This week’s Ambassador Feature is with Kelly Lavery, Strucket
2019 AusMumpreneur Product Innovation Award – Gold winner
Kelly Lavery is a perpetual motion machine. When she is not assisting her husband in his chiropractic clinic or parenting three children, she is looking for ways to make life easier for others. When she had her third child many years after the first two, she was thrown back into a world of nappies and spit rugs. Faced with buckets of mess and messy kids, she thought there had to be a better way. So began her journey and evolution as a innovator and inventor. The Strucket was born – a combination of a bucket and strainer. Through Kelly’s tenacity and nous, the multi-award winning Strucket has been picked up big retailers, featured on TV and is becoming an Aussie icon.
Tell us the story behind why you love what you do and why you’re so passionate about sharing your message.
The idea for Strucket came about because I am a problem solver. Here I am, having my third baby, nine years after the last one. Home with newborn mess again and I have an idea – to invent a product that makes soaking bodily fluids more hygienic. As if I didn’t already have enough on my plate, I decide to start a business from scratch, knowing NOTHING about patents, tooling, technical engineering or pitching. But I did it.
Strucket was created to support parents with their sustainable journey. In a world where more aware of the damage we are doing through a throw away mentality, more and more people are returning to sustainable and environmentally friendly methods. Parents are returning to modern cloth nappies and reusable wipes, wanting to decrease their impact on landfill. Strucket supports parents to do this; to reduce water use, limit the impact of harmful chemicals and waste and reuse.
Tell us a story about a challenging time you faced, how you overcame it and what lesson/lessons/wisdom this experience has taught you about life and business.
Eight months before launching, we’re faced with the expensive dilemma of tooling costs. The initial design was going to cost $250,000. The risk at that outlay was too high; we’d already spent $60,000 on research and development, so giving up was not an option. It was suggested to do a redesign, minimise the tooling expense and bring a simpler version that still offered the desired outcome to the user.
I had to go to the original designer to do a redesign. He said disagreed. Understanding the long-term implications of not making the change were on me, not him, I had to find a way to navigate this conflict without burning bridges or damaging my relationship with him. If I didn’t do everything necessary to ensure Strucket was successful from a design perspective, it would flop. I had to decide to make the changes regardless of his opinion. I understood where he was coming from but could not let it sway my decision. His refusal to make changes meant I had to choose a different designer. I explained to the original designer the process behind my decision with tact and diplomacy. The changes that we made have been instrumental in success of Strucket; we have won a Good Design Award for the design of the product.
What are 3 pieces of advice you would give someone starting out in business?
1. Research. Research …and then do more research. You can never do too much research. Understand your market. Understand the process. Understand the different elements of business that will help you bring your venture to life. Business requires knowledge to be successful and crossing your fingers an hoping you have the right product, the right market, the right message is not good enough if you want to succeed.
2. Have A Plan…And Make It Big. A plan is the key to understanding your potential and nurturing it. Forward planning and strategizing is brilliant not just for your own education and growth but for attracting attention of investors, lending institutions and grant opportunities. Your business, when on paper allows you to remove the emotional roadblocks. Include within this plan weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual growth goals and figures, financial, investor, government assistance support and information and have an exit strategy.
3. Surround Yourself With Smart People. I run my business, but I outsource key elements to incredibly talent from a diverse field range that can grow my company. Some of these experts I have used short term, and some have been there from the beginning. Whether they are your staff, collaborators, consultants, subcontractors or mentors, it is important to ensure your values align and you have educated them on your brand story.
Image credit: Alexandra Anderson, Jam on Your Collar
What is your proudest business achievement? Why does this mean so much to you?
All my hard work and sacrifice has been worthwhile. I started with an idea and am now an multi international and national award winner with a product that excites people.
I got out of my comfort zone, increased my skill set, put money on the line, stood tall and backed myself. Within the first year, Strucket has turned a profit and it is in demand. I have created a bright future for my business. I go to Expos and Strucket sells out, Major retailers want Strucket on their shelves. I have learnt you cannot take your eye off the ball; you have to be looking to the front, back and side at all time. Entrepreneurship is all about tackling something that has not been done before; you are selling yourself, selling your drive and have to have a doggedness to keep driving it forward; it’s not for everyone.
What’s next for your business?
Strucket’s major goal is to expand to sell worldwide. We are in the phase of solidifying sales nationally and establishing Strucket as an iconic brand, like the Hills Hoist (a simple but effective product that solves everyday problems). We have developed a plan that includes working with an organisation to place Strucket into major retails stores, promoting and marketing Strucket online, to drive online sales and an expansive face to face sales strategy using trade and consumer expos across the country. By building Strucket into a solid Australian brand, we’ll create jobs for Australians and develop a worldwide presence.
If you could change the world, and money was no object, what would you do?
A big part of me is to leave something behind; a legacy. Money or an imprint, I idolise people like Audrey Hepburn. I love how she was an actress; that is how she got know and build trust. Through philanthropy she has made an impression and made a difference. Strucket is something that will change people’s lives. A stressed-out mum. A country that has water restrictions. Or a woman fleeing DV. Building into Strucket’s business model is a strong philanthropic mission; donations are vital to use giving back and making the world a better place. We started small by donating product to the floods in Queensland so they could sanitise their belongings. We are a drop off centre for Modern Cloth Nappies, which are given to women of domestic violence.
When we do make big money, I want to be able to mirror the legacy that Audrey Hepburn left behind.
Finally, what do you believe is the secret to success?
There is no secret. Success is about hard work and not giving up. It is about being comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is about not taking no for answer; if you knock on one door and no one answers, go find another door to knock on. Knowing every no is leading to a yes and the challenges you face, the more you succeed, the stronger you get. In business there may be one question with 20 answers, and you have to push to find the right one.
Entrepreneurship is all about tackling something that has not been done before; you are selling yourself, selling your drive and have to have a doggedness to keep driving it forward; it’s not for everyone.
To learn more about Strucket, please visit :-