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Interview with Shaynna Blaze

Get business tips from one of the judge's from The Block

Top tips

  • You need to work out your end goal in five years of where you want to be and build small goals to get you there
  • Look at how you would like to be thought of in the market place
  • Make sure any branding you do is inline with the integrity of you as a person as much as the business

About Shaynna

Shaynna Blaze who is a festival event presenter Shaynna Blaze is an award-winning interior designer with over 20 years experience designing both residential and commercial spaces. Shaynna co- hosts The LifeStyle Channel’s award winning show, Selling Houses Australia and appears regularly giving design advice and tips on television and in magazines and newspapers. In 2012 Shaynna joined the team of expert Judges on Nine Network’s Award Winning reality series, The Block, and in March 2013 Shaynna released her first book, Design Your Home.

In this interview, Shannya shares her tips on developing a personal brand and selling online successfully:

What tips would you have on how to develop a personal brand and how did you work to develop 'Shaynna Blaze' the TV personality and interior designer?

  • You need to work out your end goal in five years of where you want to be and build small goals to get you there.  There maybe some curves in the road but having that long-term focus keeps your eye on where you want to end up.

  • Look at how you would like to be thought of in the market place, for me it was to be a known as an expert in Interior Design.  Then make sure you have or do the groundwork to back that title up.

  • Make sure any branding you do is inline with the integrity of you as a person as much as the business.

  • The TV personality grew slowly and something that I still find hard to associate with as everything I do I go in with passion, do the best I can but mostly make sure that I am 100% me.

How did you get started in the business world?

I was twenty-two and l knew I wanted to different types of work so I left my design job then contracted with them which gave me the freedom to do other work as well. It was a big step but I knew then I needed a daily challenge and this certainly gave me that. I stopped my design business when my kids were little but started a band and ran all the bookings, set lists and kept track of musicians to book. Then went back to design when my kids were a bit older and again opened my own design business. Having your own business is hard and is 50% more work than working for someone else, but the variety and freedom it offers you is the reward.

You have your own online shop, what advice would you have to other business owners on how to sell online successfully?

You need to first work out if the online shop is to support a physical shop or if it is stand-alone. A lot of people still want that feel and touch of a product so make sure that all items aren’t based on smell or tactile touch to get them over the line. Look at how you will promote and what is your point of difference as there are so many online stores now, it is just as tough as a shop. Will you carry the stock yourself? Do you have the space for it?  If you are competing in price can you cover the labour costs of your own packaging and handling and postage. There are a lot of hidden costs that sometimes are very hard to cover with big online companies and their buying power so be careful of the products you select.

Think of how big you want the online shop to be in the future and have allowances for ‘add-ons’ to your site when you grow. If you start the website with minimal hidden plug-ins and space the add on's in the future can really stall your site and means you are paying twice or even three times for someone to build your website which can be costly.

What inspires you? 

I am totally inspired by searching for something I’ve never seen before and that doesn’t always mean the next best thing. It can be looking at the shape of a tree in a different way, looking at the colours of art and interpreting them differently. It is all about never having your blinkers on and challenging yourself. I think the fear of being boring and repeating myself would be one of my driving factors.

What was the highlight of being on the judging panel of ‘The Block’? 

I think being asked to be there in the first place has to be a highlight. My goal a long time ago was to be an expert in my field and becoming a judge on The Block have given me that step to go even further. Another highlight would have to be getting emotional at Steve and Chantelle’s bathroom reveal, even though I’d never really met them through the judging I had felt their struggle all the way and I felt like they had broken through and really won the battle that had been up against.

Now for some non-business related questions…

Favourite way to spend the weekend?

A morning run at the Tan or around my local area then a big breakfast with my family or friends with endless pots of tea.  If I’m lucky I’ll get to read the papers and then go buy flowers to last the week and then staying in on a Saturday night is bliss.  Home cooked meal, maybe friends coming over and lots and lots of laughter.  If I have sore abs the next day I know it’s been a great night. Then Sunday is left open to what ever comes my way.  My weeks are so full it is nice to have a day of spontaneity.

What’s next for Shaynna Blaze?

I’m bringing out a furniture and lighting range in the next couple of months with a couple of great Australian manufacturers and I have a new studio in Melbourne I’m renovating that will become a new venture for my business that is focused around events and a photography space. More Selling Houses Australia and the The Block next year and the launch of my second book in the first half of 2015.