Space Vivian’s brand name – named after a cat that the duo once met in Prague – isn’t just quirky, it’s a dynamite business strategy to protect their company’s goodwill.
“It’s good choosing something weird. You’re less likely to run into trademark issues if you choose something unique that makes you stand out. I was lucky to be able to avoid that problem,” says Harris.
Space Vivian sells biodegradable glitter online that can be applied to the face and body and is made from eucalyptus mulch. The women thought it would be a popular alternative to plastic-based glitter for eco-conscious music festival enthusiasts. But kindergartens have also buoyed demand for the tubs with creative names like “All that glitters is glitter” and “Total oglitteration” that sell at $11.90 a pop.
Since its launch in December 2017 – Harris and Frecheville both made modest contributions from their personal savings to get Space Vivian up and running – the company now turns a small profit which is immediately reinvested. Although neither founder is prepared yet to quit their day job.
Harris admits her risk-averse nature as a lawyer has held Space Vivian back at times.
“Rosie and I probably ran it a bit too lean. We were really careful about every cent we spent at the beginning. Because it’s such a wacky company, I was so worried that it would all blow up in my face, that I just wanted it to be profitable immediately.”
Harris and Frecheville soon learnt that it was important to spend money on good quality packaging to make their product more attractive to customers.
The pair were also initially hesitant to pay an accountant to managing their company’s taxes but soon learnt the benefits of asking for advice, says Harris.
“When we went to our accountant, we had a pleasant surprise and ended up paying way less tax than we thought. I regret not sitting down with the accountant on day one and saying, ‘Please tell me all the different types of tax that we will be liable for’,” she says.
The business – originally based in North Fitzroy – also faced a massive shake-up when Frecheville accepted a job as a youth worker in Alice Springs just as Space Vivian was getting off the ground last year.
But the business duo took the change in their stride, with Harris and Frecheville dividing different responsibilities between them, such as online orders, distribution and social media management.
Now that the pair know that the company can survive and thrive when its owners live in separate Australian states, Harris is pushing the envelope a little further further.
Harris is leaving Corrs to take up a job in London as an intellectual property lawyer.
“It’s an immensely flexible workplace,” says Harris.