When Natalie Bassingthwaighte wasn’t able to find urban or edgy unisex clothing for her children, she decided to start her own label.
After seeing the effect of bamboo sheets for her children’s skin, she researched the benefits of bamboo materials and after months of market research and preparation, she launched Chi Khi in 2015.
Speaking to Rachel Corbett on the Mamamia podcast Lady Startup, the Australian recording artist explained how the label went from an idea to a reality, and how celebrities’ children wearing the clothes on Instagram has been an invaluable boost.
“I wanted to figure out what I could do on my own that didn’t rely on my agent or producers or whatever, I just thought something that I would really love and I was always into interior design and architecture, so I knew it needed to be something kind of design-based,” she told Mamamia.
She added that she found the business side of it “difficult”, especially given the fast-paced nature of the fashion industry.
“Being a Virgo control freak, I shouldn’t be doing fashion, it doesn’t work well,” she joked.
The 43-year-old continued to explain that one of the most difficult parts of a design-based business is the culture of ripping off.
“Everyone’s copying each other’s styles as well, you do have to stick to your guns a little bit,” she told Mamamia.
“What’s very hard in the fashion industry across the board is that there’s fast fashion chains that are ripping everything off and selling it for $2.”
In addition to the high quality of the design and the product, the television personality explained that marketing, especially on social media, was key to the company success.
“When we launched it was massive, the first year was really fantastic, but I put lots of money in, marketing, PR, web people, it was amazing… but to keep that up and to keep buying the stock three months in advance, it was budgeting I found most challenging,” she said.