Life & Style Weekend - - READ -

Olivia Carr had big dreams of run­ning her own food truck. The for­mer mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive quit her job in 2015 and headed to New York to re­search the foodtruck busi­ness.

“I don’t travel any­where with­out a silk pil­low­case and when I was in a New York ho­tel, the ser­vice staff ac­ci­den­tally took my pil­low­case and changed the sheets,” Olivia re­calls.

“They told me that I prob­a­bly wouldn’t see it again. I had slept on silk for years due to my thin, moult­ing hair. I then tried to or­der one on­line, and frus­trat­ingly, I couldn’t find one that wasn’t su­per boring. That re­ally got me think­ing ‘OMG, this could be it’.”

She headed for China to ex­plore sup­ply op­por­tu­ni­ties. Three months be­fore the launch of Shhh Silk, she opened an In­sta­gram page and be­gan build­ing her brand. At the be­gin­ning this meant spend­ing more than 10 hours a day build­ing aware­ness on so­cial plat­forms while jug­gling in­ter­na­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Un­der­stand­ing the power of a celebrity en­dorse­ment but with­out the money to pay for one, she re­turned to the US, looked up Kris Jen­ner’s ad­dress on­line, man­aged to get through the gated com­mu­nity and de­liver her mar­ble pillowcase­s to the mother and man­ager of In­sta­gram’s holy grail of in­flu­encers, Kim Kar­dashian.

But months went by to no avail then

Olivia in­vested in a US PR agency mainly for their links to the Kar­dashian clan.

An en­counter with one of Kim’s stylists and Carr’s PR rep at an event re­vealed the Kar­dashi­ans used only king-sized pil­low cases. And shortly af­ter send­ing them the ex­tra-large ver­sions, Kim men­tioned Shhh Silk on In­sta­gram and in a tweet.

Shhh Silk’s pop­u­lar­ity soared and within a year, the busi­ness was up 632 per cent. Apart from the Jen­ners, fans of the lux­u­ri­ous silk pillowcase­s in­clude Giselle Bund­chen, who pro­moted them on In­sta­gram, and Elle Fer­gu­son.

“I started this busi­ness with the idea of be­ing able to be home for my kids ev­ery day, think­ing this would be a stay-at-home busi­ness,” the Melbourne mother of two says.

“(But you need to) pre­pare for growth and be pre­pared to work longer hours and harder than you’ve ever worked be­fore – the up­side is it can be on your terms.”

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