What inspired you to start your business?
Since 1996 I’ve lived in Tokyo working as a singer songwriter/actor in videogames and anime, and I always had a bad back. My physiotherapist put me on to Japanese heat pads and I started taking them back to friends and family in Australia. I saw a huge demand, so in 2004 created the Hotteeze brand and started exporting and distributing in Australia, New Zealnd, the U.K., and the U.S.
What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
Having a business in Australia in 2005 while living in Japan without Skype and cloud computing was the hardest. I remember having to use a fax to communicate and a lot of expensive phone calls. Now with Xero, Facetime, Slack and Zoho, running a global business is so much easier. Also, I think being childfree has given me so much more time to focus and do my own thing.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Are you in this for a future lifestyle or are you absolutely convinced that the world HAS to have your product or service? If you answered for a future lifestyle then I think your path will be very hard.
What three traits define you?
Cheerful, determined, grateful.
What women inspire you?
Celine Dion, Taylor Swift, Barbara Eden (87 years old and still going strong).
How has being a WEConnect-Certified WBE helped your business?
Connected me with inspiring women. I don’t feel like a freak. Opened doors that would have been impossibly difficult or expensive to open via the Supplier Diversity path.
What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?
Eco-friendly and drug free alternatives.
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
Nothing — I could sleep for the Olympics! Only having to stay awake (post wine time!) for late night calls to the East Coast of the U.S. from Tokyo. Ugh!
What are the biggest obstacles you see for young female entrepreneurs?
Being an entrepreneur for the wrong reason, i.e. it’s trendy, cool, everyone else is doing it, I want to be famous.
What do you love about being a business owner?
Reading all the lovely online comments from our customers, knowing that I’m helping people all over the world every day and seeing my team grow.
·What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?
It always takes longer than you think. Also, once I’ve set up a good business, having the will to keep goal setting and not just rest on my laurels.
How do you define success?
A feeling of contentment with what I’ve achieved combined with anticipation of future delights that await. This applies to my home life, friendships and career.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Turn up 10 minutes early. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
What’s your favorite career moment?
Oh boy that’s a hard one as it’s always changing. But what never changes is relishing being able to afford to travel business/first class. As I sit up in the pointy part of the plane, often surrounded by business men, I say to myself, “Thank you Donna! You did this!” as I politely decline the sparkling wine they ply you with before take-off. Because (here’s a hint for you!) that’s usually just an average sparkling wine but the real French champagne, listed on their menu, is only served when the food service commences after take-off!
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Sit in the garden, work on creative projects, listen to inspiring podcasts and read more books, have long lunches, more gym and singing practice.
What are you reading or listening to now? (Book, blog, magazine, podcast, etc.)
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, Goop podcast, Oprah podcast, The BBC News Quiz, some Jo Beverly Regency Romances. I love young adult fiction and anything by L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables series). I love reading about women’s lives back in the day and seeing how far we’ve come and yet how far we’ve got to go. I don’t like violent or sad movies or books — I need black and white stories with happy outcomes. I get enough grey in the real world!
What’s the best way to start your day?
I always get up two hours before I leave the house. I make a pot of organic black tea, tend to my four cats, read the paper, do some stretching on Yamuna balls, check and answer emails, then have a shower and leave. I hate to rush the best part of my day.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A famous singer and actress who made people laugh.
How do you unwind after a long workday?
Thirty minutes of weight training at the gym, or a beer and some nuts, leisurely meal with my husband followed by a good book or some Netflix. My job is very social so even though I appear to be extroverted, I gain energy from being quiet.
What do you like about your workspace?
I have my own office so I can shut out distractions — I can’t stand noise. My office at home has a cat bed and it’s nice when a furry friend comes to snooze while I work.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... take a deep breath to calm myself.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… your dreams WILL come true so dream BIG!
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… a bath
By this time next year, I will be … even richer? Wait..does that sound bad??!!
The best thing that happened to me last week was … the announcement that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (that I sing and voice act in) will come out on Switch January 23, 2020!
To get my creative juices flowing, I …clean my office, garden, tidy up, then make a cup of tea!
Hotteeze Heat Pads
Hotteeze are amazing stick on heat pads that last up to 14 hours. Natural, drug free, heat therapy for period cramps, pulled muscles or when you're freezing at an outdoor event! Best of all, they're eco-friendly as you can recycle the contents in the garden. Hotteeze are endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association.