When I chat with Alicia Mewburn about her new business venture Kokoro Living, we discuss brand creation and the change in mindset required to build a business where the end goal needs to be at the forefront of every decision. We chat about working on the business not in the business and turning big dreams of going global into a reality. Alicia opens up about first dropping out of University before going on to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Media Studies just to please her parents, to travelling the world, raising four young girls whilst side hustling and working in jobs that she didn’t really enjoy. We discuss the moment Alicia realised she needed to” back herself or get off” and her journey of self-discovery, self-investment and being a Girl Boss!
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Transcript of Episode
[00:00:00] Christie McCormack: [00:00:00] Okay. My guest today is Alicia Mewburn. Alicia has just launched her latest business venture, Kokoro living. Now, launching any new business is a feat in itself, but trying to do this while being a mother to four beautiful girls working part time and being a wife.
Brings it to a whole new level. So welcome, Alicia. Thank you for joining me today.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:00:22] Thanks for having me. I’m super excited.
Christie McCormack: [00:00:25] Me too. Okay, so Kokoro living is not the first business venture that you’ve started. Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Alicia Mewburn: [00:00:36] When I read it, I sort of thought about this myself recently, and I think I would have been hard pressed to say yes straight away to this question.
Um, but looking back, I would probably have to say yes. Um, perhaps it’s a combination of me being an entrepreneur and I, don’t like being told what to do. Um, I think these grand visions for me started like quite early on. I remember approaching my [00:01:00] meditation teacher in my early twenties and saying, I think I want to create a new school system.
Um, so you know, something that was focusing on meditation and gardening and yoga and cooking and life skills. Budgeting cause I could see already a gap, um, in our school system at such a young age. So looking back, that’s a pretty big dream to have for a 20 year old thinking. I was just changed the school system.
Christie McCormack: [00:01:22] Absolutely. Now we all wanted it to change, but not necessarily for that reason. We all just sort of wanted to get out of there, so exactly.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:01:30] But I could see a much bigger vision for the school. So yes, I think looking back and from that moment, yeah, I’ve had just always had my brain thinking about ideas and looking at things differently.
Christie McCormack: [00:01:40] Fantastic. So you’ve said startups are your jam. What is it about startups that you love so much?
Alicia Mewburn: [00:01:48] I really enjoy creative control. Um, when it comes to creating my own brands, I love to have that last, final decision in making, um, you know, uh, a marketing [00:02:00] decision or a brand decision or a color. Combination decision.
I think creative control for me is, is just absolutely my favorite thing. And perhaps always having bosses whereby I don’t necessarily get much of that creative control. I think that’s why I genuinely love doing it on this side or by myself somewhere else because I thoroughly enjoy it. Um, I also like to think myself a bit of a conductor.
So even though as a startup. Obviously everything’s on your shoulders. I’m pretty good at coordinating other people to do what I need them to do. So I know a lot about a lot, but I also don’t know everything about everything. So I basically see myself as a conductor standing at the front saying, can you do this for me?
You do that you do over there. And then sort of standing back and watching that satisfaction at the end when it all comes together. Um, yeah, that’s probably my favorite parts.
Christie McCormack: [00:02:48] That’s probably so important as well, because you know, one person can’t do everything. And being able to acknowledge that is a struggle for a lot of people.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:02:56] So,
Christie McCormack: [00:02:57] you know, to be able to do that is, you know, [00:03:00] is a key to success, I suppose
Alicia Mewburn: [00:03:02] it is. And I think I’m getting better at that as my journey. It goes on. So in the beginning I did try and do everything and realized quite quickly that it is impossible, as you said, whilst running a family, being a wife, working part time, it’s almost, and what a great opportunity in this world we have now that everything can be outsourced.
There is nothing stopping anyone from contacting a software developer in the Ukraine writing some code for you. Or there is nothing stopping. Um, you know, looking at a marketing expert in America with Facebook ads and saying, yes. You know, you’re the person I need. And I just think that’s the best opportunity the world has ever seen.
Christie McCormack: [00:03:40] And I think business has evolved a lot, but sort of taking it back and wanting it back a little bit, what was the first business that you started and I suppose getting a little, what was it, and getting a little bit personal, where were you in your life at the time to sort of make you want to start that
Alicia Mewburn: [00:03:56] business.
My first business was [00:04:00] called cater kids. So it was my first ABN application, cater kids, and I literally had started making cakes for family and friends and I thought I was pretty good at it. And after a while I thought to myself, well, how about I start charging people for this? I’ve always been a good Baker.
Um, I just had my first daughter Indigo since she was born. I was on maternity leave. And I guess like every person you realize after you have a child, life isn’t quite the same. I did not want to go back to work full time. Um, I couldn’t imagine my life without her kind of around. So I thought, well, what could I do?
I’ll start selling my cakes. So I created the business for the basic aim. I didn’t want to have to go back to work. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out. I still had to go back to work, but I continued doing the cakes, um, for a couple of years after that.
Christie McCormack: [00:04:46] Fantastic. So is the end goal for you being your own boss or are you okay with having that side hustle?
I know you mentioned that you like having that creative control, but do you enjoy having that sort of balance of being able to go to [00:05:00] work and have that security, but then being able to do your own thing on the side and and make that, or do you really just your end goal want to be? That’s it. I want to just be my own boss.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:05:10] I think. Again, it’s a bit of both. I love having the security of a part time wage coming into me because I think it’s also about backing myself. You know, especially in these first few businesses. I didn’t probably back myself enough and we’ve always done it tough raising kids. We know that was just our first.
We’ve then gone on to have a second, and I, I always needed that money to be able to pay for childcare, um, to have the security and go back. But I. Always love the thought of working for myself. So perhaps that is now, um, particularly more important as an end goal to be able to be my own boss and to work for myself.
And perhaps, you know, after all this experience of building businesses, I finally backed myself in knowing that this is, this is the one that’s going to achieve that for me.
Christie McCormack: [00:05:53] That’s a fantastic reflection to have to be able to back yourself, um, because
Alicia Mewburn: [00:05:57] yeah, when you’re initially starting
Christie McCormack: [00:05:59] up, there is so [00:06:00] much fear I think of for people out there.
Um, and they probably don’t put as much faith in their own skills as they probably should.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:06:07] Absolutely. And I think that’s come with age as well as experience. That’s something for me. Whereas at as a 28 year old baking cakes. I didn’t have the backing of myself. Um, but now I’ve spent the last sort of, I don’t know, it must be close to 15 years doing this sort of stuff.
And I know now what’s involved. I know now what I need and it’s the time of my life where I have to back myself. It’s either back myself or jump off.
Christie McCormack: [00:06:33] Excellent. And you’re not jumping off. So that’s good. So it’s obviously not easy to start small businesses. And you’ve started quite a few. So what do you think would be the main challenges that you’ve had along the way?
Alicia Mewburn: [00:06:46] Well, how long is the show that we’ve got? Look, I think challenges are part and parcel, and I think what I’ve come to learn as an entrepreneur is. Overcoming and solving problems is the job of being an entrepreneur. That is [00:07:00] the actual role of an entrepreneur. Um, and cause I’ve do this more and more problems look less like problems more now and just like work.
So I think as soon as you get that in your head that being an entrepreneur is full of problems, but your job is to solve them, then it’s maybe not as hard to look through them. Um, my second one is cashflow. Has and always will be. I think everyone’s biggest problem or challenge in starting up a small business.
The first three businesses I started was with our own money. And as a family, as I’ve said, we, you know, we were doing it pretty tough. We were on small wages, still had to pay for childcare, groceries, all that sort of thing. So I had to take that money out of our family budget, um, and working part time. It was always been really taught.
So cashflow. And even now with this business, I have taken a loan and I have a loan from a family member, but again, that comes down to backing myself and knowing that this is the right one. Cashflow will always be, and as I see ourselves expanding in Kokoro, it’s still going to be an issue because every time I do need to do a bigger [00:08:00] order, I’m going to need more money.
Christie McCormack: [00:08:04] Yeah. So how much has profitability played into your business decisions that you’ve made
Alicia Mewburn: [00:08:09] in the beginning? Probably not a lot. In the beginning I had fun. I liked making cakes. I thought that was really what it was about. Unfortunately. Then, you know, making a cake can take up to five days over time, cause you’ve got to bake on one day going Ash on the next cover, the next, you know, so that I didn’t really take that into consideration and therefore my hourly rate.
My cakes, not very profitable. I thought about that for the second business when I did some jewellry enhanced stamping. I taught myself how to do this on YouTube. And the quicker I got at it, the better I felt about it cause I knew that I was making more money if I did the job a lot quicker. Um. With the tee shirts I did, which was my fun fit threads, a third business.
Um, I decided I’d really want to work in the business myself. I wanted to work on the business, so I wanted to remove my physical involvement in a product or service that I was doing. [00:09:00] Um, and so that’s what I chose with t-shirts. Unfortunately, that was a very competitive market and we sort of let that one Windle down.
Um, but this Kokoro, I know I’ve taken myself out of the equation all together so that my time doesn’t become a profitability part of the equation. Um, and then for the physical side of the products, I have researched products that I know have got a decent margin. I’m not here anymore to make a couple of dollars.
I’m here to make some big bucks. Um, and I now know how to do that by researching products that I have a decent, healthy margin on. I’m not physically involved in the making of them. So my profitability, um, is important and will be continued to be important for this business.
Christie McCormack: [00:09:39] So is that part of your growth period as well?
To be able to go, okay, ensure a couple of startups, which just about, you know, the learning process and maybe even more passion,
Alicia Mewburn: [00:09:48] and now you’re looking at more with a business lens on. Absolutely. And you know, making cakes. When you look back, I was never going to make a million dollars making cakes. It’s just too labour intensive.
But as you said, with [00:10:00] experience and maybe every business I’ve started, I’ve wanted it to be a success and have gone into every business with that hope. But now it’s more of a strategic business decision to make sure it’s profitable before I even consider launching it. So
Christie McCormack: [00:10:14] that was sort of leading into my next question.
So in the initial planning phase for a business, do you think about the potential longevity of the business? And I suppose you know your end goal in businesses to either stay in it forever or to sell it as a going concern. So how did you plan that.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:10:31] Initially, yeah. In the beginning, I didn’t think about ever selling.
Um, so with my first business, I was, as I said, I was doing all the work. It wasn’t paying very much. Um, I wanted to get out of that really quickly. So most startups, luckily don’t take cost much money. Um, you know, as far as profitability goes. So the normal operations for day to day, um, they don’t really.
Take much money, big expenses, I sort of your website, your products and your marketing. So the more money you [00:11:00] have marketing, and obviously the better. But in many cases we didn’t have much spare, um, with deciding to sell the businesses. I walked away from the first one after realising I couldn’t sell it.
Brisbane city council made it very difficult to gain a, uh, commercial kitchen license. It was completely out of our realm to be able to redo our whole kitchen at that time. We were renting and. We had a small baby. Um, but yeah, I guess I said until Kokoro really hasn’t been part of the planning stage at all.
But I can tell you that the main reason I created this brand was to sell. I already have the end game in mind, and I see this opportunity and it’s been part of now every decision I’ve made with the business, knowing that I’m doing everything exactly right so that I one day will be able to hand over the books and say, here you go.
Christie McCormack: [00:11:47] So when it’s time to let businesses go, whether they’ve either run their course or you know, with Kokoro living, you’ve got that end goal of being able to sell it. Is that a personal, an emotional journey to be able to let those go.
[00:12:00] Alicia Mewburn: [00:12:01] Yes, yes and no. Um, as I said with my cakes, I was so sick of making cakes by the end of it.
My poor twins who turned five this year had still not had a homemade cake from their mother who used to sell them. Um, I was definitely, when I sold the jewellry business, I became disappointed a couple of months later when I saw what the new owner had done. So I, you know. You put a lot of work into these things and in a way they become your baby.
So with the jewellry business, I used to take these beautiful photographs up against trees and plants and flowers and my website. You know, a lot of hard work. I’d actually had it redone after sort of getting, um, a really poor job done from someone, uh, on Upwork. And I had to have the whole thing done. So, you know, she had all of this stuff for her.
And then within a couple of months she started taking photos of the products against the blue background of her. Cop it. And I was like, so it’s sad when I see that I see a potential of a business and I’ve sold it to someone, I thought who would going to take it to the next level, who [00:13:00] had more time and sort of didn’t.
So that’s what the disappointed and sad and emotional part comes in. But the end of the day, that was her decision and now it’s her business so she can do with it what she likes.
Christie McCormack: [00:13:10] Yeah. So you have to just sort of disconnect at some point, I suppose.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:13:14] you do because otherwise I would consider it still my business, but it’s not, I sold that business to her and this is how she’s running it.
So yeah. Yes and no. Sometimes I walk away, I get bored and have no real emotional connection. Other times I get a bit sad that that’s how it’s ended
Christie McCormack: [00:13:29] up. Okay. So winding it back a while to your school days, what was the big picture plan for Alicia? Have you sort of followed the path that you thought you would, or have you just gone off on a completely different trajectory to what you envisioned?
As you know, a 17,18,19 year old Alicia.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:13:48] Absolutely completely a hundred percent differently, but I do still joke that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I just turned 40. Um, it’s genuine. I just, I think my only [00:14:00] plan back in those days was to get a degree, and I think that was more of my mother’s decision.
To be honest, then it was mine. You know, my siblings have all got great jobs, very high paying jobs now, but I was the only sibling out of four to have the potential to go to university. So for my mum, I think it meant a lot more than it did for me. Um, I’m pretty sure my career counsellor at high school told me to get into HR, uh, which is.
Know, sure. I could have been pretty good at HR. Um, I finished school though and enrolled into business at QUT, but I dropped out by the end of term one because I couldn’t stand how they were talking about me being the boss up here and everyone working beneath me. And perhaps that was just a life stage that I was going through.
But I quit that after time one and worked for the rest of the year. Uh, knowing that I didn’t want to disappoint my mum further, probably again, I thought I’d better go back and do a degree. So what would be the best one for me? I did a bachelor of arts in media studies and watch films for three years and talked about them.
[00:15:00] Often on a Friday morning, hung over in the dark theatre of my acuity lecture watching a movie because I’d been out the night before. I’m not really particularly interested. I had love, always had a passion for TV, and I did really well at school. So that was the decision I made to make that a degree.
Did I lock it? It was okay. I met some good people. Did I see myself with a career with it? Probably not. Uh, so in fact.
Christie McCormack: [00:15:24] Did you find that answer throughout the degree? Did you sort of think, I’m doing this, but I’m not
really going to use it?
Alicia Mewburn: [00:15:33] Absolutely. And anyone, you know, back in the day to 20 years ago when you said, what are you doing?
You’re doing a bachelor of arts. You know, everyone laughed at you because bachelor of arts, Ooh, you know, you’re a bit of a. Well, even not a hippie, but it was just, and it was a bit of a stigma around, it wasn’t really a real degree, so I kind of knew that the whole way through. Um, but I also knew, yeah, I wasn’t going to be using it.
This media was such a, such a competitive industry with very few jobs in Brisbane, especially, unless you wanted to move to Sydney [00:16:00] or Melbourne. So when that finished though, I’d, you know, typical Alicia just went up and went, I’ll see his letter. I’m heading overseas for 18 months and decided to travel the world, and I didn’t want to be sort of put down in one spot at that age, I was only 21 or 22.
Um, so I left, came back. And of course, when you come back, you’ve got a real life again and you have to get a job. So I, I think I look for a job for three months and got the first one I took, which was a job at Westfield Chermside center management, um, working as a receptionist. So I did, I want to end up as a receptionist.
Definitely not. It was the first job I could get and I needed it. And you know, I think I spent eight years there doing four or five various jobs from reception to office manager to a risk management coordinator to a mall manager, which was someone interacting with retail. Again, none of which I wanted to do, but I always took opportunities when they presented.
And looking back again, that’s been a great set of skills that I’ve developed from that one job. Just having a whole. Different perspective on, um, [00:17:00] different jobs in the one area. So it was a good, did I want to work for Westfield? Nope. And my whole life has just taken me from one place to another with no clear direction apart from what I do in my side time, which is making businesses, which I love.
Christie McCormack: [00:17:15] Beautiful. I would say. Okay. So back to the core living, it’s got somewhat of a cult following. What was it, big picture? Um. Sort of plan for the brain. And what does it mean to you? How did you come up with the initial concept and you know, what was your vision?
I was G for another business. See, my third one fizzled out.
I, um, as I said, I did my Tshirt, it’s, which became super competitive and I do get bored easily, unfortunately. It’s one of my. Uh, personality trait. So I got bored. I sort of said, well, I’m not going to sell it. I couldn’t really sell it because my margins in this business were too small. And I had a friend who was getting the t-shirts through making anyone else wanting to sell them, you know, impossible with a [00:18:00] decent margin.
Um, but I had been learning about Amazon through my part time job, which I had just absolutely loved and we became involved with as an Amazon education business. So this business for Kokoro actually came up. Um, I had a business partner that I had made around this Amazon education and her and I love the same types of products.
She was great at branding. I was great at research. Um, unfortunately it didn’t work out with her, but instead of it, instead of taking over the brand we had talked about, I decided to create my own one based on a similar idea to the one we had spoken about. But I wanted it to make it mine because I knew now that I didn’t want to be involved with the partnership, I wanted to have something over myself.
Um, and I knew that the brand I wanted was going to be around mindful products. So I searched for a name that I thought would incorporate that feeling. And to be honest, naming the business these days is getting harder and harder because not only do you need a business name, you then need your domain name, and then you need your social media handles.
And if you don’t have them, they’ve probably taken. [00:19:00] Um, and of course, um, when I found the name Kokoro. I absolutely loved it. It’s Japanese and its literal meaning is hot. However, in Japan, it’s got more of an understood meaning, which is about how the heart connects to the emotional mind and the center or your essence.
So it’s a really beautiful word, except of course when I went looking, it was taken, the.com was taken. Um, and as I knew I’d be launching into America, uh, I needed the.com and of course the Instagram handle was taken. Um, Q obsessive, Alicia, I just went into full, like I have to have this, this is the exact name I need and this is the one I want.
So I proceeded to contact the owner of the domain because when I typed the domain and it redirected to another site, so I knew it wasn’t in use. I went to her contact us page. Hi, my name’s Alicia. I’m setting up a business in Australia. I notice you are in the domain. Any chance during the market to sell it?
She said, absolutely, I’ll sell it to you for 2000 us dollars and then talk to me about the cost of the Instagram handle. And I course [00:20:00] Shunk and nearly started crying as a startup. No one wants to spend nearly three and a half thousand Australian dollars on a name. Yes. Um, so I wrote back to her, I explained my situation, which, you know, I wasn’t to feel sorry for me, but I was just being as honest as I possibly could, saying I can’t afford that amount.
I explained my situation. I’m working part time for children. I think that always makes people feel sorry for me. And then after a few emails back and forth, we agreed on 500 us dollars and then she threw the domain, the Instagram handle in. For the same price. So really at the university had had my back for that one.
I knew it deep down. I knew this was the name for me.
That’s fantastic. And like that’s the perseverance as well. Cause most people probably wouldn’t even chase down the owner of the domain, let alone, you know, negotiate and negotiate so well. So that’s absolutely fantastic.
So tell us, what is Kokoro
Alicia Mewburn: [00:20:55] living
Christie McCormack: [00:20:56] and what’s in your product line.
Tell us all about it.
[00:21:00] Alicia Mewburn: [00:21:00] Yeah. So as I mentioned, I’m quite a spiritual person. Mindful products and conscious living has always been something I have tried and strive to do. Um, and as I said, I was working with our previous partner in the product research phase, and I was doing that for about five months. So we had already looked through Amazon, particularly seeing some of the numbers that, um, Sage sticks and Palo Santo sticks were doing.
So it was. Pretty much a no brainer for me. But then part of my brand, which is a part of me, I wanted to make sure I was sourcing ethical products from really good sources. And that became part of my brand. So as I said, I know, um, I make sure when I buy my products now that they’ve got a decent margin in them, but there’s also a meaning behind them.
I want to make sure that their use, so when people want to use a Sage smudge stick, they’re doing so. And even if they don’t know much about it, which I can tell you a bit more about it. In a second. You know, they’re still taking the time out of their busy schedule in their day, and they’re lighting their Sage stick and they are walking around their [00:22:00] house with intention and mindfulness.
So that’s always been a big part of the brand. Um, and yeah. Sorry, what is my dream? Oh, I
Christie McCormack: [00:22:10] don’t know. I definitely want to know.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:22:13] Smudging is an ancient. A ritual that has usually done with indigenous cultures of South America, even America, and even in Australia, aboriginals have smudge for thousands of years.
So basically the act of smudging needs to get a say, or in a lot of cases, it’s a Sage stick, which has just dried Sage leaves all bound together. Um, and it’s to remove negative energy. So once you light the Sage, you blow out the flame and it’s just left with a smudging smoke. Um, and Sage itself is a pretty.
Full on smells. So it’s always good to have your windows open as a little tip. Um, and basically that energy is to remove any negative energies in your life. Now, there’s even been a scientific study. I say that specifically. I’m not saying it’s all over the world, scientifically [00:23:00] proven, but Sage is, uh, shown to remove up to 91% of airborne bacteria.
Wow. By a science study, but it’s still there. Um, and paleo is very similar. So Palo Santo comes from the Palo Santo tree, and it’s native to sale America. Um, and it is a beautiful, it’s from the citrus family, so it kind of has this beautiful citrus pine smell to it. It’s. It’s a unique smell. I, I think anyone, there’s nothing I really can compare it to.
Um, and Palo Santo, again, been used for thousands of years in South America. Not only reduces negative energies, but promotes positive energy into your life as well. So that’s all those ones.
Christie McCormack: [00:23:41] Some of that I think I need some Zen happening in my life.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:23:45] Absolutely. And as I said, like there are some people that say, Oh, you know, you shouldn’t be using it cause it’s against sort of the indigenous cultures.
I, I’m one of these true believers that in your heart, if you’re doing this with absolute, perfectly natural intention of just wanting to be, [00:24:00] you know, calmer and remove some negatives and increase your positives in your life, then I don’t think you’re doing anyone a disservice or disrespect by using it.
Christie McCormack: [00:24:09] Oh, absolutely not. Because I would imagine that that would have been their intention with using it in the first place, is to be able to do that. So,
Alicia Mewburn: [00:24:16] absolutely. And I agree. And I think, you know, part of my job is to share that with as many people as I possibly can.
Christie McCormack: [00:24:22] Absolutely. Because to be honest, before you’d mentioned smudging to me, I had never heard of it.
So, you know, I, um, I’ll definitely. You know, planted to smudge my house.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:24:33] Excellent. And with the brand is so many more products, like finding products for this brand won’t be a problem. There’s just so much opportunity. And now again, as I mentioned, this global world that we live in, which is accessible by a computer, a phone, and potentially a camera.
You’ve got the world at your fingertips. So I’m sourcing so far from Peru, Turkey, China, and Australia, and I’m now in talks with people in Morocco and Vietnam. So I want this part of, again, another part [00:25:00] of Kokoro to be a global brand, sourcing from all areas. And then being able to sell to all corners too.
Um, and the last part of my big brand vision, just want to throw it in, is to have minimal packaging and a really small, uh, carbon footprint. So I’m using compostable bags. I use a carrier, a career service that has, um, you know, carbon offset, uh, in all of their. Deliveries. Um, I’ve even sourced as little seed papers so I can send my thank you note on a seed paper so that when people finished with it, they can read it.
They just have to wet it and plant it in their garden to encourage flowers so that we can cover the bees to our garden.
Christie McCormack: [00:25:40] Wow. That’s fantastic. Yeah. So obviously, you know, there is a plan to expand to Cora and there’s plenty of other opportunities with product lines and everything. So how do you see it evolving?
Alicia Mewburn: [00:25:54] Um, cash flow problems? I. See it evolving. I’m about to launch now into the [00:26:00] U S and the UK. In fact, my product, my new product, it is called a Coca Dharma base, which I didn’t talk about it. Coca Dharma is another Japanese word for most people. I love the idea of it, but apparently they’re really tricky to look after.
So I had this vision of the look of it without the work of it. So I’ve created a beautiful bowl wrapped in hemp, and then it’s got a twine wrapped around it. So in this way, you can have the look of a Coca Dharma without having to. Physically have a very wet, mostly bowl line around your house. So that’s on the water heading towards the us and UK.
My goal in both of those is to look, is to launch on Amazon. I have an account in the UK. I’m still working on my us account, but you know, typical me, I think to myself, well, I’m not going to let them sit over there in a warehouse for three months until that happens. So I’m looking at Etsy and eBay in the U S now to get those sales happening in the meantime.
So I’m going global. I’m going big. Um, you know, I know once I’ve got a product that I am developing at the moment, which is nothing that’s out there on the [00:27:00] market. So I’m hoping to get a Patent on that again within this mindful, conscious living area. Um, so I just have big dreams and there’s really a never ending supply of products and things that I can get involved with.
Christie McCormack: [00:27:14] That’s fantastic. And I know a lot of people that, um, you know, start their own small business and me as just an inquisitive person that just wants to know everything about what other people do. How long did it take from big picture concept to selling your first product?
Alicia Mewburn: [00:27:30] That’s getting shorter and shorter.
I find as my businesses go, if that’s a combination of maybe me getting a bit better at launching, but also having those standard resources around me of knowing who to go to for some design work and who to go for my website, et cetera. Um, as I did mention, we had a partnership that previous partnership around this idea ended in mid September.
I registered the company core living on the 1st of November. Um, I then launched my website and sold my first product in February, 2020. Wow. [00:28:00] Not very long, but keep in mind, I did, had been researching the product since about April. So, you know, if we really look at it, it was probably 10 full months.
Christie McCormack: [00:28:10] Yeah.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:28:11] But from Kokoro to the business sale was only September to February. That’s
Christie McCormack: [00:28:17] fantastic. So I know you spent a great deal of time learning everything you can about Amazon. Um, you spoke briefly before about, um, the Amazon training. I suppose that you’ve done. How do you think that this has helped you with your Kokoro living brand?
Alicia Mewburn: [00:28:34] Absolutely my hero. Here’s a hot tip. Investing in yourself is probably the best investment you can possibly make. I used to think that that meant a degree, and I know that my mum used to think the same thing, but I believe out there now are equally as good and as powerful ways to educate yourself, um, as it ever has been at a time.
There are a lot of people out there who know what they’re talking about. So whatever it is you want to learn about, I think it is need to find the [00:29:00] best people in that space and see if they’ve got an education platform or course. I’ve got so many courses I want to do. I just need about 24 hours more in each day to be able to them all.
Um, the next one I’m looking at is a guy called Steven Black. He does a class called unstoppable marketing masterclass, and it’s only a thousand dollars us and it’s for 12 months access to this. Brilliant mind of Amazon FBA marketing. So for a thousand us dollars, I could be up there with him as some, you know, the best marketer on Amazon.
There is, and it’s not very much money. It’s just a been an investment in my time. Um, so that’s my number one tip is investing in yourself. So what I have done through the learnings of Amazon has been investing in myself with education.
Christie McCormack: [00:29:45] So do you see Amazon, obviously Amazon’s huge overseas in the UK and the U S how do you see Amazon in Australia?
Alicia Mewburn: [00:29:54] I see it like everyone else sees it at the moment. Pretty pathetic attempt. However, Amazon did not [00:30:00] come here to have a half go at this. They are here for the long haul. They have set up big warehouses. They have put a lot of money in infrastructure and slowly but surely, Amazon will win the hearts over of Australia in America.
I think there was a stat a couple of year or two ago, there’s a hundred million people in America with a prime membership. But Amazon, which means not only do they get the TV, they get two day shipping, so whatever they order on the internet, they guarantee to get themselves within two days, every single time, and a hundred million people subscribe to that.
Christie McCormack: [00:30:34] Yeah. That’s like, you know, over a quarter of their population. That’s exactly the population.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:30:40] And that’s not just their customers, that’s just their prime members. So their customers still range around the likes of, I think it’s, I think it’s upwards of 200 million unique visitors a month to the Amazon platform.
Christie McCormack: [00:30:52] huge. And I suppose then presents huge opportunity as well
Alicia Mewburn: [00:30:56] for people. Exactly. And for me, I’ve spent all of my little businesses [00:31:00] very much locally based, very much Australia wide. This has definitely opened up my eyes to the global economy. There is such a big world out there, but what the beautiful opportunities for anyone wanting to do this is if you, as I said, if you’ve got a computer, a phone, and a webcam, you can get this done and you can be selling to a global marketplace bigger than your brain can even understand.
Christie McCormack: [00:31:23] It’s amazing. Okay, so I recently read one of your Instagram posts that quoted in Thomas and it read, and every day the world will drag you by the hand yelling, this is important, this is important.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:31:35] You need to worry about
Christie McCormack: [00:31:36] this and this and this. And each day it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, no, this is what’s
Alicia Mewburn: [00:31:43] important
Christie McCormack: [00:31:44] is really resonated with me, as I’m sure it
Alicia Mewburn: [00:31:47] did a lot of other people.
Christie McCormack: [00:31:48] So what’s important to Alicia.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:31:52] Oh, so many things. Um, and I know that sounds like a bit of a cop out, but of course my family is my absolute, um, [00:32:00] number one. And I think really they’ve been my driving force throughout this whole journey of self teaching and entrepreneurship, just to be able to do something for them.
You know, as I said. We’re not poor by any means. We have a roof over our head and we’ve got food on the table, but I’ve always looked at this as an opportunity to buy myself, freedom for them, freedom to have choice of, Hey, let’s go to the snow on a holiday, or, Hey, let’s go spend a week at the beach without having to go, can we afford it?
Can we really do this? So my family absolutely is my driving force. On a personal note, I don’t do this. To be successful from an external point of view. I genuinely love this creation of a brand and being able to stand back and go, Oh look, that’s what I did. I don’t need outside influence to be able to say, Oh, well done.
That’s a great job. I personally love doing it, and I think that comes down to your life’s purpose. Once you find the thing that you actually really enjoy doing, you should be doing it. And it’s definitely taken me 40 years to get to that point. But [00:33:00] being authentic to myself and knowing what I want to do is the most important thing.
Christie McCormack: [00:33:05] Okay, so I’ve got one last question for you. Following on from that, what would you do differently if only you knew?
Alicia Mewburn: [00:33:14] If only I knew that education, whilst it’s set up in this country as a particular format, it’s not. The only way to educate yourself, nor is having a apprenticeship and getting yourself a trade.
That was literally the only two options we were given as kids. A degree or a trade. I’m looking back. I wish I didn’t do either of them. I could have been starting this job 20 years ago and look how far my have come between now and then. I’m not complaining because I also have now spent the last 20 years learning, but I just want, I would have loved to have known it wasn’t the only option.
There is education. There is ways to inform yourselves out there that is not just the standard education system that were presented. If only I knew [00:34:00] this was an opportunity, then I would have done it. So
Christie McCormack: [00:34:04] I think, you know, the jury is out on, you know, can we have it all? That’s, you know, a common theme out there, you know, especially for mothers, you know, can you have everything?
Can you have the family? Can you have the children? Can you have the husband? And it’s tough to do that. But I think what you’ve shown is that you can really, really try to do that and then try to find the passion in your life that you want to have. Um, and I applaud you for chasing after that. And I appreciate the time that you’ve taken to chat with us today.
Um. So thank you very much for taking the time and really sharing. I really appreciate it.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:34:41] Thank you so much. This is a, the first one of these have ever done, and I’ve been absolutely honored that you chose me to have a chat about. And it wasn’t really until we had a chat to sort of think back and. You know what, I have been working my ass off for the last 20 years, and it is hard to have everything.
Um, but as I said, once it [00:35:00] becomes part of your passion, it becomes a lot easier. And my girls now, they come in and they see me on, I’m a girl boss. They said, I want to be like you mum. And I’m showing them from a really young age, you know, four, four, eight and 11, that you can do whatever you want. You’re in control of your destiny, and you can have what.
You want, if it’s all that you want.
Christie McCormack: [00:35:20] That’s, that’s absolutely brilliant advice. And I suppose it also then shows the difference in the generational advice that we got from our parents to what we’re passing on to our children is that the world has changed.
Alicia Mewburn: [00:35:32] Absolutely. For sure.
Christie McCormack: [00:35:34] So thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, and if you want to know more about Kokoro living, visit their website, dot com or check out their Facebook or Instagram at Kokoro Living
Alicia Mewburn: [00:35:45] living.
Christie McCormack: [00:35:46] Alicia. Thanks,
Alicia Mewburn: [00:35:48] Christie.