Elana Pa’apa’a is one half of the founding mother/daughter team of Blush Clothing Playhouse. She is a musician and vocalist, a food lover, an optimist and an ‘entrepreneur’ (apparently…). She is also the Business, Social Media, Marketing and PR Manager of the business and the editor of this Blush Babes blog. She’s the one who laughs at her own jokes in the social media posts and the one who replies to all your messages and comments! But really, she’s just a 24 year old girl muddling her way through life like everyone else.
Our babes threw some questions at her, and these were her answers!
1. How did you come up with the name Blush Babes?
Ummm…I actually don’t remember the exact moment I came up with it! I do remember my thought process when I first started thinking about a name, though. I had been planning the blog in my head for a long time, and I knew it had to link with our business but not be too…spammy with the business name. And I also wanted it to somehow encompass the collaborative nature of the blog. So I think I just figured I’d stick with the word ‘Blush’ because that’s what everyone associates with us and then, you know…alliteration was my friend. And ‘Babes’ implied there was multiple contributors perfectly. And then just like that ‘Blush Babes’ was a thing! Ta-daaaa.
2. What does an average day look like?
Typically, I wake up at around 6 – 7am. If I’m up early enough I go for a morning walk, then I check all our social medias and emails and do a post while I have my morning coffee and breakfast (if I don’t, I can get behind ridiculously fast!). I’m always at the shop and open by 9am, and then I spend my day doing whatever the business demands really! Sending/responding to emails and calls, making sure the shop displays are looking good, ordering/unpacking stock, packing and sending orders, making appointments, working on our blog and social media by writing and planning posts, fiddling around with the website and keeping it up to date, etc. I then teach most afternoons. Oh…I’m also a vocal teacher! So I mostly teach outside of school hours when my kiddies have finished their school days. It works well because mum works her other job during the morning/day, and then when she’s done she comes to the shop to take over while I go and teach! And then once teaching is done I all of a sudden get extra boring. Usually dinner and then either a bath or I just go and die in bed and watch netflix until I pass out hahaha.
3. What’s your favourite and least favourite part of your job?
Favourite part of my job would have to be looking at, choosing and buying all of the clothes we stock from other labels. Mum and I both struggle to limit ourselves with the buying. I mean…it’s basically online shopping, just not for myself and not coming directly out of my own pocket. What girl wouldn’t love that!? And on par with buying the clothes is dreaming about our designs for our own label. We’re currently in the process of starting all of that up (you will see our designs being released sometime this year…so get excited!) and I’m seriously like a kid in a candy store when we talk about our designs and the direction we will take. Mum’s all professional and stuff most of the time when it comes to that side of things since she’s so experienced in it already and has already seen her designs being sold and worn…but me? Nope. Not quite so professional hahaha! I can see that that will quickly become my ultimate favourite once it’s all up and running!
Least favourite…I don’t know! There’s nothing about my job I hate by any means. Certain things are frustrating, but I can’t really complain. If I had to choose I guess I would say the social media side of things. Not the engaging and interacting with our customers and our Blush Babes, that’s quite fun! But the post planning and hashtagging and worrying about the engagement and reach and looking at all the analytics and blah blah blah. And the fact that I deal with all that by myself at the moment and can never completely switch off from it. It’s definitely enough to send a girl insane!
4. What’s your favourite thing about owning a fashion business?
That’s actually quite a hard question to answer. There’s so many things I love about owning my own business! Working for yourself is the dream, isn’t it? And I love having the freedom to create and think and innovate and to be able to actually put it all into practice. We created this business with the idea of having fun and playing around with fashion and business norms. Both mum and I are very visual people and we’re both very creative, and we’re never short of ideas. Owning the business means we get to make the most out of that rather than suppressing it by working for someone else, and to me that is priceless. And I get to work alongside my mum! She’s my partner in crime, and our skills and ideas compliment each other so well so I’m lucky to be able to work so well and so closely with her. And we haven’t had any major arguments about it yet…so that’s a good start haha!
5. What are your top 3 tips for managing a business?
At the time of answering this, we’ve only been in business for 1 year and 2 months. In the scheme of things, that’s not a lot of time! I’m also by no means ‘qualified’ in business management. I mean…I went to uni and studied a Bachelor of Music after all. Nothing to do with business or fashion haha! But I’m all about diving in and learning on the job. So from my unqualified, previously inexperienced position, I guess my top 3 tips would be –
Starting up a business without any knowledge about how to do that is hard, let alone continually managing it. You will also continually find yourself in new and unknown territory during your business venture. Research is key! Without google, we may never have started the business hahaha! I am constantly researching. Take your time to do it, too. If a customer or a client or a business contact asks you a question that you aren’t entirely sure of the answer for, simply say “I’ll have to get back to you ASAP on that!” and ask for their contact details if you need to. There’s no point giving out false information or doing something wrong and possibly getting yourself into trouble. Take the time to research it and get it right the first time. It’ll save you time trying to fix problems in the future!
2. Organise as you go.
As my role in the business kind of implies, I am also responsible for all the bookwork and record keeping for the business, including the dreaded tax! If I hadn’t have worked out a system that was easy enough to do and clear enough to just send through to our accountant at tax time, I would have boggled my brain completely by now. Keep records and organise them as you go, right from day one. Have a clear organisation system on your computer and specific folders for everything you need. I am so glad I did because at the end of our first financial year when tax rolled around, it was super simple! I already had all the records done and ready to send straight through, and all I needed to do was a quick stock take and ta-daaa! No stress needed.
If you can’t always have what you want, that’s okay. Be flexible and innovative and find the best alternative you can. There’s been so many times already that we’ve had a brilliant idea only to find out that it won’t come to fruition quite the way we planned, whether it be for financial reasons, lack of time or any other reason. If you can’t have it now, you’ve got 3 options: a) give up and don’t have it, b) put it aside for later or c) make do with what you do have and come up with an alternative. Giving up should never been an option. Putting it aside for later can often be a good solution, but being innovative and starting now rather than later is admirable. You’re just going to have to be a bit flexible with the details of your wonderful ideas to allow that to happen.
Also, take the time to rejuvenate and restart your mind and motivation from time to time. Even if it’s just one day of switching off from business (I know, it’s ridiculously hard!) when you’ve had a bad week and you’re feeling a bit flat. You’ll never get your best work from an exhausted and deflated mind.
Okay, I’m done. That was more than 3 but whatever hahaha.
6. What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Music is my first love. I started singing as soon as I could talk, and I started playing piano from a young age to accompany myself vocally. I graduated a Bachelor of Music majoring in Vocal Performance in 2013, and I’ve been teaching ever since and gigging on and off. I’m lucky to have been able to incorporate my two great loves, music and fashion, into two different aspects of my work…but even when I’m not working, music calms me. If I’m frustrated or tired or anything like that, just sitting at the piano for an hour or two is extremely therapeutic!
I also love doing absolutely nothing…hahaha. I’m extra good at just curling up in a ball, eating food and watching netflix, but only in small doses! More than half a day of that and I’m itching to get up and do something, but that half a day does wonders for me!
Aside from that, I love going out and exploring and finding new places (and taking pretty photos in these new places…obvz), spending time with friends and shopping is definitely a problem for me, not gunna lie. Online shopping or spending a day out looking around…I’m not picky!
7. What’s your favourite fashion trend currently?
I am currently obsessed with off the shoulder styles and stripes. Put the two together in a loose, flowy dress and I’ve officially got no hope of resisting. I’m a bit of a boho girl at heart, but I also love contemporary styles and the crispness of stripes, so when they’re combined it makes me happy! Oh, and bell sleeves…everyone loves bell sleeves right now, right!?