Claudia Zinzan has spent most of her career working as an interior designer, but retail has never been far away. The New Zealander has run an interior design and clothing business as well as a luxury clothes brand. But after the birth of her first child, she wanted to change direction. And so Father Rabbit was born, a project that Claudia started with her husband, Nick Hutchison, who also works as a camera operator in the film industry. The business started out as an online store, and now as two physical shops in Auckland.
Which five words best describe you? A calm and consistent whirlwind.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? After completing an interior design degree I fell into colour consultancy. From there I had an interior and clothing design business and was the general manager of a luxury clothes brand before starting Father Rabbit after my first child was born. All the movements in my career have been about seizing opportunities without thinking about them too heavily. But I do have a strong “gut feeling” monitor that tells me if I feel uncomfortable travelling a certain path. I don't over think things. I use my contacts and travel toward a loose goal in my head about the bigger picture but I seize opportunities that my networking provides. I surround myself with people who have more experience and different skill sets than myself and work with them to enhance my business.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Pay attention to detail. I am still teaching myself this. It is such an important skill and money saver.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Launching Father Rabbit with Nick.
What’s been your best decision? I feel like I don't make very conscious decisions and instead rely on my gut. But as my business gets bigger I have to be more careful with my analysis of opportunities... mainly because more risk is involved. My best decision is that I started Father Rabbit and didn't go back to my old job.
Who inspires you? Other business creatives. I am always watching other people and their think-big attitudes. The guys at Supreme Coffee inspire me. The boys at Fidels Cafe/Havana Bar in Wellington.
What are you passionate about? Being kind in my business to my staff, customers and suppliers. The world needs more gentle-handed approaches to business and negotiation. I am insanely passionate about shop displays, merchandising and retail interior design.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I am a huge fan of Beyonce and Jay Z. I would almost give up everything to be their friends or at least a fly on the wall. I think they are hugely talented but also are a massive business inspiration.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I want to live in a foreign city with Nick and the kids. Bangkok or Brazil are at the top of the list.
What are you reading? I am not reading anything currently except the news, Facebook and emails! I am a tired mother with a little baby.
images courtesy of father rabbit