Combining a savvy business mind and a love of fashion, Talita Estelle launched her first business, Esther, at only 18 years old in 2004. Fast forward to today and Talita is a wildly successful entrepreneur with a strong social conscious, and through Esther has built a wide brand community of like minded women. We chat all things business, balance, and giving back.
Talita, you started Esther when you were just 18, walk us through how it all began...
My family was very business oriented, so hard work was always encouraged growing up. My aspiration has always been to own my own business and work for myself.
My parents were in retail homewares, however I was always interested in fashion and saw a gap in the market for affordable occasion wear.
I saw a continuous gap in the market for women's evening wear, specifically dresses. I realised there was an amazing business opportunity! I've always loved fashion & knew it was the perfect time to launch my own company in the industry. I researched the market heavily, ensured my business plan was accurate & set up social media channels. From there Esther was created in 2004.
Starting so young you must have learned some lessons as you went, what are some you wished you'd known starting out?
When I first started out, I think I was more trusting than I should have been. I wish I would have known more aspects around the legal side of a business!
Esther has gone from strength to strength, what are some of your standout career highlights?
When we aligned with I=change, a platform which enables Esther to seamlessly donate $1 from each order to charity. I feel we've been blessed with success in order to be a blessing to others, giving back has become a core part of the brand Esther. Having the ability to give back and change lives is very close to our heart, it's ingrained through all we do at Esther.
You took your business to be entirely online in 2011/2012, how has the world of social media played a part in Esther's growth, and how do you utilise it currently to benefit Esther?
Initially, a big challenge was establishing brand awareness. Brand awareness is key for establishing trust and credibility among customers. To overcome this we utilised our social channels, specifically Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest to get our name out there. While people loved our clothes once they saw them on our digital platforms the next issue we faced was getting customers to the stores. This was ultimately what led to the decision of going completely online, I didn't want Esther to be kept within the walls of a brick & mortar store. Esther can now be found in homes all over the world.
What are your top three tips for someone that wants to get started on their own business?
I would say;
1. Keep the boldness in your heart and don't worry what others thing.
2. Never set out toward a goal of solely attaining money, you absolutely must have the passion in your heart for the goal you are pursuing, or risk feeling uninspired. 3. Be prepared to compromise.
You've spoken before about the idea of an 'Esther Heart', can you explain that idea and why it's important to you?
Esther was an ancient queen renowned for beauty and strength, the Esther heart is the essence of our company and means to keep the boldness in your heart and not to worry.
Fostering a community with your customers is so important in the current oversaturated social media space, how has Esther built such a great customer base and community?
Through our marketing channels we maintain a constant authenticity. It facilitates a level of trust that is so important on the internet these days. Beyond these we continuously host or participate in giveaways to ensure that we are given the customers fun and beneficial messaging. Lastly, we have a loyalty program which assists us in fostering social media growth.
We know that aside from Esther you've got a bunch of other exciting projects you're working on, talk us through these!
In addition to Esther.com.au, I'm also Director of Elroy Eyewear which I started with my sister Kendal in 2016. Creative for a non-profit organisation - Be Hers which is a movement of women fighting against the sex slavery trade giving 100% of their profit to A21 who aid in the fight against human trafficking.
Your personal Instagram @health.and.me has quite the following, why is spreading that healthy message something that's really important to you?
I believe it's important to share a message of balance in life, we can be so consumed with looking a certain way but that isn't always 'healthy'. I like to promote a message of balance through my posts.
As such a busy women, what are your favourite ways of staying fit and healthy while working so hard?
Keeping active helps keep my mind focused and creative - I try to walk daily or fit in a few pilates reformer classes each week.
With such a successful business, we're sure it's hard to take time out for yourself. How do you make sure you're leading a balanced life?
It's definitely challenging to maintain work/life balance so I'm mindful of listening to my body. In addition to keeping active, I try to have a few overseas adventures booked in with my husband, travelling to beautiful destinations always inspires my mind, it keeps me creative. I also have a love of wine, I'll never say no to a glass of bubbles - it's all about balance.
Do you ever have days where you're feeling unmotivated? If so, how do you manage that feeling?
I love what I do which helps keep me motivated naturally, but of course I'm human and can have an off day here and there, I think self care is important, take the time to check in with yourself before you burn out.
One last question Talita! What's your favourite way to spend your day off - if you ever have one ;)
Definitely would be spent with my husband Ricky and French bulldog Bobbi, with a long lunch in the sun.