Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.
Name and role:
Caroline Africh, founder and director of Attipas Australia
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
Attipas Australia makes ergonomic shoes for babies and toddlers. We have been going strong since September 2012. On any one day I could undertake an array of activities, including driving marketing and sales, managing the supply chain, dealing with customers and managing the warehouse. Oh, and looking after my two children!
How/when did you know this what you wanted to do as a career?
I spent the last 10 years building a career as a Project Manager in London but after the birth of my son Henry in 2011, I decided to pursue passion over corporate and leapt into a world of being my own boss! Having Henry made me realise the importance of spending time with family and children when you have the opportunity to. A home-based business suited this goal and certainly has allowed me to be a stay-at-home-mum as best as possible.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My children inspire me – I always want the best for my boys! Attipas Australia was actually born after I discovered these unique shoe-socks while on holiday in Japan. I was looking for a comfortable pre-walker for my son that wouldn’t fall off. After realizing Attipas’ untapped potential for the Australian market, I secured the exclusive distributorship in Australia and haven’t looked back!
Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?
I’ve not had a specific mentor but have received guidance from friends, family and colleagues. Many have provided advice which I have taken and utilized to my own advantage. My husband is a great sounding board when I need a second opinion.
What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then?
In the early days, starting out was hard especially trying to keep the business afloat whilst having a baby! Attipas Australia was still in early days when I was first pregnant with my second child, but by the time Oscar was due to arrive in October 2013, things were running full stream ahead! Although I had planned to work right up until 40 weeks, Oscar decided to arrive a week early, which was possibly the busiest week in my business’ history! That very week, I had a container arriving from Korea, moving warehouses AND I also had a stall at a baby expo! Quick thinking and being organised kept my business afloat, and I was able to work whilst in labour, delegate other tasks to family and managed the shipment/warehouse move via telephone. After Oscar was born it was a juggling act to maintain the business during the early days, but fast forward 9 months and we are doing better than ever.
How did you overcome these?
I was able to overcome the obstacles that was faced in the early days of the business with help and support from friends and family, and being organised really helped! Like anything in life, hiccups will happen no matter what. In order to be resilient and bounce back from them, you need to think quickly, act in an organised manner and ask for help when you need it!
What are your goals for the future?
We are planning to leverage our huge customer database and social media following by launching new baby products next year via our ‘Things 4 Bubs’ brand. Watch this space!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
My advice for anyone who wants to become their own boss while still having the opportunity to be a stay-at-home-mum would be to set goals and stick to them. Don’t expect to be rewarded without putting in the hard work and sacrifice. Push on and persevere and you will get there!