|Taking the plunge into business ownership is a daunting prospect for anyone. But in 2013, as a fifty-year-old mother this was the choice I faced. A decision that took me on an incredible journey to create M.M Linen. Here is that story…
After a hugely successful career as a senior buyer for Ballantynes and Ezibuy, I was a trusted and respected name in the retail industry. But 5 years ago, after a change in direction at Ezibuy, I left the company and was faced with the intimidating reality of being unemployed when I should be sailing the highs of my career. Senior careers in buying are normally based in Auckland & I couldn’t leave my hometown of Christchurch, a city I love living in.
Not ready to sit down and settle in to retirement, I plucked up the courage to call a business contact and friend of mine to see how he would feel about going into business together designing, manufacturing and selling linen.
Through my love of fabrics, design and interiors combined with my extensive experience in sourcing and designing luxury linen from across the globe I was fortunate to have access to the factories and manufacturing contacts I needed. One of these contacts was Henry Rawson, a UK businessman and ‘carbon neutral’ bed linen factory owner, living in Hong Kong. After a few discussions, he told me to get on a plane for a meeting in Hong Kong the next week. Within a few days I was on my way. Sometimes risks are meant to be taken. And that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Within weeks we were in business and M.M Linen was born.
To be honest, it’s very hard for women over fifty to take such risks in business, especially if they don’t have the resources and support. But I come across women every day who have amazing ideas, light and energy and the business nonce to make it happen. A big part is having confidence in your abilities, but just importantly you need someone to believe in you. I was lucky and brave enough to find that person.
M.M Linen is now in its fourth year of business, and our collection is sold in 250 stores throughout New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the UK. A select collection of M.M Linen is now being sold online through Next UK and we have plans to break into the US after a successful launch into the Canadian market. Our winter 2018 collection has been our most popular yet with sales triple that of our 2017 range. We have now expanded our range to include NZ wool blankets, cushions, bedspreads, towels, sleepwear, down, duvet inners, pillows and bean bags.
Thank you for choosing M.M Linen. I am proud that all our collections are created in New Zealand using the best manufactures worldwide.