Sarah – 5 things I learnt from running a start-up

Xero vs MYOB

Written by Summer Priest

I’m your go-to Sydney Xero Bookkeeper who cares, swears and surprisingly doesn’t own a scratchy brown suit *scandalous*. I help you achieve freedom to live and up-level your biz. Good news. I always have a secret stash of Maltesers to share, love sipping apple martinis with you and dedicate my days to taking care of your books or looking after my littlest bestie, Bowie.

September 16, 2021

Dear Diary,

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my client, confidant, small business roller coaster rider, supporter but most importantly friend, Sarah. 

Sarah and I crossed paths way back when OH NINE was a teeny tiny baby and didnt have a website. She helped me get on the bloody map! And now? Well not only is she our Chief Designer for THE VANITY but not a week goes by where we dont talk. Whether it be about the roller coaster it is owning a small business or new ideas that we can implement. We are always looking out for each other and helping each other take shit to the next level. We are also V good at tellin each other to STOP and rest.
Sar has always been involved in design and fashion. Building activewear label Kamuka from the ground up and now putting her whole ass into THE SPARKK (we dont half ass things over here guys). Sarah has gone a bit deep on this one and is opening up on the 5 things she has learnt running a start up. 
Take it away Sar xx


I could talk endlessly about the ups and downs, pits and peaks of starting and running a business, but truly it is a journey that everyone experiences in different ways. But if there are any words of wisdom I wish i’d known when I started, these would have been them:
OH NINE Peace Fingers Icon

The best advice I ever got when I was starting out was to surround myself with incredible humans who inspire me to succeed.


Too harsh? A better way to say that – you are going to make mistakes. But my god will you learn from them. Starting a business is not for the faint hearted. Its not for those wanting perfection straight away or for those who expect to achieve without heartache. Our first collection of Activewear I designed for Kamuka was 2cm too big around the ankles. 230 garments. 230 pairs of tights that couldn’t be sold because the ankle measurement wasn’t to spec. Now at the time, this was the end for me and I honestly almost gave it all up. But you fail and you learn. I learnt the very important lesson of “checking and triple checking” that day.


Its your idea, your baby – so its natural that you want to just jump in, call all the shots and focus.. but the best advice I ever got when I was starting out was to surround myself with incredible humans who inspire me to succeed. I set about surrounding myself with mentors from all different aspects of the business. Find people who’s opinion you value highly, ask questions, write things down, soak it all up. Find your humans.


This point deserves its own post, heck its own website! You C A N N O T bring your best work to your business, if you are not your best. Burn out, exhaustion, no sleep, hair loss, anxiety attacks – you may experience it all, like I did. What I wish I’d listened to earlier on is to put myself first, and look after myself. Please take time to breathe, take a day off to re-charge if you need too, focus on down time and mental clarity. Find out what it takes to make you relax, what “me time” means to you and add it into your every day. Your business will thank you for it. 


This is really important. What is success? Is it having 10,000 customers? Or is it having 1 customer? Is it opening 5 stores or opening 20? There is no limit. I remember when i hit 5K followers on Instagram, my first thought was

Sarah at The Sparkk talks all things start ups

“okay now the goal is 10K” or “okay now the goal is 20 orders per week”. There is no end and no limit to your success, so constantly pushing yourself and your goals can be counter-active. Celebrate EVERY SINGLE little win. Really celebrate it. Write it down. Give yourself a pat on the back. All of the ‘little’ every day things add up, and its important to count them.


Im still learning this. Life, and business does not have to be so serious. You can have a laugh when you make a mistake, you can be vulnerable on social media and you can be honest with your customers. Starting a business and a brand is hard work, and if you don’t take a minute to enjoy the sunshine and laugh about the little ins and outs of your day, its going to get really ugly.

Of course, there is more i could say, but i am still learning myself, every single day. I think we all are. These are just the 5 top ‘please remember me!’ tips that i live by every day (or at least try too)

If you want to read more about The Sparkk. or want to keep up with her lastest journal posts, you can read more from Sarah below.