Taking the plunge into business ownership is a daunting prospect for anyone. But in 2013, having just turned 50, this was the choice I faced. A decision that took me on an incredible journey to create M.M Linen. Here is that story…
After a hugely successful career as a senior buyer, I was a trusted and respected name in the retail industry. However in 2014, due to a restructuring in the company I had been the head homewares buyer for, I was forced to make the difficult decision to leave, causing me to face the intimidating reality of being unemployed, when I should have been sailing the highs of my career. Senior careers in buying are normally based in Auckland & I couldn’t bring myself to leave my hometown of Christchurch, a city I love living in.
Not ready to sit down and settle in to retirement, I plucked up the courage to call a business contact and friend of mine to see how he would feel about going into business together designing, manufacturing and selling linen.
Through my love of fabrics, design and interiors combined with my extensive experience in sourcing and designing luxury linen from across the globe, I was fortunate to have access to the factories and manufacturing contacts I needed. One of these contacts was Henry Rawson, a UK businessman and ‘carbon neutral’ bed linen factory owner, living in Hong Kong. After a few discussions, he told me to get on a plane for a meeting in Hong Kong the next week. Within a few days I was on my way. Sometimes risks are meant to be taken. And that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Within weeks we were in business and M.M Linen was born.
To be honest, it’s very hard for women over fifty to take such risks in business, especially if they don’t have the resources and support. But I come across women every day who have amazing ideas, determination, energy and the business intellect to make it happen. A big part is having confidence in your own abilities, but just importantly you need someone to believe in you. I was lucky and brave enough to find that person.
M.M Linen is now in its sixth year of business, and our collection is sold in more than 400 stores throughout New Zealand, Australia, UK, USA, South Africa and Canada. M.M Linen is now selling at John Lewis in the UK, with the range selection planned to increase significantly due to it’s popularity and projected growth. This is very exciting for the brand, as they are a retailer I have always regarded and loved visiting. The range also launched in 150 Bed, Bath & Beyond stores in the USA in February 2020.
We launch our growing seasonal ranges twice a year, and work closely with a handful of very talented artists from around the world to create our beautiful prints. Our range has expanded to include a wide range of textures and prints, cushions, bedspreads, towels, feather & down duvets & pillows and bean bags. We are currently developing an exciting new collection of fashion and giftware to launch later this year.
Thank you for choosing M.M Linen. I am proud that all our collections are created in New Zealand using the best manufactures worldwide, with sustainability a key factor.
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