Tara McKeon, founder of Proud Poppy Clothing, is a multi-award winning entrepreneur for the following categories in our 2020 AusMumpreneur VIC-TAS Awards
- Gold winner – Emerging AusMumpreneur of The Year
- Gold winner – Retail Business
- Gold winner – Customer Service
- Gold winner – People’s Choice E-Commerce Store
Tara is a 34 year old Melbourne based mama to one, 3 year old son Brodie. She is an emergency nurse by trade but is now the director of one of the fastest growing fashion businesses in Australia. Proud Poppy Clothing are passionate about providing affordable, on trend, inclusive fashion options to women from size 6 to 24.
When did you start your business?
I launched the business in August 2019.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
Sitting back and feeling frustrated and well let’s be honest a little heart broken by not being welcomed in the world of fashion anymore. Due to motherhood, weight gain, life – my body had changed and although I still loved fashion, it didn’t love me anymore. I thought it was so awful that just because a woman’s body shape changes she has to basically change her whole identity if the clothes she loves to wear don’t come in her size anymore. It seems really trivial, but it can actually be quite traumatic. You lose who you are, well I did. I didn’t want one more woman to have to go through what I went through, so I decided to really create a store that was for all women – no matter the size of your waist or your wallet! I had a secure career as a post grad trained emergency nurse but as my maternity leave came to an end and my wardrobe was worse than ever it really was a now or never moment. I’ve never looked back.
What are you most excited about in your business?
The community of women that we have created and the reality that we really are more than just a fast fashion store. I am excited to see women reclaiming their mojo through fashion and just getting out there and living again! The messages we receive on how we have helped women regain their confidence, where a dress for the first time in years, even just enjoy shopping again absolutely make all of the long days so worth it.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
The balance of mum life and business! Learning on the fly! Big dreams, small budgets! Not being confident enough to speak up! A pandemic! So many things! I have made so many “mistakes” along the way but looking back would I change anything? Well yes some things maybe but really all of those “mistakes” have ultimately transformed into lessons and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Understand the difference between a hobby and a business. Are you looking at a side hustle? Or do you want to go big? I was so confused when I started. I had a vision – I imagined a side hustle but also planned to be a big mover and shaker in the industry. They are two completely different things. So when things really took off, I wasn’t ready for the sacrifices that came along with that suddenly. If you want to be successful, plan to be.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
By putting myself and my story out there for others to see I really hope I have made others feel safe to step into their own light and just go for it..
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
The connections that I have made with other like minded women have been amazing. Even though the awards were virtual we still managed to connect and have come together to help cheer each other on since.
What surprised you most about the awards?
That I won all four of the categories I was a finalist for!!
How did the awards help you in your business?
We were featured on the Herald Sun website which was amazing publicity. Being able to display the badges we had won on our website is also amazing for all of the first time visitors that reach the page. But again I have to say the connections I have made with other mums in business have been the game changer for me. All people I probably never would have met if it wasn’t for the awards.
What advice would you give to others mums thinking about entering the awards?
Just do it! Even if just for the experience. We always put everyone else before ourselves – do this for you!
What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
The connections that I’ve made with our customers. Some of them are now really great friends. It’s been incredibly inspiring to watch them come out of their shells and total blossom as they have followed the business. As we have grown so have they. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and I am just so thankful they have allowed me to be a part of their journey.
What’s happening next in your business?
So many things! We are opening a styling suite and event space in June which is incredibly exciting. We are also planning our first body positivity event. Stay tuned!
All images featured here are from Proud Poppy Clothing.
SAVE THE DATE – 2021 AUSMUMPRENEUR AWARDS!
Nominations open Monday 3 May 2021.
AusMumpreneur Awards Nights 8-10 September 2021
Conference and Awards Presentation 14-16 September 2021.