in the beginning…



indieVenue is not even live and already I’m blogging!

This will be a no-holds-barred, warts-and-all look at starting up a start up. All the things I get right, all the pitfalls, all the people who help along the way – and those who don’t (yep, no-holds-barred).

Jump into the indieVenue story anytime. I hope it’s a good one, with some funny bits, not too many cliff hangers, and a happy ending.

And so, to begin… in the beginning…

…there was me.

Always felt entrepreneurial. Always had ideas buzzing around, seeing holes in the market, imagining businesses just waiting to begin. Love it when friends have ideas for businesses and want to discuss whether they will work or not, or I come across new business ideas at work (I work for a marketing agency).

After 15 years running my own swimwear company, I’m no business novice. “Lion in the Sun” was a good company – started up as just a project to keep my brain occupied while the kids were babies and had enough early success to employ me and husband Paul, colleagues Sarah & Silke and various warehouse staff through the years. We kept a factory in Fiji busy and ran a team at an outsourced warehouse in the UK. Had a respectable turnover and paid every bill on time (Paul’s an accountant – we are always perfectly straight and narrow). I had business trips to take photographs on remote Fiji islands (the original bucket list item dreaming with Lizzie in the back of Mrs Killick Geography class. Tick).

It does harden you up, running your own business. Being where the buck stops. Having to get up every day and make it happen. Cleaning up when the shit hits the fan.

I ask people, who are desperate to go out on their own – do you really want this responsibility?

Course they do! Grab your bloody life with both hands and get out there.

And so to indieVenue. Why indieVenue? With at least two new business ideas every week, why is this THE ONE? How about the wheelbarrow chairs for picnics? Or the NZ “package of skills” for foreign students?

What got me so excited about indieVenue that I have stepped over the starting line, waving my colours?


  • It’s a no brainer. Every single person I have spoken to sees the need.
  • I know the market. Currently, as an event organiser, I am the market.
  • It will work. Come up and see my spreadsheets sometime.
  • It is scalebale. Very, very scaleable. Perfect the model here, and it goes anywhere in the world.
  • It’s a business that uses all my skills, and those I don’t have, I know who to call.
  • It fits my ethics. It has a community spirit and gets people meeting face-to-face. Running events encourages friendship and team work, relies on honestly and creativity.
  • indieVenue gets the personality back into getting-together.  Have a DIY party, stamp your colours on it. I’m proudly anti-beige.
  • It will be fun to run.

If I discuss potential business ideas with friends, I’ll and ask them to describe a day 5 years ahead. What’s it looking like out there, do they really want to be there?

When I close my eyes and look ahead sometimes I’m still right here – at my mac by the window, creating things out of my head from my own living room, early in the morning while Paul is pottering about making (fanatically good) coffee and the kids are asleep. Or I’m  in Vancouver, or Paris, or Osaka, training a new team on their indieVenue “platform” (probably wont be a website by then…), visiting a few venues and taking the team out to dinner before the night flight home to the hill in Hawke’s Bay.

And I think that looks pretty good.



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