Today's Agenda: Building An Empire...
Written by Rebecca Arendse
In a quiet corner of the iconic mount nelson high-tea room, I meet with online entrepreneur and creative, Tamarin Aubrey, who shares her philosophy on risk taking, personal expression, and the push and pull between being vulnerable and strong, concurrently.
Having known my subject for the last year, I feel comfortable jumping straight in to the big “why?; asking if, for her, there was an ah-huh moment to start an online based business. She pauses to reflect, then opens up about the desire to express her love for styling and clothing, though without being directly at the center of it all…
The business itself had started out with a curated collection of basics and statement pieces and slowly built a loyal online following. However, it was a solo trip to Asia that would later catapult her brand to its current growing success.
We pause our chat to order a round of drinks – Ceylon for her, espresso for me – after which I eagerly edge her to continue…
She briefly exhales, then sets the scene for her second buyers trip to South Korea, alone in the big city, where she would soon stumble upon a mecca for eyewear in the form of a sunglass and optical vendor. Amazed at the assortment of opticals in particular, it was at this point that a light bulb all but exploded for the business minded mogul, and 4 hours later, she decided that 100 pairs of sunglasses would accompany her back to Cape Town. She smiles as she recalls the response to the styles she had brought back. This was arguably THE defining moment for the brand, solidifying its status as the go-to online eyewear brand for confident, driven women.
A risk taker who doesn’t tend to rely on “what ifs” – she was encouraged from a young age to be ambitious and tenacious in her entrepreneurial pursuits. I ask if there was any bit of truth she wished had been imparted on to her when starting a business, to which she responds,
“I think we are so inundated with information on what we [as women] are supposed to be, and what we’re supposed to do – but my advice to anyone wanting to start their business is not to let the fear of what other’s think hinder you from starting.”
Tamarin Aubrey, 2018
Clearly aware of the challenges that come with running your own full-time business, she hopes she’ll nevertheless be able to switch off and rest once in a while, but to properly unplug from the constant stream of digital media and content is a challenge in itself. As creative director of a business, letting go is something she, as do many others, struggle with. That said, Tamarin is adamant that she loves what she does; not really thinking of it as a “job” in the conventional sense, but, rather, a labor of love.
And what is it that inspires this young creative? An avid member of the women-supporting-women clan, she notes her own inspiration as the quiet beauty displayed in everyday women. She adds that, seeing someone else’s confidence in themselves, that’s something that inspires her creativity, whilst reminding her to be her best self.
We end the interview with a few laughs while finishing our respective drinks, agreeing to return soon to try the food. She shares one last thought on the topic of who inspires her, and it resonates with me. Saying,
“Women who are not afraid to look good, and feel good, they inspire me to attain that confidence in myself.”
Tamarin Aubrey, 2018