JLK Lifestyle is the brainchild of Jo Eddington and Lindi Kingi, two highly successful designers and retail owners who wish to help other entrepreneurially-minded Australasian women fulfil their ambitions of establishing a business.
JLK Lifestyle offers personalised mentoring programs to guide women through various business methods while, most importantly, empowering them with the belief that they can be their own boss. Verve chatted with Jo and Lindi about their exciting new venture.
What sets JLK Lifestyle business mentoring program apart?
Our combined experience — Lindi has been running her jewellery businesses (Queen of the Foxes, Lindi Kingi Design and Lotus Lifestyle) for 10 years, and I’ve been an entreprenuer running luxury outdoor furniture business and a fashion label for 10 years. It gives us a unique angle. Our aim is to give women the tools, confidence and belief to make a change, and realise their potential. Upon reflection, we both thought, “Wouldn’t it have been amazing if someone could advise you from the start about potential obstacles?” It’s so hard starting and running a business, so to be in a nurturing environment, brainstorming with likeminded women is invaluable. That’s what we wanted to offer. Ultimately, we want to inspire other women to do amazing things.
Is JLK Lifestyle just for start-ups?
No, we are working with existing businesses also. We have much intellectual property we really want to share with other women. It’s the opportunity to take time out and have experts help flesh out your ideas and vision.
What is the most exciting part of the program?
Bringing together like-minded women in a supportive, nurturing environment generates so much dynamic energy. And it’s not just about us mentoring, it’s about the shared learning experience, combined with a travel element for exciting adventures. The program includes the Shanghai tour coming up in November, which will be a highly personalised tour to the world’s biggest supplier market. For those who’ve never been to mainland China, it’s really hard work with the heat and the language barrier, negotiations and currencies and so on. We include pre-arranged supplier meetings with our handpicked team of local JLK agents with translators on hand. You will leave the program with a good understanding of your business and how to go to market, and source products — everything from homewares to fashion to giftware and more, as well as understanding importing and being ready to begin immediately. Our new Bali Business Planning Retreat commences in March 2018 [applications now open] and is a week-long business immersion program held in a gorgeous luxury retreat. You’ll receive coaching and business lessons from experienced and accomplished entrepreneurs who will share industry insights, best practices and entrepreneurship tips. Plus, you’ll have the chance to spend some quality me-time while connecting with a network of likeminded women from across Australia and New Zealand.
How will new business owners benefit from your mentoring program and who is your ideal mentee?
There are a magnitude of benefits. There’s no one ideal mentee, everyone brings something different. Of the women attending our Shanghai trip, one is an architect, another a designer and mother of two, and another a successful business owner looking for a new direction. It’s for any woman looking for a change. But, like making any big change, starting a business can be overwhelming. Our programs are designed to inspire, to encourage thinking big, thinking differently, to give women confidence and of course to have fun.
Can you give a brief outline of what people will learn from the program?
It’s really the A-Z of how to begin then grow a business, and how run it successfully in the long term; think strategy, goal setting, advertising, accounting and
PR operations, importing and logistics. We’ve made nearly all the most common mistakes, so others don’t have to!
Is the program for women only?
Our first programs we deliberately catered for like-minded women, but we have planned programs in 2018 to cater to women-only and also to mixed groups. We’ve actually been overwhelmed at how much interest we have received already. Our first Shanghai program and tour is sold out for Nov 2017.
Are there any special requirements to come on the program?
Our retreats are aimed at people who want change, and to unlock their potential. It’s about people working together and sharing knowledge. There is no requirement in terms of age or business experience.
What makes you the ideal mentoring team?
L: Our life experience and the fact we have known each other for years. Jo is so much fun, and I am a bit more reserved!
J: We have very complementary personalities. Lindi is very much about the detail and the planning whereas I’m more the big picture and the abstract. Splitting the tasks and responsibilities has been very natural and easy. If you come on our course, you will get the best of both of us. Between us we have done over 40 individual trips to China and Bali, and we can come at this sort of thing from different angles.
In business and life in general, what are your guiding principles?
L: Freedom and balance – I don’t always manage it, but those are the two things I always try to have.
J: It’s all about keeping true to your original principles and integrity, dealing with people on a personal level in business and keeping it true to family values.
What is one of the most valuable lessons you learnt from having a business of your own?
L: Don’t take yourself too seriously, keep it real and don’t lose that sense of self. If you start believing in your own hype, then things can lose shape fast. Never forget where you came from because locality is everything, especially overseas.
J: Being superwoman is completely overrated. I was very successful in running my company Coastal Design & Co with showrooms across both Australia and New Zealand, but it was overwhelming – women can have everything, but there’s no need to have everything at once.
JLK Lifestyle: The first women’s business program of its kind in Australia and New Zealand. Women’s Mentoring Program, Shanghai Sourcing Tour and Bali Business Retreat. See website for program dates – jlklifestyle.com