We believe that every business owner has an inspiring story to tell. A story of how they began. A story of how they overcame the odds. A story of what drives them. A story of when they had a breakthrough. A story of who inspires them to keep going. Entrepreneurs of Brisbane is where we tell these inspirational stories, one entrepreneur at a time.
Hi Entrepreneurs Jessica Kate here, Editor of Entrepreneurs of Brisbane (EOB) and Community Manager at Inspire CA.
Like most women in this world I love the feeling that comes with wearing the most beautifully designed outfit. Especially the one that seems to take you to a new dimension as the delicately woven silk brushes your body as you slip it on.
This driven young man, Joshua Kilroy gets out of bed because he has a really strong passion for Australian fashion.
"I love it. I love what I do. I love the happiness that a girl or a woman feels when they are styled to perfection! "
Introducing Joshua Kilroy, Founder of Tyson & Peppa Fashion Boutique:
Harvee Pene: How long has Tyson & Peppa been a business?
Joshua Kilroy: I launched Tyson & Peppa as a fashion blog in November of 2014 and it took off quite strongly, but I realised it’s not something that I was passionate about so I opened my Retail Store on James St in July 2015. I think searching for that fame thing is ridiculous. You should do what your heart desires, and my heart desire was to work with Australian labels, which I've always done and loved, and to bring a sense of something a little bit different to Brisbane and give women a little taste of something a little bit different to what they've seen here.
Harvee Pene: It's been 7 months then. If you had the ability to go back and speak to Joshua back in July, what would be the one piece of advice you'd give yourself?
Joshua Kilroy: Slow down. Slow down, you don't have to do everything at once. By that I mean, I outlaid a lot of money at the beginning for a lot of things that I shouldn't have done now in hindsight. Which were great things now for the business, but realistically I could have done it without them. It was more thinking that I needed to do massive VIP nights and outlay money for events and things like that I see now is people were coming here because I'd created an ambient space. It became a celebrity within itself, which I now regret doing that the way I did it because people want to come here and hang out and get their photo taken. For me, I don't want those people here. Fans are great, but fans don't pay the bills.
It was money, money, money and really keeping an eye on that money, but you think you need certain things that you actually don't and that's what I wish I could have seen six months ago, because I would have saved a couple of thousand dollars which would have been nice. You live and you learn, don't you? You've got to go through a few of those downs just so you know when you’re at the highs that you can create those highs yourself.
Harvee Pene: Is this your first business that you’ve been in?
Joshua Kilroy: I've been styling since I was about 19 so my styling business was my first business but it was never anything much… Being a stylish is a completely different business because you're literally working out of suitcases and cars and planes and tour buses and all of that. Being a stylist, you're the one being paid so you're working based on your credentials, what you know, who you know and how you can fulfil a brief.
Harvee Pene: Now you've got 4 walls, you've got a front door.
Joshua Kilroy: Yes, now I've got bills to pay. It’s things, it is boring number stuff but that's what it is. It's a different ballgame now dealing with accountants and invoicing and all that stuff that comes into it. GST and invoices all of that fun stuff you just go, "Oh yeah, good.” But the last thing I want to do at the end of my day is go to an event.
Everyone thinks that being a business owner in a fashion boutique is so glamorous, it's not. You're selling glamorous things, but it's hard work. I'm up until 11 o'clock at night going through invoices and it's not what people think it is. It's not all Instagram posts and f*ing fashion events. At the end of the day the last thing I want to do is go to an event.
Real business owners and real people who get invited to those things, never go. Which is why you always see their staff there because the people who are actually doing something are actually doing something, they're not going to the open of a letter and having f*ing canapés and a free glass of wine, I'd rather be at home, watching television because I've had a long day talking to strangers, why the heck do I want to go out and talk to more?
Harvee Pene: Speaking of that, Why do you do what you do? What gets you out of bed? Why do you put the hard work in?
Joshua Kilroy: I get out of bed because I have a really strong passion for Australian fashion, I love it. I love what I do. I love the happiness that you bring to a girl or to a woman. I've had girls that I've dressed and then now I'm dressing their daughters for their formals and it's crazy. It's not just about beautiful clothes, it's about creating relationships with people that will last a lifetime.
Harvee Pene: That's awesome. Speaking of those generations, for us, family is a really important thing. Our focus is on helping people get the business side of things sorted so that family can be put first, what is your family situation look like? What's your heritage?
Joshua Kilroy: I'm indigenous, my dad's indigenous and my mum's Caucasian/Australian. I come from a working class family who, my whole entire life I've seen my parents work full time jobs, study more than one degree at a time, while also going through all of this different types of media coverage throughout their lives. Being in the media spotlight for whatever reason that may be. I've grown up quite heavily with that. I have a really grounded sense of who I am and where I come from. It wasn't until later in life where we started having a bit of money so I grew up my whole entire life really working for everything. I had my first job at 12 and a half, when I was in year 8 and I had to get my mum to write me a letter.
I've always come from, you work hard and the rewards are even greater but you've got to put the hard work in. Hard work is hard. That's what it is. You've got to get through it and every day you've just got to go, "Okay, today's a new day," and you don't think about yesterday and you've just got to get up and keep going. I think that's the hardest thing with a small business, you don't know what's going to walk in the door. It can become very m
undane and it can get sad at times because you're like, "I'm doing everything right, what else could I or should I be doing?" You sit here and you wrap your brain about things.
You just have to get up everyday and keep cutting away at it and one day, the tree will fall. You just have to keep chipping at it.
Harvee Pene: There's been so much cool things that you've said, to connect yours and mine's path, one of the reasons that I do what I do is when we came here from New Zealand, Australia was the land of opportunity for us. We had nothing and by us helping families I feel like we're giving more opportunities to that little Kiwi family who arrived on Australian shores back in '88. As a fellow indigenous of our land, I know part of it is giving an example for them, so do you have any advice that is culturally related to your people?
Joshua Kilroy: Follow your dreams. Don't let society, especially the society we live in dictate who you can be and what you can be. It's one of those things where when I say that I'm indigenous, the first line that comes out of people's mouths is, ”Oh you don't look indigenous.” What's your idea of what an indigenous person is supposed to look like? For me, it's changing the footprint of that. Indigenous people are calm, beautiful, creative people most of the time and we're very intelligent people. We're the longest living race in the entire world, of the history of time.
People really want to downplay indigenous people in this country and it really upsets me but there's so many great indigenous people out there doing great things and not just in sports. There’s so many diverse indigenous people out there that are doing such good things that aren’t being recognised how they should be. Adam Goods is a very clean example of that, of the racism that's within this country… "We've got to change that. Something's got to f*ing give here."
Harvee Pene: That's awesome, I can see from your example of what you're doing here and how you compose yourself, you are part of that change and that's awesome. So cool.
Joshua Kilroy: Yeah, thanks! And that’s another reason why I do what I do. At Tyson & Peppa instead of trying to create this idea of class women are typically earning 36,000 dollars a year, so stop trying to act like you earn 130,000 dollars a year! F* off. You don't have to be a millionaire to appreciate great design, to appreciate beautiful things. Why can't we be normal and have a normal conversation? We're all humans.
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