Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Chasing Sunsets with Tara Barlow

Tara Barlow is a 20-year-old entrepreneur from New Zealand. You may be familiar with her brand, The Sunset Chasers. When I first discovered it three years ago, I was intrigued by the colorful pictures on her feed and how positive I felt after viewing the content. I loved her message about positivity and how inspired I felt after scrolling through her account, so I wanted to reach out to her. Here's a bit more insight into the face of The Sunset Chasers, how she got started, and all about her plans for what's next.

MK: Hi Tara, please introduce yourself!
TB: Hi Miah! I am 20 years old and although I was born in South Africa, my family moved to New Zealand (NZ) when I was very young and that's where I grew up. Straight after high school, I packed up my life and moved to Canada for 2 years to work as a ski instructor in winter and outdoor guide during the Summer. I started The Sunset Chasers over in Canada about a year ago, and I am now back in NZ due to Corona. I recently started my diploma in social media marketing online and I think this will provide heaps of skills and directions for my business.

MK: It's super cool to get to know you a bit better! Can you tell us what The Sunset Chasers is all about?
TB: I had always wanted to start my own vegan business. After collaborating with so many amazing vegan businesses on my main Instagram, I decided to just start my own. The name is The Sunset Chasers because ironically I love chasing sunsets and because of the idea that no matter what is happening in the world, there is a beautiful sunset happening somewhere. I wanted my brand to embody positivity and showcase bright colors, reflect vegan slogans, and inspire people not only to look into being plant-based but also to follow their own dreams through, for example, the ‘What’s stopping you?’ sticker. 

TB: I work completely alone running the business, although when I have a stall at markets my friends always come and help me out.
My responsibilities as a small business owner are to keep track of orders and make sure they are posted on time. I spend time and effort packaging them, writing handwritten notes for every order, running the Instagram, and promoting the brand (which I really need to do more of, hahaha!)

MK: What services or products do you manufacture? I know that you sell vegan lip balms and have many stickers that allude to veganism. Is the brand itself completely vegan?
TB: Yes, the brand itself is 100% vegan. All the tees are made from 100% organic cotton and in the future, I’d like to make it even more sustainable by printing on bamboo or hemp fabric or upcycling pre-existing shirts and printing on those! I make the vegan lip balms myself and they are fully bees-wax free and vegan. The labels are also printed on recycled paper. All of the stickers are waterproof with vegan slogans and other designs like rainbows and rays of sunshine. The stickers are made ethically; maybe in the future, there may be waterproof stickers made from recycled materials, but the current stickers last forever.

MK: What is your mission with The Sunset Chasers?

TB: My mission with The Sunset Chasers is to inspire people to look into veganism, brighten their day, or just inspire them to pursue their own dreams. I chose this type of business because it really reflects my own ethics and values and is a good way to channel my creative outlets as I love creating the designs, paintings, and drawing them. At the moment, I only use Instagram as a platform (and of course Etsy to sell) but I am currently making a magazine and blog to accompany them. I would definitely consider creating a Youtube channel!

MK: What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a small business owner?
TB: The biggest thing you learn is to just have absolutely no expectations, and then every single little purchase fills you with joy. Of course, it is important to have goals and hit targets but it is also important to understand that every week will be different, some you may have 20 purchases and some you will be grateful for even just 1! Every little bit counts and every purchase helps to give back to nonprofit organizations.

MK: What are your biggest tips for someone who wants to start a business?
TB: Just do it! That's the best tip. I spent so long wanting to start it but not actually starting, so the best advice I could give anyone wanting to start a business is to just start. Start where you are, start small and you will wish you started earlier. So, just do it!

MK: What are some platforms we can find you?
TB: My Instagram, my personal Instagram, and my Etsy store!

MK: Thank you so much for this interview, it was so lovely to get to know you better and to learn more about what you've created!

TB: Thank you so much for interviewing me and my brand, I can’t wait to see where your blog and soon to be magazine will take you! 

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