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Interview with Eastern Eclectica's owner - Leighann Cox

I'm a mother of two girls aged 13 (yes, extremely challenging!) and 10.  I have another job working as a practice manager for a surgeon and Eastern Eclectica is my side hustle.  I opened a bricks and mortar shop almost 2 years ago, with a view to it becoming my main focus, but unfortunately life had other plans for me.  So now my shop is mainly subleased and I am focusing on the online side of the business. I also do a few larger markets, such as the Boho Luxe Market, The Big Vegan Market and my first Mind Body and Spirit Festival coming up later in the year.  I have also recently started to manufacture my own label, Eclectic Bohemian.  I have previously had jackets made in India and now I'm focusing on rayon dresses and blouses manufactured in Indonesia, as it's closer to visit and so far easier to deal with.   Next will be to use my own fabric prints but I'm easing into it using their fabrics to start with.

In the online world, I am inspired by people such as Jenni from Styling Curvy, as she has such a strong message about empowering yourself to love you for who and how you really are.  I also have my business coach Georgie from The Women's Collective, who is an Instagram wiz and an aesthetic Queen!  The most valuable business tip I actually learnt from Georgie, is that "You" are the difference to your business.  I was searching for what makes me different from every other online Boho store and essentially she pointed out it was me and I should use that to propel my business.  I do find it a bit uncomfortable sharing a lot about myself online but I'm trying to become more confident.

 

Being a mum and working 4 days a week, plus my side hustle is a tough gig!  I don't recommend it honestly, if I had a choice, I think if you can put all your eggs in one basket business speaking, it does make things a bit easier.  Obviously finances are often a factor in how you can drive your business, and at this stage mine requires me to work both jobs.  Parenting is a tough gig regardless, in my opinion and I'd love to have unlimited time to spend with my girls, but we are all more than just a mother, so squeezing everything into 24 hours is always a juggle.

I've always loved clothes and shopping!  I also love to travel and spend a lot of my time when away, shopping for treasures.  I would always have friends say they loved what I had come home with.  When my husband and I moved to Thailand a few years ago to start another business, I decided to start my online business so I could share what I would buy overseas with other people and friends.  Not everyone can travel readily and not everyone has the patience to trawl though many shops to find the gems!  I'm always inspired by the colours and holiday vibe that comes with being away somewhere tropical and especially warm weather.

 

When people are shopping from my online store, I always recommend to check the description for sizing advice.  I always try to give as much information as I have and often will have a guide based on my size and which size I would wear.  I also encourage people to message me if they're unsure.  I can always measure certain parts or discuss over the phone or send extra photos.  I'd rather make sure you receive the right size than have to return things, as I always feel disappointed when that happens to me.

When shopping online, always beware of companies using big brands photos and sending you fake copies!  There are so many companies out there now that will advertise a photo of Spell for example and then send you the cheap China copy.  There are so many imitations of every brand now, it's very hard to know what you're actually going to get.  Even as an experienced online shopper, I still get caught occasionally.  As for how to be sure, it's tricky! Check if they look to have their own photos, or the same model throughout their stock or any real life photos of people wearing the item.  Otherwise buy something inexpensive first, so if it's a knockoff, you haven't lost too much money, or ask around online.

 

Being from Melbourne, my favourite styling tip is usually to do with adding layers underneath to make the most out of lighter dresses and skirts.  I'm always adding legging underneath a dress with long boots, or long sleeve scoop neck tees, so I can wear my boho dresses even when it's cold.  I also do the same with my vintage style tees, layers underneath so you can see the logo and just wear a cardigan or denim jacket over the top.  Bohemian style is usually flowing and loose so it allows for layers and I love the comfort factor.  Also don't pigeon hole yourself because of your age, wear what makes you feel happy.  I always hear people telling me they're too old to wear this dress or that print!  If you love what you're wearing, you will glow because you feel happy and beautiful within yourself.  

 

A must have in your wardrobe, is probably a denim jacket as it pairs perfectly with all prints and patterns and of course I think everyone should have at least one boho printed flowing dress.  They're perfect to make you feel feminine and brighten up any day, even with layers underneath. 

 

So I hope I have given you an insight into myself and Eastern Eclectica.  We are in the process of selling our house and moving down towards the Mornington Peninsula, so maybe if we get the right property, I can open from my home and have a small shop set up there.  There's always something happening it seems, so trying to keep up is sometimes a challenge!  I think most mums feel like that though don't they?

 

Leighann  xx

 


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