Pretty Little Designs to open new retail store in Mandurah

ORGANISATION QUEEN: Deanna Foster says her passion is helping people find ways of organisation that work for them. Photo: Pretty Little Designs Instagram.
ORGANISATION QUEEN: Deanna Foster says her passion is helping people find ways of organisation that work for them. Photo: Pretty Little Designs Instagram.

"Never underestimate the power of a label," is the motto that Mandurah business owner Deanna Foster lives by.

In just four years, Deanna has transformed her love of organisation into a business and brand, Pretty Little Designs, with a following of over 200,000 people online.

While her business skyrocketed to success quite quickly, Deanna said its start was unconventional.

"We actually started with the idea of becoming a Christmas business," she said.

"I had a three-month-old baby at home and my older son and I wanted to make some Christmas Eve boxes for them but couldn't find anything at the time.

"This was well before I knew anything about Instagram - I thought 'hey - there's a gap in the market here, maybe this is something I could do.

"I was doing stay at home mum life which was probably not 100 per cent suited to me because I'd always been a worker and missed that."

By the time Deanna had done enough business research and bought equipment, Christmas had been and gone - so it was time to pivot.

"I thought - I've got this beautiful organised pantry... I used to manage Howard's Storage World in Mandurah 10 years ago actually, and so I showed some pictures of my organising to a couple of friends who all fell in love and were like 'I want that' - and that's when it exploded."

Deanna's business designs labels and containers for organisation, and through social media she began sharing organisational methods and inspiration with her audience.

STORAGE: Deanna's business makes labels and containers perfect for getting the house in order. Photo: Pretty Little Designs Instagram.

STORAGE: Deanna's business makes labels and containers perfect for getting the house in order. Photo: Pretty Little Designs Instagram.

"Before I knew it, Pretty Little Designs was a growing home organisation business.

"I've always been an organised person so it was easy to follow something I was already passionate about - it made sense for me to create products to help people with their homes.

"Originally I had no idea about Instagram, I was only on Facebook - I built up a very big Facebook following and by the time I found Instagram a year-and-a-half later it kind of just took off."

After expanding the business and hiring a number of fulltime staff, Deanna and her team moved into a warehouse space - which they quickly grew out of.

The next step was to move the business into a new retail store - and the location that opened up felt like fate.

"We are opening a big retail store showroom within the coming months. The exciting thing about that is it's actually the location of the old Howard's Storage World that I managed.

"It's really exciting for me - feels like a little bit of history."

As the business continues to grow and social media followers pour in, Deanna says her focus is not on making pantries "insta-perfect", but creating easy to maintain systems to help people in their everyday lives.

"It's about making it right to suit your needs and helping speed things up.

"No pantries look perfect at all times - any pictures I put up on social media that have food in them, tinned goods, chip packets, kids snacks - they are the most effective posts because that's what people relate to."

FINDING WHAT WORKS: Organisation is not about being insta-perfect, but being functional, says Deanna. Photo: Pretty Little Designs Instagram.

FINDING WHAT WORKS: Organisation is not about being insta-perfect, but being functional, says Deanna. Photo: Pretty Little Designs Instagram.

Deanna said her biggest support is her husband James and their two sons Jaxon, 7 and Alfie, 5.

"They're my biggest supporters. We've got little organisation systems in place at home which make it easy for the boys to do their chores without it being a big deal.

"I remember my under sink area in the kitchen was always organised but didn't have labels so my husband didn't know where anything went - I laughed and said 'I'm gonna label under there', and then I realised it was organised for me but not for other people.

"When I put labels on we all got the idea of where things belonged - never underestimate the power of a label."

Despite running a demanding and successful business, Deanna said she treasured the time she got to spend with her family and made it a priority to find that time.

"We are always very busy - I run the business and my husband works fulltime and helps out with the business - so when we have downtime we like to go out on the boat, go in the pool and really just relax with family and friends because we don't always have time to do those sorts of things."

FAMILY: Alfie, Deanna, James and Jaxon. Photo: Pretty Little Designs Instagram.

FAMILY: Alfie, Deanna, James and Jaxon. Photo: Pretty Little Designs Instagram.

When it comes to advice for budding business owners, Deanna said it's important to remember that mistakes are a part of life.

"I think the biggest thing I learnt with small business is that nothing usually goes to plan," she laughed.

"So many people go into starting a small business thinking it'll be an incredible job to do at home to work around their kids but I work more now than I've ever worked in my entire life.

"It's not easy, you will make mistakes - but it's how you choose to move with those mistakes that determines how successful you'll be. It's so rewarding."

Deanna says she hoped the future of the business held the possibility of franchising, and that she would be working on expanding while enjoying her new retail store in the heart of Mandurah.

"I love, love, love Mandurah - Mandurah is like a hidden gem and has got so many amazing unknown talents within the community.

"We are looking forward to opening our retail store and expanding the retail stores around Australia and going global."