What’s your story..?? .. What is MY story .. that is the damn question!!
When we started the empower women with kiss movement, I never actually thought I would share my story.. you see I am more of a listener, someone to lean on when times are tough. The realist friend the one you come to if you want a matter of fact no sugar coated answer straight to the point and cut throat…true to my virgo star sign, honest, perfectionist, loyal and fair…
Many of you have emailed me in hopes to read my story… whilst I did reply saying YES !! with such enthusiasm … deep down I thought shit.. who wants to hear my story..and how do I tell it!
So whilst I sit here in my pjs, in front of the fire, drinking my ever so expensive $7.99 bottle of French Brut from Aldi – accompanied by my favourite goats cheese feta, I will let you into a bit of my world.
My world is hectic, loud – like really loud I have three daughters who are all beautiful, but can combust on each other at any given stage and its a all in right down girl cat fight. I drive ALOT … I do most of my phone calls ( hold your knickers on I have bluetooth so its all legal and safe) to friends when in the car to catch up as its the only time I am either not working, parenting, riding our horses and did i say not working already? Im not the best friend… I do tend to suck in that department… but luckily for me my friends have learnt to sms me until i return their calls and never leave a voice mail because lets face it I aint got time for that … !
I work all the time, my life just rolls around working either on a current project or developing a new up coming project ( insert music “ everyday I’m hustlin ” )- I put my heart and soul into everything I do 110%, failure and imperfection is just not a option – which is not always healthy!
Our passion is horses and horse showing, its our life style.. we work hard and we play hard.. the horses and our horse family is our down time – our happiness, weekends are filled up at horse shows during show season and we love it –
Born into a family of successful entrepreneurs… back when all cars had wind down windows and cassette players..it was a given I would have working hard in my blood, as a young girl before I was old enough to get a job I worked school holidays with my grand parents in the orchard earning money picking fruit and working in their farm gate shop. Then picking black berries at the horse paddocks on weekends or picking up horse manure to sell on the side of the street during the school term.
Lets get into the Doc’s car from Back to the Future and fast forward a few years – After a long illness in my late teenage years that resulted in feeling so lost and lets be honest a bit of self diagnosed depression – I graduated high school – got my licence and took off to work interstate.
It was like a breath of fresh air to get in the car and leave my life behind in Melbourne… I just got in the car and drove, I felt free for the first time in so long.. Horses are my saviour you see, always have been and always will be on so many levels, so off I trotted – pun intended- I started traveling up and down the east coast of Australia, working as a groom for show teams, dressage teams, on cattle stations, for polo teams , eventing teams and at studs for a few years until I settled back in Melbourne.
My entrepreneur bug was still running strong and I supported myself starting my own businesses through the years and working for myself, my own hours, my way and I have always made great money out of them all.. I think it comes down to my love of order and doing things the right way – slightly ocd tendency I’m sure. So what ever I turned my hand to I always researched every inch of the industry and my competitors before I went forward and started them and every one of them I have started with absolutely no capital input.
I have always had a flair for the design and events industry – after helping friends organise and execute their events throughout the years on and off, so I decided that I would start my own event styling and management business, why not! what did I have to lose. I had become the go to person for this with friends and family and I had a small portfolio of decent photos so off I went.
What started off as running blind into the darkness..I grew my baby into a extremely successful and profitable business ! Only through hard work, sleepless nights, lots of hustle and a amazing support network! I worked my tail off, lived and breathed events, weddings and parties and had a team of employees under me, whilst most were great many were un-reliable and that used to drive me nuts, I like things done and done then when asked. I would have never asked a employee to do something I wouldn’t do myself.. I was landing large scale big budget events, within the first 12 months I was open and getting many blog and magazine features all over the world and making a tidy income from what I had grown to love and obsess over, things were rolling along perfectly.
Then I came to a cross road a turning point in my life and I was offered to coordinate a large scale festival a budget of over 200k was what would be needed to pull this baby off, it took 12 months to plan many, many sleepless nights and all of a sudden vendors were my neminus .. it had shifted from my employees causing me stress to vendors who were going to be exhibiting at the festival… I am not sure that these people realise how much time, money and organisation goes into even opening the doors to have a event on this scale… For 12 months I was consumed by the festival and also running the other booked events for our clients often we would do two weddings a day or a wedding and a birthday – thats set up, coordinate and pull down and often not in the same town ! The weekend of the festival came and went, looking back I think over all we pulled it off very well, there was a few hiccups with other team members in the lead up that was extremely frustrating and stressful but I think over all we closed the doors on the last day puling off what we wanted to achieve..everything was…. seemingly perfect on the outside… but behind the closed doors I was in emotional turmoil, I had completely and utterly given my whole life to work for the past 12 months nothing else was higher than the events we had for that 12 months they all came first. So once we closed the doors on the festival weekend and the critics.. you know the ones who could do what you did SOOOO much better started emailing us and offering their opinion on how we went what they liked and didn’t like from the event – I use the term offering losley.. and we got the pleasure of replying to these emails… I was exhausted emotionally and physically and those emails were the final straw I think looking back, they were soul crushing possibly more because I was exhausted… If i had been in good health and emotionally strong I would have handled them better and not taken them personally but the reality is I did take them personally and that is maybe what tipped me over the edge.. and one of the biggest life lessons I have ever learn’t.
My calendar was full with weddings and other events for the rest of the year which was amazing – it gave me something else to think about but the harsh reality was I had lost touch with reality. I was in a complete work bubble.
My marriage was failing by now and had been for few months, we had decided to give it a cpl more months and then part ways if things didn’t improve, neither of us could allow the time to fix it… to come back together as husband and wife again… work was the number one priority to both of us. I had not spent as much time with my girls as I usually had in the past 12 months and my eldest was getting bullied at school, my middle daughter was struggling in class and the third one just rolled along with everything lucky she was only a toddler.
So here I was a woman, mum, wife, friend and daughter standing there broken with tears streaming down my cheeks infront of the same fire I am sitting in front of now, – broken with guilt from not keeping everyone happy with the festival, for working so many hours and missing things with the girls, things I should have never missed, to just sucking in my relationship and feeling so alone. I couldn’t see a way out… so I decided to close my calendar and not take any bookings for a month or so once I had completed my already booked events.
It was a huge decision to make, one I didn’t not make lightly but it was one I had to make.. I had started to have a mental break down and all I wanted to do was run.. run far away.
I took the time off from the business and healed my soul and became the mum and the person I needed to be again and then decided I would not take on anymore bookings for the forceable future… massive shock to everyone I knew, but one I just had to make… I had to stop working weekends and nights, I had to stop being in Melbourne for meetings and networking nights. I had to make things right again for me.
Whilst I did close my books, it didn’t stop me from creating other businesses to make money from, they were just businesses that I could be at home, work from home and be a mum bit still fulfil my needs to be a entrepreneur… businesses that worked for me around my lifestyle – the lifestyle I had re-created for myself.
Jump back in to the Docs Back to the future car and we are in the present day – Rebecca has been a amazing friend and colleague for so many years now, we have both gone through lifes ups and downs together and are so very much a like. Often I don’t have to say what I am thinking because she just comes out with it and knows and the feeling is mutual… we had often talked about starting our own business together… lets face it we have been working together for years and have a swag of businesses we have created just sitting their waiting to start making money.
So when Rebecca said to me one day lets do this for real, lets help women just like us to start and grow their businesses to be successful – It was a no brainer and absolutely was the answer. With months of planning and more planning Kiss Branding and Design was born.
Now finally after so many years we can both do something we love together – we can help empower women all over the world, just like we have empowered each other – we can help create businesses with women, businesses that make money and let them live the lifestyle they deserve – Just like we have for ourselves.
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