Behind the Biz: Daniella Elias
If you love tea, reading and practical self care tips, then this interview is for you.
Daniella is one of the sweetest and down to earth people I follow on Instagram. She gives so much to her community and asks for nothing in return. Oh, and did I mention she has a brilliant, self-care focused biz called Amity Created? Yeah, I’m pretty smitten.
In true Danielle fashion, this interview is chockablock full of quality advice, musings and stories. It is such a pleasure having her here, in our little corner of the internet, bringing you insights into running a product-based business, why she started Amity Created and a list of really great book recommendations.
Who’s That Girl?
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Daniella Elias, self-proclaimed self-care advocate and tea obsessed founder of Amity Created.
I really do believe that magic is a hot cup of tea and a good pair of socks (my Grandma actually knits the best pairs!)
How is 2019 shaping up for you?
2019 has really started to blossom for both me personally and Amity Created. I feel like there has been an incredible amount of opportunity and positivity so far and I can’t wait to see what else will come knocking at the door.
What was it like living in Sydney?
I know that people tend to be 50/50 about Sydney, but I personally love it, it is home.
I love the busy, fast-paced lifestyle – the constant movement and progression forward. The multiculturalism, art, and events. It is where I grew up and honestly I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
You regularly share your morning routine and rituals on Insta-Stories. Could you describe a typical morning for our readers?
YES! I love sharing my morning rituals.
We all tend to live such chaotic lives and due to this, it is incredibly important for us to inject calm throughout our day in some way.
For me, that time is set in the morning.
I wake up, take big deep breaths and say a few things I am grateful for. I then get up and get dressed in something comfortable and casual. As I work from home, I always make a point at getting dressed so that I know in my mind that it’s a work day, not a day to chill in my pj’s.
Morning meditation happens before breakfast, I normally light some incense, a few candles, grab some crystals and tune out for at least 10 minutes.
A healthy breakfast and a big cup of tea follows (no phones/laptops allowed) and then once I am done, I know that I am ready for the day.
This isn’t always the same though, some days are different from others, sometimes I journal rather than meditate, or I have time out to read before the day begins.
It depends on my mood. I always listen to what is going on inside and I follow that.
As long as I start work by 9:30 am, I am happy.
Favourite books of all time?
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
- Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur
- The life-changing magic of not giving a f**k – Sarah Knight
- Like water for chocolate – Laura Esquivel
- The night circus – Erin Morgenstern
- Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
- Harry Potter – J.K Rowling ( I am in Ravenclaw just for the record)
Do you have any advice for those wanting to incorporate more self-care into their daily schedule?
Sometimes when we say ‘self-care’ it seems daunting and we automatically put it in the ‘I don’t have time’ basket.
I believe the hardest part is actually giving yourself that permission to pause. It is SO important to remember that we can only give back what we put in and if we don’t take the time out that we need, we will crash and burn.
I would even suggest actually monitoring the difference that slowing down, taking time out and being kind to yourself does.
Tuning in and listening to your body, recognising the signs of overwork and responding with the appropriate action is what our body craves and we all have the power to control it. You just need to give yourself permission to do so.
And also, remember that it is a constant journey, you will not always be great at it, you will slip up, we all do, but when you do slip up, you need to recognise it, acknowledge it and then try again the next day – without being hard on yourself.
What was your professional background prior to launching Amity Created?
I actually was a high school teacher for 5 years prior to leaving to be in Amity full time. I taught English and History.
Did you complete any formal studies or are you self taught?
I studied for a while prior to teaching, I have a Bachelor of Arts, where I majored in Sociology and Literature and then I did my teaching degree after that.
In terms of my business, I haven’t done any formal studies but I continue my own personal development yearly through enrolling in courses, workshops, etc.
If I didn’t take the time to continue my own learning, I would really struggle and probably wouldn’t be at the stage that I am now within my business.
What inspired you to choose a path in self-care products?
As a teacher, I was incredibly overworked and exhausted. The only time I found for myself was when I was hiding away at my desk with my eyes closed, enjoying the quiet time that came with my cup of tea.
Eventually, I had a whole group of teachers that would join me on a Tuesday for ‘Tea Tuesdays’ as dubbed by our Principal. Even he would show up with his Game of Thrones mug and ginger tea.
It was a time that we would all check in with one another, vent if we needed to, or just sat in silence, soaking up the stress-free time. I realised then that we don’t often give ourselves enough time to make up for the incredible amount of energy we give out.
I spent a lot of time researching after that and the teacups were developed as a way to encourage simple self-care in a day. 5-10 minutes for a quiet cup of tea.
Tell us more about your lovely biz, Amity Created.
Amity Created is a self-care brand for women who believe that magic is a warm cup of tea and a few quiet moments, just for themselves. At Amity, we believe that self-care is absolutely necessary – because sometimes being a strong woman takes more than we can give.
From teacups, tea and other self-care related items, Amity Created has become a space for you to find things to enhance the experience of your ‘me time’.
Why teacups? (We’re deeply obsessed, btw).
I personally always teach self-care through the simple act of tea, because it is ATTAINABLE, it is not scary, it is accessible to all and it is such an easy starting point for someone wanting to really commit to their self-care journey.
When you are taking this time out for tea, you want to make it SPECIAL, it is not your standard cuppa that keeps you going throughout the day, it is a moment for you to completely relax and feel good.
So drinking good quality tea out of a beautiful, high-quality teacup, really does enhance the experience. It is also nice to spoil ourselves in a simple way, reminding us of how worthy we are of me-time.
Launching a product is no easy feat. Could you walk us through the process of designing and manufacturing a new range/style?
Gosh, it is definitely the opposite of simple.
I spent a year researching prior to launch. I wanted to understand my target market, the teacup market, the manufacturing process and I wanted to find the right artists to bring my designs to life.
It took a lot of time and a lot of investment. Many, MANY, mistakes were made along the way, but I wouldn’t take any of them back because I have grown so much since.
When I am designing a range, I normally spend quite a bit of time in the visual mood/design board stage, it is my absolute favorite time. I then take my scribbles, brief and design ideas to my go-to artist, Gemma Shorten, and she uses her incredible talent to bring it all to life. From there I send the draft designs to my manufacturers, go back and forth with the samples until I am 100% happy and then the manufacturing process begins.
From conception to birth of a new range, it can take anywhere from 4-8 months. It really depends on what the collection is and whether any speed bumps were hit along the way. From my experience with this, there is always something haha.
Do you have a favourite design out of your current collection?
It is really hard to choose because I have a different attachment to all of my teacups. I’ll put it down to my top 3:
The Love Line: Originally designed for my own wedding prior to it being released for the public, so I am emotionally connected to that one.
The Enchanted teacup: is such a classic, yet modern piece and I can’t help to be drawn to that one. Plus I loved seeing Gemma literally paint each individual leaf and stem only to put it all together like a jigsaw.
From the Blossom collection: My favourite would have to be the Blue one, I find it so striking and elegant.
What was it like deciding to take the leap from teaching to running your own biz?
It became less like a choice and more like a necessity in terms of my wellbeing. I had juggled for far too long and had hit breaking point physically and emotionally.
I needed to choose to focus on one and Amity Created pulled at my heart, so I made that choice and haven’t regretted it since.
What’s the best thing about running your own biz?
I love the flexibility and freedom in terms of the structure of my day. I also love being able to connect to people through my teacups, Amity has become somewhat of a safe space for quite a lot of women who are seeking support with self-care.
And the worst/most challenging?
It can sometimes be challenging not to have a team of people around me to bounce ideas off or get instant help from when I am struggling with something… I am lucky to have an incredible community of business women around me who are only a phone call away, but sometimes, you just need that face to face interaction.
What’s something that people don’t see/realise that you do (the nitty gritty, behind the scenes stuff)?
From the initial designing, the hassling of the manufacturers, the handwritten notes, gift-wrapping, blog writing, email marketing, social media handling, to the calling of the couriers, I literally do it all.
I think some people are surprised at how many hats I still wear within the business. That will slowly change as Amity grows more, but for now, my Virgo ways are having trouble letting go…
What can we expect from Amity Created in the coming months?
Mugs are on the way – I am SO excited about these. They have been a long time coming and are by far the best designs yet for Amity.
In January, I locked myself away from the world for 4 days straight while I was riding the inspiration train. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. No phone, no work, just design.
During that time my husband would walk out into our living room to find a 4-meter long vision board on butchers paper, textas, scissors and paper all over the floor and me walking around in a giant shirt quoting poetry to myself out loud. He never blinked an eyelid or asked any questions, just gave me gentle reminders to stop for food.
Once I showed Gemma the concept and pencil designs, she was so excited that she brought it all to life quite quickly. When I opened the initial draft file, I cried.
And of course: what inspires you?
Gosh, anything and everything.
Inspiration comes in so many forms for me, sometimes it’s a book I am reading, or a poem. Other times it is nature, especially the moon… and often, its people and their stories that inspire me the most.
How do you take your tea (or coffee)?
Almond cap with one sugar. I rarely order tea out unless they do loose leaf in a pot. I just prefer making it at home. However, on the rare occasion, it is normally Earl Grey.
Fave coffee shops/cafes at home
– The Grounds of Alexandria
– Henri Marc
– Percy Plunkett
– The Factoria
Go to outfit
Normally something floral and flowy in summer and a good pair of boots, a variety of scarves and a thick wool coat in winter.
The first time I held one of my teacups in my hands… I still remember that feeling and the complete shock at what I had created. I am a very emotional person, so there were lots of tears.
Sleeping in and then heading out to brunch with my husband. That plus lounging around with a good book.
The guilty feminist
The self-love club
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur (Poetry)
Ultimate travel destination
If I could go to Italy every year, I would.
When I traveled around Italy, I felt so attached to everywhere I went. The food, culture, and scenery is phenomenal.
We hope you’re loving this interview series as much as we are! We are curious in nature, and very much enjoy learning the ins and outs of business and start up stories from other female entrepreneurs.
If you have another wonderful lady in mind that you’d like us to interview, drop a comment below or straight to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until the next brew,
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Rust Creative helps women in their twenties fast-track finding their purpose. Through 1:1 coaching, group programs and specialised resources, we offer women clarity and direction so that they can ENJOY the most exciting decade of their lives. And tea, always tea.
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