and a lot of debt. I ended up buying the business partner out 2 years ago and basically started again. This time with a clear direction, stripping the company back to its core, getting back to basics, and growing the company with a very clear pathway.
We’re now based in Brisbane and the pace of business in Australia compared to NZ is a million times faster, which I have loved! I have a number of collabs launching from clothing to stationery, to bags, and am launching new product lines in 2024 that take Miss Lolo out of the home for the first time.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
I’m a creature of habit. I get up at 430 am every morning. I hop in the office for a quick 30 minutes, then walk our Golden Retriever to the local F45 gym, do a class, and then walk the dog home again.
Then it’s sorting the kids for school for the day and I’m back in the office by 830 am to work for the day. I work at a fast pace and am just head down bum up through till 430 pm when I stop and sort kids, dinner, etc.
Depending on the workload for the day I sometimes call it a day, other days I can step back into the office and work through until 1 am in the morning. Weekends are a combo of kids and work, the company is in its biggest-ever growth phase so I am working a lot currently.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
I probably don’t have the work-life balance sorted out currently. I am mindful of that and that is why exercise is such an important part of my daily routine. Yes, I could stay in bed and get an extra 2 hours of sleep but that’s the only time of the day when it is quiet, with just my thoughts.
I listen to business podcasts every morning as a way to focus and not get overwhelmed with the workload. It’s refreshing listening to other women in business and learning that you’re not alone in the stress of balancing life, work, kids, and family.
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
Choosing to relocate the business and family from NZ to Australia this year was ultimately a call not only for the business but for an overall improvement in all of our lives. From better weather, to lower cost of living, all of that played a part in us choosing such a large move. We wanted bigger and better opportunities for our children and ourselves.
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
I have loved being part of the She-com community. It’s an all-female e-commerce platform that brings women in business together across Australia and makes you realise that whether you’re a small startup turning over $50,000 a year or a large company doing $50,000,000.00 the stresses are the same.
You are always overworked, stressed around cash flow, trying to find money to grow or expand product lines, sorting out logistics, and then you’re all also either Mums, or partners, and trying to balance home life and kids with the demands of a growing business. More often than not in e-commerce you work alone so it can also be quite a lonely journey at times. I’ve found the She-com community a really great place to not feel alone in business.
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Listen to your body and loved ones! 7 years ago I was working myself into the ground. Styling full time, trying to grow Miss Lolo, and managing young children. I remember my husband being frustrated with me late one night and saying “If you don’t stop, you will kill yourself.” I thought to myself “I’m fine. I can do it all.”
The following day I was diagnosed with cancer. I do think that was nature’s way of saying to me “If you refuse to listen, I’m going to put you on your butt and then you have no choice but to listen.” That was very much a life-defining moment. That was the point where I stopped fashion styling and simply focused on growing Miss Lolo instead. Turns out you can’t do it all.