Kathryn Wilson is arguably New Zealand's most well-known shoe designer.
Over ten years, she has built a very successful company and is now stocked in over 100 retailers, as well as her own stores. Kathryn has been recognised with multiple awards, including ANZ Young Business Person of the Year, the Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Award and the Massey University Distinguished Alumni Award.
In today's retail and fashion world, Kathryn is doing things differently, and stands out as a true market leader. Kathryn will be speaking at the Nurture Change Business Retreat about her learnings in building a business from scratch.
WHO IS A LEADER YOU LEARNT SOMETHING INCREDIBLY VALUABLE FROM?
Sir Ray Avery speaks about the idea we are born with 30,000 days and that we should be 'reverse engineering' the days we have left to achieve personal and life goals and to make the most of every single day. It's an important reminder to enjoy ourselves and be happy.
HOW WOULD YOUR TEAM DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?
I like to celebrate the successes no matter how small. It's really important to be transparent with the team - sharing our plans and goals so they feel part of the journey, and know their involvement matters to reach the end game.
WHAT LESSON IN BUSINESS DO YOU TRY TO PASS ON TO OTHERS?
Listen to advice from others who have been there before you. There are shortcuts to learn from others rather than making all of the mistakes yourself. Be respectful of their time, and be open-minded to different views or ways of achieving the outcome you're after.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LEARNING IN BUSINESS TO DATE?
Think big and don't take no for an answer. You need to back yourself and stay true to your ideas. I was told at 22-years-old to 'pick another career', as the footwear industry in NZ was moving off-shore and the traditional model of manufacturing locally was no longer sustainable. This only spurred me on to work harder and make a success of the brand.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON HOW YOU CAN FUTURE-PROOF YOUR BUSINESS?
Be open to change and never get complacent or too comfortable. You can always do better. Challenge the status quo.
WHO DO YOU THINK IS A GREAT INNOVATOR AND WHY?
Elon Musk – founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX – for challenging the norm and inventing products and services that better the world with a sustainability focus for long-term benefit. He is visionary, bold and thinks big.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INNOVATION OF YOUR LIFETIME SO FAR?
I was born in the 80's so the Commodore 64 was probably the biggest game changer introducing 'home computers' in 1982 - we had one with a black screen and green font/code. There was no going back from there!
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT IN ATTENDING THE NURTURE CHANGE BUSINESS RETREAT IN FIJI?
Meeting like-minded people who are passionate about growing their business and sharing stories by the pool.