Savvy Aussie mum: How my pantry made me a millionaire
By Eva Lewicki
October 21 2019
Deanna Foster, 37, from Wannanup, WA, has turned her simple pantry labelling idea into a million dollar business. Here, in her own words, she explains how her pantry made her rich
Hmmm, those look better there, I thought, switching the spice jars with the oil bottles.
There was nothing I loved more than sorting out the items in my pantry.
I’d often clean it late at night, pulling out all the contents to reorganise it.
Being able to see exactly what I had at a glance saved heaps of time when it came to cooking and knowing what to buy at the shops.
After having my second child, Alfie – a brother to Jaxson, then 17 months – I decided to try and make some extra cash from home.
That’s when my pantry gave me an idea.
I could create customised labels, I thought.
To do that, I’d need a vinyl cutting machine. I would design a label on computer software and it would send it to the machine
to be cut.
Finding one for $500, I showed a picture of it to my husband James, 34.
‘Can you buy me this for Christmas?’ I asked.
‘Um, okay, if that’s what you really want,’ he laughed.
When it arrived, I got to work, then I put my creations on Facebook.
I’m making these, who wants some? I posted.
To my surprise, people went crazy for them.
In fact, I didn’t have enough vinyl to keep up with demand!
Realising I’d found a gap in the market, I built my own website so I could take payment and orders – and the business skyrocketed!
I called it Pretty Little Designs and expanded to include oil bottles, ordering 100 from China.
‘It’s such a big risk,’ I fretted to James. ‘What if they don’t sell?’
But they sold out before they even arrived.
Soon I was ordering 8000 bottles at a time!
‘I’ll have to take over the loft,’ I said to James.
So, we renovated the space, using half for my office and the other half for our products.
When we outgrew that, we rented a warehouse.
Incredibly, just two years on, my business turns over a million dollars a year.
It’s grown through word of mouth and by customers sharing photos of their organised pantries online.
Additionally, more people are becoming ecologically-minded. Instead of buying packaged food products, they’re taking my containers into stores to refill them.
I now have nine wonderful women working for me, and I work day and night to keep up with the demand.
Friends and family test new items and if they’re not exceptional, I don’t sell them.
Now, we’re continuing to expand our homeware range and even selling overseas.
The money has meant I can stay at home with the kids and we can pay off the mortgage quicker.
I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. I was just a mum at home with two kids, sharing my tips.
I still don’t get much sleep and ironically, I’ve been so busy I haven’t finished organising my own pantry!