NEIS business adapts to make masks for Melbourne

Designer Simone Yandell pivoted her children’s clothing business to produce face masks for her community when Melbourne went into lockdown.

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Simone at her market stall

Simone had carefully planned the opening of her children’s clothing business, Mister & Muse. She developed a comprehensive business plan with the help of her NEIS provider and set up her shop at the local markets, ready to trade.

Unfortunately, Simone’s plans were turned upside down when markets and other public gatherings were suspended due to COVID-19. She was forced to rethink her business plan and refocus her business. With advice and support from her NEIS mentor, Simone used her online store and social media to promote her products.

“I had a great support system from NEIS. My mentor has been wonderful, giving me lots of advice, encouragement and resources. She brainstormed ideas with me and challenged me to look at things from a different perspective

When the second wave of COVID-19 hit Melbourne in July, Simone wanted to contribute to her community by making and selling re-usable face masks in addition to her usual products.

To help her business move forward, Simone began studying Applied Fashion and Design Technology with the aim to upskill and get a better understanding of the fashion industry and provide quality products to her customers.

Simone is grateful for the practical tools and advice she got through NEIS, including market research tutorials and valuable networking opportunities.

Simone has some advice to anyone thinking about being their own boss and starting their own business.

“My advice to someone thinking of starting a business is go for it! It is a great time to upskill or change careers with so many of us out of work. It is a great time to do all the behind the scene things in a business, such as research, start your social media accounts, apply for an ABN and any permits you may need, prepare and test your product. It also gives you a purpose and something to focus on, in such uncertain and often stressful anxious times.”