The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

GOLD! I Built A Worldwide Business From Broke.

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Good morning from rural Australia,

In a nutshell, my partner and I design and make textile products that are simple solutions for difficult problems. We have 400,000 customers in 30 countries around the world who think our products are the best thing since sliced bread. The icing on the cake is that all our products are made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability. We are renown for our simple solutions that work. When others don't.

That's the event.

The process is this.

In 1992, my partner and I lost everything in Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating's 'recession we had to have'. We closed down two businesses. My partner's 12 year old architectural practice. My market research consultancy. We farewelled 16 loyal and supportive staff. We sold our home of 22 years. Two cars. And our personal possessions. To pay off what debt we could. And made a scheme of arrangement with our creditors to pay off the remaining debt.

Poor as church mice. We left the city lights of Sydney Australia. For a rural life in a remote village with no internet access. No email. Not even call waiting. But it met our most important criteria. We could live in a farmhouse whose rent we could afford to pay. The village was heavily affected by a severe drought. And the house was not a desirable place to live. But it was our safety net.

We made a decision to find our way back by utilising simple solutions. Our skills were in design. And research. So we reinvented ourselves as designers and makers of textile products. Our first product didn't capture the hearts of the marketplace. But our second product did. We redesigned the humble ironing board cover utilising a low tech solution to make sure it was firmly anchored to an ironing board. So it never moved. Which is what makes people hate ironing.

If you make one good product. Customers want more. So we designed 6 more textile products. And today we have more than 400,000 customers in 30 countries. Without any retail distribution. And all done online today. But in the beginning, it was all mail order.

We've been down dark alleys. Wondered if we were certifiably mad to keep doing what we were doing when ironing board covers are not top of mind with most people.

But we discovered they are very top of mind with men and women who must iron.

Even though the subject is not sexy, our products, and our story, have been written about in every major publication in Australia.

We've been featured on mainstream TV. Interviewed on radio. Included in two books. The latest being 'Hunch' by international best selling author Bernadette Jiwa. I'm the 'Ironing Whisperer' on page 73.

The process of working every day is what got us to where we are today.

We did what everyone said we couldn't do. We built a worldwide business from broke. On a remote rural property. Before the internet and email came to our rural village.

I'm here to mix with like minded men and women. I have 35 years of business experience to share. I've done the hard yards. And would love to be of help to those of you who can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And. I want to travel further along the road to wealth.

It will be a pleasure to meet you. ~Carol❤
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Last edited:
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
G'day Limitless4Life,

What a lovely compliment. Thank you.

I can remember when I was 23 years old. And I would tell you. And everyone else that age. And older.

That there are two things we need to address.

The first is that there are no limits to what you can do. Or achieve.

We put limits on ourselves. And hold ourselves back.

No one else holds us back. Just ourselves. Lack of belief in what we're capable of doing. That's the big hurdle to jump over. Especially if other people are telling you it can't be done.

I always tell people that to change yourself, you have to change the story in your head that you tell yourself. It takes practice. But it does happen. Tony Robbins is an expert at that.

And.

The second thing is to simply take action.

Stop thinking. And start doing. Be prepared to make mistakes. Victor and I have made so many mistakes. But we learned from every one of them. And we have a better business because of them.

Failure is NOT making mistakes. Failure is NOT DOING!

Setbacks are part of the process. Victor and I just experienced one this week. While Victor was in a state of despair. I told him that every time we have a setback, we find a better way to do something. And we come out the other side so much better off.

And we did. The setback this week. Although crucial. Made us make a change. And that change has made our business better.

Have belief in yourself, Limitless4Life. Setbacks. Mistakes. They're part of the process that takes you further along the road to wealth.

Life is to be lived. And it's never perfect. I hope this helps. Never hesitate to ask me for help. I love giving back. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Carol,

You are incredible! Your story and insights will be very valuable to this forum. I'm glad I get to follow along, thank you!

If you were to tell your 23 year old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
G'day again Limitless4Life,

I'd like to add a few more things to what I've said previously.

Find men and women who share your values. And follow them.

For instance, I follow Richard Branson. Because he started with nothing. Has been through 'the process' many times. Skirted bankruptcy. Cares about his workers. The environment. And gives back in spades. Those are my values.

I also follow people who can teach me how to do things.

I need to cold call businesses. They're not looking for me online. I literally learned to cold call by reading. And executing. Three books by Stephen Schiffman. I not only read. And learned. But did.

I still remember how stiff I was when I first started.

Now. I have no trouble picking up the telephone. And starting a conversation with a business by telling them I'd like to do business with them. Can we talk? Tomorrow at 3pm?!

Not everyone wants to hear from me. Or you. But enough do that I grow my business effortlessly.

I cover the boards of several 5 star hotels because I picked up the phone. And asked.

I also make sure I position myself correctly online. Although they're not looking for me online. They will certainly Google me after they hang up.

This is all part of 'the process'. Following people who can help you. And teach you things. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Carol - this is an incredible thread. It shows the true highs and lows of running a business, but doesn't sugar coat the hard work. There are so many great take-away's for anyone readying it, but a few of my favourites are:
  • Work through failures
  • Have a great product
  • Stick to your values
  • Deliver awesome customer service
  • Hard work is key to success
Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story and so many lessons.
Thank you so much Laughingman21! Those are fabulous points that you brought to my attention.

Working through failures is a key ingredient. Most people give up too quickly. As soon as the going gets tough, they pick up their marbles and go elsewhere.

When Bernadette Jiwa interviewed me for her new book 'Hunch', she asked me why we persevered. I said it was a no brainer. We were broke. We didn't have two pennies to rub together. My partner designed the ironing board cover for his mother purely as a gift. Never as a product. We were amazed that all her friends wanted one. Having no $$$ in our pockets, we made 20 and sold them to her friends. 20 became 40. And before we knew it, we had made and sold 500 ironing board covers. Even we had to admit that this was now a business.

I remember the first Easter after we launched the cover two months previously. We were still very broke. Victor and I were standing in an aisle in the supermarket, trying to decide how many rolls of toilet paper we could afford to buy after we bought dog and cat food. Not far from us were two sisters buying expensive chocolate Easter eggs for their family. I did a mental calculation that those eggs cost them about $200. And here we were trying to divvy up $30 between pet food and toilet paper. I had to leave the supermarket because I was almost in tears.

Those gut wrenching low moments are when people cave in and get a job. We didn't want a job. So we had no other option other than to go forward.

I still pinch myself at where we are today. All the sacrifices and low moments were worth it. And we live a lifestyle on our beautiful remote rural property that is the envy of our friends. And customers.

Everything comes at a price. To succeed, you have to want to pay the price.

Love your feedback. I learned something about myself from your observations. I hope we stay in touch. ~Carol❤
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
29,487
102,699
3,751
Fountain Hills, AZ
@Carol Jones -- thank you for the incredible introduction and your story. You truly are the definition of an Unscripted Entrepreneur. Not only are you providing immense value on the consumer side, but you are doing a great service in offering employment to those who might otherwise struggle in that area.

Simply put, you're living life on your terms and as such, you're in a position to change the world.

I'm honored to have you here. And thanks for giving my little chat with Peter a listen.
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Rep+. Do you teach your disabled employees how to sew or do send them to a local instructor?
Thank you, Greg Rutkowsi. That's an excellent question.

We are a very small family business. And when we realised that our ironing board cover was becoming too big a venture to stay on our dining room table, we looked for a company to sew for us.

Several threw us out because we were too fussy.

All we wanted was for our product to be made with love and care.

We rang the Industrial Supplies Office in NSW. The state we live in. And asked them if they knew a company in our rural region. Who employed men and women with a disability. Who could sew for us.

They said they would be back in touch within two hours.

True to their word they did. And introduced us to our sewing company. Who we have been in partnership with for 23 years.

People with a disability need special training. Including medical care on site. Counselling when they have meltdowns. And the infrastructure to care for them. Which is beyond our means.

We know each of the men and women who sew for us personally. We visit each person when we visit our sewing company. And thank them for what they do for us.

These are very special people who love to work. And we tell our customers. And visitors to our website. That our products are made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability.

The care they put into the making of our products shows. Over the years, they have made millions of items for us. To date, we have only had one product returned because of a manufacturing fault. They truly love what they do. And make sure they put their heart and soul into every product they make. And of course. It shows.

Our sewers have epilepsy. Are autistic. Have mild brain damage. Some self harm. But they love to work. When we visit, they wave to us. And if they have a break, they tell us what they've been doing since the last time we saw them. We absolutely adore them.

Because it takes so long to train someone who has mild brain damage. We are unable to change the design of our product. Without it causing mayhem at our sewing company.

So before we turn a product over to them, we make the first 500 ourselves. So we're sure about the design. And know that it's as perfect as it will ever be.

Some consider this a downside. We consider it an advantage. By the time we've handed over a product for making to them, we know we've considered all the options. We consult with them about what their sewers are capable of doing. And adjust the design accordingly. ~Carol❤
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Welcome Carol. That was an excellent intro. How did you find the Fastlane Forum?
Good morning The-J.

I'm a member of Peter Voogd's Game Changers Academy. On Wednesday morning this week, Australian time, Peter had a call with MJ DeMarco. They were discussing his new book 'Unscripted'. But Peter and Austin Netzley couldn't stop raving about MJ's first book 'The Millionaire Fastlane'.

I purchased both books on Amazon Kindle immediately after the call. Have just finished reading 'The Millionaire Fastlane'.

Found it an absolute eye opener about the road to wealth. And saw much of my story in 'the process'.

The book talks about the Fastlane Forum. I looked it up on Google this morning. And signed up instantly. And I've been gobsmacked at the number of members I've already met.

I am so delighted to be here. And hope I get many opportunities to exchange stories and ideas with members about overcoming the depths of despair that are part of 'the process'.

Thank you for your compliment. And for asking how I found my way here. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Thank you, Andy Black. Love your feedback.

To answer your question regarding Google. My stats show that most of my visitors come from direct links. They are looking for me.

But I do have a presence on the first page of Google for my best search terms for ironing board covers. And have been there for many years.

People do search for premium ironing board covers online. Because retailers no longer stock them. Institutional customers like members of the military. Corrective services. Nurses. All have to iron their own uniforms. And search for me either directly. Or by keying in ironing board covers Australia. Or variations on that.

I ring online customers on a regular basis. To introduce myself. Thank them for their purchase. And to ask them why they purchased my cover, when it's one of the most expensive covers online. And to discover what search terms they used.

Their feedback is phenomenal. I don't get this information when they place an order. And. They are always shocked. And delighted. That I cared enough to ring them.

I use that feedback to keep my website up to date. And relevant to visitors.

Thank you for caring enough to make a comment. And I hope that we get to know each other better. If I can help you further, please ask away. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
@Carol Jones Great introduction!

From your posts it's evident that you're great at copywriting (your writing is extremely readable). Would you mind sharing your top books/resources on copywriting?

Also, if you don't mind me asking, how do you guys currently generate the most sales? Is it cold calling? And how has that changed? Was it previously catalogs?
G'day Against All Odds.

Thank you for your compliment.

I've been writing since I was 8 years old. When I was at uni, I took a creative writing course. After submitting my first story, my professor asked me to stop taking the class. She said I had a natural gift for writing. And the course would destroy that. So I dropped out.

I took chemistry instead. After two weeks, my professor asked me to drop out of the course. I was hopeless, he said. And he didn't want me in his class.

So I dropped out. And signed up for an ethics course. Which I loved. And I was very happy.

So I can't offer any advice about writing.

We generate sales from 4 sources. Cold calling. Google. Referrals. Reorders.

37% of my sales are reorders. 18% of sales are referrals. 33% of sales are from Google. And 12% are from cold calling.

Much has changed.

When we first started out, we wanted to stay out of retail. And had no money to advertise. So we had to look at other options. We chose the route of attending field days. Home shows. And other live events. Where we could set up a microphone and demonstrate our product. And how well it worked.

We did this for 14 years. Drove 60K per year. And collected names and addresses for a database.

Once a year we mailed out a catalogue. The first year we mailed out 260 catalogues.

When the internet came to our rural village in 2001, we were ready with a website. Rudimentary. But ready.

That changed the way we received business. And over the years, the internet started to become more important than the live events.

We hung up the car keys in 2008. And the wheels of our car did a little jig in celebration.

Today, we don't mail out catalogues. But email our customers several times a year to stay in touch.

We also started to receive attention from the press.

In 2002, The Sydney Morning Herald did an article about our ironing board cover. We sold $25K worth of product from that one article!

Which led to more interest from the media. Which gave us a presence we didn't expect.

And it was the first indication we had that our story of how we built a worldwide business from broke was important to our customers. And potential customers.

We grow every year. Because we pay attention to our business. But I have higher ambitions. Which is why I'm here. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Hey Carol,

Nice to hear your story. Thank you for sharing.

Are you still working full time now? Or are there other projects you're focussing on now?

What made you decide to share your story, and to help other entrepreneurs through this forum?
Good morning @MarekvBeek from rural Australia,

Thank you for your comments.

Yes! I'm very much working full time.

Other projects? Definitely. I want to use the credibility and goodwill I've built up with my customer base over 23 years to transition to other things. I'm not sure what that will be. I have an open mind. But whatever it is, it has to be something that is beneficial to the environment. And which helps other people. Although $$$$ is important. It won't be about making money. But more a case of the $$$$ following the cause.

I'm here because I'm looking for options. And want to meet like minded men and women.

Why share my story?

Because every entrepreneur has been where we've been. Perhaps not flat broke. But close to it.

And many give up before they give themselves a chance. And don't have the courage when they're really struggling to stand up to the flak they get from family and friends because they haven't reached 'success' in the time frame determined by other people.

We've been there.

Victor's parents are a good example. "How come my son, the architect, is now a purveyor of ironing board covers"? They couldn't understand that the 'recession we had to have' decimated the building industry. There was no work for architects for 10 years in Australia. And. They were embarrassed at telling their friends that their son made ironing board covers. Instead of designing tall buildings.

They also couldn't resign themselves to the fact that before the recession we were a very wealthy business couple. With a high profile in the Sydney Australia business community. I was on 3 boards of directors. And Victor was the developers' dream architect.

And afterwards. We were flat broke. With no real prospects for earning an income. I'm sure it caused them a great deal of personal pain.

Friends. Perhaps mean well. But were insistent that we get a job. Rather than fiddle around with something so trivial as an ironing board cover. "Who irons anyway? Doesn't everyone hate it?"

Our accountant. "You're not making enough money. You can't start a business in the depths of the worst recession Australia's ever had. Why don't you both just knuckle under and get a real job?"

And then the strangers we meet. "You really make a living out of selling ironing board covers"? Well not yet. But we will!

Then there's the disapproval from people because the product isn't sexy. Glamourous. High tech. The fact that people who are serious about ironing think it's the best thing since sliced bread doesn't matter.

The banks. "We can't lend you money. Nobody irons. Who are you going to sell to"? How about the 400,000 men and women in 30 countries? Just as starters.

The disapproval. And flak. Comes from all directions. And entrepreneurs starting out need to know they have to have a spine of steel to withstand the assault. And once you get over the hump, and realise your dream is possible, life doesn't get easy. But your faith and confidence in yourself increases. You become more focused on where you want to be. And more determined to get there.

Once you reach that stage, you start to stand up to your dissenters. And put them in their place. Including family.

That's why I want to share my story. To let entrepreneurs know that anything is possible. You just have to find a way to make it happen. Against all odds.

Appreciate your questions, Marek. They made me think - why?

If I can ever help you, please let me know. ~Carol❤
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Carol - every one of your posts offers up such a huge amount of value. If you do business anything like you post on a forum, I can see why you and your products are so successful.

How did you get through this constant advice towards the slowlane? How did you keep motivating yourself not tolisten to those around you and quit going for your dreams, despite the obvious risks and your (at the time) very recent experiences of failure?
G'day @Laughingman21 ,

Thank you! That's fabulous feedback.

What you read is me. I talk to everyone like this. When my customers ring - which they don't do as often as I'd like : online shopping is so seductive - we have very long conversations about what's happening in their world. We trade stories. Their experiences. My experiences. I look at situations not as problems. But as opportunities to offer solutions.

A customer who always ordered online rang recently to place an order. I asked her how she was. She blurted out that her husband had died not so long ago. We chatted for an hour. About how confronting it is to lose someone suddenly. Who she depended on. And the problems she had to overcome. Especially as she also lived on a rural property. We discussed all the things that can go wrong. Water pumps stop working. Blocked gutters need to be kept clean because they're the source of water that goes into the tanks.

Because of all the people I talk to, I'm able to put myself in their shoes. And discuss their problems in a way that they know I understand what they're talking about.

When she hung up she paid me the best compliment ever. She said she rang to order a cover. And ended the call discovering she found a friend who she could talk to.

That's all most people want. Someone who will listen to them. And who can feel their pain.

To your question about the constant advice to stay in the slow lane.

How did we get through it?

With difficulty.

Our decision to leave Sydney and move to the bush was two pronged. First. It truly was the only place we could afford to live.

Second. Victor needed to get away from the fear his parents wanted to envelop him with.

As a business couple, Victor and I had a very high profile in the Sydney business community. I was on 3 boards of directors. Victor was the dream architect all developers loved. We had a gorgeous terrace house in the trendy inner city suburb of Balmain. Before the building industry came crashing down on top of us, life was good.

Victor's parents personal pain at our loss was palpable.

Especially as his father was Australia's leading coal mining engineer in coal preparation plants. He was an industry giant at the time. Extremely well respected for his knowledge and skills. Not only in Australia. But overseas as well.

His parents were very wealthy. And they intuitively knew how big and devastating our loss was. As parents, they wanted to wrap us in cotton wool. To protect us from any further hurt.

They had a house in the country which they offered to us to live in. Free. But I instinctively knew this would be a bad decision.

We relocated to a totally different area. In the opposite direction. A four hour drive between them and us was enough of a barrier for them to not constantly be on our doorstep.

But then there's the telephone. The nightly calls from his worried mother became a nuisance that we just had to live with. She so wanted Victor to find a job.

Fortunately, Victor wasn't influenced by his parents. He knew our vision. Which wasn't much of a vision. Reinvent ourselves so that we could earn an income. And start getting out of debt. Without succumbing to getting a job. That was about as detailed as the vision was.

To be truthful, if Victor had been swayed by his parents, we wouldn't be together now. It would have been a wedge driven between us.

But the opposite happened. This catastrophe joined us at the hip. And although we disagreed on many things. We never disagreed about how united we were. And that's how we resolved all our problems. Compromise comes in many guises.

25 years later we are still united at the hip. And still disagree about many things. We live and work together 24 hours a day! But what unites us is far deeper than what we disagree about. And we have a shared history of experiences that few other couples possess.

The constant flak and disapproval about our low brow product amongst people in general - who irons? all covers are rubbish! - did affect us. And surprised us.

Whenever the flak became too intense, I always told Victor that the people we should be listening to are our customers. The people who put their money on the table. Not the people who would never use our product. And who had no idea of what it was like to start a business from scratch.

This was the era of the dot com boom. Sexy and high tech was in. Functional and low tech was not.

And guess who's still in business when they're not!

You do need to have a spine of steel when enduring such criticism. And disparagement. And an enormous, unshakeable, belief that this is what you want to do. And that your product choice is spot on.

Every time we were tempted to throw in the towel, we'd say. OK. Now what do we do next? Nothing materialised. And as time went on. It became more difficult to toss away all the hard work we were putting into our customer service. And the friendships we were developing with our customers. And the six other products we were developing because customers wanted more of our quality and Victor's intuitive designs.

When the Sydney Morning Herald wrote an article about us in 2002 in their lifestyle magazine, Domain. When we sold $25K worth of product as a result of that article that lasted 24 hours. But was kept by people for months. It was our breakthrough moment.

All our friends saw it. Victor's family and their friends saw it. And suddenly we weren't so low brow, down market. We had butlers from big houses order. A few Sirs and Dames. Australia's richest woman at the time placed an order. A smattering of celebrities. Solicitors and barristers. Throw in a 5 star hotel. This magazine was high brow. And these people all lived in salubrious suburbs.

The journalist who wrote the article was one of the few journalists we came across who ironed. He agreed to receive a cover from us to test drive. Which he did. He also gave it to a few friends to test drive.

What did the article say? It was a full page. Complete with photos of the product. But the killer words were: "This is beyond a doubt the Rolls Royce of ironing board covers".

8 years after we started wandering in the wilderness, we were an overnight success!

How many journalists turned us down when we asked them to write a story about our cover? Over a hundred. We were like JK Rowling getting turned down by every book publisher. Except the last one.

Tenacity. Persistence. Self belief. A united front between you and your significant other. They go a long way towards overcoming the obstacles. Not everyone has those traits. But those of us who do are the fortunate ones who get to travel in the fast lane.

Thank you for asking! ~Carol❤
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Usually I don't post twice, but this is an exception. Just wanted to point out to others that banks and even big brands pulling out of certain market doesn't indicate that market is not lucrative. It usually indicates that old skanks ran out of good product ideas or improvements of existint products.

Like Carol, many entrepreneurs will be turned down by banks, because the only thing what they see is numbers and statistics. They lack vision that most entrepreneurs have and hence decline many funding requests.

Guys, be like Carol and her amazing husband, who acted like a King and a Queen in a chess game that defeated bankers.
Thank you once again, Almantas. What superb insight you possess.

Yes. We've been turned down by every bank in Australia for funding. They can't see ironing board covers as a viable marketplace. Yet 43% of homes in Oz have an iron. And an ironing board. That needs to be covered. In Australia, that's 3,870,000 homes. A big enough market for us.

Add in the 30 countries around the world where customers find us online. And it's a very viable business.

We operate without the safety net of an overdraft. Or credit cards. The plus side is the banks can't take our business or home away from us again. Being debt free is liberating.

We have no expensive toys. All our revenue is reinvested in our business.

But our lifestyle on our beautiful 54 hectare remote rural property. Set in the picturesque Central Tablelands of NSW. Is the envy of our friends. And customers.

We have to be very careful with our decision making. Growth is a high priority. And it must be self-funded. So we're always in the marketplace. Getting known. And getting to know others. And how they do business. It's a constant learning process.

Thank you again, Alamantas, for your words of wisdom. How did you know we've been turned down by every bank? You've read our story? ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Fellow Australian congratulating you on your business success. If you could travel back in time, reflecting on your experiences, what would be the two best pieces of advice you would tell yourself at the start of your journey to fast track your business growth?

Having been in business for 3 years and making many mistakes, I would say my best advice would be to do things as cheaply as possible (not in terms of being cheap with materials or your service) and to speak to someone in your industry. I think my failure on these points has cost me $100k plus (unnecessarily) and more importantly 18 months in having a better business model.
G'day @codonnell ,

Thank you for your comment. It's always a delight to meet another Australian.

First. We never do anything cheaply. We're selling quality. So our product utilises first-class materials. And when the price goes up, we increase the price of our product. I've never noticed we've lost customers. And this is obviously something you agree with.

I also don't skimp on the essentials for our business. We've had the same suppliers for 23 years. I don't chop and change. Or look for the cheapest price. My loyalty to my suppliers pays off in spades when I need them to move mountains for me in an emergency. As I did recently when the new premier hotel in Tasmania, Macq01, wanted 126 ironing board covers for their boards in a short time frame. So they would be on the boards for opening day.

I willingly pay for quality software that runs my business. Which means I don't have glitches that cost time. And money.

My accountant is top notch. His advice has been incomparable.

I'm a firm believer that you get what you pay for. And for me. Paying for quality saves time. And money. In the long term.

We keep our profit margins low. Which discourages anyone who is tempted to copy us. To begin with, the Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover is a pain in the bum to make. Fiddly. With 13 accessories to source.

People copy you because they can make your product cheaper. And maker greater profits. In our case, the profit margin just isn't there to make it worth their while.

Also. We're not me too products. All our products are unique. There is nothing else like them to compare with. And they are all protected by copyright design.

Second. We've also made many mistakes. But looking back 23 years, I would never again ask. And pay. Experts. For their advice.

We asked Charles Sturt University's marketing department in Bathurst NSW for advice. Their recommendation? That we be corporate. And edgy. And make our products in China.

That's not who we are. And is not the image we want to project. We're a rural business. And very much down to earth. And that's the image our customers love.

Victor is Russian. I'm an ex-pat American. Both immigrants to Australia. The last thing we want to do is export jobs to other countries. Our loyalties are to Australia. The best business decision we ever made was to have our products made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability.

Early on, we sought advice from the Manufacturing Council Of Australia. They appointed us an 'Angel'. As an Australian, you would know who he was. He lied to us. Totally misled us. He was only interested in lining his pockets with the grant the Council gave us. To pay him. He told us 'XYZ' company was very interested in our product. When we rang, we were horrified to hear that they told him they had no interest in our product. And please don't call them again. That happened 7 times in a row. We were shattered.

We have a litany of bad advice from 'experts'. All revolving around. Sell it cheaper. There is a dearth of 'experts' who know how to sell on quality.

Talk to people in our industry? They all make ironing board covers the same way. We are a breakthrough design. We rang Hills Industries. Who make ironing boards. We sent them a cover. Their marketing manager rang to tell us our cover was the best they had ever seen. We asked them if they would distribute our cover for us. Absolutely not, they said. Their prediction? We'll be lucky to sell 250 covers. Tops. We have more than 400,000 customers in 30 countries.

Our experience is that everyone sells cheaply. Because it's the easy way out.

We taught ourselves to sell on quality. It's harder. And takes longer to get traction. But we are so experienced at that now, that we don't worry about price. We only put it up when we have to. The last price increase we had was in 2014. By keeping our profit margins low, we discourage competition. And we develop a loyal customer base. Who are aware that they're getting value for money.

The second best business decision we made was to listen to our customers. They care enough to give us constructive criticism. We have implemented every change they've asked us to make. In running our business. And regarding our website. We have a better. And stronger business. Because of them. They're paying us. And deserve our attention when they make recommendations.

I don't agree that doing things as cheaply as possible is a good business strategy. There's always someone who can be cheaper than you. When you offer superior quality. You're offering value that people don't get elsewhere. And it's hard to compete with that.

Make no mistake, Codonnell, we are very well aware of the fact that we are the ironing board cover of last choice. Customers will always try the cheapest first. But when those cheap covers let them down. Time after time. They finally buy ours. And we have them for life. As one customer told me recently, "I was always looking for the ultimate cover. And never found it until I purchased yours". We hear that over. And over.

This applies to all 7 of our products. Not one of them is the cheapest. But all of them are the best. Ever!

We always say that our products work. When others don't. And once they buy ours. They know what that means.

Our values are giving the best ever possible to our customers. In terms of products. And customer service. To achieve that, we run our business on high octane fuel.

Those are our values.

We're all different Codonnell. And we all have different objectives in running our businesses. What's right for me. Could be totally wrong for you.

I hope this answers your questions. It's a pleasure to meet you. And thank you for your questions. They make me think of why we do what we do. Please feel free to ask more questions. ~Carol❤
 
Last edited:

Almantas

Nothing to Lose
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Dec 21, 2015
868
3,973
876
27
Ireland
Good morning from rural Australia,

In a nutshell, my partner and I design and make textile products that are simple solutions for difficult problems. We have 400,000 customers in 30 countries around the world who think our products are the best thing since sliced bread. The icing on the cake is that all our products are made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability. We are renown for our simple solutions that work. When others don't.

That's the event.

The process is this.

In 1992, my partner and I lost everything in Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating's 'recession we had to have'. We closed down two businesses. My partner's 12 year old architectural practice. My market research consultancy. We farewelled 16 loyal and supportive staff. We sold our home of 22 years. Two cars. And our personal possessions. To pay off what debt we could. And made a scheme of arrangement with our creditors to pay off the remaining debt.

Poor as church mice. We left the city lights of Sydney Australia. For a rural life in a remote village with no internet access. No email. Not even call waiting. But it met our most important criteria. We could live in a farmhouse whose rent we could afford to pay. The village was heavily affected by a severe drought. And the house was not a desirable place to live. But it was our safety net.

We made a decision to find our way back by utilising simple solutions. Our skills were in design. And research. So we reinvented ourselves as product designers and makers of textile products. Our first product didn't capture the hearts of the marketplace. But our second product did. We redesigned the humble ironing board cover utilising a low tech solution to make sure it was firmly anchored to an ironing board. So it never moved. Which is what makes people hate ironing.

If you make one good product. Customers want more. So we designed 6 more textile products. And today we have more than 400,000 customers in 30 countries. Without any retail distribution. And all done online today. But in the beginning, it was all mail order.

We've been down dark alleys. Wondered if we were certifiably mad to keep doing what we were doing when ironing board covers are not top of mind with most people.

But we discovered they are very top of mind with men and women who must iron.

Even though the subject is not sexy, our products, and our story, have been written about in every major publication in Australia.

We've been featured on mainstream TV. Interviewed on radio. Included in two books. The latest being 'Hunch' by international best selling author Bernadette Jiwa. I'm the 'Ironing Whisperer' on page 73.

The process of working every day is what got us to where we are today.

We did what everyone said we couldn't do. We built a worldwide business from broke. On a remote rural property. Before the internet and email came to our rural village.

I'm here to mix with like minded men and women. I have 35 years of business experience to share. I've done the hard yards. And would love to be of help to those of you who can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And. I want to travel further along the road to wealth.

It will be a pleasure to meet you. ~Carol❤
Today I had a mentally rough day. I was about to chew a xanax pill and hit a sack before I saw your post. Now, thanks to your post, I am pumped up and looking forward to tomorrow's businesses adventures!

Your progress has been simply amazing!

Thanks for sharing.
 

Almantas

Nothing to Lose
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Dec 21, 2015
868
3,973
876
27
Ireland
Usually I don't post twice, but this is an exception. Just wanted to point out to others that banks and even big brands pulling out of certain market doesn't indicate that market is not lucrative. It usually indicates that old skanks ran out of good product ideas or improvements of existint products.

Like Carol, many entrepreneurs will be turned down by banks, because the only thing what they see is numbers and statistics. They lack vision that most entrepreneurs have and hence decline many funding requests.

Guys, be like Carol and her amazing husband, who acted like a King and a Queen in a chess game that defeated bankers.
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
@Carol Jones -- thank you for the incredible introduction and your story. You truly are the definition of an Unscripted Entrepreneur. Not only are you providing immense value on the consumer side, but you are doing a great service in offering employment to those who might otherwise struggle in that area.

Simply put, you're living life on your terms and as such, you're in a position to change the world.

I'm honored to have you here. And thanks for giving my little chat with Peter a listen.
Good morning @MJ DeMarco from rural Australia,

Thank you for your kind words. The pleasure is all mine. And for me, it's an honour to be here.

For me and my partner, success came in very small steps. It seems we spent a long time in the wilderness before we saw a beam of sunlight.

It wasn't until we took our noses away from the coalface to reflect on where we were that we realised we had hundreds of thousands of customers. In 30 countries! That our story and our products had been written about in every major publication in Australia. That we had very high profile customers who were appreciative of our efforts. And that the best business decision we made was to have our products made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability.

The second best business decision we made was to listen to our customers instead of the gurus. Our customers gave us incredible feedback. And every bit of constructive criticism was used to change our business. And because customers cared enough to give us advice, we have a better business - and website - because of the changes we made to please them.

All of the above happened one. at. a. time. Over several years. There was no big burst of success. And I think this is where most of us get derailed. We're so busy trying to get from A to B. That we don't reflect often enough along the journey.

I do pinch myself when I realise how far we've come. We purchased the run-down 54 hectare rural sheep property we were renting. And turned it into a wildlife sanctuary. We removed the sheep and let the native trees and grasses regenerate. Which attracted birds. 120 species so far. And still counting.

We converted the barren hectare of paddock that surrounds the farmhouse into a stunning garden. We planted 110 trees to give us shade from the hot Australian sun. Planted thousands of fragrant shrubs as understory and habitat for small birds. Planted over 200 fragrant roses to ramble along the fences. And smothered the farmhouse with honeysuckle that scrambles along the roofline that not only shades the verandas. But permeates the air with its intense fragrance in summer.

We started this garden 20 years ago. Only planting tubestock and cuttings from friends and neighbours. Which was all we could afford. We could barely see the plants 20 years ago. They were the size of toothpicks when we planted them.

We've lost half the garden twice to severe drought. And when we replanted, we used only those plants that survived the extreme and harsh weather conditions we have here.

Today, we have a mature garden that is the envy of our friends. And customers.

Again, all of this is done one thing at a time. And it's been traumatic losing plantings to severe weather conditions. But we wanted a big country garden. So kept replanting until we have the showpiece garden of today.

And it's only on reflection that we become aware of how far we've travelled. The journey has been exceptional. And worth making.

And I'm looking forward to the next phase. As a member of The Fastlane Forum.

Again, MJ, thank you for your very kind words. They are truly appreciated. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Welcome & congratulations on your process & your success!
Good morning BrooklynHustle! Thank you! The road to success is never easy. More like a roller coaster. Fabulous highs. And stomach wrenching lows. But as I've just learned from reading 'The Millionaire Fastlane', everyone who is somewhere has been through the process.

'Unscripted' is next.

I look forward to getting to know you better. If ever I can help you, please let me know. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Love it. @Andy Black was right to make this GOLD.

Honestly this is one of the best Intro threads in the history of the forum. Granted, most people who come here do not have your level of experience. You have 25 years in this business when the average age of participants is 25.

But there are many important things to take away from your posts. You do things differently. When everyone is chasing greater profits, you refuse to compromise on quality. When everyone is looking for a sexy market, you stick to a market that really hasn't changed since the first electric steam iron was invented (and yet, is a HUGE market). When everyone is asking 'experts' and gurus, you're asking the customers and it all comes back to that.

You mentioned earlier that you like to talk to your customers. What's sad is that people really wanna move away from that. They see it as a waste of time, something that can be outsourced. Dealing with the customers takes time that could be used to make more sales, right? I'm in the marketing consulting space and all the time I hear "I'd rather not have to deal with the customers", as if the customers are a problem.

Some things can't be outsourced.
Good morning @The-J,

Thank you for your support! It's truly appreciated.

Customers are the lifeblood of every business. There is no business without customers.

I got my first job when I was 13 years old. Working in a department store on Saturdays in a small town in Virginia. Where my father was transferred.

I'm an ex-pat American.

I really wanted this job because I hated asking my parents for money to do things. I had an allowance. But in the eyes of a 13 year old, it was never large enough!

The owner of the department store didn't cut anyone any slack. If the staff weren't serving customers, they were fired and tossed out the door in front of everyone else.

I discovered that I had a natural ability to love customers! Including black customers. This is the south. I'm from the north - New York City. And grew up without discrimination.

Before long, all the black customers were lining up. Waiting for me to serve them. Because I treated them with the same respect that I treated all customers. My parents, who had ears everywhere, would have given me a severe dressing down if they had heard I was disrespectful to anyone.

Mr Leggett, the owner of the department store, adored me. I worked for him until I left for university.

I also had a babysitting business. To earn even more money. And I instinctively knew that being the ideal babysitter meant I was always booked.

I love people. I also love serving them. That's what you do when you have a business. You serve people. And when they're happy, they reward you with friendship. They want to get to know me. And that leads to loyalty.

I have somewhere on my website that we will walk over broken glass to make sure a customer is happy. And that's what we do.

I have no sympathy for people who don't want to deal with customers. That's not how you build up a business. As a customer, I've been on the receiving end of that attitude. I never go back. If I can go elsewhere.

You should tell your clients that their disdain for customers will come back to bite them on the bum one day. Karma is always in play!

I hope we stay in touch, The-J. It's been a delight to have you connect and comment. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Today I had a mentally rough day. I was about to chew a xanax pill and hit a sack before I saw your post. Now, thanks to your post, I am pumped up and looking forward to tomorrow's businesses adventures!

Your progress has been simply amazing!

Thanks for sharing.
Good morning Almantas,

Thank you so much!

Everyone feels like you do some of the time. The hardest thing to do is to keep our spirits high when we're feeling low. I do what you do. Look for stories about people who have jumped over hurdles. Skirted around brick walls. They're perfect triggers for getting back onto the main road again.

I look forward to getting to know you better. If I can ever help you, please let me know. ~Carol❤
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
29,487
102,699
3,751
Fountain Hills, AZ
This place is different from most of the Internet.
The book talks about the Fastlane Forum. I looked it up on Google this morning. And signed up instantly. And I've been gobsmacked at the number of members I've already met.
Yes, very different.

One of our members has enjoyed your posts so much (as have I) he's gifted you a full year INSIDER subscription.

Forum News - Anonymous Donor Comes Forward, Gives Insider Sub

In other words, the community here is saying "Welcome home" :blush:
 

Andy Black

Any colour, as long as it's red.
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
8,953
37,626
4,306
Ireland
Welcome, and thanks for your great intro and helpful and patient responses to other forum members.

What an inspiring story. I love how you've taken something "unsexy" and built a fabulous business from it.

I love that you don't have any debts.

I love that your product is so good that people rave about it.

... and you've had press coverage about what you've done, not about what you plan on doing (a gentle dig at "startup" world and their bold declarations).



I also love that you start each reply to forum members with a personal thank you.

40,000 customers and you're engaging with more people one at a time. I suspect that's a good part of how you've built your business.


You mention that 33% of sales come from Google. Is that people looking for your brand after touching it via some other channel? I can't imagine people searching for "ironing board covers", but the Google Keyword Planner could prove me wrong.
 

The-J

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Aug 28, 2011
3,508
8,083
1,966
Ontario
8 years after we started wandering in the wilderness, we were an overnight success!
Love it. @Andy Black was right to make this GOLD.

Honestly this is one of the best Intro threads in the history of the forum. Granted, most people who come here do not have your level of experience. You have 25 years in this business when the average age of participants is 25.

But there are many important things to take away from your posts. You do things differently. When everyone is chasing greater profits, you refuse to compromise on quality. When everyone is looking for a sexy market, you stick to a market that really hasn't changed since the first electric steam iron was invented (and yet, is a HUGE market). When everyone is asking 'experts' and gurus, you're asking the customers and it all comes back to that.

You mentioned earlier that you like to talk to your customers. What's sad is that people really wanna move away from that. They see it as a waste of time, something that can be outsourced. Dealing with the customers takes time that could be used to make more sales, right? I'm in the marketing consulting space and all the time I hear "I'd rather not have to deal with the customers", as if the customers are a problem.

Some things can't be outsourced.
 
Last edited:

The-J

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Aug 28, 2011
3,508
8,083
1,966
Ontario
The members are so amazing and responsive. It's a credit to the people working behind the scenes to make it so.
Wait until you learn that @MJ DeMarco is the single most active member here, by a WIDE margin; with the other mods having similar levels of devotion to the forum.
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Welcome to the forum Carol!

Thank you for the amazing vibes and inspiring words.

As Almantas said, you really do get pump up just by reading them.




Can we nominate a post to be featured?





Made me smile, thank you.


PS: I love your profile picture.
Thank you OmarLopez. Love your feedback! Very much appreciated.

I'm thrilled you love my profile picture. Photography is my hobby. This photo was taken on my remote rural property.

I go out every morning at sunrise. With my camera. And walk my 54 hectare property. I shoot whatever I see. Come back. Download the photos. Often 300 at a time. And post the best each morning to my social media accounts. Facebook. Instagram. LinkedIn. Twitter. I love sharing my rural lifestyle with my friends around the world. ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
Yes, very different.

One of our members has enjoyed your posts so much (as have I) he's gifted you a full year INSIDER subscription.

Forum News - Anonymous Donor Comes Forward, Gives Insider Sub

In other words, the community here is saying "Welcome home" :blush:
Good morning @MJ DeMarco from rural Australia,

The tortuous road we all travel to get from A to B is not only full of potholes. But is often full of unexpected surprises.

I purchased both your books on the recommendation of Peter Voogd of the Game Changers Academy. After the Academy's call with you on Wednesday morning Australian time. I read The Millionaire Fastlane in two days. It was such an eye opener for me, that I had to join your forum.

The members that I've met since posting my story yesterday have not ceased to delight me. And enlighten me.

You've created something wonderful here, MJ. That you're obviously very proud of. Full kudos to you for being different. Making it work not just for you. But for all the members here. And adding value to so many lives.

You. And your members. Have made me feel very welcome. And yes, I do feel like this is home.

Now I must go and thank @Raoul Duke for his extraordinary generosity! ~Carol❤
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
I've been in the market for a new ironing board cover for a few weeks now. I even have one in the boot of my car to return because it was rubbish.

Where do I buy please?
Good morning @Andy Black,

That's an unexpected surprise! But I'm delighted.

I'll give you some links to follow.

But before I do, you need to know that we ship via Australia Post. And the cost of shipping to Ireland is AUD$45.00.

There's more.

Australia is not part of any EU agreement. And as such, in July 2015, the UK imposed tariffs on parcels arriving from Australia. All parcels, regardless of cost, including gifts, incur VAT at the current rate. As well as a customs import duty. And a customs service fee determined by them. All this must be paid by you at your local post office before your parcel is released.

This is a dealbreaker for me. America is my biggest export market. The UK was 2nd. But no longer.

You must check this information with Customs to find out what extra taxes will be added to your parcel.

If you still want to proceed, here are some links. All costs are in Australian Dollars. Your credit card company converts to the Euro at the time of debit. The Euro today buys $1.51 Australian dollars. So a parcel total of say, AUD$133.35. Should be Euro$88.90. Check what their conversion rate is.

This is the link to the Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover page. Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover. Details

Our website is mobile friendly.

From there you can navigate to every other page, including the Superior Felt Underlay page. Which I strongly suggest you purchase if you don't have a good felt. People all over the world wax lyrical about this felt. It's included in the AUD$45 postage & handling.

On that page is a link to the PayPal shopping cart. All Products

You don't need a PayPal account to use this shopping cart. This shopping cart is also mobile friendly.

Also on that page is a link to a non-PayPal shopping cart. For those who have an aversion to PayPal.

https://interfaceaustralia.com/cgi-bin/cart/smart.cgi.

This cart is not mobile friendly. But. I have many customers in their 70's, 80's and 90's who prefer this shopping cart. So it's there for their benefit.

Our credit cards are MasterCard. Visa. American Express. Diners.

I think I've told you everything you need to know before you shop! If you didn't live in Ireland, 90% of the above wouldn't be necessary to tell you.

Everything you order from us comes with a Twelve Month Wear & Tear Guarantee. We guarantee that you can't wear any product out within 12 months. If you do, we replace it. At the end of 11 months, I send you an email to let you know your guarantee expires in 30 days. So. If you're having a problem, tell me, so I can fix it. We want happy customers. Not grumpy customers.

We also guarantee a complete no questions asked refund. Including your postage. If what you purchased doesn't meet your expectations. In 23 years I have only been asked for one refund. A customer ordered a cover. A week later her mother-in-law gave her a cover as a gift. Victoria didn't want to ask Barbara to take the cover back. So she asked me if I would give her a refund. Of course I would. And did.

If you need more information, please let me know. I would be beyond thrilled to see an order from you. But do know that the tariffs and VAT can be a dealbreaker.

By the way, in July 2017, Australia followed the UK's example. And we have to pay GST on all overseas orders we place. ~Carol❤
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
This place is different from most of the Internet.

By the way, I found you and some of your stuff, specifically the ironing board cover + the videos. That's a pretty cool piece of handwork.

I'm not going to lie, your landing page is... pretty unorthodox. But I can tell it works. Why? Because the info on it had me pretty convinced that it was a damn good ironing board cover. And I don't even iron!

By the way; if you're working on new projects or something like this, open a Progress Thread and let people know how it goes.
Thank you, The-J.

Love your comments about the website. It is unorthodox. And is meant to be different.

I very much appreciate your insight. We have uploaded over 70 A4 pages of unsolicited testimonials to our site. Many of them about our unconventional website.

You're absolutely right about The Fastlane Forum being different. The members are so amazing and responsive. It's a credit to the people working behind the scenes to make it so.

Also appreciate the heads up about the Progress Threads. Will keep that in mind.

I hope we stay in touch. Love your feedback. ~Carol❤
 

Walter Hay

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Speedway Pass
Sep 13, 2014
2,394
9,691
2,203
World citizen
@Carol Jones I have read every post and your full story on your website, and I love it all. As I read your story I cheered you on every step of the way.

I like the mindset that demands that you provide real value, and real service.

I like the fact that you pulled yourselves up by the bootstraps.

I like your website. There are too many sites built by people wanting to show off their website building skills, but don't present a customer-friendly, helpful and ethical attitude.

I like the fact that you employ people with disabilities. I did the same in my second business and like you, I got to love the people who were doing that work for me. Yes, "Made with love" is a good description, because I found them dedicated and conscientious, and overall a delight to work with.

And maybe I was glued to your website story because I was born near where you now live and operate your business. Having operated both of my international businesses from rural locations I understand the difficulties, but having escaped the rat race I wouldn't have it any other way.

To sit at my desk, looking out of my office window with cattle and kangaroos grazing next to my garden fence has been priceless.

Now that I am retired, I am like you, giving back. It's a great feeling, and incidentally it's an antidote to the dreaded emptiness that so many people feel when they retire.



Congratulations on the way the power of recommendation has worked well for you. When the well known personality wrote: "This is beyond a doubt the Rolls Royce of ironing board covers", you were really on the map.

I have had a similar experience when on another forum that I no longer frequent, a grateful member wrote: "Walter's book is the Rosetta Stone of importing." Rather extravagant, and I had no idea that so many people knew that the Rosetta Stone was the key to unlocking the mysteries of hieroglyphics, but book sales skyrocketed.

Getting those recommendations is well worth the effort. Congratulations on persevering.

In Post #38 you wrote: "Everything comes at a price. To succeed, you have to want to pay the price." That reminded me of the statement by Robert DeCastella the great Australian marathon runner: "You have to be prepared to cross the pain threshold."

Cheap ironing board covers from the big stores fail so quickly that I have been buying more than one at a time. Now you have another customer delighted to have found you.

Walter
 
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
@Carol Jones I have read every post and your full story on your website, and I love it all. As I read your story I cheered you on every step of the way.

I like the mindset that demands that you provide real value, and real service.

I like the fact that you pulled yourselves up by the bootstraps.

I like your website. There are too many sites built by people wanting to show off their website building skills, but don't present a customer-friendly, helpful and ethical attitude.

I like the fact that you employ people with disabilities. I did the same in my second business and like you, I got to love the people who were doing that work for me. Yes, "Made with love" is a good description, because I found them dedicated and conscientious, and overall a delight to work with.

And maybe I was glued to your website story because I was born near where you now live and operate your business. Having operated both of my international businesses from rural locations I understand the difficulties, but having escaped the rat race I wouldn't have it any other way.

To sit at my desk, looking out of my office window with cattle and kangaroos grazing next to my garden fence has been priceless.

Now that I am retired, I am like you, giving back. It's a great feeling, and incidentally it's an antidote to the dreaded emptiness that so many people feel when they retire.



Congratulations on the way the power of recommendation has worked well for you. When the well known personality wrote: "This is beyond a doubt the Rolls Royce of ironing board covers", you were really on the map.

I have had a similar experience when on another forum that I no longer frequent, a grateful member wrote: "Walter's book is the Rosetta Stone of importing." Rather extravagant, and I had no idea that so many people knew that the Rosetta Stone was the key to unlocking the mysteries of hieroglyphics, but book sales skyrocketed.

Getting those recommendations is well worth the effort. Congratulations on persevering.

In Post #38 you wrote: "Everything comes at a price. To succeed, you have to want to pay the price." That reminded me of the statement by Robert DeCastella the great Australian marathon runner: "You have to be prepared to cross the pain threshold."

Cheap ironing board covers from the big stores fail so quickly that I have been buying more than one at a time. Now you have another customer delighted to have found you.

Walter
G'day Walter @Walter Hay,

That is one amazing comment! I read it out loud to Victor. We're both ecstatic!!

Thank you for taking the time to read all my posts. And my story on my website. You've probably read the equivalent of a book! I find that the most touching of all.

Where were you born? Close to Mudgee? Kandos? Lithgow? Bathurst?

Next question. If you're looking out your office window at cattle and kangaroos, you're still in Australia. So where? I do see that you say you're a 'Citizen of the World'. So you've obviously spent much of your life travelling to. And/or living in. Other places.

#1. One of the real battles we fought was with website designers. Not listening to us about where our grassroots are. And secondly, not wanting to tweak words when I learned something new from a customer that would make my site better. We were always put on the backburner.

Sick of that, a customer told Victor, who is an intuitive designer, but not computer literate, that he could build his own website using FrontPage. Wordpress wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eye then.

With the FrontPage manual glued to his eyes, he designed. And built. Our second website. What you see now is his 6th redesign. With each new site, we became bolder with our desire to emphasise the ruralness of our business. And one of Victor's best decisions was to incorporate my photos that I take on the property every morning at sunrise, into the site. Customers and visitors love them.

We're now on Wordpress. And although Victor designs how the site will look. I'm the backroom gal with the technical expertise that makes it all happen. We sit side by side while we put a site together. We're a perfect team. As always.

#2. It's not hard to provide real value. And real service. All any business owner has to do is have a recollection of how poorly they've been treated at 'XYZ'. Or how bad the product was they purchased. And remember how they never went back. Multiply that by triple digits, and that's how much business a company loses every year because of apathy. But business owners don't seem to relate the poor service. And poor products. To their own business.

An experience that is riveted in my mind is when Victor and I were waiting to buy fresh pet meat in a shop. A customer came in. Who had been in earlier. His order for cat food hadn't arrived the first time he popped in. It was there the second time. While we were waiting. The owner of the shop, a classy gal with style, put his order together. Apologised for him having to come back twice. And popped an additional two, one kilo packs of cat meat, on top of his order. I will never forget the look of surprise. And delight. On that customer's face.

This is sooo easy to do. But too many people count the pennies it costs them to keep a customer happy. Rather than the value they've just added to the customer experience.

#3. Searching for a sewing company who employed men and women with a disability was the result of being thrown out of 'able-bodied' sewing companies because we were too fussy about how we wanted our ironing board cover to be made.

It is the best decision we made. These men and women are loving. And affectionate. Interested in us. And care about us. We're known as 'Mr & Mrs Ironing Board Cover' behind our backs.

How many workshops can you walk into where the people who sew for you are allowed to down tools? And come over and say hello? None.

They've sewn millions of items for us. And only one has been returned because of a manufacturing fault.

#4. Mindset. And reputation. Are everything in business.

With a strong, determined mindset. You can circumnavigate brick walls. Find your way out of dark alleys. Jump hurdles. And get to B. From A.

Reputation is everything. And I mean everything. When everything is stripped from you. All you have left is your reputation. It's the baggage you take with you everywhere you go. It's important that a person's reputation be in pristine condition. With no rough edges.

I can't tell you how many times we've been offered money under the table to bend the rules. Especially when Victor was the dream architect loved by developers.

We instinctively knew to decline the offer.

Because.

A reputation will either keep a door closed. Or magically open one for you.

Being in business isn't hard. It's not easy either. But knowing your values. And sticking to them. Makes the road less travelled a better journey.

Keep in touch! You really have added unexpected sparkle to our day.

I will be thrilled if ever I see an order from you. ~Carol❤
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Last edited:
OP
OP
Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 5, 2017
317
2,570
644
Rural Australia
You are amazing.
G'day @cmor16 from Oz,

Thank you!

You get out of life. What you put into it. Sometimes not in equal proportions.

But if you don't give back - if you can - when the opportunity arises, your soul remains barren.

When I look back on my life, I've had help on every journey. Setbacks too. But I remember the people who helped me.

It starts with my 4th grade teacher, Violet Deitsch. Who gave me confidence. After my 2nd and 3rd grade teachers tried to demolish it. Because I wouldn't be steamrolled by authority. That character trait does not bode well for any child in the school system.

And for every person who tried to undermine me in my pursuit to get from A to B. And everyone has them in their life. In spades. I have a memorable person who lifted me up with a helping hand.

I can never repay those people directly.

But I can pay them the honour of payback by offering others a helping hand.

That's how life works.

Never. Ever. Have I killed the dreams of another person.

I've mentored several people. For free.

Some had ambitions which they probably couldn't reach. But I didn't dissuade them from their dream. I just simplified it for them. Drilled down to the core of what they wanted. And helped them change trajectory. While still keeping their dream alive.

Life is negative enough without me adding to it. There's a plethora of negativity in the lives of most people.

But few people know someone who wants to offer them a helping hand. To let them know that what they want to achieve just might have a chance.

That's who I am. I'm an optimist. And a realist. I know how easy it is to want to do something. But also know how difficult it can be to take the first step.

I want to encourage people to take that first step.

I hope we stay in touch. ~Carol❤
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.


Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Sponsored Offers

Lex DeVille's - Advanced Freelance Udemy Courses!
-- HALLOWEEN SPECIAL STARTS TODAY! Get any of my courses at Udemy's current best price through Friday! Use code: HALLOWEEN Use any of the links...
Top Bottom