Wow where do I start, let’s start from the beginning so you can understand just a little bit about my story. My family and I grew up in a small aboriginal community called Patonga which is situated in the middle of the picturesque Kakadu National Park. What fun we had as children in the Australian outback having billabongs as our swimming pools and simple branches and logs as our pretend swords and horses!!
My mother a traditional owner for this region taught us all how to paint traditional art using ancient methods and the spiritual meanings behind everything around us.
Now all grown up with a beautiful family of my own, husband Joe and children Chloe, Denver and Lily-Rose we moved to the big smoke of Adelaide where we built our family home in the beach side suburb of Sellicks Beach.
My idea for Kakadu Tiny Tots sprung to mind one night after I had put my baby Lily-Rose down to sleep and started on the last of the chores for the night – folding clothes, It was then when I was folding a baby Muslim wrap of Lily-Rose’s that I thought, “Wow” wouldn’t our beautiful traditional aboriginal art from Kakadu look amazing on baby wraps and clothing!!
I sat up for hours trying to research if anyone had attempted to conquer this part of the industry and couldn’t find anyone who had. I became extremely excited and spent all my spare time doing a lot of research into the retail industry, manufacturing and producing baby clothing. It then took me around a year until finally I was happy with a manufacturer that could work with us from a starting design to finished product.
My next worry was convincing my husband to spend all our saving on this idea! To my amazement he agreed and I haven’t looked back!
We decided on testing the market with a few rompers and jumpsuits in green and pink with my sister Jacky Cahill’s art of the Fresh Water Turtle. Jacky is an amazing artist and has her own art business called Lightning Arts and Artefact in Kakadu.
We started in markets and expos and found that the feedback was remarkable and an overwhelming number of people started to follow us on social media. This continued for around a year where I was working as a flight attendant fulltime and trying to run a business and juggle family life!
We continued on this path for a while and we began to gradually get some of our products and range in baby shops and Australian Gift Stores where we found we were popular with shoppers looking to send that unique Australian Gift overseas.
Time passed and a girlfriend called me from Sydney and said “Hay have you seen they are about to air a new show called the SHARK TANK and are looking for Australian businesses to pitch there ideas.’’ I thought to myself wow wouldn’t this experience be amazing but we are so new we would never have a chance of getting on the show let alone convincing “THE SHARKS” to invest in our business but I’ll try anyway the worst that could happen is they would say no. So I decided to pluck up the courage….
I applied online and had a phone call the next day to say sorry but the castings for Adelaide had been and gone. My heart sunk. Our Children’s wear and toddler shoes wouldn’t get the chance to showcase some great Australian gifts! But then towards the end of the call the producer said we would love to have a casting with you via Skype!! You are joking I said!!! I couldn’t believe it. Could this really be happening? Our designer baby wear would now take centre stage!!
I had not even been told I was on the show yet it was only a casting to see if the producers liked our idea to be on the show but to me it was a massive milestone for my little business. My husband and I watch the show Dragon’s Den UK religiously so we knew the concept of the show very well. I only had 24 hours to put together a pitch and present this via Skype to the producers.
The time had come 10am and I was sitting in front of my computer shaking waiting for the producers to dial in. I had convinced two friends of mine to bring their baby’s over so I could dress them up in our aboriginal designed baby outfits for the casting!!! Thanks guys!!
After a very overwhelming 45 min casting, they told me they would call back if successful. This became the longest week of my life.
Finally Friday afternoon 2pm I received a phone call that would change everything. “We would love to fly you and your mum to Fox studio’s to pitch your business to the sharks” I was completely in shock. I practised my pitch religiously until I knew it so well I was dreaming it in my sleep!!!
Before I knew it I was in Sydney’s Fox Studios green room with my mum waiting to be called out to present to the Sharks. I can’t do this I thought! I kept having to tell myself do it for your babies. All I wanted to do now was make my family proud and to show all of the young up and coming aboriginal and non-aboriginal children that anything is possible. You just have to stick to your dreams and have a focus! You can do this. Whatever happens at least you gave it your best shot!
They called my name. Are you ready Kylie you are on? Trembling I walked up to the daunting hall that you walk down before you enter the shark tank took a depth breath and hoped for the best.
I then walked forward and stood on a black cross that they mark for you (you cannot see this on TV) and I composed myself for the last time and off I went………
Many of you will know our result and if you don’t check out the episode on our website!! We are currently growing nicely with our unique children’s clothing and have some incredible ideas and plans for the future!
We are now on the start of another exciting journey with our Sharks John McGrath & Steve Baxter.