A huge welcome Tahlia Northcroft to our Good Conversation Series. I met this kick ass chica drinking coronas and cocktails at a beach bar in Tulum with a mutual friend. She shared her exciting plans of moving to Bali and starting a business. Fast forward only a few months and she is there doing it. Here is her story
Firstly, a bit of background, who are you?
I am 24 and was born and raised in Auckland, I began studying Graphic design and after my first year I decided to put it on hold to go and see the world. I sold everything I had, booked a one way ticket to the South of France, began working on Super yachts and what I thought was going to be a year or two turned into 4.5 years! (needless to say didn’t return to university) I recently left yachting to pursue my dream of chasing summer and launching my very own label.
What’s your story? What has been your journey to get you to where you are?
It has been a long time coming getting to this point. After catching a serious dose of the travel bug I knew I wasn’t going to be returning home (Auckland) for a long time to come, but I also knew that working as a Stewardess on Superyachts wasn’t a long term thing for me. Ever since my solo Bali trip in 2015 I had made it my mission to figure out how to base myself in Bali and launch my own brand that I was truely passionate about.
Tell us about your exciting new venture
YESSS! I am beyond excited to launch WE ARE THE LABEL this coming Summer . WE ARE is a mens board short label that focuses on quality and design. Working with a crazy talented artist each collection we have our exclusive prints that are available in very limited edition. All of our board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles and we are proud to support organisations that are out there making a change to keep our oceans plastic free!
What made you decide to move to Bali and start your own business?
It was always the plan to move to Bali when I had the chance so I felt like everything worked out perfectly. I fell in love with Bali the last time I was here, and I knew that I needed to base myself somewhere that would inspire me and keep my creativity flowing. The reason I think Bali has such a positive effect on me and my brand is because of who I am surrounded by. Bali is buzzing with travellers, nomads and creatives who are here doing what they love, being surrounded by so many like minded people and of course the amazing weather it is a dream come true for me.
Where did the idea come from?
There are two main components that brought WE ARE to life. I wanted to incorporate all of my passions into one brand. Fashion, travel, creativity, the ocean and the environment. After working for some of the worlds wealthiest people, I constantly noticed the same few brands being worn. The board shorts were nice but I didn’t see why they had to come with such a ridiculous price tag. Without sacrificing ethical standards or quality, my aim was to create a brand that didn’t cost a months rent (in Bali). Secondly, the concern of ocean pollution is slowly starting to be heard and I have seen the effects first hand. This is what sparked my idea to create not only a luxury brand but to also create awareness and support amazing foundations that are taking action.
What gave you the confidence to think you could do it?
Apparently I can be quite stubborn, and when I set my mind to something, there really isn’t any point in trying to talk me out of it haha. My closest friends and my family have been very supportive of all of my crazy ideas and this was no exception. When I first had the idea to begin WE ARE the label I was feeling unsettled in my job, I knew I had to make a change and I was at a time in my life where I was ready to do that. I was, and I still am very excited about my project, it really came down to a gut instinct with this move but I knew if I didn’t give it a go then I would regret it.
What have been your struggles?
There have been MANY! I don’t like to dwell on them but the biggest struggle is budgeting. I’ll admit I have never been great with money but knowing that I am currently living in Bali without an income until WE ARE is up and running is very scary! Also my initial manufacturer was based here in Bali, but unfortunately they couldn’t get the fabric that I needed into the country so I had to move my manufacturing elsewhere.
Your still in the early stages but what would you say have been your highs and lows so far?
Lows- touch wood but I haven’t had any massive upsets in the process. Little things like learning how to be patient with companies you are working with can be tough. Highs – I have been so fortunate to have found the most amazing people to collaborate with. It can be hard to have your name heard as a new brand, but my branding designer and Georgina Skinner (the artist for our first collection) have been absolute GEMS!
Have you had doubts along the way? If so how did you overcome them?
I have family members who have seen start ups both fail and succeed, when I was home they sat me down and made sure I knew the risks involved. This really did make me think if I was doing the right thing. For a moment I thought maybe I should just come home and get a normal job and a mortgage… then I thought Fuck that and it just made me that much more determined to pursue what I was passionate about. I was so thankful for them sharing their experiences because it did make me reevaluate my game plan slightly, I believe that you should really listen and take on board what people with experience have to say.
What are your plans for the brand for the future?
At this point I am focused on launching for the Australian / NZ Summer 17-18. My ultimate plan for the brand is to expand into the US and European market and to continue supporting foundations that are taking action against ocean pollution.
So you’ve got an idea, or a concept or passion, what’s your biggest piece of advice to get started?
Start to research more into it. Find other brands that may be doing a similar thing and see what you like or don’t like. Write down your goals and aspirations for what you want to get out of it and tell people to get their feedback. It can be so scary telling someone you vision for the first time and some people may laugh, or not believe that you will do it, but thats were you will find the people that really support you and often give you the motivation you need to keep going.
How do you define success?
Happiness is success and everyones idea of happiness is different and I am sure mine will change. But as of right now if I can make my dreams a reality meaning WE ARE is selling out, we branch out to the international market, I am earning enough to keep travelling with a base in Bali. Have a villa big enough so when I have friends over they’re able to stay with me and probably getting a puppy.
Your advice to the youth of the world?
Sorry Parents, but the best advice I can give is to travel. Take that year off after high school – seriously how many people really know who they are at 18 and what they want to do for the rest of their life? I thought I did, and clearly I was wrong haha. It is the best way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn about your self.
A big thanks to this legend for sharing her story and showing us that anything is possible
To watch the growth of Tahlia’s exciting new venture follow WE ARE THE LABEL on Instagram