Mindful jigsaws for women, by women
By now, you have most likely learnt of the term JOMO (the Joy Of Missing Out) which involves taking pleasure in putting away your electronics, saying no to a social event and choosing to enjoy spending quality time with yourself.
Currently on maternity leave with her new-born Angus, Kristy O’Kane, the founder and ‘Head Lady’ of Okay Lady, is deservedly experiencing what she advocates for and is spending time with her growing family. We were lucky enough to have Social Media Manager- Anthea Riskas answer all of our questions about the business in her place.
Okay Lady is a Melbourne based, female run business, that gives their customers permission to enjoy ‘me time‘. They create aesthetically pleasing puzzles for women to do whilst relaxing and recharging their social juices AND their puzzles showcase art of talented females who are accredited and paid accordingly- YES
OL began when Kristy made the brave decision to leave her corporate job to focus on herself
“I told everyone close to me that I was going to work with my husband on our family business (a CBD pub). I lied to keep my friends and family off my back and to stop their constant questioning…I needed to buy myself some time to think.”
Her husband Matt, a social butterfly that experiences FOMO, influenced Kristy a lot when it came to socialising with friends.
“For a long time, I felt like I needed to be just like Matt. That his ‘normal’ had to b mine. Especially when we were younger and we were super social. But with the break I afforded myself in 2018, I had space to explore what I wanted to do next, and it was during this time that it occurred to me that there is nothing wrong with me at all! It’s okay that I need time to myself sometimes and that being alone recharges and replenishes my capacity to be social. How do we encourage each other to say it’s okay to do that?”
Kristy had a secret love stating, “jigsaw puzzles are my jam.” She took pleasure in the puzzles mental stimulation and relaxing pace and thought they were the perfect way to re-calibrate. She found the relaxation it gave her mind to be beneficial and she wanted to share that with other women who she assumed were in the same position as her.
And so, Okay Lady began…
'I’m never more me than when I’ve had my downtime. And I want to be me all the time.'
Kristy was adamant that her team be all-female as empowering women is incredibly important to her. So, she surrounded herself with talent that have genuine belief that women need to make time for self-care.
Additionally, it was imperative that the artwork on the puzzles be aesthetically pleasing as in the past “they have been perceived as uncool, or even geeky. Often the images are splashes of garish colour or drab renditions of watercolour scenes.”
The team continuously stumbled across all sorts of outrageous female talent, so Kristy reached out to artists she’d been following on instagram- like Tonia Composto and other women from the Jacky Winter group to gather refreshing female energy that is uplifting, ripe and honest.
Everyone was so excited by the idea and wanted to parter with OL, so the long process of contracts and licensing began- to ensure that the artists were paid correctly and credited accordingly (an important belief at OL).
Kristy then reached out to her network of talented friends and was rewarded by meeting Maria Harran. Maria, who has designed all the exquisite branding and packaging to compliment the artworks and then, the final piece of the staffing puzzle (no pun intended) was Social Media Manager Anthea Riskas. A friend of Maria’s and who was immediately attracted to the brand because of the core values and Kristy’s excellent sense of humour.
The strength within the team shines through their online presence and the community they have built. Their gorgeous cylinder packaged puzzles, branded with a glossy Okay Lady logo and delivered to their new home in a signature salmon pink box, shows that Kristy and her team have made a conscious effort to make the experience memorable, special and worthy of a woman’s time.
As for running the business, Kristy does find it challenging navigating Okay Lady at times… “It’s all on YOU. When you’re running a start-up and you’re Head Lady, every single decision rests on your shoulders- sure you can ask for advice but the final calls are down to you and that kind of constant risk taking results in real pressure.”
But she knows that it is all well worth it when she gets to see the absolute joy and delight of her lucky customers receiving their special packages.
A puzzle supports other females and gives them permission to be okay with needing their downtime too. We want all our touch points to resonate our message of self-care being important and we especially want a puzzle recipient to feel excited and special the minute they get handed our pink box.
We love other Melbourne-based businesses like the Digital Picnic, Go-To and Hey Tiger who all lead the way (as far as we’re concerned) when it comes to branding, social media and clever business practice. Women like Lisa Messenger, Sarah Wilson and Emma Issacs are all huge champions of self-care, unapologetic female ambition and social responsibility, which are a combination of ethics we truely support
Kristy’s mum Ann has been a constant influence since the very beginning of OL. She’s a hugely successful business woman in her own right and her advice and perspective have been instrumental in pushing OL forward and keeping Kristy on the business straight and narrow.
Advice to your younger self…
Believe in what that inner voice was saying”this is not for me, I’m on the wrong path” and then give that younger woman the courage to jump sooner.
Something you did for self-care this week…
I put on a podcast and headed out for a walk in the glorious Melbourne winter sun
Productivity snack & music…
Hummus, carrot sticks and soul music!
A mental re-frame.Remembering that “this too shall pass” and Rome wasn’t built in a day- anymore cliches we can throw at ourselves we do lol! But seriously, sometimes it’s just important to know when to rest or stop pushing the proverbial up hill- fresh eyes and mind make all the difference, so the guilt about not feeling ‘productive’ needs to go in the bin and the self-awareness around when it’s time to take a breather is paramount. Okay Lady encourages us all to find the truest version of ourselves through rest and reflection. Thank-you to Anthea and the Okay Lady team for allowing us to hear your story and thoughts on self-care and running a bad-ass business.
Thank you to Athena for sharing the Okay Lady story.
You can find all Okay Lady products here
Written By Olivia
Published July 18 2019