Over Christmas dinner in New Plymouth, sisters Alice and Cindy Walter reminisced about much-loved New Zealand entertainer Suzy Kato’s bright jumpers which were all the rage in the 1990s.

The colourful and fun jumpers evoked fond memories and the sisters wondered why they couldn’t buy these jumpers anywhere.

From side hustle to entreprising business

Alice and Cindy wanted to bring back the dizzying colours of the 90s so created Dizzie – a business where the sisters would create and sell custom-made, colourful hand-painted jumpers.

Cindy was already running her own business hand-dyeing wool – an enterprise which started as a side hustle in 2008 and grew to a full-time job in 2020 – so the sisters knew they worked well together.

“As my hand-dyeing business grew I needed help and hired Alice which has turned out to be the best business decision I’ve made! Working with family can

be challenging but we complement each other fantastically. We’re on the same wavelength and drive each other every day to make Dizzie a success,” says Cindy.

Dizzee was launched in March this year when the sisters began creating custom-made jumpers from home and selling them on their Instagram page and at markets. Like any start-up, there have been challenges along the way.

“Our biggest hurdle to date has been learning how to juggle our time and prioritise workloads. When you run your own business, it can be hard to know which piece of work to do first and which is going to drive the most impact,” says Alice.

Benefit of business mentors

Initially Cindy and Alice learnt through trial and error but soon realised they would benefit from some professional business help.  The sisters started looking for opportunities for learning and growth when they heard about Venture Taranaki’s Co.Starters course.

Earlier this year Soda partnered with Venture Taranaki to deliver a Co.Starters programme for 50 entrepreneurs in the Taranaki region. This programme was aimed at start-ups and small business owners who needed help with business fundamentals – it was exactly what the sisters needed.

Explaining why they applied for the programme, Cindy says: “I had been in business a while but didn’t have any formal business training. I wanted to take a course to learn the jargon, think strategically and to make sure that I was on the right track. I also saw it as a great opportunity to meet other business-minded people who were at similar stages of their business’ life.”

Alice adds: “Sharing our learnings and collaborating with others has been of huge benefit to us both. Being part of Co.Starters has enabled us to meet a greater variety of business owners and like-minded people whilst broadening our business knowledge and skillset.”

We think Dizzie’s future is looking very bright!

Check out Dizzie on Facebook and Instagram. You can also find their products at The Collaboration in New Plymouth from July 1.

Apply for Soda's Co. Starters programme

Applications are now open for Soda’s next Co.Starters programme which kicks off in August 2021. This programme is perfect for entrepreneurs or small businesses experiencing growth. The 10-week programme (three hours a week in Hamilton or online) covers business fundamentals and features inspiring guest speakers. You will also get access to Soda’s network of business advisors, sector experts and potential investors.

Find out more about Soda’s Co.Starters programme and how your business can benefit from it.