Lindy Klim makes business, family, island life, and glamour gypsetting look all oh-so-easy, so we had to find out her secrets of stylish success, and what's next for her in the exciting new chapters.
Mother, model, entrepreneur, business woman, ambassador, hippie, fashionista and fashion lover… These are just some of the hats the gorgeous Lindy Klim wears these days as she is gracefully living the best of new and old chapters, gypsetting her life between Bali and Australia.
Years after joining the family business milk & co with her then husband Michael Klim and launching milk & co baby and women, Lindy is now stepping forward in her own world of new business ventures and personal adventures. Sharing some big lessons learnt over the years as well as plans for her new future, Lindy tells us about what’s next in her Bali and international lives.
The world sees a lot of you in fashion, with your beautiful family, being effortlessly stylish and living a pretty glamorous life it seems! How did you make it all happen?
I didn’t ever really have a career plan, I didn’t go to uni and I grew up in Tasmania where I was told I could be doctor, flight attendant, teacher, anything. Then, after years of modelling I was lucky enough to develop a good eye and strong creative interest, which led me to have my own business and projects I’ve been so passionate about. I feel really proud of what I’ve achieved so far. It’s been an amazing journey at times, and always changing. Especially now.
Tell us about the business you and Michael created over the years?
Milk started about 10 years ago, and when I became more involved in the business we launched Milk Baby and Milk Womens, we really did everything together until we secured private equity in 2012. Then my role changed to creative director, and with the investment and resource we were able to change the business dramatically.
Before then there was little formality in place, no paying ourselves a wage, few set goals, no formal WIP’s, and then we really benefited from the accountability and in developing big goals that grew the business hugely. Getting the business to where it was then, all on our own was amazing. Michael is a good businessman, and his years of training in a pool and dedication was a good match with my creativity and different view on things. It all worked in that way.
What’s the biggest lesson you learnt during that time?
Own up to what you’re not good at! Especially being more of a creative person, it’s hard to admit you’re not amazing at everything. It’s natural to be weaker in some areas of business as you can’t do everything well – we’re not made that way, so use them as a guideline and stick to what you know. You can’t do everything, it’s just impossible.
What would you do differently?
Make sure that the business plan is always super tight. Once our plan was done and our roles were defined, everything fell in place and we worked hard to achieve targets and make it grow. It really helped me set my own goals as well, achieving things that otherwise didn’t happen because the plan wasn’t done or clear.
Your proudest achievement so far in the business history?
Having children was a big inspiration for me in many ways, including business. Developing Milk Baby was out of necessity for finding organic skincare for my children when Stella was born. The business really went from there – we found an organic base in Tasmania to make our products. Even with being a mum at home, starting to help Michael on Milk For Men and then developing Milk Baby and Milk Women, proves that you really can start at any time.
What is the biggest challenge and love, of running your own business?
Having a business with your partner isn’t always easy, it can wear you down at times and other times it can be brilliant. Personally, I also like lots of variety and change. At times I find it hard to do a full day in the office, for example. I like to break it up at times, switch off or do something creative and then come back to it. So knowing how I work best helps me plan my projects.
Doing the work and family juggle is always challenging. It was really hard in the beginning when the kids were so young. I would go to tradeshows breastfeeding under the table as that’s how I could juggle it, and for me personally it was a good thing because were times at home at my own feeling a bit low. Even though it was tough and super tiring, it was more rewarding. Now it’s good for the children to see what I do and how I work, and understand about my jobs.
The Balance Vs The Juggle – how do you do everything, with a young family?
It is really hard but made easier by a great support network of amazing friends in both places, especially in the last year when I’ve really needed them. My mum & stepfather spent a year here and set up a school – she was actually Frankie’s principle. And in Bali we have the most amazing nannies who are part of our family, they’re an incredible part of the support system and we all adore them. We’re also really well planned, someone close is always here for the children. That’s the most important thing.
What projects are you up to these days?
Most people know it’s been a hard year, it’s been quite difficult and I’m just determined to work as hard as I can to build our future as much as possible. Because I’m a bit of a chameleon, I love the variety of many different projects and partnerships. I’m enjoy about getting the other sides of Lindy up and going more than I’ve done in the past you could say – time to bring out city Lindy, hippie Lindy, beach Lindy!
I’ve got some great partnerships with brands such as Westfield, Louis Vuitton, Qantas, omega watches. I’m a bit older now, so am very authentic in who I choose to work with so that it’s more than just being a ‘model’. When Louis Vuitton’s Collins Street store opened with their Ready to Wear fashion as well as handbags and shoes, I was able to showcase Melbourne’s hotspots, bars, markets to the world which was awesome. And recently with Omega we did a big, amazing shoot on the beach – they’re amazing people to work for, everything flows and it’s a lot of fun as well which is important.
It’s fantastic finding out what else I can do, and what else across Asia. Being half Balinese, it’s fantastic to do more in Asia and be a bit closer to home now in Bali too.
What is your advice for people wanting to start their own business?
Business plan! Without it, you aren’t going anywhere. It’s never set in concrete but it’s essential to have it and refer back, to keep remembering the important things. I also think it’s crucial to have a clear vision, and bring it to life creatively with a mood board so you feel excited about what you’re doing and why.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everywhere! I am inspired by so many simple things, travelling and of course, living here in Bali. I don’t have time to flick through magazines anymore, but I do love a good Harpers or Vogue. It’s also why I love Bali so much – it’s so colourful and vibrant, there’s something to see every day, bringing in different fashion elements, cool DJs and venues. Stella is helping in the inspo stakes these days too – she’s an amazing photographer already and we both love design.
Who do you consider to be inspiring in the business world?
Miroslava Duma. From attending fashion shows to building her extraordinarily successful business Buro 24/7, she is so focused and works very hard. Victoria Beckham has an insane work ethnic and beautiful style. She’s achieved incredible things in and the fashion and business worlds, not forgetting she is hands-on with her busy family of four children. And my mum Frances, is a big inspiration to me. She was a single mum and was a teacher, and worked super hard. She waitressed at night to give us a good life, she’s definitely a big inspiration and role model.
What’s ahead for you in the next year?
From a business point of view, I’m so grateful to have some amazing things in the works – some big contracts and ambassadorships are already happening. With the kids now going back to school after all their holidays, I’ll be doing some new digital projects as well as getting the villas up and running. It’s a big, exciting year ahead. Not forgetting the children will be attending school and making sure we all have a comfortable life with lots of self-pride in what we’re all achieving.
Tell us about your new villa ventures?
My partner Adam Ellis lives here and he’s been developing a few villa projects, which are now at the fun stage of interiors so it’s been brilliant working with him in finishing them through this stage. He’s a surfer and I’ve come in towards the end of these first villas, which are aimed at surfers and are laid back but also chic at the same time. With our new projects, that’s when I can put the different Lindy styles into action! Even though I’m quite minimalist, the city, beach, hippie, chic are all different parts of my life that I equally love, so it’s great to be able to put these into different villa and design projects coming up.
Follow Lindy’s Bali and Melbourne lives on Instagram [@lindyklim].