As a proud advocate of partnerships, one of the things Kip&Co’s Alex McCabe treasures most is the opportunities her brand has created in its beautiful indigenous collaborations.
Tell us in your own words about Kip&Co?
We’re an independent, female-founded and proudly indie lifestyle brand. Kip&Co is a better way of living. It’s your best night’s sleep, it’s a meal with loved ones that feeds your soul, it’s memories made on backyard adventures and global wanderings.
How was Kip&Co born & why?
Kip&Co was founded by sisters Kate and Hayley and best buddy Alex in Melbourne in 2012 after we noticed a gap in the market for bright, colourful bedding. The response to our confident and eclectic sense of style was resounding and the brand quickly expanded into a vibrant lifestyle concept with homewares and apparel for every corner of the home, and every member of the family.
In the years of owning your own business, what stands out as one of your most memorable moments?
We recently celebrated our tenth birthday with the launch of our Kip&Co x Ken Done collaboration and a huge party with all our beautiful stockists, staff, and community. Ken has sat firmly on top of our dream list of collaborators since we founded the brand. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to partner with him. Another special memory was the collaboration with the Bábbarra Women’s Centre in Maningrida, Arnhem Land, which is governed by women, for women, to enable future enterprises that support healthy and sustainable livelihoods. Beginning as a safe space for women, Bábbarra now designs and hand-prints textiles that are sold around the world. We spent two years working closely with this incredible group of artists to create a collection that respectfully showcases their contemporary art, and tells the ancestral stories of Arnhem Land countries and cultures. We also travelled to the Northern Territory to spend time in the community with our families (unforgettable!) and listen to the women tell their stories in their own voice.
The partnership between Bábbarra and Kip&Co was best practice, and one that sets a benchmark for future collaborations. The last memory I’d mention is our very first trade show. We had a tiny card table, about six products we’d photographed at our home and big smiles on our faces. I remember being so tired at the end of the show, but we were so energised and happy ... we still feel like that today.
What challenges have you had to overcome since the beginning of your journey?
None! Just kidding. Every week there’s a new challenge. If you get into small business you need to love problem solving because you’re constantly evolving which means there’s always something new to face. That might be anything from supply chain, to warehousing to technology challenges.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when starting out?
Honestly not really! It’s not always been smooth but each challenge is an important learning experience. We have jumped around a few backend systems and I do think that would have been good to have a single system from the outset but that’s just thebenefit of hindsight, right?!
What advice would you give to the next generation of women in business?
Just give it a go - I’ve seen lots of friends with a heap of passion and great ideas get tangled up in having the perfect plan before launch. You can finesse as you go.
You are undoubtedly busy, how do you take care of yourself and maintain a good mental health?
One of the reasons we started Kip&Co was because we wanted to have a career that could flex around other priorities. We work flexible hours, have supportive families who also work flexible hours, and each of us does our own little bit of exercise with plenty of time spent in the ocean.
In your opinion, how can women stand in solidarity with each other?
Be supportive and encouraging. Collaborate with other females. Don’t be an arsehole. Join a female-only organisation or group - if you can’t find one, start one. Mentor or be mentored by a female.
What is your personal definition of success?
These are such good questions! I feel like I am having a therapy session. I feel like I am winning at life when I feel connected and present with family and friends, and we’re able to do the things that make us happy (dancing, being at the beach, laughing and sipping champagne).
What’s on the horizon for Kip & Co in 2023?
Always so much! We are extremely excited to visit Orange to attend Jumbled’s Huddle. We’re launching a brand new indigenous collaboration and we’re planning our next trip to visit our beloved suppliers in India.
Location: FITZROY | VIC Website: kipandco.com.au