What do red bands, New York fashion week and a little textile company in NZ have in common?


You'd be surprised. I was.

Last night I had the pleasure of hearing Karen Walker speak about her life and her business at the Farmlands Ladies Night in Napier. With most of my bookclub going along, it proved to be an unforgettable evening.

Turns out, what we have in common is a business philosophy, it doesn't matter if you're in your red bands out the back of the farm, if you're trying to wrangle a team of twenty hair dressers, twenty make up artists and fifteen models or if you're working with a hand loomer in India to produce the best linen products for a boutique linen company working out of rural Hawke's Bay.

Karen Walker went through eleven areas that were essential to her success and so many of them resonated deeply with me, and I know they did with other rural women in the audience. I won't go through each, but bear with me while I pick out a few and you can tell me if they resonate with you too.

The first was that she described her business like a piece of coral, made of lots of small wins that together make a business. There was no single moment or single success that the entire Karen Walker brand can be hung on. Which leads to the second area - hard work. Plain and simple, there's no short cutting this, no matter what business you're in. Be that communications, drop shipping, fashion, farming or homewares. If you don't have a good work ethic, you're going nowhere.

The third point was around creativity, and that creativity can be expressed and is essential in every area of business. It's not just the 'looking nice' things like marketing or in Karen Walker's case, the designing. It's applying creative thinking for the best solution to all areas from the boardroom to business planning. Ain't that the truth. Creative thinking comes in all forms.

Luck. That old chestnut. You can never guarantee this, but when it shows up grab it with all you've got, ride that wave and wring it out for all it's worth.

One of the best bits, and one of the easy ones to forget when we're self-suffiencent driven people - we're always better when we've got a team around us, supporting us to walk the path of success. Surround yourself with experts when you can. Don't reinvent the wheel, when there's a pro already doing a great job. As a hands on person and somewhat of a control freak - mentally I understand this, but man do I find it hard to outsource what I know I could figure out. This is my next challenge - thanks Karen!

It was such a insightful evening with Karen sharing her stories from years in a world that can seem like a parallel universe to most of us. Yet she has that way about her, that she can spin a yarn and make the unrelatable relatable.

Bless her cotton socks, after an hour presentation and Q&As, she still had time to mix and mingle, happily talking books with my book club. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak, she's one hell of a impressive kiwi woman.