Being Your Own Boss: Q&A with Business Owner Kristen Zeller
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After almost a year and a half of donut bouquets I reckon it’s about time to say hi! My name is Kristen @kristen.zeller, I’m 20 years old and I am the one who madly delivers your donuts, responds to all your emails and the lucky one who gets to meet you all when I deliver the bunches! I am so excited to announce that on Valentines Day 2019 we received 214 orders, smashing last years total of 139 orders. This is all you guys, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all your support for my small business @thebunchedco ❤️🍩
2 years ago, at the young age of 18, Canberra local Kristen Zeller took a risk and decided to do something that many other people her age would fear to do, and that was to create her own business. The Bunched co, as she calls it, is a small business which delivers bouquets of donuts and chocolate dipped strawberries to people in Canberra, Queanbeyan and Jerrabomberra.
Her business concept was one that was quite unique to Canberra and had locals going ‘Donut Crazy’ in no time. The business has over 3,000 followers on Instagram and has become so big that Kristen has now decided to put catering services into the mix. Averaging of 8-10 orders per day, she is one busy lady.
With most young people focusing on university or their full-time job, there are very few people who have created such a vibrant and successful business such as hers. That’s why I felt it was so important to pick the brains of the donut mogul herself, to see what it really takes to run your own business.
What made you want to start your own business?
I was up in Sydney at the hospital with my best friend at three am in the morning and was waiting for her to go and see the doctor. While waiting I came across a photo of chocolate dipped strawberries, and thought, hmm that would be such a good gift idea. That’s pretty much where it all started.
What avenues did you have to go down in order to start your own business?
I basically did all the legal stuff like register the business and then I just started practicing wrapping bunches and dipping strawberries, I was just obsessed with it. Then I started getting business cards and getting the logo up and going.
Then I made the Instagram account. The first day that I posted on the account I remember being in bed and posting 9 photos and trying to make it so that more people would see them. Then all of a sudden Her Canberra, picked me up and wrote an article about my business and within an hour or two after the article was published I gained 300 followers. Ever since then it has just taken off! I had 104.7 writing up about it, which I hadn’t even contacted, as well as 106.3 and even The Canberra Times. There was a whole bunch of different stories, which just came out of nowhere! I was really fortunate with how quick it took off because some people have to really work hard at their marketing whereas my idea was sort of a unique concept to Canberra and made everyone go ‘OMG!’. Therefore:
“I think that it’s really important to connect with people from day one”
Do you run this business all by yourself, or do you get some help along the way?
Most day to day activities I do all by myself. On the bigger days family members and friends, my Mum particularly, help me alot. When I’m away, obviously someone needs to run it, it’s almost impossible to close it down. On the bigger days like Valentines Day this year, there was like 13 or 14 people that were working for me. I had my Nanna, Pop, Mum, Dad, Stepmom and all my siblings helping.
What would you say is the hardest thing about running your own business, especially at such a young age?
There’s a lot of responsibility put onto you. I think you learn a lot about yourself as well. Time management is obviously a huge thing and trying to just juggle everything. It’s hard enough as it is when you just go to university but having to run your own business, have a social life as well as trying to keep fit, you sort of burn out eventually. It’s also quite lonely. Thank God Mum works from home as well otherwise I’d be home by myself all day and I wouldn’t have anybody to bounce ideas off. So that’s sort of where I use my family and my boyfriend to help me out because there’s only so many people you can tell stuff to.
The freedom, as much as it doesn’t give you freedom because you’re always busy doing stuff. There’s a quote that goes, ‘I’d rather work an 80 hour week for myself than a 50 hour week for someone else’. For example, if you want to go and get lunch with someone, you can go and do that. You make your own decisions. I’m not really one that likes to be bossed around. So like I said the biggest one is freedom, even though at the same time it doesn’t give you freedom, it does in like a variety of other ways. I had an email come through today, first time ever, from someone who is interested in doing work experience with me, which I thought was so cute. So just like a whole bunch of different opportunities.
What is your best tip for other young people who may be thinking about starting their own business?
Do something that you’re passionate about. I find that a lot of people run businesses that they don’t really understand or they’re genuinely not interested in. I think a big thing is don’t do it for the money, you’ve actually got to enjoy it yourself. If I wasn’t enjoying it right now I don’t think that I would still be doing it. Money isn’t everything. I think it’s also important not to get rid of your full-time job. Start the business up and see if it takes off and then if it does, you can make the decision to quit your other job. My best tip of them all though is definitely not doing it for the money. That’s the best thing because that sort of comes with time and if your really passionate about it, it will show.
“Don’t do it for the money, you’ve actually got to enjoy it yourself”
Do you have any plans to expand or grow your business in the near future?
I caught up with someone recently about potentially expanding it but not at the moment. There’s a lot of logistics around it. I mean I would love to but there’s a lot that I still want to do such as go to university and travel. Life would be harder to live with the freedom that I have at the moment. Canberra is one of a kind. There’s no need at the moment, I don’t want to leave my family.