The lessons Olympian Michael Klim learned from a decade in business
28 August 2018, Written by David Simmons
Former Olympian and beloved swimming star Michael Klim is no stranger to pressure.
During the late 90s and early 2000s, Klim was a force to be reckoned with. His best performance was at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney where he scored two gold and two silver medals. Klim's success led him to become a household name and a role model for budding Aussie sports stars.
After retiring from the pool, Klim went on to found his own skincare business which has since flourished over the past decade.
To celebrate this milestone, Business News Australia sat down with Klim, creator of Milk and Co, to find out why his company beat the startup odds, tips for new business owners and what's in the pipeline for the decade ahead.
You're celebrating your tenth anniversary, such a major milestone! What have been some of the biggest highlights so far?
First and foremost I'm really proud of how the brand has grown, evolved and innovated over the last ten years.
Initially when we launched the range our packaging wasn't right so we recently rebranded and refined the HER and BABY category offerings and defined the distribution channels that were right for our consumers.
It was a big highlight for me seeing the new products on shelves, knowing how much hard work we put into it, and of course reaching the ten-year milestone is a major highlight!
Most startups don't make it to five years let alone ten, why do you think Milk & Co has been a success?
The relentless nature of competitive sport definitely prepares you for the world of business, so I was able to apply that perseverance and resilience from the start and take setbacks in my stride.
I also surrounded myself with a great team, acknowledging that I should stick to my strengths and hire those who are the best at what they do to help build the brand.
You also need to be in touch with your consumer at every stage, whether your one year in or ten years in like Milk & Co, and take on that feedback to help evolve your brand.
What are some unique challenges you've faced working in the skincare industry?
Initially when we launched we wanted to be everything for everyone, but you have to learn to understand and listen to your customers, especially in the crowded category that is skincare.
Michael Klim (photo supplied)
As a former Olympian you're no stranger to the idea of perseverance do you think this has helped you in your entrepreneurial pursuits?
The relentless nature of sport definitely prepares you for running your own business.
During the ups and downs I've learnt to persevere in both areas of my life and to not be dejected by anything.
When I was swimming I also had a great team surrounding me. I had people who were experts in areas that I wasn't and I've applied this to my business too; making sure you have the right team is crucial to success.
What's in the pipeline for Milk & Co?
We are currently working on the relaunch of the HER range, which will roll out over the coming months.
We are also developing further category extensions and considering some very unique natural ingredients for these new products. Stay tuned!
What would be your top tip for young entrepreneurs looking to succeed?
You have to be perseverant, resilient and innovative and of course surround yourself with a good team of people to help achieve your goals.
I also believe self-confidence and valuing yourself and your vision is key.
Everyone gets knock backs from time to time but you have to stay true to your purpose and have the resilience to bounce back when things don't go your way.
Business News Australia
Author: David Simmons