After working in Event Styling for several years, Kate decided to take the leap of faith and start her beautiful gift box business, Afternoon Pick Me up. Stocking a wide range of beautiful products run by women, you'll also find perfectly packaged chocolate and even champagne! Kate and I discuss all things new business, marketing and what goes into choosing products for each box.
You are the founder of the gorgeous business Afternoon Pick Me up (an Instagram dream), could you tell us a little more about APMU and what motivated you to start your business?
Oh you’re the sweetest, thanks so much! I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer, ideas of what I wanted to do with my life, how I can give back and how I can create a life I love. From all the ideas whirling, APMU stood out the most. It was an idea that came from wanting to gift friends beautiful things that transcended a normal gift, a gift that could be a giant cuddle, the words that couldn’t be formed and to be there when I couldn’t physically.
I sat on the idea for a while to make sure it was what I really wanted to do, and when my husband prompted me to just start it, I took the leap! And 2 years later this little business is keeping me oh so busy and is growing weekly!
First impressions count, and when receiving an Afternoon Pick Me Up box you can be sure that each detail has been carefully considered. What went into designing your packaging, and has it changed at all since you first started out?
Absolutely, I love seeing products or gifts that are so well thought through, every detail is considered and you know that so much love and care has gone into it. For APMU I started small and easy, I had plain white boxes, no branding, and our original boxes were hand delivered just in Melbourne and contained fresh flowers, cold pressed juice and raw chocolate.
Now days we have branded boxes, with branded ribbon, swing tags and soon tissue paper. The look of the brand has evolved as I have, and I really want to give a rounded experience where every detail is thought about. I'm constantly thinking about how to make things better when it comes to branding and packaging.
"I choose brands that I am drawn to, that aren’t everywhere and that are often run by women. They are products that will delight and bring joy, each product is chosen very deliberately".
From Sofi Spritz to The Husk Mill, the brands you stock share a similar design approach and focus on wellbeing, and sustainability. When choosing who to partner with, what key traits were you looking for?
I look for small brands, that are not mainstream. They must be brands that have similar values to APMU, our main brand principles are health, wellness and design. Each product must fall into all three categories, with a couple of exceptions. I choose brands that I am drawn to, that aren’t everywhere and that are often run by women. They are products that will delight and bring joy, each product is chosen very deliberately.
Apart from the beautiful brands mentioned above, you also partner with several artists such as Emma Kate & Co, Hunting Louise and Jen & Jennifer to name a few. How did you go about collaborating with these girls?
YES! I love working with such amazing women, who I’m lucky enough to call friends! Way back at the start I reached out to Bianca Cash to design our cards, and when she said yes, I literally jumped up and down! Its so exciting to have someone see your vision and want to be involved
Rachel from Hunting Louise designed our wraps that we use for our blooms, she hand lettered words like, bloom, you are lovely and magical to create wrap that is so unique and really sets us apart from other brands.
For all the amazing artists I simply reached out, told them about APMU and told them how much I love their work and would love to partner with them. For me its all about building relationships, and each brand that I work with I build that relationship.
You seem to be a jack of all trades! When it comes to your blooms, do you arrange these yourself or have you partnered with a florist? They are always exceptionally pretty!
Thanks so much! Its funny, I don’t think of myself as really great at anything, just ok at quite a few things! I’m self taught when it comes to everything in my business. I have a background in event styling and taught myself to create bunches of blooms that I love.
"I think word of mouth is an amazing thing, you trust your friends, and share what you love, so think its a really valuable source of marketing".
As a Melbourne based business, you recently expanded nationally. How have you found this has impacted your day to day biz activities, and have you found it difficult?
Great question, in June last year we launched our Nationwide Collection and have seen the business grow ten fold because of this decision. It has definitely impacted the day to day, there is so much more to do, so many more brands to stay on top of, stock control to manage, picking and packing each and every box as well as writing all the cards. Behind the scenes of this there is accounting, website maintenance, new brands research, new boxes to design, packaging upgrades, as well as customer service and tracking of all parcels!
I haven’t found it difficult, just more full, which I love. I love juggling numerous different things at once, I’m not very good at it, but I do enjoy having a full plate.
I’m sure you love all your boxes, but do you have any personal favourites?
Haha yes, but there have definitely been favourites too! I loved our Pamper box from our Blush collection, and I’m currently really digging our Rose-heyyy! Box and the Blush Love one too! Haha all pink everything! I’m currently working on our Mothers Day boxes as well as a couple more that I’m REALLY excited about!
When it comes to marketing your business, do you have any tried and true methods for building your audience and sharing your product? and do you have any advice for others using social media to promote their business?
Good question, I love Instagram and I think I got in at a really good time. My brand has grown organically since the start and I think it used to be easier to grow your audience. Its a lot harder now with all the algorithms and the fact that your audience who has chosen to see your posts, still don’t necessarily see them. I think word of mouth is an amazing thing, you trust your friends, and share what you love, so think its a really valuable source of marketing.
I've tried Facebook ads and they’re not for me, they are confusing and don’t have a huge return from what I’ve found. I think also just getting your brand out there, being confident that you offer something amazing, and the orders will come.
Can you let us in on any future plans or developments for APMU?
Sure! I have big plans for the future, to work in a studio space with other like minded businesses, to have employees, to be creating content for our brands and to be collaborating to create amazing events!
’m also beginning to focus a lot on corporate gifting too, who said corporate gifts have to be boring!
Do you have a morning routine? How do you like to start your day, and is there any rituals you live by?
I sure do! It changes here and there, but at the moment it is, wake up and snuggle with my hubs, then we pray and he goes and has a shower. He brings me back a cup of green tea with coconut or Turmeric tea and I read a devotional. Then I’ll head to Barre Class, come home have a shower and eat brekky and begin my day. I sit down in my studio and write out my list (or add to the one from yesterday) what needs to be done. I’ll start with packing orders (the most important thing) and work my way down the list in order of importance.
Finally, I’d love to know a woman who inspires you.
Hmmm where do I start. There are many women that inspire me, my darling friends, my mum and sisters, and those I don’t even know but just see on social media. I’m inspired by women who are strong in who they are, what the believe in and don’t waiver for anyone else. I’m inspired by women who know their worth, who work hard and who constantly juggle all of lifes complexities, without the expectation of praise. I’m inspired by women who want to live their best life, put their best foot forward and who love those around them so dearly.