Pippa Oostergetel was frustrated in her job when she had the idea to combine her passion for scarves with her love for digital printing. Since then, Pippa has gone from strength to strength, quitting her job and diving into Squeak full-time.
Welcome to Cloud St, what led to the birth of Squeak?
To be honest, the start of Squeak was fairly simple in that I just love scarves. They were my accessory of choice all the time, and I’m a crafty type of person with a background in textiles and digital printing.
Looking back, I was pretty unhappy in my job and I always knew I wanted to do my own thing, so in the end I just went for it.
My dream was simply to have an Etsy store and I didn’t intend for it to grow as quickly as it did. It was probably thanks to social media mostly, as I set up a Facebook page and Instagram pretty early on and they helped to drive the business in its early days.
When did you realise that this was going to be life changing?
Despite the relatively quick growth, it still wasn’t an overnight success story for me. It probably wasn’t until a year in, after my second trade show, when I thought, ‘This could really become something.’ There was a decent amount of orders, and I knew the next step was to take out my own stall at the next trade show, which costs several thousands of dollars. I quit my job around this point, and that was the push I needed.
I had to make pretty big compromises when I quit my job. I cut back on business overheads significantly and I still work out of my parent’s house, instead of the studio I previously worked from. But this is all part of it – the lower the overheads, the lower the risk.
How did Cloud St come onto your radar, and what made you apply?
My friend was selected for it last year and I wanted to apply then, but I hadn’t made the switch to Xero. I’ve since switched to Xero and I applied without too much thought.
I was so shocked when I got the phone call saying that I had been selected! I remember madly flicking through my calendar while on the phone to check that I could juggle my pre-booked market stalls with this amazing opportunity. It has made for a very busy period, but the opportunity is phenomenal. To have a glass box for Squeak in the heart of Federation Square during the week before Christmas is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I feel so lucky, and I want to make the most of it.
What does the future hold for Squeak?
Good question, who knows! My head is so deeply buried into the lead up to Christmas that I haven’t thought too much about what’s next. Though I recently brought out my first fashion item, instead of the accessories and homewares that I usually design. The response has been great – it’s actually been a best seller.
This makes me think that it’s definitely worth exploring fashion a little more, but this is daunting as I have no fashion experience and the whole sizing thing is completely different to what I do now. But it’s worth looking into this – so far the feedback has been really encouraging.
Cloud St is a unique pop-up store featuring a range of Xero customers who normally reside in the online space. Come and visit Squeak in Federation Square, Melbourne, from 18 to 24 December.
To see all the latest wares and discover who’s next to appear, follow the conversation at #cloudst