Kick Ass Biz Mama #10 – Theresa Winters, Braidiance

Dear Ladies,

Today’s Kick Ass Biz Mama is a lady with a capital L! For the past three or so years she has taken it up herself to teach a new generation of Melbourne’s most stylish how to braid. (And that includes Dad’s too!) So get yourself ready for the next season of Game of Thrones and sign-up to her mailing list pronto.

Collette

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AYLA Maternity Blog Kick Ass Biz Mama Theresa Winters Profile Picture

Tell us about your business – when did you start it and what is it all about?

Braidiance is a Melbourne-based business offering workshops, private parties, and hens’ nights focused on one thing: braiding. In 1 to 2 hours, I teach people who haven’t braided before, or haven’t done it in years. I strongly believe that everyone can learn how to braid!

I got my start in a roundabout way in 2012 at Confest, a hippy camping festival in New South Wales that stands for ‘conference’ + ‘festival’. Attendees can spend a long weekend going to dozens of classes on everything from yoga to joke-telling. The second time I went, I offered to teach a braiding workshop. We spent a couple of hours sitting under a marquee having a great time playing with one another’s hair.

What inspired you to start your business?

I went to a workshop at Laneway Learning (a place for adults to take fun classes, taught by community members). Halfway through, I realised that it wouldn’t be so hard to teach something on my own. But what did I know a little more about than other people? Braiding! My braiding classes quickly became the most popular class that LL has ever run. When I found out there was a waiting list of 200 people, I decided I should definitely start offering classes under my own steam.

What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?

To start a mailing list. There’s nothing more powerful than being able to send information directly to people’s inboxes. I wish I’d thought of collecting emails at every workshop I taught before launching Braidiance. The more emails, the more potential future clients.

AYLA Maternity Blog Kick Ass Biz Mama Theresa Winters Braiding

What was the most difficult part about starting your business?

I had mental hurdles about how my website needed to look a certain way. But I settled for ‘good enough’ and designed a quick’n’easy one with a template. It’s more important to be up than it is to look 100% perfect.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned about running your business?

It’s pretty intense teaching a room of 30 women how to do half a dozen braids in less than 90 minutes! Because it’s a one-woman operation, if I teach too many workshops too close together I get burnt out. I try to make sure that I’m not over-extending myself.

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting your business?

No matter when I schedule a workshop, I seem to always miss out on an opportunity to cover an event for my other business, The Plus Ones (a media company/website that focuses on showcasing Melbourne’s best experiences). I just can’t go to everything that happens in Melbourne — though I do try!

AYLA Maternity Blog Kick Ass Biz Mama Theresa Winters Laneway Learning.JPG

What is one thing you wish you had of known before you started your business?

To research prices — I made it up as I went along, and for a while ended up not charging as much for my work as I should have.

What has been your biggest success so far?

What makes me the proudest is when I was hired by the City of Darebin here in Melbourne to offer braiding at a special day for victims of domestic violence. Being able to teach a lifelong skill to women who’d been through so much, a skill that they can use on themselves and their children to make themselves feel better, was very gratifying.

After a long day/night/week what do you do to unwind?

Reading relaxes me. I’m quite addicted: I usually smash through 70-80 books a year. Reading both helps take my mind off worries and fills it with interesting new information and stories. I simply cannot go to sleep without first dipping into a good book.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I plan to continue teaching Braidiance workshops no matter where I am living, in addition to creating a few e-books that will no doubt turn me into a millionaire. The best part about Braidiance is that it’s a totally portable business. People all over the world want to learn how to do fun things with their hair.

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