Riddle me This… Claire Russell
Up close and personal with the co- founder of Home Brewtique
If you knew then what you know now……….would you still do it?
Absolutely! Although I’d certainly do things a little differently to get to where we are sooner. We had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted our look and feel to be right from the start, but were dazzled by a professional design. We lost sight of what we wanted our branding to look like and went down a completely different path for our first year or so. When the dust settled we realised that the look we had gone for didn’t really represent us – the logo, the font, the colours, none of them really fit with our original vision. It took a lot of effort to turn away and re-brand, but we felt it was important. The experience showed us that although we should take advice from others, we should never let anyone else’s ideas overshadow our own.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Seek to understand…. I guess I would interpret this as “listen and consider before you react”. How can you expect to respond to anything or make a decision until you have listened, learned and understood the situation first? This is as relevant in my day to day decision making at work as it is at home when dealing with the antics of my eight-year-old son! I think most of us could benefit from just shutting up and listening before we try to get our own thoughts and opinions heard.
What’s the weirdest rumour you’ve ever heard about yourself?
I look forward to hearing rumours about myself … maybe I should start some!
What was your biggest break?
I think Home Brewtique is still waiting for its “big break”, but on a personal level mine was being lucky enough to actually turn my thoughts about starting my own business into a reality. I had enough space in my house to get started without having to pay for premises, a great person with the passion and talent to share that dream and journey, the support, advice and encouragement from my husband and the financial security to enable me to take the risk. Without all of those things aligning, the business would never have been started in the first place.
Do you consider yourself lucky?
Every day… although not in the sense that ‘great things’ just fall in my lap! It’s all about attitude – I know things work out better when I have a positive approach and luck. I’m lucky to have a happy and healthy family that I love spending time with – they are the reason that I wanted to go into business for myself in the first place and they are my motivation for making it work.
What’s most important in your life?
My family. No question. Whenever I’ve done exercises to delve into the business and what my goals are – despite my first thoughts about my motivations – everything I write down comes back to being able to spend more time with my family.
What brands do you admire?
This is the most difficult question you’ve asked me. I would not consider myself a brand junkie – I generally wouldn’t buy things just because of the label and I certainly wouldn’t say that I’m brand loyal (ooh is that the wrong thing to say when I’m trying to build a brand?). Generally I’m impressed by quality and good customer service.
Purely looking at companies I find impressive – I hate to admit it, but I’d have to include McDonald’s as they never fail to innovate and change themselves to stay relevant. I remember my joy at going out for Maccy D’s as a kid over 30 years ago in Australia, and I see that exact same desire and joy in my son. Regardless of my personal thoughts about certain aspects of the company, I have to admire their longevity and multi-generational appeal. I know I’ve learnt a lot from looking at their systematisation and processes and have certainly used them as inspiration when trying to streamline and document my own areas within the business. They’re not known as the worlds biggest small business for nothing.
On a totally different level, I really admire MOMA foods – A British breakfast foods manufacturer specialising in “Making Oats Awesome!” I remember buying a “Hodgepodge” cup from them at Waterloo East Station on my way into work when they were just a few people working through the night and selling breakfast at a makeshift stand. Now they’re everywhere – in supermarkets, on airlines, etc. Something that started as a little lemonade stand business is now a well-recognised breakfast brand – and still true to the original vision.
Do you have a guilty pleasure – if so what is it?
Bullets – little liquorice strips coated in milk chocolate. They are available everywhere in Australia but you can’t get them here. Whenever anyone goes to Australia it’s my one request (well that and Minties!). I can eat the whole bag in one day – I don’t even share with my kids!
Describe your personal sense of style.
Simple, uncluttered and natural… I’m not into fancy elaborate decorations in clothing, jewellery or home décor. If I ever wear makeup it’s barely there and whatever jewellery I wear is generally simple and worn every day. Although you wouldn’t know it to visit my house at the moment, I really prefer a minimal style with a place for everything and only simple things on display – lived in but not cluttered. Try telling that to my kids (and husband) who excel at leaving everything they own downstairs and cluttering up our living space!