I started a busi­ness: Hay­ley Rhind’s Kiwi-made fash­ion line

In the space of three short years, Kiwi mum-of-two Hay­ley Rhind built mil­lion-dol­lar cloth­ing busi­ness White Chalk from her Marl­bor­ough farm­house. Find out the se­crets to her suc­cess

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How it started

Nearly four years ago, my hus­band Matt and I were sav­ing hard to buy our first Marl­bor­ough

farm and didn’t have a lot of money to buy nice clothes. At the

time, my sis­ter-in-law Ginny and brother Nathan were liv­ing in Hoi An, Viet­nam. I said, “If I drew up some pic­tures of clothes I’d like, could you get them made?” She sent them over and it was like

Christ­mas; all of these new clothes were pretty much what

I wanted. Lots of my friends asked if they could get some­thing

sim­i­lar made. We joked, “We could go into busi­ness,” and then, all of a sud­den, we were in busi­ness. It was never the in­ten­tion. I was meant to be the ‘boy’ on the farm be­cause we couldn’t af­ford to pay a staff mem­ber to run it with Matt. As White Chalk grew and grew, we re­alised there’s not much point me be­ing on the farm, I might as well put my en­ergy

into that and we ended up get­ting a real boy on the farm.

Find­ing bal­ance

If I’m needed or want to be on the farm, then I can be. We can head out hunt­ing or

fish­ing when­ever we like – we’ve got two kids; Mil­lie, 8, and Jed, 4. No one can tell me what to do be­cause I’m never very

good at be­ing told what to do. To be hon­est, I don’t switch off but to me it’s not the end of the world if I don’t. Even when you’re out for a walk, you find that you’re

al­ways think­ing about busi­ness or what there is to do next. It does con­sume all of your time. I don’t think that’s a com­plaint

be­cause I en­joy be­ing chal­lenged, but it’s been hard. I don’t watch telly and I’m not very good at hav­ing down time. I find I can only de­sign on days when I’m in the mood. We have a lit­tle shear­ers’ quar­ters at our house with no cell phone ser­vice, I’ll of­ten go in there and if I’m in the right

mood, I can de­sign a col­lec­tion in a day.

USE YOUR TIME WELL

I did all of the sell­ing trips around the coun­try for the first two-and-a-half years, which was hard, it was ex­haust­ing. I was driv­ing 10-12 hours a day and go­ing in and see­ing shops, but it meant we could af­ford to grow the com­pany. We’ve now got reps, one North Is­land, one South Is­land rep on the road so it frees up my time to do things more ben­e­fi­cial for the com­pany. In the last six months we’ve started to em­ploy staff with tasks that aren’t spe­cialised to us. We now have staff pack­ing or­ders and find we can use our

time more valu­ably for mar­ket­ing, pro­duc­tion and de­sign. When we first started, we did ev­ery­thing our­selves so that we could af­ford to get up and off the

ground and keep the price af­ford­able.

IT TAKES COURAGE TO BACK YOUR­SELF AND DO IT. FOL­LOW YOUR GUT IN­STINCT AND IF YOU WANT TO START A BUSI­NESS, THEN GIVE IT YOUR FULL COM­MIT­MENT, OTH­ER­WISE DON’T BOTHER. PRE­PARE FOR IT TO RULE YOUR LIFE FOR THE FIRST THREE YEARS.*

All the clothes are now lo­callymade.

Left: The 33-year-old en­tre­pre­neur with hus­band Matt. Bot­tom Left: On the farm with her two chil­dren, Mil­lie and Jed.

Com­pany HQ isbased in Blen­heim.

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