Where does finding the time to relax sit on your list of priorities? Chances are it’s somewhere near the bottom (beneath putting the bins out and other innocuous life admin). However, Tara Lamond hopes to change all that. Dissatisfied with the poor work-life balance her high-pressured job as an advertising exec provided, the mum from Manly, Sydney, began her own venture in the hope of finding balance in an increasingly busy world.
Enter Mandala Living: a hub of locally made and sustainably sourced products to encourage us to relax and slow down – a need that Tara is all too familiar with. “I loved [my job], but I was exhausted, run-down, tired of the commute, and wanted to spend more time my family,” recalls Tara of her decision to walk away from her corporate career. “I was living in Manly, but spent most of my week travelling. I wanted to enjoy Manly and try and find a little balance.”
Seek inspiration from your surroundings
It was while teaching yoga in the wake of leaving her job that Tara had her “aha!” moment. She was particularly drawn to yin yoga (with its focus on slowing down) when she began searching for a bolster to accompany her practice, but couldn’t find one that met her unique requirements. “I kept thinking, ‘Why are there not gorgeous bolsters, made locally, that can be used at home as cushions too?’” It was this question that sparked the idea for Mandala Living and Tara soon set about looking into designing what she needed on her own doorstep. “I wanted to create locally made, sustainable designed bolsters and cushions made in beautiful fabrics – linen, cotton, hemp, and outdoor.”
Determine your company’s core values and stick to them
Tara was clear from the get-go that Mandala Living would only stock local, sustainably sourced products. “We have consciously sourced our materials for our Mandala Living premium products,” Tara reveals, noting that each bolster is filled with post-consumer recycled plastic bottles (saving over 100 bottles from the landfill in the process), while each roundie meditation cushion is made from buckwheat husk and relaxation oils. As well as being a unique selling point, Tara’s decision to impose strict standards on how her products are sourced resonated with Mandala Living’s customers and has underpinned the business’ success. “I think people are now keen to know where their products are from and are happy to pay for products that have been handmade using ethically sourced materials,” maintains Tara.
Don’t put off what can be done today
Building your own business from the ground up is an undoubtedly daunting task, but Tara acknowledges that merely getting started is a huge step. After mulling over the idea of Mandala Living for six months or so, Tara finally took the plunge and settled upon a name and created a logo. “Each day, I crossed a few things off my list, and then suddenly it was December and the website was up and I was selling product,” says Tara, whose future plans include continuing to source materials and products that support disadvantaged communities in both Australia and overseas, as well as exploring collaborations with organisations to provide relaxation hubs within the workplace. “Every day, I am making decisions from packaging, to marketing, budgeting, to design – drawing on the skills that I learnt throughout my career.”
Prioritise your time wisely
Tara admits that juggling motherhood with starting a business has been one of the biggest challenges of her startup journey to date. “I have had so many ideas for the business, but 3 O’clock comes around so quickly and it is time to look after the family,” admits Tara. “It is a constant effort of being mindful of what is most important and of being patient, not rushing the process, and prioritising activities and not getting stressed.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
“Just keep going, one day at a time,” Tara urges other would-be entrepreneurs. “There will be some days where you want to give up. Go for a walk, give yourself a break, but just do little steps each week.” However, there will inevitably come a time when you need to ask for help – and that’s OK. “I had to learn to ask for help as I could not do everything on my own,” says Tara, who admits that tapping into the talents of those closest to her was invaluable. From “website design, product testing, copywriting, sewing, photography, modelling, and for providing constant feedback,” Tara sees Mandala Living as a “collective effort. I am so grateful for the amazing support I have had.”
Visit mandalaliving.com.au to see the gorgeous range.