In The Biz: Courtney Johnston, Entrepreneur
Updated: Oct 20, 2020
This week on the blog week have the effervescent and insanely talented Courtney Johnston.
This gal absolutely proves you can achieve incredible things when you put your mind to it. I've known Courtney since 2014 and I have constantly been blown away by her passion, drive, integrity and positive outlook on life.
Soon-to be a second-time mum, this talented gal keeps her passion & creativity in the foreground of everything she does!
Find Love Lulu Creations online!
You can check out her business Love Lulu Creations on Instagram, Facebook and Etsy!
How long have you been running your business for? And what is your business about?
I Started up ‘Love Lulu Creations’ in February this year with the outset of simply keeping my mind and creativity alive whilst being a mum and a farmer’s wife. I tried out lots of small DIY crafts and had successes and plenty of failures until I started painting plant pots and just found it was the one that stuck. I now stock a range of ‘Plant Pun Pots’ which is exactly as it sounds! Each pot is painted and stamped in permanent ink with Plant Puns such as ‘Don’t be a prick’ ‘I will Survive’ ‘I wet my plants’ and heaps more!
(Make sure you check out her Etsy store!)
What made you decide to go down the path of running your own small business?
I grew up in Brisbane where I had friends and opportunities surrounding me constantly. I spent my young adult years living with friends and working in the performing arts industry where I was spoilt to have an amazing social life and constant creative stimulation. Falling in love and marring a farmer meant my life would change dramatically however it was a change I was desperate to make and I now wake up every day knowing I am the luckiest person in the whole world!
Living on a rural farm however I was desperate not to fall into a monotonous routine of cooking, cleaning, washing, rinse and repeat! I needed to make sure I was still creating and challenging myself. Once my first daughter was born I was spending more time at home than ever and found myself twiddling my thumbs during her nap time. Thus the idea of Love Lulu came about, it was a way to keep myself busy during nap times and keep creative and connected!
Do you ever feel pressure to be “killing it” on social media? i.e. - do the number of likes or comments impact you?
Social media is something that doesn’t come naturally to me and something I have to work very hard at. A lot of the time I find that it’s another job entirely! Sometimes I find I barely have time to do the work let alone to take a photo of the work, editing the photo, come up with a witty caption, make sure you have all the right hashtags then finally post it. However, it is such an integral business tool, I don’t think you can have a successful small business these day without an Instagram page so it is something I just have to make time for. I don’t ever feel the pressure to have heaps of likes and comments however having plenty of followers is something I have to strive for. When I was starting out I would sit on the couch once the baby had gone to bed and follow as many people as Instagram would allow me to a night in the hope that they would follow me back. The more followers you have, the more people are seeing your product, clicking on your website and telling their friends. Social media drives about 70% of my sales – which is bloody huge! So, getting more followers on social media simply means more people see my product which equals more sales.
"I think especially over this next Christmas period we need to all be so conscious of where our money is going and try to not fall into the habit of buying the easier, cheaper option."
What does it mean to you to invest in yourself? In terms of both your business and you personally?
I guess investing in myself for me is simply just taking the risks and stepping out of my comfort zone. It would be really easy to sit back and take each day as it comes and not challenge myself or strive for anything for myself personally. Once you become a mother I think it’s very natural to forget about yourself and what you want and need, so for me investing in myself is simply just remembering that I need to make time for myself, to keep challenging myself personally and in my business. I think also at the end of the day, if I am taking time to invest in myself and my business it is going to reflect positively in my personality, which will in turn make me a better wife and mother.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
To be honest I think I am yet to face my biggest challenge yet. I am 2 weeks off having my second baby with my daughter being only 15 months old. I’m trying to keep really positive about it, telling myself that it will all work itself out However I know it is going to be a huge challenge for me. My aim is to continue as normal, creatively finding ways and time to still run my business however I may have to look into possibly hiring someone to help me or simply just scale back my operations until I can cope with it all. My family will always be my number one priority and looking after them and being their CEO will always bring me more joy and accomplishment than anything else!
How do you celebrate your business wins?
Well, normally I would say a nice glass of wine however I have been pregnant the whole time my business has been running! I will definitely be looking forward to one of those in the next coming weeks. I am a very simple person so a hug from my husband and a nice home cooked meal is all I need to celebrate anything.
What is something that you find is taboo about small business to talk about? And how do you think we can go about breaking down that stigma?
Do you know, I am the first person to say that we should all be supporting small family businesses, especially during Covid where families and small business are struggling more than ever! However I am also the first person through the doors of Kmart when I need something or I am buying a present for someone- and I’m sure I’m not the only one! I am really challenging myself lately to be really conscious of this, to try and head to the farmer’s markets for my groceries and buy from ETSY or the markets if I need something specific or a gift. I think especially over this next Christmas period we need to all be so conscious of where our money is going and try to not fall into the habit of buying the easier, cheaper option.
If you could look yourself in the eye back as you were starting out, what would you say to yourself?
With my business being less than a year old I still have so much to learn and I will strive to be contently learning and growing whether in business or personally. The only thing I would look back and say to myself now is “just be confident and believe in your product”. I’m sure I will have a lot more to look back and tell myself in years to come but for now that would be my greatest piece of advice.
My family will always be my number one priority and looking after them and being their CEO will always bring me more joy and accomplishment than anything else!
Who is your biggest inspiration? - small biz, big biz, anywhere in between!