In this month’s episode of the Troubleshooters Podcast I speak with the CEO and founder of B.Okideas, Kietah Martens-Shaw. Kietah shares with us her truly inspiring story of how overcoming cancer inspired her to start her own business. Resilience, passion, determination – Kietah is the epitome of an entrepreneur and troubleshooter.
Kietah Martens-Shaw is the Founder and CEO of B.Okideas. She lives for connectedness; a people person at heart, Kietah found her true calling when she started B.Okideas working with individuals and businesses to bridge the gap between a supporter and supportee and bring people together. After a change in health and a 4-year challenge to recovery Kietah now sees life through a different lens; every day is a chance to help educate people around mental wellbeing, positive change and how to support others to embrace personal and professional change.
When Kietah speaks, it is from the heart – her story is moving and touches everyone who hears it… and how her challenge has fuelled her momentum to help others and remind people they are not alone.
Note: This has been automatically transcribed so is likely to have errors! It may however help you navigate the points of interests for you.
Michael: Welcome to the Troubleshooters Podcast with me your host Mike McGrath. Now, Kietah Martens-Shaw is the founder and CEO of B.Okideas, a very cool speciality gift business, which focuses on people’s wellbeing. Many of the large corporates in Australia are now using this service to more sensitively connect with their people. The idea for the business came to Kietah she was recovering from cervical cancer. Yes, she’s a cancer survivor, and now a CEO. So, sit back and enjoy this inspiring story as we learn about B.Okideas and how adversity inspired this entrepreneur to take action and solve a problem.
Keitah, welcome to the Troubleshooters Podcast. So, B.Okideas, your business. I’ve really been looking forward to this chat genuinely. I was introduced to you by a friend of mine called Russell Kavnat who runs Dashing. And he said, “Are you guys free to meet Kietah at B.Okideas? We really love what they’re doing and find out what’s going on.” So, you are in the corporate gift market?
Kietah: Yes. Okay.
Michael: You got a really interesting story. I mean, you are the ultimate trouble-shooter for me. Because you, you’re a survivor. So, you survived cervical cancer. You had that between ages of 21 and 24. Yeah. And out of that survival came this business, which is really going gangbusters.
Kietah: Yeah, no, it’s really taken its own. In the last couple of years.
Michael: Just tell us a bit about B.Okideas for a minute.
Kietah: So, I started B.Okideas around four years ago. And there was really just an inspiration for me to provide a gift that was unique in a way that you could provide long term support. So you had something to look forward to each week, you had something to open up each week, there was different areas of wellbeing that you could kind of go through and learn about, I guess my biggest motivation behind it was there wasn’t anything for adults to practically work through, you know, you get a gift box and you open up all of the items and then there’s nothing really else to do. Or you’ve got some nice moisturisers and candles and things like that. But that’s kind of where it finishes. So, I wanted to create something that had a bit more longevity and allowed people to really work on their health and wellbeing. And over the last four years, it’s evolved in that we’ve partnered with wellbeing experts to create the envelopes that are inside the box. So, these envelopes are really a form of like an advent calendar, you’ve got something to open up every week. And in each envelope, there’s a different wellbeing topic, a different wellbeing gift that helps that person practice that area of wellness. So as an example, we’ve partnered with Dr. Happy from the Happiness Institute, Tim sharp, and he’s written all around healthy habits. And in that envelope, there’s dissolvable paper to write down any unhealthy habits, you watch that dissolve. And there’s a whole connection between letting go of what you’re trying to, to let go of and watching that dissolve. And so having that practical element was really important to me, because I’m a very hands-on person. And I think we don’t play; we don’t touch things. We don’t get involved in things as adults anymore. And, you know, why did we need to lose that from when we were children?
Michael: Look, I mean, it’s interesting, isn’t it? So, you’ve really captured what I would call bespoke niche area of corporate gifting. When I think of corporate gifting, I’m thinking, you know, corporate pens and lanyards and all kinds of kind of logo slapping self-promotion. So, your customers, it’s a b2b business, your customers, the likes of Woolworths and others, right? You know, they’ve got an emerging demand for a more sophisticated gift solution. Yes. And that’s what you’ve seen. Yes. And that’s what you’ve identified. And look, we’re gonna talk more about that. But I want to go back a little bit. Was there anything in your background that suggested you were going to own a business and be an entrepreneur? When you grew up? Was there anything that was suggesting that you had that about you? Or was it or did it come upon you all of a sudden?
Kietah: I think mix of things could definitely have led to this path. One being that both my parents are in their own business, to being that I’m a very much a go getter, and I don’t like anything or anyone holding me back. So, if I’m working for someone else, and they tell me not to do something, or, you know, I would constantly.
Michael: So, there’s an independent streak?
Kietah: Yeah, huge. And you know, I went to boarding school when I was 15. So, there was a huge independence there. University, etc, etc. And I was at uni that I did event management and business. Okay. Yeah. So as a wedding planner and event manager for a while, and then worked for an agency where I was doing more account director and business development and that’s where my hunger for business development and growth of business really came from.
Michael: Let’s delve into this sort of independent streak a bit more. So, your mom and dad own their own business, you must have observed what it took to run a business? They were a living embodiment of that. How did you get on school if you didn’t like being told what to do?
Kietah: I was definitely a bit of a clown at school. And if anyone from school is listing, they would agree. I look, I definitely I followed the rules. But most of the time wanted to still be having fun and doing it in my own way, I guess. And I would see a project and see it very differently to what others would, and how can I go about this project and have the most fun possible?
Michael: So, it’s typical, is that millennial behaviours?
Kietah: I think I was one of a kind in my school. I don’t know, I’m not too sure. But I really started to really apply myself when I found the passion for events and business at university. And ever since starting my own business, I have never felt more aligned in a professional sense.
Michael: And so that’s so good to hear. So, take us back to that period, then. So, you’d been working for a few years you left uni, and then you got cervical cancer. So, tell us what that was like. And then what was the genesis that was going on at that point that eventually got you to figure out “Hold on a minute, I can do, you know, I can show some problems here”?
Kietah: Yeah, so it was a pretty difficult time. I was quite young. And honestly, when it first came up, and I had my first surgery, I don’t think I fully understood what I was going through, you know, 22, you don’t think about “Oh, hold on, I might not be able to have children” or like the repercussions of something like that. Yeah, I just kind of took it in my stride and was like “okay, cool, dealing with this”, and, you know, keep chugging along. And then about a year later actually got kidney disease and had quite a lot of problems with my kidneys as a, as a reaction to medication that I was on. So, there was this ongoing feeling of just being kicked down when I was down. And after, I think it was maybe just prior to the second operation that I had. So, it returned about a year and a half later, and I had to get another operation. And the second operation, they remove majority of my cervix. And I think that was what really confronted me. And this is when it really hit home. I was 24, a little bit older, I started to realise like this is real, and this is not fun.
Michael: Were you able to work through any of that. And were you working, not working? Were you? What was what was going on? Were you getting chemo,
Kietah: I luckily was not getting chemo. So, they were able to remove the cells before anything too major came about in terms of work, I was working, and I was fortunate enough to have quite supportive employers. It was definitely a period where I wanted to be working harder, but I couldn’t physically. Yeah, I worked through to the best I could. Okay, I think on the other side, to answer your question earlier, I realised life is very short. And at any point, it can be taken from you, or just even the love that I had for my body and the appreciation I had for my body. A lot of people take that for granted. And you know, I, I’m a very active sporty person, and I had to stop doing sport, I had to stop doing all the things I loved. And I never want to take that for granted again. And I try and live every day as if it’s my last. And I think with that approach, I started to see Hold on, like, what am I actually doing to help and not only help society, but I think for myself, I needed a sense of purpose. So, I think in the last year of working prior to quitting
Michael: So, what you what were you working at that point.
Kietah: So, at the beginning, I was a wedding planner. So, from 18 to 22. And then I transitioned into a more a business development role for an agency. And while I was in that business development role, I really started to get a bit of a knack for business development and running a small business and all the ins and outs and the excitement of seeing a business grow and seeing new clients come on board and I was working quite closely with the owner of the business to help him look at opportunities for the business and how he could grow. And then I was like, “oh, I would love to do this for myself”. And parallel to that I was going through these personal adversities, and I saw an opportunity to help others And I guess in my mind, there was this gap in the market for when someone’s going through a tough time, how do we actually support them? Everyone wants to send flowers. And that’s an amazing gesture. But in my situation, and a lot of others, they’re not useful. And you receive the flowers, they die, I didn’t have the energy to chuck them out, I’d get chocolates, and I couldn’t eat chocolates. And the thought was incredible. And I really appreciate it at all. But I realised as the person going through things that there needs to be something more for others
Michael: You saw a lack of options for the people that loved you. And were around you. You saw a lack of options for them outside of flowers and chocolates. Really? Interesting. And, and but that’s a big leap from that to I think I might start a business doing this.
Kietah: Yeah, well, everything starts small, right?
Michael: Yes, but it sounds like that idea had been growing, that you might be able to do something for yourself that had been emerging out of that.
Kietah: It all happened quite quickly. And I’m very, like, when I get something in my mind, I’ve got to do it. But you ask any of my friends, you know, I’ll say something one day and the next day it’s done or it’s in progress, you know?
Michael: Right. I think it’s a trait of businesspeople. I call it ready-fire-aim.
Kietah: Yeah. Well, there’s a there’s a saying that entrepreneurs, they build the plane as they’re falling out of the sky. Like it’s that whole, like, you just got to get it done.
Michael: Yeah, yeah. Okay, that’s good. So that was that was emerging. But then you can see this kind of idea based on that need. When did you start taking action?
Kietah: A year before I quit my job. So, five years ago, I started actually looking into gift boxes, I started looking into different products, I might like included, I started getting samples sent to me, I started writing the envelopes. And I started actually, so there was a lot of moments in that three, four-year period that I would dip into depression, I was feeling stupid amounts of anxiety, and really struggling with the mental health element. So, I tried to channel what I was going through into my work and into what I was trying to create. And how I did that was start writing, what would I need? To help me get through this week. What do I want to look forward to next week, and the whole idea was creating a bundle of envelopes that you can open day one, and then you know that in seven days’ time, you’re opening another one. You’ve got something else to look forward to. So, day one, I don’t remember exactly what I wrote on the first ones, but it was just simple things like around sleep routine, simple things like getting out in nature. One of them was around, I created what was like a bucket list of little items like going buy a coffee for a stranger. All these little acts of kindness and things that you can do that. Yes, you’re doing it to help someone else. But I am a big believer that sometimes when you do good things, it’s a bit selfish, because you get a bit of a high to, you know, you get that high.
Michael: Were you doing a bit of this yourself? Were you getting to nature? Were you buying someone a coffee? Were you like, sort of experimenting with that?
Kietah: Absolutely. And that’s why I keep saying that there was an element of this business that just created purpose for me, it created hope. And it saved my life.
Michael: Wow, isn’t that great. So that hope to regain hope is a big deal. And I’m just intrigued on the source of the anxiety and the depression. Is it “this damn thing might get me?” And, you know, “I might not be long for this world” or was it “I can’t do this stuff I want to do; I don’t feel great”. What was going on that was really driving that sort of need to take action, think of others and engage in these kinds of feel good.
Kietah: Yeah, good question. I think a lot of the anxiety for me came from, so every six months, I would have a check-up. Right. So, three weeks before a check-up, I would have so much anxiety. If is, is it back? What’s going to happen? Is it going to be worse, then once I get the test, I needed to wait another two weeks for results? So, every six months, I would have nearly a two-month period of just anxiety of what if and not only that, I went into a bit of a hypochondriac mode where I was like, Oh, this is like I’ve got a rash maybe it’s back or maybe something’s worse or you know, my stomach doesn’t feel good. And I would constantly omit myself into hospital and just be like, “Oh, I don’t know what’s wrong, maybe it’s back” and I would constantly be on in fright mode. And I really needed to I guess distract my mind a bit. And like we said earlier have that that sense of purpose and something that I really wanted to do because I’d lost all of the things that I wanted to do in terms of activities, sport, a lot of my friends were travelling around the world, how could I create a sense of achievement within myself and for myself?
Michael: What began to emerge it sounds like from that was some of these gift ideas, some of these ideas about how you could help through gifting how you could help people in either similar circumstances or other circumstances that were driving similar feelings? Which is that bespoke quality thought for end of the market.
Kietah: Yeah, it’s about now four years in, I just think the best way to describe it is bespoke, custom, handcrafted. Like, I have an amazing group of girls and women that are hand packing these boxes. So that recipient, when they open the box, they look at that, and we want them to cry of happiness, to smile to, to feel loved, and have that sense of a hug in a box thing.
Michael: So, I get that right. So here we are now, right? You survived cervical cancer, you got the all-clear, you feel good about this kind of purposeful venture. Now you’ve got to explain that to a bunch of corporates. Right? So how did that go?
Kietah: Initially, it actually was very much like I said, a passion project. So, I quit my job in October, I said March 1, Kietah, you are launching this business, no matter what it takes. So, I started ordering the stock. The biggest challenge for me was creating the website, like, absolutely horrible with those things, but I did it. And all I was like is as long as people can check out and pay and process and it’s all good. And I remember calling my friend, one of my best mates, Declan saying it’s live first of March, it’s all off and running. And he purchased two boxes. So, it was my first sales. It was the most amazing feeling. And I guess to a degree, in my mind, I thought it was gonna be a volcano of orders. And you always have it in your head that it’s like “Oh, why are there not 200 orders coming through” and it doesn’t happen like that. I was, however, very lucky, I started doing a lot of fundraiser events, because I had the event management skill set, I wanted to put that to good use. So, I was doing mental health fundraiser events, I was talking at events because I love to share my story. And I feel very thankful to have been through what I’ve been through and be able to share. You know, there are a lot of people that don’t make it through that and can’t share it. So, I was sharing a lot of my story explaining be okay, and that was really starting to get out out there quite naturally. And then a friend of mine put me in touch with the chairman of Lifeline. And this was about three months into the business so very, very early days. So, I had a half an hour meeting face to face with him, which ended up being an hour and a half. And he was just like, I love the whole concept. Yeah, I’ve got a chairman’s lunch in three weeks’ time with 800 people, and I want to put a box on every table. Okay, can you do this? And I just said, yup, no, in my head, I’m like, how am I gonna do this? You know, 80 – that’s so many. Yeah. And I made it happen. And at this Chairman’s lunch, he was amazing. He shared the story of Bok and put our logo up, and everyone got to see and experience the box on their table. And from there is where the business the businesses started to kind of come into play. And we started engaging with B2Bs.
Michael: I mean, 80 is fantastic, but it’s not gonna solve everything. But it gave you the confidence to say, “okay, I can go, and I’ve got something to talk about now”.
Kietah: Well, prior to those 80, I was just thinking to get it out to friends and family and consumers. It opened a whole other market for me in the way that I was thinking.
Michael: So, you weren’t originally thinking, okay, I got you know, it’s the corporates are gonna buy this, isn’t that interesting? So, it’s the ultimate sort of passion project isn’t it is you’ve clearly got a big “why”. And you enjoy talking about it and wanting to bring these ideas to people. And then all of a sudden, your kind of market finds you in a way, doesn’t it?
Kietah: Yeah. Well, we I’ve never spent a dime on advertising or marketing. It’s all been through word of mouth or clients referring us on to other clients, through LinkedIn, you know, I do a bit of outreach there. And but other than that, it’s very, very authentic.
Michael: I mean, how scared were you in the first sort of, you know, you mentioned November to March. And how scared were you that first fear that this was gonna fly or die.
Kietah: I was so convinced, and so sure of what I had created and so confident in who I was as a business owner like I told you earlier, when I do something, I do it well, and I give it my all. And I there was, there was no moment that I thought the business would fail, per se, there were definitely moments of what the hell am I doing? And wow, this is really hard. And you know, I’ve had lots of hiccups along the way a lot.
Michael: So, when did you first think “Okay, well, this really is a business”?
Kietah: So, about nine months in, we broke even. And I was like, Oh, is that good? Like started Googling, you know, what are the likelihoods of breaking even? And the stats are something ridiculous, like 80% of companies fail within five years? Or even after the year?
Michael: So, it’s even higher than that.
Kietah: Yeah, exactly, so
Michael: They’ve never changed really, as well. They’ve been like that since I was in business. So it’s tougher than people realise, I think. Marina and make money. Yeah. And where to start with stop losing money. So that’s good. Nine months, you’re breaking even you thought, okay, something’s going on. Tell me about the wall was when did that emerge?
Kietah: So, I meet a lot of people at different events and connect with people on LinkedIn. And I don’t remember whether the contact at Woolworths and I met at an event or on LinkedIn, and we it was probably 18 months before anything even happened. And we just had great chats. And you know, I explained the business and kind of went through what we do and just a bit of an introductory thing, and you’ve got my contact details get in touch if there’s anything you know, we can help with. And it was a year later,
Michael: wow. Which was the don’t move quickly.
Kietah: Which was May this year, okay. And he reached out and he said, Kedah. Look, I know we haven’t spoken in a year don’t know if you remember me and I was like absolutely remember you and he’s like look I’ve been putting towards putting this proposal together for the team. And I really want you guys to be the ones to do it and implement it. And he went through it all with me. And I said,
Michael: Hey, Chuck, I mean, what was that? HR? Yeah, so we
Kietah: we normally liaise with HR managers, group HR managers. It can even be CEOs and CFOs. You know? Yeah. And then a lot of the time it’s office managers vas.
Michael: Yeah. So, he was HR. It was he was, and he obviously it had gone in, he’d been thinking about it. Yeah, he was putting it together. And then he came back. Yeah, so
Kietah: we we do monthly, if not every couple of months and EDM as well. So, we do emails out so people can read, you know, what’s your latest updates, and he was on that. So, we try and stay top of mind for brands so that they know what we’re doing how we can help. Because there’s a lot of times where people like, Oh, I didn’t think about International Women’s Day coming up. We should do gifts for all the women in our office. Yeah. Whereas we try and prompt that and help people. Remember the times where they should be showing a bit of appreciation or try and do something different. Yeah, so it could have been off the back of an EDM. But we got into conversations, we ended up creating 10 custom boxes for him and the exec team and the CEO of woollies. And they absolutely loved them. We refined it down to a couple of products and a couple of like the envelopes journeys. And we created three tier products that we would lay out across the whole Woolworths came across Australia. And that was for different occasions and different adversities that their employees were going through.
Michael: Okay, isn’t that great? Yeah. So, there’s a growing, emerging awakening really incorporate Australia to the fact that we’ve got to do more really, for our people, particularly when they’re struggling. Yeah, of course. And then what do you do and how do you do it without it being, you know, corny, or try or?
Kietah: Yeah, or insensitive, insensitive?
Michael: Yeah. So, this is, I think this is great. And now what we’ve got is a massive candidate short market, you talk to everyone as in business, they’re struggling to get staff. So you got to really look after the people you’ve got having you and absolutely, and then you then you’ve got the millennials coming through and Gen X who are going, we want to work for organisations that we like and believe in. So that’s a big theme that’s coming out. Yeah,
Kietah: well, there’s a big emphasis on who’s got the best wellbeing programme. Yeah, who’s looking after their employees, what’s the highest happiness in workplaces and we I’m very fortunate to be working with those top companies. And that says a lot about what we’re doing but also says a huge amounts about what our clients are doing and the clients that we’re luckily to wait, let’s
Michael: talk about what so what’s it taken to scale up? I presume you had to scale up of it for us because so big.
Kietah: Yeah, this year has been huge, like words can’t explain. I have been faking it till I make. Every entrepreneur knows that.
Michael: So, you’ve had to fund it. The expansion you’ve had to take on staff, you’ve got to take on more stock, I presume or inventory. So, how’s that been? You kind of survive that just about?
Kietah: Yeah, I’m alive. I’m still skinny teeth. I absolutely loved it. I have never felt like I’ve thrived more in my life. And it was kind of slightly a dream come true. So, there was about a four or five month period there this year that was just nonstop panic and absolutely manic. And I’ve been able to now reflect on that. Yeah. And I’m just I don’t know, I’m super proud. Yeah,
Michael: you should be no, I think it’s a great story. So, four to five months pan. Is it seasonal business, by the way?
Kietah: Slightly? Yeah. So, I usually K day World Mental Health mode.
Michael: So just Christmas. So, the turkey
Kietah: but yeah, no. Okay. No. Mountain Turkey business.
Michael: That is interesting that it’s not seasonal, but it spikes with these sorts of days that are aligned with doing something for your staff.
Kietah: Yeah. And I think we’re big with International Women’s Day, we’ve got men’s mental health month. Yeah. And then throughout the year, that consistency is when corporates are actually placing new candidates. So, onboarding gifts is a huge one. So that’s a throughout the whole year. So, you’ve got onboarding, you’ve got birthdays, so other occasions that are more ongoing. Yeah. And then we’ve got our peaks for the larger quantities. And then a lot of companies also just engaging us in random occasions where they’re actually outlining a new programme. So recently, we did a 500 gifts for PwC. And that was launching a new programme that they were implementing and wanted all employees to get on board with it. And we created custom envelopes to introduce that programme with QR codes and everything to make it really practical, and an involved process.
Michael: Good. So, you’ve hit the big time. So, tell me what was some of the most challenging things for you? Was it staff and management? What’s it been that were, you know, if you were going through it again, you might do differently?
Kietah: Staff have been amazing. I count my lucky stars, because every person that’s ever worked for me just believes in what we do.
Michael: So, you’re in Byron Bay, right? What’s your like, in itself in Byron Bay? Have you just been lucky?
Kietah: I’ve always been lucky with be okay. Purely because you don’t want to work for a business like this unless you have a passion and a drive to do good. Okay. And so we attract good people, which is super amazing.
Michael: Are they all young like you,
Kietah: there’s no old automix, it’s a mix, probably aged between early 20s to 50.
Michael: Okay. And I suppose there needs to be a sensitivity in the process, because you’re really going to live and die by your ability to keep creating interesting novel on the money kind of solutions. Really?
Kietah: Yeah, yeah. And I think from what my team’s perspective, they’re hand packing this, and they’re the last people to see that gift before the recipient. So it’s really important that there is those final touches and making sure it presents well, and not that men can’t do that. But it’s an amazing trait that I’m lucky enough to have in the girls that I have.
Michael: Yes. And they always say interesting one now into the gender thing. Most of the gifts, is there a female male bias around gifts? Is it more female or? Or is it does it make a difference?
Kietah: So we have male and female have always tried to skew for both. However, we also do gender neutral. So a lot of corporates actually say look, we’d like gender neutral items so that they can send all the same gift to all stock.
Michael: Is that a challenge or a you You’ve obviously risen to that challenge.
Kietah: I love challenges. And no, I have not had one gift that I have not been able to put together. Okay,
Michael: great. And how many of the gifts are you producing? How many of your price have been produced to a brief if you like, versus you’re really conceiving, you’re just tweaking.
Kietah: Nearly every single gift is created for brief to a brief one. So an
Michael: HR put Did they put that together with marketing? Or are they just doing themselves?
Kietah: I put those together. Yeah. So, what what the process normally is, is I’ll give you an example. Last year, we had a company come to us, they had 150 staff worldwide. Yeah, they had an objective of doing an online group zoom call that they wanted to start implementing every week. So, everyone can jump on and do a workout session. So, they asked us to put together a gift box that had all the latest exercise gear. So we put together a box that was like this size, like a metre and a half of 150 of them. And we had yoga mats, gym balls, skipping ropes, all the latest things in there for exercise gear, and we put together multiple Proposal Options, and they went ahead with this one. And that was sent out to 150 locations. Once all the parcels were saved, they jumped on a zoom call, they all had the equipment and Bob’s your uncle.
Michael: The logistics in this are quite significant, aren’t they?
Kietah: Yeah. When I first started, yeah, I had to run down to the post office, you know, wearing joggers and grab some friends. At some point when it was all starting. I just didn’t know how to kind of approach it. But now we’ve got systems in place. We’ve got Korea’s and everything set up to a way that it’s just super, super streamlined. Okay,
Michael: So, what’s the future? I mean, you look very happy doing this. The goal, I suppose. And the quicker you can get to it, the better is if you can find somebody that doesn’t feel like work, then you’ve kind of not working for a living. I mean, slowly. I mean, Warren Buffett says he still skips to work at nine or whatever. Yeah. So, it sounds like you skip to work.
Kietah: Yeah, yeah. So, I love what I do and love the people. I work with clients and employees. Future. I have amazing instincts when it comes to business. And I have this gut feeling that it’s only just the beginning of your growth. Yeah, yeah, I do split my time because I’ve actually started a second business and split my time slightly with that. And both of them hold such an amazing place in my in my heart and my day to day. And because B.Ok now has been running for a while and it’s kind of running itself. And the team’s all sorted. It’s allowed me to kind of dip into the second business, too. Yeah. So yeah, I guess in terms of futures, that continued growth, maintaining our clients upholding, you know, their, their needs, and
Michael: so, you see lots of opportunity, a big need in the marketplace, you’re kind of pioneering to some extent that high end, you know, bespoke gifting market, right? Yeah. So, that’s plenty of organic growth out of US interests that you started other business already that’s very entrepreneurial, that it sort of speaks to the kind of entrepreneurial movement thing so that’s the ready fire aim bit, isn’t it? Yeah. That’s so exciting. Great to hear that story. Such a great story and, you know, flying the flag for female CEOs in Australia and you know, giving it to the guys a lot. I really like that idea. So what do you like doing outside of work?
Kietah: Yeah. Number one, surfing,
Michael: surfing. Absolutely. The right place for that. I
Kietah: love surfing. Yes, Byron’s amazing for surfing. I surf every single morning without fail, right? Even if it’s horrible surf, I try and just get in the ocean anyway. And it just sets me up for the day. It sets me up mentally physically. It gives me a sense of purpose in terms of my physical and mental health as well. I realised the importance of balance and not working too much. And I’ve also met some amazing people because of it. Yeah, no, you’re saying go off against the boys in the entrepreneurial world. I go off against the boys every morning in the ocean too.
Michael: That’s great. I show Australian that isn’t it? I mean, it’s that I know so many guises surf every day doesn’t matter what the weather is. Yeah, even if there’s nobody waves it’s an addiction, but it’s a good addiction, isn’t it? Oh, yes. And they’ll say to me that they that’s they feel they’re most connected through the ocean. Yeah, so that’s that’s a pretty cool thing. I’m a pommie so I’m always a little bit concerned about dawn and dusk but anyway, I’m allowed to be because I bought into that whole you know, narrative that’s come out of England, which is you know, Australia’s a scary place shot and red backs and snakes.
Kietah: I’ve lived here my whole life. Shocking.
Michael: Exactly. That’s what you national at the moment. Are you dealing with all these brands all over the country? Can you add gifts to Perth and Darwin? In?
Kietah: Yeah, well, we were actually International. So, there’s a couple of companies like Microsoft, for example, they have headquarters in multiple countries, and we deal with them. So
Michael: you say you’re dealing with Microsoft internationally. Yeah. So, you’re on the global stage, you know, pioneering, you’d be amazed how many Australian entrepreneurs I know and talk to who are doing great internationally. Like, you know, we’re kind of world class when we get older something. Yeah. Have you looked at the international markets? Are we ahead of in this area? Or? Or is the US got a big bespoke, you know, corporate gifting market emerge? think
Kietah: Actually, what you played upon very early in the conversation, you know, how you said, when you think of corporate gifting you think slap on the logo, they do that very, very well, in America as an example, right? I honestly have not seen it in any other country. Okay. And I’ve actually been approached by a lot of corporates that are in America that are like, Do you have a warehouse in America, we’d love to distribute it across. But unfortunately, we don’t.
Michael: I think the opportunities are probably massive. I mean, we had some guys on the podcast recently designed to production that we help you, here’s ago, they are in the sort of digital signage area and they do chaos, or they’ve moved to the US in a big way. And the markets 1015 years out of date. And so, they’re doing, you know, that they’re at least a decade ahead, and people in the US couldn’t believe what they could do. So, you know that that’s one to keep an eye on, isn’t it? Yeah, the international market, especially if you’re, you’re ahead of the game. So, in terms of what what’s influenced you, we’ve heard quite a bit about that. But is anybody particularly influenced you or any, anyone that you can speak to
Kietah: everyone that was around me that supported me through that time, you know, I’ve got my parents has supported me. But I’ve got an amazing group of my closest best friends that lived in Sydney. So, my parents are in Wagga. So, people who are in Sydney that were constantly dropping over food and supporting me in any way that they could. And that allowed me to, I suppose, recognise this need. Yeah. But also get through a tough time that I was going. Yes.
Michael: And so did you grow up in Wagga? Did it get so good? They named it twice? Ah,
Kietah: there’s other jokes for that one.
Michael: What about any books or any films? Anything that’s kind of struck you and got you on your way?
Kietah: I think one that’s been very instrumental in the last couple of years is the four-hour workweek. Okay. Tim Ferriss. And just
Michael: this level adopted it myself. Yeah. I’d like to
Kietah: just this level of like automating things, yeah, systems, creating more space in my life for the things I like as well and that work life balance. And I’ve seen the instant benefits of when I’m happy when I’m in my movement and motion and doing well the business does well too. And it allows me to think clearer and work better and I’m working less but harder and quality over quantity. And I think I’ve gotten that from him.
Michael: I can ever go guess of this. But what’s your favourite place in the world?
Kietah: Oh, that’s tough. Is it? Yes. Because
Michael: you live in it?
Kietah: No, I just I couldn’t say one look. Yeah, I absolutely love Byron and I think Australia is an incredible place. I loved Portugal loved you. Oh, yeah. I spent a lot of time in Spain as well. Okay. And speak a bit of the language so a lot of us in Spain Did you spent Barcelona all along the coastline? There are a lot of people of Barcelona. Yeah, but I need to be near the coast. Needs to the ocean. So wherever I am, as long as I’m by the ocean, I’m fine with it.
Michael: Good stuff. So, thanks for coming in today. I so appreciate you sharing your story. I think you’ve built a great business there. Thank you. Okay, ideas, and remember is when you’re even more rich and famous. And maybe come back and tell us in a future edition come back into somebody’s second business. Yeah,
Kietah: no. Sounds great. No, thank you so much for having me. It’s always a pleasure to share my story. I love love sharing it and definitely helping other people kind of start that entrepreneurial journey. Yeah, if I was to leave one advice, just do it. Just give it a go one step.
Michael: So, what would you say to other people battling cancer at the moment? What would you tell them? And then what you tell their friends?
Kietah: Yeah, yeah. I would say that. be as kind to yourself as you possibly can. And that means self-care, pausing. Don’t think about the small things. Don’t worry about out anything other than yourself and focusing on getting better and seek help as well. I saw a psychologist for a long time there and it was instrumental in my recovery. And then after I started to get the old clear, I went on a retreat. And that’s something I would also highly recommend going on a retreat to just allow yourself for a week or two to be fed and nourished and cared for and praise it. Yeah, take take some time to just he’ll great if
Michael: I put your hand up. Ask for help. You’re on a retreat? Yes. Kita You’re a legend. Thanks for coming into Troubleshooters. And until next time,
Kietah: thank you.
Michael: Wow, what a great story. So inspiring to hear how yet again out of adversity comes inspiration if we remain positive and try and make things better. If you want to connect with Keita or B.Okideas, the details are in the show notes. Quick shout out to our sponsors, Oasis Partners – corporate advisors who specialise in helping business owners unlock the value in their business. So, if you’re thinking of selling or de-risking, call the team at Oasis. Finally, if you like this sort of content, subscribe and tell your friends and if you’re really feeling generous, give us a review. Only good ones, please. Five stars would be very nice. Until next time, thanks for listening.