|Published on: Oct 4, 2018|Categories: Geelong Local| Neighbourhood Watch: Meet Amelia Francis from ‘Frankie Upstairs’ Where did the idea come from to create a one-stop gifting destination for all things mother and baby? The idea actually stemmed from my own naivety when it came to buying gifts for my friends who were starting to have babies. I used to pride myself on my gift-giving abilities, but when it came to newborn or baby shower presents I had no idea where to even begin! I wanted to ensure that whatever it was that I gave the mum-to-be that it would be useful and somewhat practical, but also stylish and considered a trend in the baby world. After chatting to some girlfriends, it became clear that I wasn’t alone. It was evident that a one-stop shop where they could choose from a selection of carefully curated individual gifts and beautifully packaged Gift Bundles delivered straight to the recipients’ front door was needed…. And so, Frankie Upstairs was born! What do you look for when you’re sourcing new products for your gift packs? I put A LOT of time into researching the products that I purchase for our gift bundles; each bundle has a story and a colour scheme. When I’m sourcing new products, I have to be conscious of the fact that it needs to coordinate with the other items I’ve already purchased to ensure my product offering stays consistent. I am also lucky enough to have a group of friends who are either pregnant or new mums whom I unashamedly survey to pick their brains about particular baby products and trends in order to gauge more of an understanding around what new mums actually want and need. Wherever possible, I also try to also purchase Australian-made, sustainable, eco-friendly, organic or 100% cotton products, as I know how important it is that everything we put on baby is free from nasties and won’t irritate their precious skin. What has been one of the biggest challenges to starting your own small business? And the most rewarding? I think the one thing people don’t realise about small business owners is that we’re never not working. As soon as our eyes pop open in the morning we’re reaching for the phone to read our emails, reply to the comments we received on social media overnight or checking how many online orders need to be shipped out that day! When we get into work there are 110 things on our to-do lists. This can range from viewing product ranges and placing orders for next season’s stock to setting up social media campaigns or optimising our ranking on Google to crushing the cardboard boxes that the stock arrived in. Our list of things to do varies so much because we don’t have a team of people that the bigger companies have, like marketing or buying, or even an office assistant or an e-commerce manager. This means everything falls onto us to manage and we wear all of those hats ourselves – I would say that has to be one of the biggest challenges of starting my own small business. For every second of the day that I’m awake, I’m working and doing the job of 10 different people! I’ve never worked longer hours in my life, but I have also never had the level of job satisfaction that I get from running my own business – I love it! It may seem like such a small thing, but the most rewarding part is receiving compliments about Frankie Upstairs, as at the end of the day Frankie Upstairs is like my baby and when someone tells me our website is beautiful, or that they love the products we offer or the service they received was amazing – that truly makes my heart sing and propels me to keep working harder. When I receive a compliment about Frankie Upstairs I liken it to what my friends have told me about seeing their baby smile for the first time, you forget all about the pain of labour, the sleepless nights, the poo explosions etc. and in that one fleeting moment it all becomes so worthwhile and that little smile fills you with enough love to keep going! How important is your connection to the local Geelong community? Incredibly important. I regularly have this conversation with friends who have either recently moved to Geelong or visit Geelong, because they are blown away by the giant sense of community they feel here. It’s been said many times that Geelong is just like a big country town with regard to the community feel and I couldn’t agree more. The support I have had from customers, media and other local businesses in Geelong has truly been overwhelming. This support is part of the reason why I have recently introduced Free Next Day Delivery for my Geelong customers as a way to say thank you and reward the locals for supporting my small business.