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    How to relocate your business overseas

    relocatenyc

    By Diana Scully

    As I write you this post, I am sitting in a Los Angeles cafe enjoying a pretty good cup of coffee (my standards are high given I’m from Melbourne!) and using the free wifi available. This has been my “office” for most of this year, as I spend time in the USA.

    I am an interior decorator and manage my own business, both in person (when I’m in Melbourne) and via an on-line decorating service I offer through my website, Spaces by Diana. This year, my husband and I decided to spend some time in the US to advance and promote his start-up business, Sports Where I Am. Along with all the issues associated with moving overseas, this year has been a big learning curve (huge!) in understanding how to re-establish my business in another country. If this sounds like something you plan to embark on, and assuming that you have already sorted out all the other generic issues associated with relocating overseas (visa requirements, accommodation and healthcare), then let me share with you some helpful tips to get you on the right track!

    What sort of business do you operate?

    I think its safe to say that not every business is easily transferable to another country. Most notably, if you work for yourself and operate an on-line business, this sets a good foundation as it gives you control and flexibility in your work. In addition, these other characteristics may also assist in a smooth(ish) transition:

    + Your industry is established in your new destination.

    + You can still maintain relationships with existing clientele from home.

    + Your business already has a market presence or connections with people/companies in your new country.

    For me, interior design in the US has a great influence on the Australian market. I decided that if I could tap into this market by setting up trade accounts with furniture designers in the US, I was able to offer my Australian clientele, a greater selection of ideas and products to furnish their homes. In effect, I could become the conduit between the two markets and draw and source inspiration from the US to Australia.

    relocatelaptop

    What’s the purpose of your relocation?

    This is an important consideration as any effort to relocate your business to another country is BIG work. If you understand the purpose of your relocation, this will then assist you with setting the right goals and time frames for your business. You may find yourself having to start over again if you do not already have a presence in your new country.

    For me, our greatest motivation was to set up and grow my husband’s business in the US, rather than expand my interior decorating business. While I personally believed (and still do) that relocating to the US has only been beneficial for me, it has required me to reconsider my services in the market and assess the suitability of my existing and future clientele. This has consequently led me to build great relationships with US furniture designers, as well as expand my on-line services.

    What’s your new market and who are your competitors & clientele?

    Preparation and planning is vital before your departure. I recommend some initial ground work about your industry in your new country. As part of my research, I considered the following issues:

    + Is my industry established in your new country?

    + Are there existing businesses already in my space that offer a similar service? Can I offer something different?

    + How long will it take to grasp my new market? How will it impact my operating business?

    + How will I market myself? How will I network to get my name out there?

    After all this research, I knew it was important for me to develop relationships with furniture designers in the US, expand my on-line decorating services, and network with local designers/creatives by attending workshops in order to establish and grow my business overseas.

    Other considerations…

    Regardless of your industry and business style, you will also need to keep in mind these issues:

    + Are there any legal barriers you need to be aware of in relocating your business? Visa requirements? Do you need to register your business? Tax implications for both your new country and home country?

    + Where will you work from? Home, office, shared workspace, coffee shop?

    + Will any time difference affect your relationships and communications with clients or customers?

    + What items are fundamental to setting up your business in a new country? For example: laptop, internet, bank account etc?

    As a very minimum, it is certainly wise to get in contact with a good Accountant and Lawyer in the initial stages prior to your departure, (you may even need one in your new country too).

    Make friends.

    You are in a city that you don’t know, immersed in a culture you don’t understand, away from all your familiarities, including your local supermarket, doctors, hairdressers and good local coffee shop. You can’t underestimate the importance of connecting with people, forming friendships and networking. This is integral to your survival in a new location and good time should be invested in this aspect of relocating.

    When my husband and I arrived in LA, we didn’t know anyone. A friend of mine connected us with an Australian living in LA, so we arranged to meet him in our first week. Fortunately, he was a superstar and we have become great friends. He has introduced us to his family and circle of friends, both Australian and local. He’s also been a great source to ask questions about working overseas including, recommendations where to work, how to open a bank account, finding a good immigration lawyer, locating the equivalent Officeworks etc… Tap into your social networks and let your community of friends know where you are moving to. Someone should know someone they can recommend you to meet!

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    Here’s the basics to get you started.

    + Do the initial research - if you are still keen, go for it!

    + Find a shared workspace close to home and join a communal table. Here you’ll find like-minded people you can chat to about work, as well as the local area. You will also have good access to the internet, phones, printers and other office-related tools. If you are in the US, check out We Work and grab a monthly pass to gain access to their communal work spaces.

    + Alternatively, if you choose to work from home, set yourself up with the basics, including a desk, chair, lamp and storage. If you are in the US, check out Craigslist to pick up some good second hand finds in your local area.

    + Crunch the numbers. To establish your business in a new market may take some time… so if possible, set up a bank account with some savings (three months would be ideal). This will also allow you to attend networking events, seminars in your industry and join a couple of organisations related to what you do.

    + Set up a bank account (and credit card) in your new country so you can access local currency immediately and start earning a good credit history to your name.

    + Join a local gym or social club to meet people in your area, spread the word about who you are and what you do. As I said earlier, connection with people is vital to your success as an individual and also your business.

    While this may all sound a little daunting, I can honestly say, it has been worth every bit. Having the opportunity to relocate overseas with your business is one of life’s greatest opportunities. But keep in mind, it should not be romanticised too much as it can be a challenging transition. From experience, being passionate about what you do, doing the initial research and believing in your business, sets the foundations for success and will keep you on the right track.

    Where possible, be ready to adapt your business. As much as you try to plan your road ahead, inevitably things don’t always go as your envisaged. But hey, that’s ok. You are after all, not in Australia any longer – and that’s the point, right?

    Wishing you safe travels and all the success in work!

    Diana Scully is the founder of Spaces by Diana, a residential interior decorating business that offers personal and on-line services to inspire you to find real solutions to design a home that’s a reflection of you. Read her blog, Spaces + Places, and follow her on Instagram for genuine, cool interior inspiration for your home.

    {All images sourced via Death to the Stock Photo}


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, guest blog, how to, my advice | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Interview – Amanda Henderson of Gloss Creative

    Interview – Amanda Henderson

    By Andrea McArthur

    CWC Member Amanda Henderson is the Founder and Creative Director of Gloss Creative (Melbourne), one of Australia’s leading visual houses specialising in three-dimensional design and custom made brand environments. Everyday Gloss Creative forges the path for the cross over of Visual Merchandising and Design.

    Gloss Creative’s client list is impressive and spans many of Australia’s most style conscious companies in the fashion, luxury and travel industries. Their portfolio includes designs commissioned for brand marquees at the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, runways, set and event  designs for Myer, Penfolds and Omega as well as fashion window concepts and installations for Kookai, Sportsgirl and Emporium.

    Simply put, Amanda and the Gloss Creative Team create environments that dreams are made of, and worlds that envelope you in total sensory experiences.

    Thank you Amanda for your time and sharing your story with the Creative Womens Circle. There are so many pieces of wisdom in your writing.

    Brave New World

    ‘Brave New World’ Sportsgirl Bourke Street 2014 Photography: Marcel Aucar

    Tell us about your background.

    I think my story might be typical of many creative people of my generation. I got through my schooling by connecting with all the ‘extra curricular’ activities our school had to offer – I hung out in the drama group and the art room at a time when they were not considered to be ‘real subjects’ or at least not the beginnings of any kind of sustainable career path. I was lucky enough to have forward thinking parents and teachers that validated and encouraged my interests and was I was free to explore the possibilities that might lie ahead.

    After a very short year doing drama and economics subjects at uni, I realized that the working world would provide me with a better structure for learning and experimentation than a university.

    I had been working at Sportsgirl while I was at school giving out fitting room discs on the weekends, and it was there tht I had wide exposure to complete retail marketing wizardry and creative growth. It wasn’t long before I had entrenched myself in the creativity that visual merchandising provided.

    The process of team-based ideas generation and concept development was a critical learning for me at that time and still is the basis on which my team and I design today.

    After the birth our two children I returned to work and held National Visual Merchandising Manager positions and Creative Development roles at Sportsgirl and Country Road.

    In 2001 I started my best role to date – Founder and Creative Director of Gloss Creative.

    Gloss Advice

    Have you always wanted to be a creative business owner?

    Not initially. I could say I was looking for a platform where experimentation and collaboration was the everyday. I also was looking for individual recognition for my work – large companies are amazing to be apart of, but sometimes it’s hard to get credit for what you’ve achieved.

    As Gloss Creative grew I realized I enjoyed both the creative and business challenges of a small business. We are proof that high quality small design business can successfully work with large organisations.

    My business allows me to immerse myself in all aspects of our projects, designing and working with our team. The freedom in the way we work has meant we have been able to work across many different disciplines.

    Gloss Advice

    How do you balance your creative projects with the administration / organisation / planning aspect of creative work?

    Luckily, Visual Merchandisers have combined skill sets of creativity and practicality – I think this is because we have to deliver dreams into reality. Planning and organisation come naturally as a part of our process.

    I’d like to debunk the often misguided theory that “creative types” can not also have business skill sets. Some of the most visionary professionals I know are brilliant business people!

    Our team are highly diverse creative people – no one person can have all the attributes to complete a business. It’s the combined headset that makes the magic.

    Hoarding Installation

    ‘Hoarding Installation’ Emporium Melbourne  2014 Photography: Marcel Aucar

    Gloss Advice

    What have been some of the challenges or blessings of keeping Gloss Creative running since 2001? And how has your business focus changed since the beginning?

    Honestly, I can only think of blessings. I’ve been able to run a high quality small business together with an amazing team of people and suppliers who have loved creating installations for all some incredible brands. We have had so much fun while we have worked over the last 14 years.

    I guess the only continuing challenge is that you’re only ever as good as your last project. Despite our significant body of work we need to prove ourselves for every project, maybe this is why we put so much into each project, so we keep on our toes, we constantly try to bring newness into our work, we love trying new things on every project, its not always comfortable but it can be rewarding!

    Our business focus has always been constant: we create ‘Grand Simplicity’. We create emotion with sophisticated visual impact.

    How has your employee base grown or have you chosen to keep creative control of your business?

    When I started it was only myself and my niece Kimberley Moore. On any Thursday now you’ll find seven people working in our studio. We are still small enough to act like a tribe, so creative control is no problem within our team.

    Creative control beyond you team depends on the brands you are working for and the skill level and stakeholder interest for a particular project. You will have radar for this as you grow in experience. Always trust your gut instinct.

    You need enough creative control to ensure that your idea remains strong, some times collaborators influence can make things even better! You don’t have to be a control freak but you do need to stick with your creative intent.

    What has been you main form of business marketing to date?

    Early on I decided that taking high quality photographs of our work by architectural photographers was useful as a record of our work.

    I began by sending these images to the design press and they published them. We have always just ‘put our work out there’. Dianna Snape, Marcel Aucar and Rocket Mattler have been  constantly photographing our work over the last decade.

    We’ve had a website since 2006 and blog since 2010. We are really enjoying the community that Instagram has created!

    Shadow Lands Myer

    ‘Shadow Lands’ Myer Parade SS12/13 2013 Photography: Rockett Mattler

    Gloss Creative is diverse in its scope of work. Has there been a major project that you are particularly proud to share with us?

    Mostly I’m proud that each project our team works on is considered with intelligence that each brand deserves. Diversity has provided us with long term inspiration and has meant we haven’t been type cast – every day is interesting.

    There are some projects that stay with you as ‘milestone’ projects, the ones that take you to another level of believing in yourself.

    Winning a 2013 Australian Interior Design Award for Installation Design for Myer’s ‘Shadowlands’ was pretty special. I loved that design for its visual emotion and simplicity, and for visual merchandisers to be considered a part of the design industry was a milestone for us. We are proud that maybe in some way we have widened the scope of Visual Merchandising over the last decade, pushing into design markets normally handled by interior designers or architects.

    Gloss Advice

    What advice do you have for others who might be considering a jump into a creative business?

    You will know when the time is right – a wave of confidence and momentum will over take you and the fear of not following your dream will become bigger than the doubts you may have.

    On a more practical level: get a bookkeeper, and hone your craft. Make relationships with people you trust and have fun with.

    Always be close to your client. The further away from your client you are the more risk you take on.

    What passions keep you creative?

    I’m inspired by originality. I’m inspired by anyone who’s creating beauty. Both locally and globally I love theatre, ballet, set design, art, craft, fashion, accessories, store design, illustration, music, should I go on?

    What is a typical day for you at Gloss Creative?

    Our day starts with coffee and post Offspring analysis usually – no seriously we talk a lot in our studio! Then we get down to it. We talk about designs, we draw and plan, we come up with some bad ideas then work on them until we love them. Steff Dalberto and I might meet with suppliers, present to clients or install our projects. We spend quite a bit of time going up and back to Sydney.

    I’m always on the phone talking about our ideas. It’s my role to manage expectations, which is time consuming and often challenging in an environment where creativity and financial management are both important. We love clients that are strategic thinkers, the results are magic if your clients are collaborators !

    - -

    Make sure to check out Gloss Creative’s posts on the studio blog and all of their sneak peeks on Instagram (@theglossarium).

    Andrea McArthur (www.andyjane.com) has a passion for all things visual and works as a Senior Graphic Designer in Dubai. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. You’ll find her sharing design related musings on Instagram @andyjanemc.

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    Posted by: Andrea McArthur
    Categories: interview, regular columns | Comments Off