Meet the Maker: Tristan Bennett Co-Founder and Owner of Kookaburra Living
Team Buy Aussie Now
This story was written by several Buy Aussie Now team members.
Kookaburra Living is a brand dedicated to natural, ethically and locally sourced products. It’s their goal to make great products from the highest quality natural ingredients and make them accessible for everyone in Australia to get connected to nature.
Their featured collection would be the Australian Experience collection. Starting with three candles based on iconic Australian nature, Kookaburra Living plan on expanding this collection so people can fill their home with pieces reminding them of the best of what the “Land Down Under” has to offer. Their current scents in the collection are Australian Bush, Australian Coast, and Australian Lavender.
How did you start your homegrown business?
My partner and I both had our dream corporate jobs in Melbourne and thought we were on the fast-lane to executive jobs. Fate, however, had different plans as COVID-19 struck and we both lost our jobs. After hearing all our friends in the city complaining about not being able to go outside and be in nature, we had our eureka moment. Along with the strong movement to have Australian handmade goods, we thought we would help connect people to nature through their senses. With our savings drawn from our accounts, we then began our business. When we were deciding our namesake and logo, we only had to look outside. The Kookaburras that fly around our home were the perfect models. We’ve been so fortunate and amazed to see the support that has grown for our little brand and so optimistic about the future.
What inspires you?
It’s not too hard to see that we’re inspired by Australian nature. Everything we do in our company we try to stay natural and eco-friendly. All of our packaging and shipping components are recyclable and we use carbon-neutral couriers. We also partner with local Australian suppliers and artisans for all our products. We strive to not only make great products but also amazing lasting relationships. We’re also very inspired by the Kookaburras (our namesake). Kookaburras are known to be happy, energetic and social, something we really value. Our main hashtag and catchphrase is “Laugh At Life” while our motto is “Living a natural, happy and healthy life.”
What are the benefits of manufacturing locally?
There are so many benefits to manufacturing locally! You support local business and your neighbours which also helps the local economy. You develop strong relationships between suppliers and artisans. You know exactly what’s in your products and what to expect. Also, my personal favourite is the accommodation and personalisation. People will go out of their way to make sure what you get is one-of-a-kind and special for you. If you have a significant event or something to commemorate, generally people are more than happy to incorporate something special into your products.
What is the best business advice you have ever received?
The best business advice I’ve ever received is to tell a story. People are experience-driven and want to be taken on a journey. When they see, hear or visit your business, you should have an experience that is one of a kind to them. This will keep them talking and make them strive to be a part of your business. On top of that continually reinvent yourself. Nothing survives unless it adapts.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in business?
When many think of the challenges of business, they think the start-up fees, finances, etc. The hardest thing for myself personally is managing my anxiety and drive for perfection. Many times I have stressed myself out but thinking “what if we fail, what if nobody wants what we’re offering.” Learning to set those fears aside and do what I need to avoid those outcomes has been my biggest challenge so far.
What has been your positive takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic?
The main thing isolation has reminded me is that opportunity is everywhere and you only need to get up, reach out and take it. We started our business from being sad, out of work and stuck at home and looking for our next step in life, so it’s possible for anyone! Even in times where circumstances look bleak, there’s always something to bring you joy and purpose. It’s just a matter of looking for it.
Do you keep your vegemite in the fridge or pantry?
The pantry! It spreads better on toast!
Which classic Aussie song would you perform at karaoke?
Land Down Under of course!
Check out Kookaburra Living for amazing products for your home all inspired by nature.