‘’Hey! I’m Chiara, aka ‘Bear’. ? I’m a late 20-something Perth girl who loves the summer sun and smashing my face with ice cream. You can also find me hanging out at local Perth hotspots, beaches and homewares stores hunting for our next big thing.
Don’t laugh but… I did a course in ‘Event Management’ at TAFE and applied for casual positions at various Wedding Planning companies until one snapped me up. Yep – I’m that girl who had no direction in her life so went with the default choice of “let’s plan events because that’s so much fun and I don’t get to have weekends anymore! Yay!” said no one ever. Now I run my own friggin event business and STILL don’t have my weekends! Ha! But I wouldn’t have it any other way.’’ says Chiara Milford.
The twenty-something Perth girl, Chiara Milford, graduated high school in 2005, studied Event Management at TAFE, worked as a casual staff member at a few wedding companies setting up all the pretty stuff. Chiara had gone as far as she could with those companies, then decided to open her own business! Yay, here she is now!
The company name sounds awesome! But… What is Owl & Bear really about? Owl & Bear is in its third year now hiring handmade, bespoke furniture for weddings and events.
”To describe Owl and Bear – an event hires small business specializing in wooden furniture. There you go. I labelled it.” Says Chiara.
Chiara! It’s a pleasure to featuring you today as Women On Topp. Thank you so much for taking your time to let us interview you! We are absolutely in love with your work!
Chiara, so starting your own business. How did you do it?
I had been in the wedding industry for a while and knew it like the back of my hand. I had gone as far as I could in the wedding company I was employed at and needed a new challenge! I had seen a few wedding businesses pop up owned and run by girls my age and that inspired me to get started and be an entrepreneur! #girlpower
Brides are your customers. Is there a way you can describe them?
Young, funky, down to earth and the best customers that you could ever have! I’ve made a tonne of new friends who were my customers! 😉
We all have hard times too, some people find it hard to turn down a client. Have you ever turned down a client?
Yes! It was the hardest thing to do because I just wanted to help her and be a part of her special day but I was fully booked to the brim and I had to say I couldn’t work with her! Saddest day ever 🙁
Okay so handmade, bespoke furniture for weddings and events. Sounds pretty awesome. But how do you get people to talk about your company?
Social media! Instagram marketing was and is the best way for me to get people talking about my products.. And for free! Also finding a gap in the market for something new and not done before was a pretty good way to get my product out there!
They say every business owner have their own way and style of working. How would you describe your work style?
My work style is all done to routine! I allocate time for email inquiries, social media enquires and social media connecting. I plan each of my days to the T and before I finish for the day I check what I have on for the following day and prepare as much as I can so I can just get stuck in first thing in the morning. I also never work outside of 9 am and 5.30pm. 🙂
How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
I want to improve myself in the next year by becoming more focused, getting myself out there more networking
Tell us about your proudest achievement?
Just starting my business and making that first sale! I was so proud of myself for jumping in the deep end and out of my comfort zone!
What popular entrepreneurial advice do you agree/ disagree with?
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them? A big failure is saying yes to everything! I’ve learned it is ok to say no. I was overcommitted a few years ago, overworked and not in profit. I’learnedrnt you have to prioritise your needs and make sure you are making a profit with your decisions!
How does your Mondays look like? We know a lot of people don’t like Mondays.
My Monday’s are the best!! This is my day off with my husband and pooch – we sleep in, have bacon and eggs for breakfast, go out for lunch, netflix and chill and go to our local food markets for dinner. #livingthedream
We are so curious about the things you do on a daily basis. What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?
I research, read, keep on top of the social media updates and changes. I love to network and meet like-minded people to suss out new ideas and ways to improve my business.
Is there something about Owl & Bear that we won’t be able to find online?
Hmmm nope nothing! I don’t keep secrets from my brides!;)