Melanie from Goldn Wares sitting down among cushions

Lady startup Q&A:
Goldn Wares

Meet Melanie Mudge from Goldn Wares

What’s your elevator pitch for your lady startup?

Goldn Wares is a luxe but no fuss accessories brand designed to make everyone feel goldn. We specialise in most products being made from a plant-based material that is also biodegradable. We take a number of steps to minimise and repurpose our waste. It’s possible to be fashionable with ease, and be environmentally conscious.

Model sitting on a beach wearing a pink headband and hair clip

What was the inspiration behind it?

A good friend and I initially started up Goldn in order to offer men and women beautifully handmade, 100% linen masks that they felt proud to wear. They were and continue to be a success, selling out many times over. It didn’t take long to branch out. I have always loved hair accessories, headbands, clips, scrunchies, earrings – you name it – I love it! So it was only natural to run my very own line. I still pinch myself at times… I’m pretty proud.

What was your background?

Just a slight career change! My background is an Emergency Nurse. I loved it. Connecting with my patients would have to be my favourite part. I’ve found over the years many nurses would have a creative outlet whether it be painting, gardening or making jewellery, so it made sense when I found mine.

Did you dive right in or was it a side hustle?

I think we dove right into it. Masks were an item that had immediate demand so we worked very hard to launch it as soon as physically possible. But in all honesty, I think it has come and gone from a side hustle to a business and back again depending on the family’s needs. I have two children that require my attention and love, and I try every day to get the balance right. It’s still a work in progress.

Lemon, mauve and green coloured hair clips sit in front of mirrors

How do you find juggling a small business and being a mum?

I’ve been in business a little over a year, so I’m learning every minute of every day about the fine balance. Maybe I will always be learning. There will be times I can lean into it more and others that will require me to bring in help and focus on my family more. I love Goldn so much, it’s an extension and expression of me, and when other people love my products it makes me deeply happy. (I saw at least six other women with some sort of Goldn accessory in their hair at our kinder Christmas party – it was a wonderful moment!)

How do you reset and recharge after feeling burnt-out or overwhelmed?

I lean back into my family. They always ground me and help me to reset my intentions. Goldn is designed to make people feel good – me included. So I take a little time away, maybe the weekend off from reading emails and DMs, and then get back to business on Monday. This complete switch off really helps me.

Proudest achievements so far?

When Mia Freedman took a photo wearing her Goldn mask and captioned it with ‘It is the most comfy mask ever! You are so clever!’ She’s one of my business idols, so I was pretty wrapped about that! The other times are when I see people in the street or in an Instagram post wearing my clips and accessories. I’ve had such a wonderful experience with support and encouragement in the business world.

What kind of challenges have you overcome?

Let’s say the accounting side of the business is not my strong suit. I have loved learning all about social media, I love the fashion element, trending colours with classical loyalty. But accounting, balancing books, keeping receipts… I don’t enjoy learning about it. The best thing I ever did was delegate and hired a bookkeeper… There are so many areas to running a small business, you don’t have to be good at it all.

The other challenge was with myself. I struggled to acknowledge that Goldn was more than a side hustle and rather a business that I needed to invest time and space into. I needed child-free time to invest into my business, and currently do. At times I still think I can do a few loads of washing, clean up and cook dinner on those days, so I still have to keep myself in check.

Best piece of customer feedback?

I love customer feedback! It’s the best piece of data we can get as business owners. I have short hair and I love gaining feedback from people with curly hair, long hair and thick hair. It’s all so important to me so I can tweak things and adapt my product.

Model wears her hair half up and held together with a hair clip

What advice would you give others thinking of becoming ‘mumpreneurs’?

Just do it! Cliche I know, but sometimes we can overthink things. Mums with young bubs have to think soooo much from eating to monitoring poo, burping, stimulation, how much sleep etc. We’re constantly analysing and altering. So, coming from that kind of headspace it can be natural to apply the same kind of thinking to a business, but sometimes you just have to get it out there. It’s a moving entity… but nothing is stuck forever. Take the leap, get it out there, test the market, then go from there.

The most surprising thing you’ve discovered?

How wonderfully supportive the small business community is. I’ve just loved the people I have met and collaborated with! So many people are willing to share their tips, give you a shout-out and collaborate. It’s a community I feel so grateful to have found.

Future goals for your lady startup?

Oh, exciting question! I want to continue to dedicate more and more time to my business… that’s the first step. From there I can really see things happening. I’m passionate about my products being embraced by all: males, females and nonbinary. I’m constantly thinking of new products. But no matter what I launch, it will always come back to making people feel good about themselves.
Insta: @goldn.wares

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