AMELIA DESIGN - Elevator Pitch:
"Amelia Design produces art and furniture beautifully engineered from reclaimed aircraft, providing the opportunity to own a designer piece of aviation history."
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, with different motivations, backgrounds and varying levels of ability and ambition. I imagine the thing most have in common is resilience and determination. Recently I was in a goal planning session where the person I was working with was trying to ascertain what characteristic was the main driver behind the fact I had ultimately achieved several somewhat difficult goals I had set myself. The one I chose seemed to surprise her. The characteristic to which I had credited my achievements was 'dogged determination’. Goals which included becoming a seaplane pilot for the fun of it, and writing and publishing my own book, ‘Going Solo on Lake Como’. Effectively, I have an inability to give up, once I've deemed a goal to be worthwhile.
One of my first entrepreneurial ventures was while at university; I produced fliers and distributed them to dozens of houses in my locality, advertising tennis lessons which I then gave to fund a post masters degree year in Australia. The first ten years of my working life were spent in marketing roles for brands such as L'Oréal Paris, Johnson & Johnson, as a consumer planning director for Diageo with Initiative Media, and in a number of marketing agencies.
I was almost thirty when I started my first business, a marketing consultancy called The Cat’s Pyjamas. I remember sitting on a plane going to a meeting with Beamish & Crawford and I was chatting to the chap beside me. Somehow we got onto the topic of self-employment and I mentioned I had always planned to do my own thing. He asked me how old I was. ‘Twenty nine’, I replied. ‘Do it now’, he said. ‘He’s right’, I thought, and a week later I incorporated my company. I also tried some other things, such as NicestThing.com, a website for women focusing on feel good stories and travel, beauty, and food.
My motivation to work for myself has always been about freedom and independence, having the space to be able to follow my heart and make money doing things that make me happy. I always ask myself 'If I won the Lottery tomorrow would I still want to do this?’ And I have a need for the answer to that question to be yes.
Not all my entrepreneurial initiatives have been with the goal of making money. Take book publishing. Anyone who has written a book and either had it published by a publisher or who has self-published, will know that it is not an easy or straightforward pursuit. It takes a lot of work, dedication, generally plenty of rejection, massive amounts of time, and much second guessing yourself. I made the decision to self-publish when I realised I was spending valuable time tailoring proposals to publishers, and my time would be better spent improving the book. I hired a freelance editor, one of the best investments I made in it. Ultimately, I did make my money back and a little bit of profit, but if this had been the goal, it would have been a risky strategy. The main reward here was the sense of achievement.
My most recent venture and the one which, without sounding like the entrepreneurial version of a hopeless romantic is, I feel, the one.
Sometimes things happen and it feels like all roads you've been travelling have been leading you to the right place, joining the dots in a natural way, without struggle or contrivance. That's how I feel about Amelia.
Amelia is an aviation inspired brand; art and furniture beautifully engineered from reclaimed aircraft. While learning to fly I came to love the aircraft themselves, not just the act of flying them. In Amelia, I’ve found a way to combine a major passion with a business idea that I believe has the potential to be a global brand. When what you love overlaps so squarely with a business opportunity it’s a rare and special thing.
I think the most important thing, once you have decided to commit to achieving something, is to believe that you can do it. For me anyway that’s always been the most important thing; I’ve never considered the alternative. That doesn’t mean that I always expect things to turn out perfectly or to be a runaway success, but I’ve never, ever doubted that I could, in the end, achieve the goal I’d set myself.
I also think it’s important to understand your own personal needs. I’ve always been comfortable with a fair degree of uncertainty. I’m used to not being used to anything, so to speak. I never take anything for granted, which I think allows me to enjoy successes when they happen, and not to dwell on temporary setbacks. And they are all temporary, unless you decide to accept them as permanent.
Thanks Ciara for sharing your inspiring startup story with us. We wish you great success in your new chapter of your exciting entrepreneurial journey!
INSPIRED? SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH OTHER ENTREPRENEURS!
Have you ever fallen in love with your startup?
What tips would you give Ciara for her next startup venture Amelia?