Meet Sara Crampton, Founder and Buyer of The UNDONE Store.
Lottie Organic Cotton Maxi Dress in Optical White via TheUndone.Com
Meet Sara Crampton, founder, and buyer of The UNDONE, an online store that has grown to be one of Australia’s most loved. Sara’s minimalist, effortless style is carefully curated throughout The UNDONE Store.
Here we chat with Sara about her pathway to launching The Undone Store, and navigating the ever-changing and challenging COVID-19 Pandemic.
To start, could you please share with us briefly your career journey? We’d love to know where it all began for you, and how it has evolved over time. I studied Marketing and interned at a fashion label during my university years and during this time I also set up and started my fashion blog, Harper and Harley. I made the move down to Sydney just after I graduated and worked at a corporate e-com start up, which cemented my love for e-com and gave me an incredible insight into what it takes to build an online store from the ground up with the added bonus of the corporate processes and systems. I then moved into a smaller retail business where I worked on their e-com, marketing and domestic sales and I loved this transition into a smaller team where you can be part of multiple aspects of a business and in doing so up-skill incredibly quickly. I later made the decision to depart from this more traditional career path to focus on my blog full time which enabled me to say yes to incredible opportunities and experiences that grew my personal brand and led to me starting The UNDONE.
Congratulations on The Undone Store’s fifth birthday! How has The Undone Store evolved since its inception and what are you most proud of? Thank you! Our focus on curating a store based on timeless essentials and exclusively working with a minimalist colour palette has always been present but as the seasons and years have passed my view of what falls under this umbrella has shifted. A 20 something’s essentials are a little different to a 30 somethings and again as a mother, so it’s been nice to evolve and understand the different needs and wants of our customers. I’m most proud of our kind, approachable and inclusive online space which we’re constantly working on improving.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome since co-founding The Undone? As I’m sure every business owner would attest to, it’s the early years of setting up and operating the business that are the hardest. I’m so proud of our team, past and present, every person has played a crucial role.
Becoming a mum and not having complete control of my time has been a big obstacle, but I’m thankful that I have a really supportive team who really care about the business and I feel I can step away when I need to and the business isn’t going to fall apart, which for a founder is a huge accomplishment when we’re so use to having a really hands on approach.
How has the pandemic generally changed the way you buy for The Undone Store? Have things shifted for you from 2020 to 2021? It gave us a moment to take a pause and recalibrate. We were able to step back and look what was working and what wasn’t. The fashion industry is notoriously fast paced which leads to a lot of issues around waste and excess, so to have a pause and in the buying cycle has resulted in us buying better.
As a buyer who seasonally travels overseas, has the inability to travel changed the way you buy? It has completely changed and it has proven we can do this job without flying across the world. Fortunately we mainly buy Australian and New Zealand brands so we don’t necessarily need to travel far distances to view collections, but it’s also important to know the brands and the touch and feel in the products so we can pass on the very best edits to our customers. We love brands that have really stepped up the virtual buying process, and collectively I think we’ve all learnt so much more about bridging the gap between the physical and the online experience.
COVID-19 and the year of 2020? What was your biggest learning? Being aware of how I had been oblivious about my privilege and biases. It has been a huge awakening.
Have you had any silver linings come out of the pandemic? My son was about 4 months old when we went into our first round of lockdowns (he’s now almost 2!) and my husband has been working from home most of this time. The awareness of family needs and dynamics has been a huge silver lining for us. The bond my husband and son have is beautiful and we feel really thankful that we’ve seen this shift into a more flexible work schedule.
Moving to 2021, Australia is going in and out of lockdowns with such uncertainty, do you have any advice for other small business owners to help them move forward? I’m trying to stay optimistic that we’re now at the end of this period. I’m so thankful for science and the ability for us to protect ourselves with a vaccine. I think what I tried to hold onto as a business owner was to focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t.
What’s next for The Undone Store. We’re focused on being more inclusive with our offering so extending our size runs and finding brands that share this value, alongside our ongoing effort in ensuring our edits are primarily created with 100% natural materials.
Jillian Organic Cotton Crop Top and Yoko Organic Cotton Midi Skirt in Navy via TheUndone.Com
We absolutely love the philosophy behind The Undone Store. When reviewing a new brand or designer, what are you drawn to most? Overall they need to have that minimalist vibe and execute really great pieces that transcend seasons. No one should be investing in one hit wonders. Fabrication is also a key decision maker for us, as we’re conscious of ensuring 80% of our edit each season is made from 100% natural materials that have the ability to biodegrade at their end of life.
How do you keep up with the challenges of being consistent with social media, particularly as you manage @HarperAndHarley and @TheUndoneStore? This is definitely a tricky and I do struggle to execute both to their full potential. Having a team and content calendar for The UNDONE keeps me on track. I would prefer to be offline more, but in the same breath I do find the platform creatively inspiring and keeps me connected with our community.
What failure do you treasure the most? I love this question. I treasure starting the business with a business partner and it not working out. The experience gave me a lot of self-belief.
Who do you admire and aspire to be like in business? I’m lucky to have a few girlfriends who also run their own businesses who I can call upon. In particular I would love to tap into my friend Beck Wadworth from An Organised Life for her INCREDIBLE organisational skills, and Eleanor Pendleton from Gritty Pretty™ for her leadership.
What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given, and would love to share with our readers? Trust your gut.
Lottie Organic Cotton Maxi Dress in Optical White via TheUndone.Com
Favourite furniture designer? I don’t have a major front runner, but I like something minimal and timeless but also unique, so I love vintage or going custom where I can.
Favourite artist? I love watching Niah Mcleod create her pieces.
Favourite neutral colour? I love a white and tan/beige combo.
Favourite bright colour? A natural deep leafy green
Favourite flower?? Flannel flowers are super special
Favourite meal to cook at home? Our go-to is cous cous, roasted vegetables and lots of greens cooked in coconut oil and salt.
What is the first thing you will do when you are out of lockdown? It’s our first week out this week and I’ve had a pedicure and it was GREAT
Funniest thing that has happened since becoming a mum? Every day my son makes me laugh, but I do find the new found relationship with our local garbage collectors quite amusing. They’re all so kind and always wave to the kids who LOVE trucks.
Finally, what do you love most about Joslin? The campaign imagery and the beautiful natural fabrications.
What is your favourite piece(s) from Joslin’s current or past collections? Is there anything we should be making again? I love the Organic Cotton Set (Jillian Organic Crop Top and Yoko Organic Cotton Midi Skirt/Dress) from the most recent collection. It feels like the ideal outfit for our upcoming summer!
Jillian Organic Cotton Crop Top and Yoko Organic Cotton Midi Skirt in Optical White via TheUndone.Com