In January 2012, I went on a amazing cruise, where I stumbled across a great product.
So, Kim-Maree, tell us about your business…
I finished working at the Department of Justice in 2012, due to the progression of my disability – Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
In January 2012, I went on an amazing cruise, where I stumbled across a product “Tweezers with Led-light”. I fell in love with it, and decided this was a “must have” item for all women. KMJ Selection was borne out of my desire to share this product.
Fast forward four years and KMJ now offer a range of fashion jewelry, and lifestyle accessories which are a great mix of practicality and style, all at an affordable price.
Did you always dream of opening your business or was there something else you wanted to be ‘when you grew up’?
No, I had no business aspirations at all however, when my health began to deteriorate I decided I needed to change my lifestyle, and a move into small business seemed a good solution.
What inspired you to finally open your business?
I stumbled upon a great product – and resolved to have as many women as possible discover it as well.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? What obstacles have you overcome?
Initially it was getting the word out, and building a client base. However, my physical disability makes it difficult (often impossible) to get to many venues and expos. To overcome this, I open my home to customers four times a year with an all-day event, and have my products on display and available for purchase.
And what has been your greatest business achievement?
I now have a very successful, vibrant business which operates largely via social media. My open house events enable personal interaction with my customers, who come from near and far. I am so proud that I can operate a business which, whilst conducive to my disability, is absolutely not bound by it.
Set goals, and don’t stop until they are achieved.
Do you have any celebrity followers (fans of your business)? If so, who are they and what product/service do they love?
I received a comment from Brynne Edelsten on my Facebook Page. I was extremely chuffed to hear from her. Brynne continues to follow the KMJSelection journey.
KJM is also a Player Sponsor for the Collingwood Football Club, clocking up 6 years of Sponsoring Steele Sidebottom. Steele is a great supporter of my business.
Who is/was your business inspiration?
Absolutely my Dad, with his great intelligence and business acumen. He continually encourages and guides me on the administrative side of my business.
Were you among the first in your family and friendship group to run your own business?
If so, were you supported or discouraged?
I am the only member of my immediate family and close social circle to own a business. At no stage did anyone discourage me, although the prospect of much hard work was mentioned! The love and ongoing support from my family has contributed greatly to my success.
Do you have a mentor? (Or did you have a mentor during your business-building phase?)
If so, how important was this relationship to your success?
I have never had an official mentor – aside from Dad.
Do you have an exit strategy? Do you think you could ever sell your business and move on to something else?
I have no intention of parting with KMJSelection at this point as it is part of my soul, and I get great satisfaction from its success. That said, I do have a succession plan in place, and when the time is right, I will hand over the business with a great deal of pride and joy.
Are you involved in philanthropy? If so, what causes are close to your heart?
I recently supported my dear friend Sue Kull who walked from Melbourne to Warrnambool to raise money for research into Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It took Sue 15 days in the January heat to realise her goal. My disability precluded me from walking with her however, a team of family and friends joined her for the first 2.5km and then on the final day I was driven to Warrnambool to “walk” the final kilometre with her, and to clap her across the finish line. We raised more than $3000, and gained much needed public awareness. It was a very rewarding and proud experience for everyone involved.
And, if involved, why do you think it’s important for women business owners to be philanthropic?
If you can find a way to give back to the community, or support a cause which is “close to your heart”, then I encourage anyone to jump in and get involved.
What’s the best business advice you’ve been given? And by who?
My father said to me, Kimmi its only money, if you succeed “Fantastic” if you don’t at least you tried.
What’s the best business tip you can offer our readers?
Set goals, and don’t stop until they are achieved. There are always obstacles in life and in business, but a successful outcome is wonderfully gratifying and worth all the hiccups.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
My disability is profound and was the catalyst for my foray into business, yet I don’t believe it defines me; nor should it. I purposely do not seek any advantage from my situation, and the relative anonymity of social media allows me to go about my business without my disability being any kind of “elephant in the room”. This is very important to me.
At A Glance
Business name: KMJSelection
Business structure: Small Business – owner/operator
Location: Tarneit, VIC
Your position: Owner
Year business established: 2012
Number of employees: 1
Industry: Specialty Gifts
Name: Kim-Maree Jago
Lives: Tarneit, VIC
Marital status: Partner
Do you work from home, the office, or a combination of both? Home
Typical work week: 15 hours per week
Typical work schedule: On demand, which is typical of on-line business.
First published June 2016.