We sat down with our good friend Kate Abdou from Designer Man Cave (which we’ve featured in the past here), about launching her new business Man Mail, an online gift store of premium gift boxes for men.
What made you want to start Man Mail?
It was a combination of things – I’ve always wanted to have an online shop, I’ve always loved giving gifts and through all my work with Designer Man Cave, I saw a gap in the market. There are plenty of amazing products for men out there beyond the ‘typical guy gift’ and I wanted to put them all in one place (in a very stylish gift box!) and make life easy for people to buy a present for a man they know.
What market are you targeting? Who are your main customers?
Man Mail isn’t for any one type of person in particular. It has been designed to appeal to a range of people, no matter who they are buying for. It is for people buying for their partner, brother or mate, and is proving to be a hit with gents buying for themselves! Our boxes also make great corporate gifts for clients or employees. Their uniqueness leaves the best possible impression.
What would you do differently if you started again?
Ah, hindsight! It’s a wonderful thing. I think I would be kinder to myself when it comes to timelines and budgets. Things always take longer and cost more than you first anticipate. I think that is why I’m so excited to finally launch Man Mail – because its been a lot of time and a lot of work to get it to this point.
What advice would you have for anyone starting a business?
Refer to the previous answer J Things take twice as long and double the budget. I’ve become an expert at outsourcing because I’m well aware that I don’t know everything, especially when it comes to e-commerce, which is a new business model for me. Where possible, outsource a job or task to someone who is better at it than you are. It’s much more time efficient and less stress. I’d also recommend to have a very clear and strong vision for your brand, and stick to it. This acts as an anchor when you have to make the millions of decisions (yes, millions!) along the way. It’s also great to have the brand vision so you can share it with those who are involved to help you create your business. It makes everyone’s life easier when they have a guide of your vision to refer to.
So what’s happening with Designer Man Cave now?
Life in the cave is as busy as ever. My website is about to re-launch after a ‘facelift’ and I’m working on some very special interior projects. I also have some cool new resources in the pipeline that will be released a little later this year.
How did you go about choosing the different gift packs?
I love putting things together and I spend a lot of time doing it as an interior designer. I wanted to create different collections in Man Mail to suit a variety of men and to make the decision making process for my customers an easier one. The collections include Body, Foodie, House, Lifestyle, Travel and Work. There really is something for everyone. I also wanted to offer a variety of price points so whether someone wanted to buy something for someone they don’t know very well or as a small gesture, they could. Or for those who want to go all out and spoil a loved one, that is also available. Then there is everything in between.
What’s important when choosing a gift for someone?
I know it’s captain obvious, but take a moment to have a think about whether they will like and use it. We can all be guilty of buying something because WE like it! Also consider their lifestyle and what gift would compliment that – if they have just moved house, something for the home is a nice gesture. Maybe they travel a lot? Or they love cooking? Have a think about how they spend their time. This can make the decision process for you, an easier one.
What’s the best gift anyone has ever given you?
Oooo I can’t narrow it down to just one! I love things that I can keep for a long time and that I wouldn’t necessarily buy for myself. I have a leather handbag from years ago that I still use and adore and I always appreciate a beautiful coffee table book to add to my collection. I’m very sentimental too, so the pieces of jewellery I’ve been given over the years are very special to me and give me daily happiness.
And finally, what are your goals for the next year ahead?
I’ve always got a long list of goals on the go. The top of the list is to grow Man Mail and become the #1 online store in Australia of gifts for men. Taking Designer Man Cave to the next level is on the to-do list. I’d really like to work on more residential interiors. Personally, it is to buy a warehouse and convert it to live in (the ultimate interior project!) and if I have time to squeeze it in, I’m long overdue for an overseas holiday!