31 March 2011
Linda’s success is in the bag
Fashion student Linda Vydra’s idea for a unique, hand-crafted purse for the individual saw her land the Portman’s Fashion and Textiles Award, a nice $5,000 in her own clutch, at the 2009 Business Plan Competition. Entrepreneurial, creative, ambitious Linda entered the Competition in the first year of her fashion degree after she saw an email advertising it. She actually determined before entering that the Portman’s prize was the one she would go for.
Since being a finalist, Linda’s clutches, which are all created from recycled fabrics that are sourced locally and “in need of a new lease on life”, have been stocked at Fresco Flowers in Black Rock, Handworks in Prahran and Eco Innovators on Swanston Street, as well as interstate locations including Simply Red in Berry, NSW, The Next Chapters in Wahroonga, NSW, Sublime in Mona Vale, NSW and Epiphany in Darwin. Linda’s brand, Lydra, is also online in various markets. “The Business Plan Competition allowed Lydra to build marketing cred as a business through online avenues. I am waiting to finish studying for the year so I can concentrate on getting the website up and running,” says Linda.
“The Competition allowed me to have a better understanding of the business requirements to undertake a business. The judges’ feedback really helped understand what we might come across and what the challenges will be. The judges gave a lot of feedback on the product and what the market will think of it and also the idea of expanding it further,” says Linda.
For Linda, meeting like-minded people that are interested in setting up their own business was the highlight of the Competition. She advises future entrants to not get too carried away with their concept and focus on preparing a well-rounded business plan that meets all the judging criteria.
Most of all, the Competition gave Linda confidence. It taught her that “through hard work, you can achieve your goals”. “It was good to see that if I put my hardest work into it, then I could achieve what it is that I wanted to achieve,” she adds.
Linda recommends the Competition to all other students as “it’s a good opportunity to meet other students and start your own business, and hopefully get some funding.” She says to look out for the Competition as she thinks many people don’t know about it, but should, as it is such a great opportunity.
For now, Linda hopes to finish her degree and use the $5,000 to expand the business. “The judges suggested moving into handbags as well, and that is definitely something I would like to do, but it’s a matter of building the skills up and I’m still a student.”
Your accessory empire is not too far way, Linda, that’s for sure.
Interviewed December 2009